# Player of the Game

Written by Joseph Coblitz on .

Understanding the “Player of the Game” Award

Calculation:

In 2007 I created an equation to evaluate players against each other in order to determine who was the best player in each game, season and more. This equation includes box score statistics, but is also based around other aspects such as defense, baserunning and situational hitting, which I keep stats for on my own. More stats go into the equation than those I’ve mentioned, but that’s my little secret. The scoring is done by multiplying the stat earned with the value I have given to it. For example, a wild pitch is worth -.15 points. This means for each wild pitch thrown .15 points are subtracted from the pitchers total score. After that I add up all the scores to see who was the best for the game. I will post the player of the game and their score after every game.

Ranges:

The highest single player score in one game in the 2010 season was 9/17 against the Royals, when Shin-Soo Choo scored a 14.93 by hitting 3 homeruns and knocking in 7. The lowest score in 2010 was a -10.86 by Fausto Carmona 7/28 against the Yankees. He earned that by pitching in 2.2 innings and allowing 7 earned runs on 10 hits.

The best average score per game for a position player was also held by Choo in 2010, with 1.65 points earned per game. The lowest, Anderson Hernandez with .32 points per game in 22 games. Of the players with more than 81 games played, Luis Valbuena was the worst, with .33 points per game. In 2010, 14 Indians hitters averaged less than 1 point per game while 10 averaged more than 1.

Pitching scores tend to be more widely variable as hitters almost never see a score below -1.00, while pitchers can easily get below -5.00 (As Carmona showed in his start against New York). The top season average for a pitcher was Carmona, averaging 1.83 points per game. The worst average score by a pitcher was David Huff, with a -1.82. Relief pitchers tend to be more stable in their scores, because they only pitch an inning or two at a time. The top reliever average in 2010 was Chris Perez with 0.96 points per game. The worst was Hector Ambriz with a -0.40 per game.

Since I started keeping track in 2007 through the 2012 season, Shin-Soo Choo has won the most Player of the Game awards with 58, followed closely by Grady Sizemore with 57. Travis Hafner, Jhonny Peralta, Asdrubal Cabrera and Roberto Hernandez all have more than 40. This chart covers the entire Indians career of all current players except Sizemore, Hafner, Choo, Hernandez and Rafael Perez. Relief pitchers tend to get the low end of this as the only time they win the Player of the Game is when the Indians lose and don't score much. Because of this, closers and set-up men are almost forgotten. The do get credit for what they pitch however, and it is recorded in the year end Player of the Game Rankings.

The chart below is a record of the current roster’s ‘Player of the Game’ awards going back to 2007. A zero means the player was on the team, but didn’t win during that season. A hyphen means the player was not on the team that season. PS stands for Post Season. Chart accurate up to 2012. Now with easier to read colors!

 First Last 2007 PS 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Total Shin-Soo Choo 1 0 12 14 16 7 8 58 Travis Hafner 14 0 1 9 16 10 5 55 Asdrubal Cabrera 2 0 6 5 5 20 10 48 Roberto Hernandez 13 1 2 4 12 8 0 40 Justin Masterson - - - 4 6 12 15 37 Carlos Santana - - - - 3 11 18 32 Shelley Duncan - - - - 7 12 9 28 Jason Kipnis - - - - - 6 15 21 Matt LaPorta - - - 4 5 9 2 20 Michael Brantley - - - 0 5 5 6 16 Josh Tomlin - - - - 3 9 4 16 Lou Marson - - - 1 4 3 2 10 David Huff - - - 4 2 4 0 10 Austin Kearns - - - - 9 0 - 9 Jeanmar Gomez - - - - 4 1 3 8 Ubaldo Jimenez - - - - - 2 5 7 Carlos Carrasco - - - 0 2 4 - 6 Casey Kotchman - - - - - - 6 6 Jose Lopez - - - - - - 6 6 Tony Sipp - - - 0 2 1 3 6 Frank Herrmann - - - - 1 4 1 6 Zach McAllister - - - - - 1 4 5 Jack Hannahan - - - - - 2 3 5 Lonnie Chisenhall - - - - - 2 3 5 Joe Smith - - - 0 0 2 3 5 Jason Donald - - - - 4 0 1 5 Derek Lowe - - - - - - 4 4 Ezequiel Carrera - - - - - 1 3 4 Russ Canzler - - - - - - 3 3 Cody Allen - - - - - - 3 3 Jairo Asencio - - - - - - 3 3 Jeremy Accardo - - - - - - 3 3 Rafael Perez 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 3 Chris Perez - - - 2 0 0 1 3 Chris Seddon - - - - - - 2 2 Esmil Rogers - - - - - - 2 2 Johnny Damon - - - - - - 2 2 Corey Kluber - - - - - 0 2 2 Cord Phelps - - - - - 1 1 2 Nick Hagadone - - - - - 2 0 2 Luke Carlin - - - - 0 - 1 1 Scott Barnes - - - - - - 0 0 Brent Lillibridge - - - - - - 0 0 Thomas Neal - - - - - - 0 0 Scott Maine - - - - - - 0 0 Vinny Rottino - - - - - - 0 0 Juan Diaz - - - - - - 0 0 Aaron Cunningham - - - - - - 0 0 Dan Wheeler - - - - - - 0 0 Vinnie Pestano - - - - 0 0 0 0

