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WhoAzcue

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We'll be lucky to finish 3rd in the division as we are. I'm not trying to be Debbie Downer here, just an honest opinion and nobody hopes more than I do that I'm wrong.
Hmmm...not a single projection from any reputable analytical perspective would lead one to believe that we'll be "lucky to finish 3rd in the division." In point of fact, the chances are significantly better that the Tribe finishes second or higher than fourth. So yeah, Debbie Downer you are being, because fourth place is not in the cards for this club without pulling a particularly lousy hand in the form of injuries. I see the path of least resistance being up, not down, from what appears to be a likely third place finish (nothwithstanding the rather pessimistic PECOTA projection for the Chisox).
 

CDAV45

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Hmmm...not a single projection from any reputable analytical perspective would lead one to believe that we'll be "lucky to finish 3rd in the division." In point of fact, the chances are significantly better that the Tribe finishes second or higher than fourth. So yeah, Debbie Downer you are being, because fourth place is not in the cards for this club without pulling a particularly lousy hand in the form of injuries. I see the path of least resistance being up, not down, from what appears to be a likely third place finish (nothwithstanding the rather pessimistic PECOTA projection for the Chisox).
Well hopefully they’re right.
 

CATS44

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Its way too early for me to make any team predictions, but looking at some of the others is interesting.

Fangraphs uses ZIPS for their team projections.

ZIPS projects EVERY one of our main pitchers, excepting Wittgren, to regress.

That ain't gonna happen.

ZIPS rates Chicago's and Minnesota's rotations better than ours, and Detroit's as nearly as good.

Among our position players, ZIPS projects only one to put up at least 2 WAR. It projects nearly every position player to regress. There are a few exceptions. Mercado, Luplow, and Naylor are projected to have plus WAR, but none to reach 1 WAR.

This is a team almost entirely consisting of players at an age where improvement is natural. Color me skeptical that none of our players/pitchers will make significant improvements, while most will regress.
 

sportscoach

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Its way too early for me to make any team predictions, but looking at some of the others is interesting.

Fangraphs uses ZIPS for their team projections.

ZIPS projects EVERY one of our main pitchers, excepting Wittgren, to regress.

That ain't gonna happen.

ZIPS rates Chicago's and Minnesota's rotations better than ours, and Detroit's as nearly as good.

Among our position players, ZIPS projects only one to put up at least 2 WAR. It projects nearly every position player to regress. There are a few exceptions. Mercado, Luplow, and Naylor are projected to have plus WAR, but none to reach 1 WAR.

This is a team almost entirely consisting of players at an age where improvement is natural. Color me skeptical that none of our players/pitchers will make significant improvements, while most will regress.

That projection makes no sense to me.

First off, White Soxs have nothing proven with their 4th starter and beyond. We don't have a ton of proven that way either, but talent wise, we definitely are way better. Twins dont look a ton better either at the end of the day. Eye test says most experience is with the Twins, most pure talent is with the Indians.

I am not sure how we can regress from last years issues lol We should get 1-2 War from Eddie, Hernandez 3+ from JRam, then Reyes can do close to 2 oWar at least. I just think they are dead wrong about our production lol
 

CDAV45

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Its way too early for me to make any team predictions, but looking at some of the others is interesting.

Fangraphs uses ZIPS for their team projections.

ZIPS projects EVERY one of our main pitchers, excepting Wittgren, to regress.

That ain't gonna happen.

ZIPS rates Chicago's and Minnesota's rotations better than ours, and Detroit's as nearly as good.

Among our position players, ZIPS projects only one to put up at least 2 WAR. It projects nearly every position player to regress. There are a few exceptions. Mercado, Luplow, and Naylor are projected to have plus WAR, but none to reach 1 WAR.

This is a team almost entirely consisting of players at an age where improvement is natural. Color me skeptical that none of our players/pitchers will make significant improvements, while most will regress.
I think it's fair to think that Bieber regresses slightly from last season. If he doesn't then you'll be watching a historical performance. He's one of the best though and should continue to pitch like one.

I don't think Plesac will finish the 21 season with a 2.28 ERA. I think he'll be between 3 and 3.5. After him is where it starts to get a little harry.

Civale needs to pitch better than his 4.74 ERA last season, and I think he will. He should be somewhere between 3.5 and 4.0.

Quantrill and McKenzie are capable of having an ERA under 4, but they aren't capable of pitching a full season's worth of innings. It wouldn't surprise me to see at least one of them pitch as well as Plesac did last year. I'd piggy back these two letting them go up to 4 innings each. That should keep their IP in check over the course of the season.

