Sunday, July 12, 2009

Indians first-half report card
This is my third-straight one. Much like a Brock Lesnar victory celebration, it won't be pretty. Unlike a Lesnar celebration, the owners won't be able to make money off it.


Winston Abreu (0-0, 2.45): It's not really fair to grade him yet.

Rafael Betancourt (1-1, 3.45, 1 save): He's been injured, but has been decent. He gets a B.

Mike Gosling (0-0, 8.00): I have no idea who this guy is, so I won't grade him.

David Huff (4-3, 6.71): Has had good starts and bad starts. He's only 24, but you worry about him being another Jeremy Sowers. C.

Aaron Laffey (3-2, 4.24, 1 save): He's been OK, even if the Indians haven't seemed entirely sure what to do with him. He's also been hurt. B.

Cliff Lee (4-9, 3.47): He should have at least 10 wins and be in the All Star Game. He doesn't, and will probably be traded either before the deadline or in the offseason. A.

Tomo Ohka (0-3, 6.40): You can't expect too much here. C.

Carl Pavano (8-7, 5.13): His numbers don't show how effective he's been. His first start in Texas was a disaster, but since then (with a few exceptions) he's been as good or better than anyone could have hoped. B.

Chris Perez (0-0, 12.46): Usually when you trade with a well-run organization, they win. Too early to grade this wild man.

Tony Sipp (1-0, 2.77): I still can't figure out how his ERA is so low. C.

Joe Smith (0-0, 4.58): Major disappointment. D.

Jose Veras (3-1, 5.96): Like Abreu, a guy traded here who has yet to really establish himself here. Too early to grade.

Kerry Wood (2-3, 5.28 12 saves): The Indians shelled out big bucks for him, but so far, it hasn't worked out. Part of it is that the Indians haven't given him many save opportunities. But Wood has to convert the ones he gets, and 12 saves in 16 opportunities isn't a good ratio. C-.

Jensen Lewis and Rafael Perez pitched themselves to Columbus, so I can't grade them. Oh, what the heck. F and F. Sowers, too.

Victor Martinez (.294, 14 homers, 59 RBIs): Great numbers, especially considering he heads into the break in a slump. He should be a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, and is the only hitter who has been healthy and good all year long. He's not a great defensive catcher, but no one who puts on the Indians' equipment seems to be, which may be a bigger reflection on the pitchers than anything else. A.

Kelly Shoppach (.194, 7, 24): What a disastrous year for Shoppach, who took all of his negative qualities from a decent 2008 season and enhanced them. Fifty-eight strikeouts in 155 at-bats is enough to make Rob Deer cringe. His defense behind the plate has been suspect, making him almost entirely worthless. Too bad, cause he seems like a neat guy. F.

Asdrubal Cabrera (.300, 2, 34): It says something for Cabrera's talent that he was able to shift from second to short without missing a beat, move to the leadoff spot and keep hitting, and recover from an injury and be what he was before it. Had Cabrera not landed on the DL, he might be in St. Louis and the Indians might be out of the cellar. OK, that last part isn't true. But I am on a roll. A.

Jamey Carroll (.273, 0, 10): A National League bench player stuck on a horrible American League team, it's not hard to see why manager Eric Wedge likes him. He is a grinder, doesn't overswing and seems to actually get what the team needs when he comes up. But Wedge has overused him at times, and there's a reason why Carroll has been a bench player his entire career. It'd probably be best for Carroll to get traded to a contending NL team in the coming weeks. B.

Ryan Garko (.274, 9, 34): Aside from maybe Josh Barfield, Garko has had perhaps the strangest on-field issues with Wedge. Put him in the lineup consistently, and he hits and drives in runs. But Garko has found himself as the odd man out numerous times. Shoppach caught more in the first half, giving Martinez first base and Hafner the DH spot. Wedge tried to give the converted catcher time in the outfield, which has had some positive results -- after watching Garko I am starting to believe Albert Belle was underrated when he played out there. The good news is Shoppach went in the tank and Garko should see more playing time in the second half. B.

Chris Gimenez (.229, 2, 2): Apparently the guy can catch. That's all I got. C.

Jhonny Peralta (.257, 6, 38): I have no clue what happened to Peralta after last season. Even worse than the power dropoff has been the lack of run production. He was moved to third, probably three years to late, and has been hitting like a 1960s second baseman. D.

Luis Valbuena (.219, 4, 11): I like Valbuena's hustle and defense, but I'm not sold on his bat. Wedge seems to like him, but I can't imagine Barfield wouldn't do better with the at-bats Valbuena is getting.

Shin-Soo Choo (.292, 13, 54):He's been really solid, though some big individual games have inflated his numbers (his two homer, 7-RBI game against Oakland stands out). One hopes he can be a fixture in the outfield for years to come. B+

Ben Francisco (.242, 6, 25): I like Ben, but given a chance to prove he's an everyday player, he's dropped the ball. D.

Grady Sizemore (.235, 13, 47): It's obvious Sizmore still is hurting, and it's been said he needs surgery. I know he wants to play, but if he comes back next year short on rehab time, it could hurt the team. I think he and the Indians should think about him having the surgery now and giving himself a few more months to rehab. C.

Travis Hafner (.289, 9, 22): If only he were really healthy. B.

Eric Wedge: In my mind, Wedge should have been fired a month ago. General manager Mark Shapiro said he's going nowhere until at least the end of the season. When a team picked by some to contend is 35-54, there's nowhere else to go. F.

General Manager
Mark Shapiro: Without question his worst season. He's far more to blame than Wedge for what the Indians are, which he has come out and said. F.



At 7:46 AM , Blogger Mike said...

Everything you say is sad, but true. It's really depressing that the Indians went nowhere after 2007. Such a bummer.

The bright spots on the team are very few. The whole team is so far off.

What happened to Fausto?

At 10:02 AM , Anonymous Erik said...

The worst part is the pitiful on-field performance and failing economy are combining to kill attendance. The Indians are only averaging a little over 20,000 a game. Great numbers for the Cavs, horrible numbers for the Indians.

We might be taking a time machine back to the '70s. Plaid, polyester and the Indians selling off their best players just to stay afloat financially.

The inevitable trades of Lee and Martinez might not be motivated by gathering prospects. It might simply be a salary dump. The proverbial bucket of balls.

Worse yet, the fan base is so disillusioned, an improving economy might not change things. Hopefully the oncoming drought doesn't last another 40 years, but it's probably going to be a while before we see contending baseball in Cleveland again.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home