# 2013 Season Expectations

Written by Joseph Coblitz on .

Joe's Expectations

There has been no season in recent history where the Indians have entered the season feeling so positive. Everything started with the signing of Terry Francona which completely changed the perspective of everyone in Cleveland. A slew of big free agent signing filled all the holes in the roster when it had looked prior to the end of the season that they would be filled internally or with AAAA Spring Training invitees (like Mike McDade).

This has changed the expectations from being picked to finish in fourth, competing with the Minnesota Twins for last place to being contenders for the division title along with the Tigers and White Sox. All this may be a little overblown as the Indians still have a very problematic starting rotation and an offense that is still not on the level of the Tigers or either of the big AL West teams (the Rangers and Angels).

The good news for the Indians is two-fold. First, every part of the team has been improved from the 2012 season (and they actually played very well for the first half of that season). The defense has been dynamically improved, starting with the removal of the lead weights who stood in left field last year and replacing them with the greatest active defensive outfielder, Michael Bourne. With three career centerfielders starting in the outfield, it truly should be a "death to all flying things" situation. The biggest offensive improvement was switching out Casey Kotchman for Nick Swisher and adding a DH (Mark Reynolds) after playing most of 2012 with Travis Hafner on the DL. Even the pitching has improved with Derek Lowe and Tony Sipp (among others) gone, replaced by Brett Myers and a crew of top end relievers.

The second point of optimism for the Indians is that this team is not built to win in 2013. Swisher and Bourne each signed four year deals while Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, Asdrubal Cabrera and the other young Indians that were developed in house are under team control for years to come as well. In fact, the only players signed to one year deals are Myers and Reynolds, who each have replacements already with the team (Trevor Bauer and Jesus Aguilar) who should be upgrades for the 2014 season. This long-term establishment allows the Indians a window of contention much longer than just this year. It also leaves them able to compete this season by using the players signed to single year contracts. Remember to keep this in mind if the Indians struggle at all this year, that it isn't time to panic and pull the rip cord, instead, just relax and enjoy the ride.

Mike's Expectations
We are coming off an eventful off season that saw the acquisition of several free agents to enhance the 25- man roster and potentially help the Indians reach the postseason for the first time in six years. With the contracts of non-performing former Indians stars coming off the expense sheet, the organization was able to add roughly \$7.6 million to the player payroll for the 2013 season. That is an 11.3% increase from 2012. Although a little of the aforementioned increase came from pre-salary arbitration settlements, most of it came from the addition of free-agents. While the starved fans are excited, the moves did not erase the need for young, inexpensive and high ceiling talent; particularly in the starting rotation.
There are many ways to express how bad the rotation was in 2012. The staff was 3rd worst in ERA, WAR, and FIP. They were 29th in K% and 28th in BB%, which left them tied with the Twins for the worst K%-BB%. Their “best” pitcher was Zach McAllister who gave them 125.1 innings with a 4.24 ERA. Ubaldo Jimenez continued to see his velocity decline, and his ERA was over 5.00 as a result. The man who is going to pitch in their 2013 season opener, Justin Masterson, posted the worst ERA of his career (4.93). They had three other pitchers who threw more than 80 innings, Derek Lowe, Josh Tomlin and Jeanmar Gomez, and none of them had an ERA below 5.50.

The Indians only made three acquisitions this off season to bolster their staff. One of them, Brett Myers, is seen as pitcher on the decline. Myers’ fastball velocity dropped in each year from 2007 to 2011, and he ended up in the bullpen in 2012. His fastball ticked back up in the pen, but he is likely to lose the velocity he gained once he is back in the rotation full time.