This is where Logan Allen can make his mark. He will never get a better opportunity than this IMO. If he falters they have plenty of unproven depth to fall back on. Trading Carrasco could easily be the biggest factor for this team in 21.

I firmly believe that our BP will be much improved and be one of the best in baseball.

Chicago's rotation is Giolito, Keuchel, Lynn, Cease, Kopech, Lopez, and Rodon. On paper it's a deeper rotation than Cleveland's. Then you look at their lineup and it gives any Indians' fan pause. They should be very good, but there is a reason they play the games.

Minny's rotation is made up of Berrios, Maeda, Pineda, Happ, Dobnak, Smeltzer, and Thorpe. I'd rank this rotation right there with ours if, and I mean it's a doubtful if, Pineda and Happ can stay healthy. They're pretty damn good SP's when healthy, but the chances aren't good for them to make through a full season unscathed. They also have Balazovic and Enlow that they can use and they are no slouches. Balazovic especially. Then you get to their lineup as well and they can just mash. While removing Rosario from their lineup against us and inserting him in ours can only help, they can take advantage of pitchers' mistakes better than we can.

Detroit's rotation doesn't have that #1 like Bieber, Giolito, or Berrios. They just aren't as deep right now and they're waiting for some of their young arms to take the next step. They can hit the ball a bit, but a good rotation should keep them at bay for the most part.

KC is a bit of a wildcard here. They have a few good SP prospects that could make their rotation formidable. Then again, they could take their lumps. Their lineup is a bit interesting as well. If there is a surprise team in the AL Central this year, it will be KC.

Ultimately, I think Chicago wins the division with the Twins right on their heals. I think we'll be in a battle with KC for 3rd place and Detroit will be bring up the rear. Please God let me be wrong!
 

WhoAzcue

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KC is a bit of a wildcard here. They have a few good SP prospects that could make their rotation formidable. Then again, they could take their lumps. Their lineup is a bit interesting as well. If there is a surprise team in the AL Central this year, it will be KC.

Ultimately, I think Chicago wins the division with the Twins right on their heals. I think we'll be in a battle with KC for 3rd place and Detroit will be bring up the rear. Please God let me be wrong!
I have no comprehension why KC should be a "surprise" team. There's no basis for it. None whatsover. They're the same bits and pieces and parts they've been for awhile now. Expecting it to come together is beyond me.

Truly the only 'surprise" team in the AL Central is likely to be the the Cleveland Indians. As always, they are being dismissed by the national pundits for trading away one of baseball's super duper stars (he's not) for being too cheap to keep one of baseball's best closers (he's not), because we're "taking a step back" (we're not) or mailing it in (nope) or whatever other many and sundry reasons national writers are all too anxious to use to minimize Cleveland's chances. It's all a load of nonsense. And it you'll recall, we heard the same things before 2020 too. Now it's worse. But other than the loss of Carrasco, which saps our starter depth and proven quality, I see no reason why we can't improve upon last year's results. But even Carrasco loss will be minimized by every team's need to explore its roster of starters, from the majors all the way to Double A in order to cover the innings in a 162 game season following a 60 game season. I happen to think the Tribe possesses multiple decent options in that regard. I wouldn't even be surprised to see Scott Moss and Eli Morgan make important contributions.

I also don't dismiss the possibility of one (or both) of Dallas Keuchel in his age 33 season or Lance Lynn, in his age 34 season to duplicate one of their very recent lousy seasons, thereby crippling the White Sox starting staff. And folks, Lucas Giolito is not anywhere near the same pitcher when James McCann, his good buddy, isn't behind the dish. Yasmani Grandal is many things, but he's not James McCann as a Giolito battery mate.
 

Gson

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I have no comprehension why KC should be a "surprise" team. There's no basis for it. None whatsover. They're the same bits and pieces and parts they've been for awhile now. Expecting it to come together is beyond me.

Truly the only 'surprise" team in the AL Central is likely to be the the Cleveland Indians. As always, they are being dismissed by the national pundits for trading away one of baseball's super duper stars (he's not) for being too cheap to keep one of baseball's best closers (he's not), because we're "taking a step back" (we're not) or mailing it in (nope) or whatever other many and sundry reasons national writers are all too anxious to use to minimize Cleveland's chances. It's all a load of nonsense. And it you'll recall, we heard the same things before 2020 too. Now it's worse. But other than the loss of Carrasco, which saps our starter depth and proven quality, I see no reason why we can't improve upon last year's results. But even Carrasco loss will be minimized by every team's need to explore its roster of starters, from the majors all the way to Double A in order to cover the innings in a 162 game season following a 60 game season. I happen to think the Tribe possesses multiple decent options in that regard. I wouldn't even be surprised to see Scott Moss and Eli Morgan make important contributions.

