With the Preseason in full swing, Diamond Hoggers will attempt to forecast several aspects of each team in baseball. Before Opening day we plan to have a pretty good outline of what you’ll be seeing in 2007. Today we take our hacks at the Cleveland Indians:
Predicted Finish: 94-68 (1st in AL Central)
Predicted Stats: Sizemore (.315, 32 HR, 89 RBI, 36 SB), Hafner (.306, 52 HR, 141 RBI), Martinez (.271, 30 HR, 97 RBI), Barfield (.291, 12 HR, 54 RBI, 21 SB), Peralta (.282, 28 HR, 77 RBI), Sabathia (19-10, 3.55 ERA), Cliff Lee (17-12, 4.20 ERA), Marte (.260, 15 HR, 48 RBI), Blake (.268, 13 HR, 52 RBI), Westbrook (14-8, 3.86 ERA), Sowers (11-5, 4.11 ERA), Delucci & T. Nixon (.270ish, 10 HR each, 40ish RBI)
Biggest Storyline: Sizemore’s climb to stardom at the age of 24. This team could see the rare feat of having a Cy Young award winner in CC Sabathia, and an MVP on the same team (Sizemore). Look for Sizemore to get off to a fast start along with the team’s record and put up eye popping #’s. A 40-40 season is not out of the question for this guy.
Strengths: That powerful lineup. The Tribe is no slouch when it comes to the ability to score runs and the addition of power hitting outfielder David Dellucci and Josh Barfield should only enhance the numbers but up by Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez and Grady Sizemore. Youngsters like Andre Marte should also continue to develop into solid offensive players. We expect a huge rebound year for Jhonny Peralta, only adding to the lineup’s threats.
Weaknesses: The manager, Wedge. Eric Wedge. He is both the answer, and the question. Wedge? Wedge! He’s untested in the post-season, which we have this team certainly making. The Tribe flopped down the stretch in 2005 in what should have been a slam dunk in them making October play. Last year’s team underachieved all year long. This will be the year whether or not we find out if Eric Wedge is a big league manager or not.