The second acquisition was much flashier and a great move for the long term, something the Indians should have done more of this offseason. In a three-team swap, the Indians acquired the #3 overall pick in the 2011 draft, Trevor Bauer. Bauer’s stuff includes a mid-90s fastball and very good curveball. He also mixes in a slider, splitter and change-up and both his command and control need to be polished. According to scouts, he is a very raw talent and could take several years to develop. With some polish and maturity, Bauer has the ultimate ceiling of a No. 2 starter. So while Bauer can help over the long-haul, it will be a stretch to say he will have an impact this season in the starting rotation.

The third acquisition, Scott Kazmir, was recently named the fifth starter. He had promising numbers over the winter and had a good spring. The reality of fifth starters is that they’re well below-average, and Kazmir, like in 2009, is a capable fifth starter. If he can get back to that level, he can serve a purpose, even if he isn’t the Kazmir of old, the guy who pitched like a dominant ace early in his career with the Tampa Bay Rays. However, all postseason ready teams have competition for the fifth spot in the rotation and is usually not correlated

With no impact free agent starting pitchers available this past off-season, the organization decided to bolster the defense, the outfield defense to be exact. As you know, run prevention is a combination of pitching and defense, with the former being highly correlated to the latter. There are concerns about how the Indians’ pitchers will contribute to the run prevention, but the defense should make a stronger contribution, helping the pitchers out. To say that the Indians’ rotation isn’t good enough is to say that the Indians will allow too many runs. The infield is still a defensive mess and with a staff made up primarily of ground-ball pitchers, could turn out to be one of the main culprits. That’s without even considering Santana’s work behind the plate. But the outfield is where the Indians could shine. Let’s group the corner positions together. These should be occupied by Nick Swisher, Drew Stubbs, and Michael Brantley. Swisher is getting older, but his defensive track record in the outfield is pretty good. Stubbs’ numbers with Cincinnati were great, and he played in the middle. Brantley has been a center fielder, but the numbers don’t speak kindly of him. Will it be enough for the poor infield-defensive performance? I am not willing to bet my hedges.

The organization needed to focus it's efforts on acquiring high-ceiling, major-league or near major league talent. Because they did not do that this past offseason, they are only delaying the inevitable. For a low-revenue team, higher-priced free agents should only be pursued when the team is ready to winnow. With 90+ losses three of the last four years, they are obviously more bullish on their 2013 forecasting than I am.

Therefore, I must conclude that the Indians will not make the postseason.

Brett Myers could be the question to everybody's answers in 2013.

# Strike Out Kings

Written by Joseph Coblitz on .

The Indians went all out this offseason to pick up some tremendous offensive talent increasing the power (Nick Swisher and Mark Reynolds) and speed (Drew Stubbs and Michael Bourne). Along with the attributes that the Indians were trying to improve in, they added another. An incredible ability to swing and miss at a baseball.

Mark Reynolds is the most famous of the group of newcomers for this as he owns the single season major league record for strike outs with 223 in 2009. To keep him from breaking his own record the next year, he was benched at the end of the season by the Arizona Diamondbacks, leading him to the number two mark with 211 (since passed by Adam Dunn in 2012). Of course, the 2009 record beat out his previous MLB record of 204 in 2008. Right now, Reynolds owns four of the top ten worst strike out seasons in the history of Major League Baseball. He will be the starting DH this year and should play in more than 140 games as he attempts to break his own record yet again.

Another newcomer is also in the top ten single season records as Drew Stubbs 2011 season comes in fourth with 205. Stubbs will be in a much better position than ever before as he will not be hitting lead-off for the Indians leading to less at bats and less important at bats. He will be much more likely to see more fast balls by pitchers just looking to get a bottom of the lineup hitter out as quickly as possible.

All-in-all, the Indians look to be adding a wind storm of new strike outs to the 2013 lineup. In order to celebrate what could be a record year, Burning River Baseball will be running a strike out tracker throughout the season, tallying the total times Indians batters k. The current record for a team is 1,529 by the 2010 Diamondbacks (the AL record is held by the 2007 Devil Rays with 1,324).

Using some very simple forcasting of the upcoming season, based solely on past performance and projected games played, the Indians should strike out about 1,210 times. While this isn't that close to the MLB record, it is near the Indians team record of 1,269 from 2011. There is also a good chance of either Reynolds or Stubbs breaking Jim Thome's single season record of 185 strike outs (2001). Thome also ranks second and third with his 1999 and 2000 seasons (as well as coming in 10th, 11th and 12th). In a way, this season will be an interesting experiment of the importance of strike outs. If the Indians can score more than five runs a game, it shouldn't matter that Stubbs and Reynolds each strike out more than once a game or that Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Michael Bourne and Nick Swisher each strike out at least three times every four games.

