Welcome to the final month before opening day! I hope you have been enjoying spring training as much as I have. Baseball is two weeks away! I am overjoyed! March began the official Ball Boy Blog previews of all 30 teams. The previews feature all the Free Agent signings, trades, NRI, bold predictions, and some cool fun facts at the end! We are starting at the top of the 2020 ranks and working our way down from best to worst! Enjoy!
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AL Team: Cleveland Indians
Last Year Record: 35-25 finished 2nd in the AL Central and made the playoffs and lost in the WC round.
Record x2.7: 94.5- 67.5
Vegas Projected: Vegas has the Indians projected only to win 81.5 games. I am a bit over on the Indians as I have them winning 85 games and finishing in 3rd in the AL Central.
OF Delino DeShields(nontendered), OF Tyler Naquin(non-tendered), SP Jefry Rodriguez(non-tendered), RHP Luis Oviedo(Rule 5), OF Ka'ai Tom(Rule 5), C Sandy Leon(FA), LHP Brad Hand(FA), 1B Carlson Santana(FA)
SS Francisco Lindor, SP Carlos Carrasco, Adam Cimber
Free Agent Signings:
OF Eddie Rosario- Rosario has three seasons of 20+HR and owns a .277/.310/.478 slash over 2830PA. The OF now will play against the Twins in the AL Central.
2B Cesar Hernandez- Hernandez turned in a reliable .283/.355/.408 slash with 3HR and an AL-best 20 doubles while playing in 58 of the 60 games during last year's shortened season.
SS Amed Rosario- former top-10 MLB prospect in Rosario as he posted a .322/.353/.453 slash in 372PA down the stretch in 2019, followed by a dismal .252/.272/.371 slash in 147PA
INF Andres Gimenez- the first 132PA slashing a .263/.333/.398. Gimenez is considered a better fielder than Rosario and could get first dibs at SS.
RHP Josh Wolf, OF Isaiah Greene
Rule 5 Draft Selections:
RHSP Trevor Stephan- The 25yo has spent three seasons at the MiLB level and has reached AA over that time. He owns a 3.70ERA, 3.96RA/9, 1.18WHIP, 275K-73BB over 238.2IP. He has 55 total appearances, with 53 being starts. The righty profiles to be a good back of rotation arm for the Indians; if not, he will slide nicely into the bullpen with his ability to get strikeouts.
OF Harold Ramirez- The 26yo debuted with the Marlins in 2019 with a .368/.419/.474 slash before a cool-off. He finished the season with a respectable .276/.312/.416 slash in 446PA. Ramirez looked to be a full-time member of the Marlins OF in 2020. Then a positive COVID-19 test, then a hamstring injury, allowed him only to play three games.
RHP Jordan Humphreys- In 169.2IP at the MiLB level, he owns a 2.60ERA and an impressive 177-30 K-BB ratio.
LHRP Oliver Perez- The 39yo is coming back for his 4th season with the club.
RHRP Blake Parker- The 35yo Parker only threw 16IP with the Phillies in 2020 as he was able to pitch to a 2.81ERA/3.39SIERA with a 13%BB rate with a 36.2%K rate.
OF Billy Hamilton- The 30yo has played for four various clubs over the last two seasons and hit an ugly .210/.278/.270 with 28SB over 389PA.
OF Ben Gamel- The 28yo in 483PA as a Brewer the last few seasons, he has a .245/.331/.381 slash.
INF Mike Freeman- Over the past two seasons with the club, he owns a .270/.352/.377 slash over 256PA. He can play all INF positions and both corner OF positions.
SHRP Bryan Shaw- Shaw, now 33yo, hasn't been quite as good as when he was last with the Indians back from 2013-2017 when he posted a 3.11ERA over 358.2IP.
RHRP Heath Hembree- 2020 wasn't kind to Hembree as he posted a 9.00ERA/4.47SIERA over 19IP.
P Anthony Gose- Is a converted OF who started pitching in 2017, and in 65.2IP in the minors, he has posted a 4.39ERA with a 10.0K/9
RHP Kyle Dowdy, LHP DJ Johnson, RHP Nick Sandlin, C Gavin Collins, INF Tyler Freeman, C Ryan Lavarnway
C Austin Hedges, RHP Phil Maton, RHP Nick Willgran
RHP Carlos Vargas, RHP Eli Morgan INF Nolan Jones, INF Gabriel Arias, and INF Ernie Clement.
Returning from IL:
Emmanuel Clase(Restricted list), RHP Jefry Rodriguez(60 Day IL)
Prospect Watch in Camp
C Bo Naylor, INF Owen Miller, INF Tyler Freeman,
The breakout is coming from RHP Zach Plesac. Despite the trouble he got into during the 2020 season, he still posted a 2.1WAR, 2.28ERA/3.39FIP with 57K over 55.1IP. Plesac is just good and will be an excellent #2 option behind Bieber in the 2021 season.
The Rookie to watch for the Indians is C Bo Naylor. Naylor has yet to play above Class A. However, he did get invited to camp and is a top 5 prospect for the club. The 20yo Naylor had a .243/.313/.421 slash in 453PA in 2019.
Fantasy Impact Players
Pitchers- Shane Biber, Zach Plesac, Triston McKenzie, Emmanuel Clase
Position- 2B Cesar Hernandez, INF Andres Gimenez, INF Amed Rosario, 3B Jose Ramirez, OF Eddie Rosario, DH Franmil Reyes
Upcoming 2022 Free Agents:
-Jose Ramirez($12mil), Cesar Hernandez($6mil), Roberto Perez($7mil) each carry a club option. I can see each being exercised next winter.
Eddie Rosario, Blake Parker, Heath Hembree, and Billy Hamilton will also be free agents if each makes the club.
Storylines to follow
-The rebound season is coming for Rosario. Yes, both INF Amed Rosario and OF Eddie Rosario. Both have shown tremendous upside with the bat and ability to be threats in the lineup, and both struggled in 2020. I am a believer in these two new additions to the Indians lineup.
-Could the Indians easily win more than enough games to win the division. Yes, will they? Probably yeah. Do I see it happening? No, not at all. I think that Indians will make the playoffs one way or another and keep the division interesting, even without Lindor.
Bob Hope, one of our country's greatest entertainers/comedians, was also a part-owner of the Indians for many years, starting in 1946. He grew up on the east side of Cleveland and was a lifelong ambassador for the city and the Indians. For instance, he was featured in an episode of "I Love Lucy" set during an Indians-Yankees game. Lucy sees the opportunity to persuade Hope to appear at her husband Ricky'sRicky's nightclub. She dresses as a hot dog vendor, approaches Hope, distracts him, and a foul ball bonks him on the head.
Who is responsible for the Chief Wahoo logo, arguably the most offensive logo in pro sports? Bill Veeck, that's who. Until 1928, the Indian'sIndian's logo was some form of the letter C or the word Cleveland. In 1928, a traditional image of a Native American was introduced. But in 1946, Veeck hired a designer to create a mascot to "convey a spirit of pure joy and unbridled enthusiasm." The grinning Chief was born. A Toronto court recently rejected attempts to block the Indians from using their team name or Chief Wahoo logo during the ALCS games in Toronto.
Thanks for reading today, I am so grateful for your time reading, and I hope you enjoyed reviewing the Indian's off-season with me. I also want to thank my partners over at Repp Sports for RAZE Energy. Thanks to this clean and sufficient energy, I can have the intense focus to deliver content to you guys consistently. Click here to save 15% right now with the code "BALL BOY" at check out.