I also don't dismiss the possibility of one (or both) of Dallas Keuchel in his age 33 season or Lance Lynn, in his age 34 season to duplicate one of their very recent lousy seasons, thereby crippling the White Sox starting staff. And folks, Lucas Giolito is not anywhere near the same pitcher when James McCann, his good buddy, isn't behind the dish. Yasmani Grandal is many things, but he's not James McCann as a Giolito battery mate.
Agree with this.. the reports of the Indians demise may be (and are, imho) a bit premature..
 
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CATS44

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Like I said, its too early to make a prediction. Lets see what things look like a week before opening day.

But when comparing teams, and in this particular case, you have to look at the 50 top players....the 40 man plus ten.

This is where Cleveland has the advantage in the rotation.

If you just look at the top five or six in every rotation, you could make a case for any of Minny, Chicago, or Cleveland. But everybody is gonna need ten SPs...and Cleveland has an advantage. Because our top five were so good, that advantage is not what it was...but its still there.

Before every recent season, I listed the five likely rotation pieces on all three teams, and chose one rotation from those fifteen.

Two years ago, the only Twins pitcher to make our rotation was Berrios. Giolito for Chicago was sixth.

But since then the Twins have added Maeda. The Chisox have added Keuchel and Lynn.

I haven't looked at it this year yet, but off hand it could be that only Bieber will make my all division rotation.

The two BIG advantages I've recently given the Indians when it came to predictions were the rotation and the FO.

But we've lost much of the edge in both areas, esp with Falvey in Minnesota.
 

CATS44

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I get the argument but here is a list off the top of my head of minor league players with no or in some cases very little major league experience the Indians acquired by giving up "sure things", i.e. proven major league players.

Cliff Lee
Grady Sizemore
Sandy Alomar
Carlos Baerga
Joe Carter
Kenny Lofton
Asdrubal Cabrera
Shin-Soo Choo
Carlos Santana
Michael Brantley
Justin Masterson
Carlos Carrasco
Mike Clevinger

How much success would the Indians have had over the last 25 years without these guys? And in some cases the Indians traded one player for four or five but only one of the prospects they traded for paid off. The Cliff Lee to the Phillies for Carrasco and three other guys is an example. Carrasco had a good career in Cleveland whereas Marson et al never amounted to anything. So 75% of the prospects we received flamed out but the one that came through made the trade a big success.

Add in the guys in our system now that we acquired for Carrasco and Clevinger, some of whom will turn out to be long term starters based on the law of averages.

Also factor in that after these prospects we trade for become very good players we can trade them for more prospects after getting years of production out of them. An example would be the Colon for Lee trade. Lee becomes an All-Star and then we trade him for Carrasco. Cookie has a good career and then we trade him along with Lindor for four prospects. We'll still be getting value from Bartolo years into the future and it's been 19 years since the deal.

The problem with trading prospects for a "sure thing" is that it increases payroll, which is something the Indians won't be doing for a while if you believe they took a financial bath last year like they claim. The Clevinger and Lindor/Carrasco trades prove the Indians are sticking with the plan that has worked in the past as opposed to taking the opposite approach and trading prospects for proven players.

There is a time for that. The Clint Frazier/Sheffield for Andrew Miller trade is an example. But for every one of those deals the Indians are going to do five the other way, which is the only way a small market team can compete.

Thats a list that fits the description of the kind of players we should be, and have been targeting. I've made this point before..prospects with at least a small taste of MLB and who are stuck behind others in their own systems.

Lets look at some of them individually.

Sandy, the son of a MLBer, had had two cups of coffee in MLB, but was stuck behind Bonito Santiago.

Carter had a cup of coffee with the Cubs and was stuck behind Thad Bosley, Leo Durham, and Keith Moreland. We also got Mel Hall in that deal, who was a 22 yr starting CF.

Lofton had a quick look in Houston, but was stuck behind a young Steve Finley.

Choo had two cups of coffee in Seattle, but was stuck behind Ichiro and Raul Ibanez.

Carrasco was a top 100 with 150 IP at AAA. At the time the Phillies had a loaded rotation with no room for several years.

Lee was a top 30, a college draft pick, fast riser, with 86 IP in AA. Within a month he was in Buffalo and then got to Cleveland.

Masterson was no longer a rookie when we got him, with 160 IP under his belt.

Baerga was a top 100 with an entire season of AAA behind him.

Droobs had already been to AAA and was buried in the Seattle system.