Stick with us for the whole season and keep an eye on the side of the site as we track each and every Indians strike out in the 2013 season. As they break each individual record, we will update the goal, starting with the 2011 Indians record of 1,269, followed by the Rays AL record of 1,324, then the Diamondbacks MLB record of 1,529.

Drew Stubbs will be powering the windmill on top of Progressive Field in 2013.

Written by Joseph Coblitz on .

Burning River Baseball is evolving. Starting in the 2013 baseball season we will be introducing a new aspect of the site, Burning River Radio. This will essentially take over the Indians Arguments segment of the site, giving you an audio version of the debates that initially inspired the creation of this site. Mike and myself have been having these discussions for years and now we are bringing them to you. All you need to do to listen is press play on the widget below:

This first week we will be posting two episodes. The one posted above is an intro episode to the show, where we outline what we will be doing in future episodes and introduce ourselves. Below, is episode two, where we talk about the Indians 25 man roster and our predictions for the Burning River Awards. We discuss in depth the versatility of the team, the 27 man roster, the greatness of the bullpen and the terrifying starting rotation. Sorry for any technical difficulties, but we are new at this and it should get better as the weeks go on.

The most recent episode will always be available on the right side of the website and will be in a player like those in this article. New episodes will be posted in articles just like this one as soon as they are recorded. If you would like to download the show and listen to it elsewhere, go to burningriverbaseball.podomatic.com The show is unedited and uncensored so if you are easily offended, don't listen. We will try to record at least one episode a week during the regular season, but don't count on anything. Enjoy, and be sure to give up your feedback at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

# Indians Predictions 2013

Written by Joseph Coblitz on .

Indians arguments is back with our predictions for the 2013 season. This year (after epically blowing all of our MLB predictions) we will be sticking with what we know, the Cleveland Indians. We have three categories of predictions this season. First is the Indians leaders for the triple crown stats (wins, strike outs, ERA, home runs, RBI and batting average), followed by our predicted winners for the Burning River Awards given away at the end of the season. Finally, each writer for Burning River will pick the final rankings for the American League Central Division.

 Stat 2012 Joe Jen Mike HR Santana Nick Swisher Carlos Santana Asdrubal Cabrera RBI Kipnis Carlos Santana Jason Kipnis Nick Swisher AVG Brantley Michael Brantley Michael Bourne Asdrubal Cabrera W Masterson Justin Masterson Zach McAllister Justin Masterson K Masterson Justin Masterson Ubaldo Jimenez Justin Masterson ERA Masterson Justin Masterson Zach McAllister Justin Masterson
 Award 2012 Joe Jen Mike Most Improved Choo Justin Masterson Ubaldo Jimenez Carlos Carrasco Rookie of the Year McAllister Trevor Bauer Tim Fedroff C.C. Lee Best Reliever Pestano Vinnie Pestano Joe Smith Vinnie Pestano Best Defender Brantley Michael Bourne Jason Kipnis Drew Stubbs Best Hitter Choo Jason Kipnis Nick Swisher Lonnie Chisenhall Best Pitcher Pestano Vinnie Pestano Joe Smith Vinnie Pestano MVP Kipnis Jason Kipnis Asdrubal Cabrera Lonnie Chisenhall

Central Division Standings

 2012 Joe Jen Mike Tigers Indians Indians White Sox White Sox Tigers Tigers Royals Royals Royals Twins Twins Indians White Sox Royals Tigers Twins Twins WhiteSox Indians

Hopefully we will be at least a little more accurate than in previous seasons, but either way, we'll go over results at the end of the season and laugh at how silly Mike was.

# 2013 Preseason Power Rankings

Written by Joseph Coblitz on .

Continuing from 2012, Burning River Baseball will be bringing you the Cleveland Indians Player Power Rankings. This is essentially a way to keep track of which players are performing above and below expectations. This first list is to set preseason expectations, while the rest will also include the players change in ranking from month to month and a rating of whether they were above or below expectations.

1. Jason Kipnis
Despite the many millions of dollars spent in the offseason, the most exciting player on the Indians was one that was already here. Kipnis lead the Indians offense last year with 76 RBI and 31 steals. In this years offense, he should be able to be less of a run producer and more of a table setter. Expect a drop in RBI, but an increase in average (around .290) and runs (100 or more) with more potent hitters batting behind him.

2. Carlos Santana
Like Kipnis, Santana was both here last year and will benefit from the increased Indians offensive prowess. He lead the Indians in home runs last year, but probably will not after the additions of Reynolds and Swisher. Chances are he will see more good strikes as well, which may lead to him walking less, but hitting for a higher average and more power than the past. Expect 20 or more home runs, a .275 average and a slight increase in RBI (in the mid 80s). Santana will also probably play less games now that the Indians have a real DH and first baseman.

3. Nick Swisher
Newcomer Swisher is the most talented new batter and has a good chance to lead the team in RBI in the upcoming season. He will be thrown right into the heart of the lineup, batting third or fourth, in front of Reynolds and behind Kipnis. Look for a decrease in his overall numbers from the past few seasons as the Indians lineup can't compare to the Yankees team he has been playing for. He will still be among the best hitters on the team though and should knock in between 80 and 90 runs with an average around .260.

4. Justin Masterson
While his scary Spring may bring some reservations, Masterson is still the ace of this team until proven otherwise. A positive outlook would see Masterson pitch 200 innings, strike out 175 and hold an ERA around 3.50. A more reasonable person should expect the innings with 25 less k's and an ERA above 4.50. As the ace, he warrants a ranking this high on the Power Rankings, but don't expect him to stay here very long.

5. Michael Bourne
Bourne will be the Indians new lead-off hitter and center fielder. He, along with Stubbs, looks to bring the steal back into style in Cleveland and could threaten to become the first base runner with 40 steals since Omar Vizquel took 42 in 1999. That looks to be about his ceiling however, so don't expect him to come near Kenny Lofton's record of 75. On base percentage (expect around .333) may be a concern as Bourne doesn't walk much and hits for an average batting average (somewhere in the middle .270s).

6. Michael Brantley
The Indians old center fielder is moving to left field and is almost the complete opposite at the plate from Bourne. Brantley is the Indians most likely hitter to break .300 this year, something no Indians hitter has done since Shin-Soo Choo in 2010. Brantley (and the Indians lineup as a unit) will benefit greatly by hitting in the bottom half instead of the top.  He should see a massive increase in runs (closer to 80 than the 63 times he scored in 2012), depending on where he bats and could also knock in more runs and hit more home runs (around 10) as he continues with his career progression.

7. Mark Reynolds
Another new addition, Reynolds immediately becomes the Indians premier power threat and will hopefully give the Indians their first 30+ home run hitter since Grady Sizemore in 2008. The Indians have been completely devoid of power for years, but finally bought some in Reynolds and Swisher. Reynolds is also a right handed hitter, another scarcity in former Indians teams.

8. Asdrubal Cabrera
Cabrera will remain as the Indians short stop, just one of the three position players (along with Santana and Kipnis) maintaining their position from last year's Opening Day. He has regressed from his amazing 2011 season and hit his stride. Expect his numbers to remain similar to past seasons (.275 average with 10 to 15 home runs). His emphasis should be on his defense, which has fallen off over the past two seasons to the point he could be considered a liability. His range is simply not good enough to make up for his 19 errors last year. With the improved offense around him, Cabrera doesn't need to worry about knocking in runs and should focus on preventing them instead.

9. Vinnie Pestano
Pestano will be the Indians primary set-up man again in 2013 after being utterly dominant in his first two seasons. He is shaping up to be the greatest relief pitcher in Indians history and will look to set a new franchise record for holds this season (he is 25 away). He set the single season mark last year with 36. While bullpens can be one of the more fickle parts of a baseball team, Pestano can be expected to maintain most of his excellence and, combined with Perez, should shorten the game to seven innings when the Indians get a lead.

10. Chris Perez
Perez is still the Indians closer, despite a great season by Pestano and another Spring Training injury. Despite missing almost all of the Spring, Perez says he will be ready for Opening Day. Since Perez was able to save 39 games last year on a poor Indians team he should threaten Jose Mesa's single season save record if he remains the closer all year.

11. Lonnie Chisenhall
The Chiz Kid is finally starting at third base without the light hitting, poor gloved Jack Hannahan holding him back. Without the new additions, Chisenhall would be thrust into the middle of the lineup with pressure put on him both offensively and defensively. Now, he will be able to bat in the lower third of the order and focus on just getting on base, rather than actually producing runs. The RBI should come for Lonnie however and Indians fans can expect an average around .275 with up to 60 RBI. His power numbers should be interesting as he has hit the ball hard this Spring and at all minor league levels. His upside seems to be around 20 home runs, but since this is his first full big league season it is hard to tell.