Compare these with the type of acquisitions we have made. Its the exact same thing.

Reyes, Naylor, Gimenez, Allen, Quantrill, Clase, Luplow, Mercado, Bauers...all fit that profile.

Now, its time to flip the switch, lower the pressure on our 40 man, and make a four for one trade.
 

CATS44

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1. The statement that prospects are more highly valued now than they were when we made those trades and therefore those trades are no longer possible is a true statement. The argument that was originally presented, however, is that since most prospects fail we should trade them for proven major league talent. So which is it? Are prospects valuable, or are they easily expendable?

2. You want to trade prospects for players like the ones listed, players who are not proven major leaguers but are right on the cusp and even had some major league experience like Clase, Masterson, etc. Sure, who wouldn't trade three guys in A ball for a major league ready player? The problem is getting another organization to do it.

Look at that list again. How many of those guys were acquired for longshot prospects in the low minors?

We gave up Yandy Diaz to get Bauers. Reyes and Allen came in the Trevor Bauer deal. Naylor and Quantrill came in the Clevinger deal. We got Clase for Corey Kluber. Rosario and Gimenez were acquired for Lindor and Carrasco. We got Maton for international bonus money. We got Luplow for Erik Gonzalez. Wittgren was the only guy obtained for a prospect; Jordan Milbrath.

You said, "I would trade prospects for those kind every day of the week". Yep, so would I, but we're not going to get those guys for prospects. You have to give up players like Lindor, Carrasco, Clevinger, Yandy, and Bauer to get them.

What we need are more deals like the Milbrath for Wittgren trade. Milbrath is now 29 and out of baseball. But good luck with that.

The answer to your question isn't either/ or. Its BOTH, and therein lies the market inefficiency.

They are way over valued AND expendable.

GMs are coveting assets with a 30% success rate over proven youngish veterans. They are like the schmuck that goes to Vegas, knowing the odds, but blowing the rent anyway.
 

LL3

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I am a baseball fan who finds optimism every Spring, but beyond that warm glow, I am a rational thinker who has seen both good and bad teams emerge from the desert and grapefruit groves. This Cleveland team is no juggernaut, of course, but I echo many of the above where I see the upside and potential of the CLE squad. All the predictions are fun, but soon we'll see the actual games -- bring it! I am looking forward to watching this young team compete.
 

CDAV45

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I am a baseball fan who finds optimism every Spring, but beyond that warm glow, I am a rational thinker who has seen both good and bad teams emerge from the desert and grapefruit groves. This Cleveland team is no juggernaut, of course, but I echo many of the above where I see the upside and potential of the CLE squad. All the predictions are fun, but soon we'll see the actual games -- bring it! I am looking forward to watching this young team compete.
I can't wait for the season to get started, and I too consider myself a rational thinker. I believe Cleveland can compete, but many questions have to be answered. Those questions are will Mercado find what made him successful in 2019 again? Can Johnson make the transition? Will Naylor realize his potential/pedigree? Will Bradley cut down on his SO's? Will Bauers ever do anything? Will our catchers continue to be one of the worst hitting tandems in all of baseball? Who is going to play SS? Who makes up the starting staff? Essentially we need some of these guys to step up and be productive in SS, CF, RF, 1B, and the back of the rotation. Should that happen then we'll be in the mix. Should it not, then we'll struggle. That's why they play the games right?
 
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Criznit

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In boxing vernacular.... Right now Cleveland is the veteran you bring in to challenge the hot shot prospect. Sure we have a punchers chance, but odds favor the kid who is a bit faster, sharper and stronger. Will our wisdom out fox the upstarts? Possible. We beat up more than half the league as it stands now so if you step in the ring with us, you are in for a fight.
 
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Berto says he lost 25 pounds. OK, but will that make him hit better? It should mean less stress on his knees and even better defense.

I don't get the Shaw signing. He's toast.

If the Indians are going to piggyback somebody with McKenzie my vote goes to Allen. Let the opponent load the batting order with lefties then bring in Allen after 4-5 innings. Quantrill can be the #5.
 

WhoAzcue

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In boxing vernacular.... Right now Cleveland is the veteran you bring in to challenge the hot shot prospect. Sure we have a punchers chance, but odds favor the kid who is a bit faster, sharper and stronger. Will our wisdom out fox the upstarts? Possible. We beat up more than half the league as it stands now so if you step in the ring with us, you are in for a fight.
That might be an apt analogy were we older than the White Sox or Twins.

We're not. And it's not really close.

Soooooo...is this where we're told that the savvy veteran wipes the canvas with the kid who possesses talent but no ring experience?
 
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