12. Brett Myers
Myers is one of two starters new to the Indians staff this year and will be playing the role of Derek Lowe from last year's saga. He should be a considerable improvement from Lowe, but will still provide some veteran solidarity in the middle of the rotation. If all goes as planned, Myers would be the first pitcher to get pushed to the bullpen to make room for the phenom Trevor Bauer.

13. Drew Stubbs
The starting right fielder, Stubbs is another new player and converted center fielder. He is an all or nothing hitter, capable of impressive power and even more impressive strike out totals. He may be the Indians ninth batter, helping him reduce his strike out totals if pitchers follow Bob Feller's old adage of making the ninth batter just put the ball in play. Expect his strike out numbers (166) to maintain, despite an increase in playing time as well as a large increase in RBI as he is now batting behind his team's best players instead of in front of them.

14. Zach McAllister
McAllister is the number four starter and deservedly so after an impressive rookie campaign in 2012. In 22 starts he held an ERA just over 4.20, so his biggest struggle in 2013 will be increasing his innings load to around 200 while maintaining or lowering his ERA. If he can keep things even, he will give the improved Indians offense a chance to win every time out, which is all that will be asked of the Tribe's fourth starter.

15. Joe Smith
The Indians bullpen is the most tried and true part of the team and Smith is a huge part of that. With solid pitchers on either side of him, Smith is slated to be used as a right handed specialist, rather than a full inning pitcher. With two left handers (Hagadone and Hill) in the bullpen, the Indians will be a little more flexible than in the past, allowing them to match up against a lineup that alternates the handedness of it's hitters.

16. Cody Allen
Allen is moving into his second year and his first full professional season. He only spent parts of a single season in the minors after being drafted in 2011 and is already a trusted member of the bullpen. With questionable pitchers Tony Sipp and Esmil Rogers removed, this year's pen is even stronger than last years. That means Allen will be able to be used in low stress situations to make sure he is as good as he looked early on. His success this year could lead to a trade of Perez more than anything else as Pestano is ready to become the closer, but there is no obvious replacement for Pestano as set-up man.

17. Ubaldo Jimenez
After the travesty of a season Jimenez had in 2012, he doesn't deserve to sit any higher on this list, even though he is the number two starter. Jimenez may be the single most important player on the team when considering whether or not the Indians will make the playoffs. If he is on, he can be one of the best pitchers in the league, but when he is off, he makes it impossible for his team to win. He should be on a short leash after last season with Bauer itching to get back to the Majors.

Hagadone has been one of the Indians top prospects and will be given his first chance to start the season with the team. The depth of the bullpen along with the availability of Hill make it seem that he will be used almost exclusively in single hitter match-ups. Once he proves he can excel against left handed hitters, he may be used in more lengthy outings. This Spring Hagadone threw 8 innings and struck out 11 without giving up a single run.

19. Mike Aviles
Aviles is the super-utility man that the Indians have always dreamed of and will be tasked with being the back-up at third base, short stop, second base and outfield after the release of Ezequiel Carrera. Rayburn is also available at third, second and the corner outfield spots, but is inferior offensively. Aviles should get to play at least a few games each week and may be used as a pinch runner late in games as he is the fastest player on the bench. His versatility will also help in this matter as he should be able to replace almost everyone in the field.

20. Bryan Shaw
Shaw came along with Stubbs in the Shin-Soo Choo trade and looks to be a definite upgrade in the bullpen. He is a young pitcher going into his third season and has a 3.18 ERA in almost 100 appearances. He looks like he should fit right in with the Indians bullpen, but will likely be used in low pressure situations early on as he shouldn't be needed in close games with Pestano, Perez, Smith and Hagadone available.

21. Rich Hill
Like Hagadone, Hill has had a perfect Spring through almost 8 innings. The former Cub, Oriole and Red Sox was a starter until 2010 when he signed with the Sox. His 2009 season was the only year since his great 2007 campaign that he pitched more than 20 innings, so this will be a big test to see if Hill has the stamina to be a reliever for an entire season. He certainly seems healthy and ready to pitch and the Indians using him as a left handed match-up reliever should aid him by slowly moving him into a full time role.

22. Matt Albers
Albers was the second reliever to come over in the Choo deal and was one of the last pitchers added to the bullpen. Like Shaw, he was strong last year for the Diamondbacks, finishing with a 2.39 ERA in 60 innings. As the old man (30) in the pen, he may be the first out when the Indians start making moves the first week of the season. Fifth starter Scott Kazmir is not being placed on the roster until April 6th, so the Indians need to drop a pitcher by that date.

23. Ryan Raburn
While Rayburn could be a diamond-in-the-rough, it is more likely that he will flop, just like he has in the past. In his last three Springs, he has hit at least four home runs and 11 RBI, but in 2012 he failed to accomplish in an entire season what he did in a single month in March. Expect an average below his career average of .250 and an OBP below .300. With all the talent on the roster, he will likely be used very sparingly, especially once another hitter is brough up after the first week of the season (see #25).

24. Lou Marson
In the biggest mistake of the 2013 roster, Marson will be returning as back-up catcher. The good news for the Indians is that with no other position for Santana to play, Marson will probably play less than his 70 games played in 2012. Expect his usual horridness along the lines of a .200 average with no home runs and very few RBI.

25. Carlos Carrasco
Carrasco is the defaul last player listed as he is only on the 25 man roster to serve a six game suspension he earned two years ago. Once he serves his suspension it is likely he will be headed back to AAA and a batter will be recalled to take his place as the Indians are carrying an extra pitcher. Yan Gomes and Jason Giambi are the two top choices for his replacement.

#22 is the Indians #1 going into 2013

# 2013 Indians 25 Man Roster

Written by Joseph Coblitz on .

Starting Lineup

C: Carlos Santana
1B: Nick Swisher
2B: Jason Kipnis
3B: Lonnie Chisenhall
SS: Asdrubal Cabrera
LF: Michael Brantley
CF: Michael Bourne
RF: Drew Stubbs
DH: Mark Reynolds

Bench

MIF: Mike Aviles
CIF: Ryan Rayburn
C2: Lou Marson

Starting Pitchers

SP1: Justin Masterson
SP2: Ubaldo Jimenez
SP3: Brett Myers
SP4: Zach McAllister
SP5: Scott Kazmir (Not on 25 Man Roster)

Bullpen

CP: Chris Perez
SU: Vinnie Pestano
RHRP: Joe Smith
RP5: Cody Allen
RP6: Bryan Shaw
RP7: Matt Albers
RP8: Rich Hill

Suspended

6 Games: Carlos Carrasco

Disabled List

15 Day: Jason Giambi
60 Day: Josh Tomlin
60 Day: Blake Wood

For those who did the math, yes, there are 26 players listed for the 25 man roster. This is because #5 starter, Scott Kazmir is not going to be placed on the 25 man roster until his first start, April 6th. The Indians will need to make a move prior to that day to free up a spot for Kazmir. Carlos Carrasco is only going to be on the roster for six games to fulfill his suspension, then is scheduled to be demoted to AAA Columbus after the game on April 7th. A final move the Indians are planning on making is to add Giambi to the roster on or after April 9th when he becomes eligible. It seems that the Indians made up his back injury to buy them some more time while Carrasco is serving his suspension, following which Giambi will be added to the roster.

# All-Time Indians: Nig Cuppy

Written by Joseph Coblitz on .

 Name: George Joseph Cuppy Position: Starting Pitcher/Outfielder Nick Name: Nig Tribe Time: 1892-1898 DOB: 07/03/1869 Pitching Stats W L W% ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP K/9 BAA Best Season (1892) 28 13 0.683 2.51 47 38 1 376.0 333 175 105 9 121 103 1.21 2.5 .228 Career 139 80 0.635 3.51 251 188 8 1,912.2 2,099 1,135 745 50 545 434 1.38 2.0 .268 Hitting Stats G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB OBP SLG AVG OPS ISOP Career 259 796 129 189 37 11 1 105 251 78 128 10 .308 .315 .237 .623 .078

Cuppy was one of the young stars on the early Cleveland Spiders team, starting in 1892 at the age of 22. He came on in a flurry, winning 28 of his 47 games pitched that year while keeping his lowest ERA of his career. Cuppy's rookie year was so impressive, he would never come close to reaching the stats gained that season in wins, innings or strike outs ever again. He was even good enough offensively that he was used in the field on multiple occasions, playing outfield and knocking in 24 RBI that season.

Nig continued to pitch successfully through 1896, throwing more than 300 innings and winning at least 24 games each season (except 1893). During this period, he was consistently the number two pitcher behind Cy Young, providing a considerable one-two punch for the 1890's Spiders.

In 1897 Jack Powell and Zeke Wilson moved up and bumped Cuppy out of the main rotation, but he still pitched over 100 innings in his last two seasons in Cleveland. Prior to the 1899 season, he was moved (along with the rest of the decent players on the team) to the St. Louis Perfectos as part of the destruction of the Cleveland Spiders. Cuppy played three seasons after leaving Cleveland, but was never able to reproduce those early results. In his career, he ranks third in almost every conceivable stat among pre-American League Cleveland pitchers behind Young and Jim McCormick, making him one of the greatest pitchers in pre-Indians history.

After retiring after the 1901 season, Cuppy moved back to his home state of Indiana where he lived until his death in 1922.

# Spring Training Week 4 Recap

Written by Joseph Coblitz on .

Moving into the last two weeks of Spring Training (3/14-3/21), things are sorting themselves out. B games have started, allowing more players to play more innings and starting pitchers are pitching through the fifth inning. The World Baseball Classic is over (congratulations to the Dominican Republic) and massive cuts have occurred, making the actual lineups of Spring Training games resemble those of the upcoming regular season more accurately.

The biggest cuts this week were two pitchers who were expected to compete for a job on the 25 man roster. Daisuke Matsuzaka and Matt Capps were deemed unready for the regular season, but have been given invitations to play for the Columbus Clippers until they are ready. Matsuzaka has already accepted and fully expects to join the Indians starting rotation at some point in time during the year. With the moves there are only about five roster spots to be decided.

Along with the cuts, many more minor league players have been playing in Spring Training games to take up the extra at bats. The most impressive single at bat coming from Delvi Cid who hit a game-winning, walk-off triple against the Giants on a Saturday night that featured the greatest single crowd in the history of Goodyear Ballpark. That was Cid's only at bat of the Spring after spending all of 2012 in Advanced A. Tyler Holt, Carlos Moncrief and Francisco Lindor have all played a little as well and have played admirably.

In addition to the youngsters, the regulars have also been playing well, with a few stand-outs. Lonnie Chisenhall has been a leading producer of the offense this Spring, going into the last week with 4 home runs, 12 RBI and a .786 SLG. Newcomer Nick Swisher has also shown some power with a .675 slugging percent of his own.

There are a few competitions still left in camp, but clear favorites are emerging. Yan Gomes is destroying Lou Marson for the back-up catcher role with a 1.141 OPS compared to Marson's .745. To compare to a player mentioned earlier, Chisenhall has a slugging percent higher than Marson's on base plus slugging.

On the other side of the ball, three pitchers deserve special recognition for being perfect to this point. Nick Hagadone, Rich Hill and Scott Kazmir (all competing for the left-handed reliever specialist role) have yet to give up a run in at least six innings each. Justin Masterson has been on the other end of the spectrum posing some cause for worry with an ERA above 6.00 in more than 10 innings. Kazmir will pitch tonight against the Diamondbacks and if he pitches well, it is likely he will be named the fifth starter as soon as tomorrow. Carlos Carrasco has simply not put up the type of quality innings that Terry Francona would like to see and may begin the season in AAA with Trevor Bauer and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Some of the other players struggling to make the team have been among those with the most at bats. Cord Phelps has been impressive, but looks to be on the outside looking in. Ryan Rayburn and Chris McGuiness are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Rayburn has had a great Spring with a team leading four home runs and 11 RBI, but is infamous for being terrible during the regular season and is likely well past his peak. McGuiness has had an awful Spring, but as a rule 5 pick, needs to be returned to his former club if he is not on the 25 man roster. At this point (.244 OBP in 37 at bats) it looks like McGuiness, who has never played above AA, is simply not ready and will not make it through the entire season with the Tribe. They would probably be better served just to let him go now and not waste the roster spot. It is possible they let Mike McDade go too early as he remains among the leaders in batting average (.400) and RBI (10), despite being cut a week ago. If McGuiness is released at some point, expect the Indians to forgo the corner infield reserve player and carry an extra pitcher.

McGuiness has a Major League glove with a Minor League bat.

# The Dominican Republic Wins the 2013 World Baseball Classic

Written by Joseph Coblitz on .

The Dominican Republic has prevailed against team Puerto Rico to win their first World Baseball Classic. They became the first team to go completely undefeated during the tournament and were utterly dominant. Closer Fernando Rodney pitched in every game and didn't give up a single run, recording 8 saves. Two Indians started in this game with Mike Aviles going 1/4 as Puerto Ricos starting short stop while Carlos Santana walked once in three at bats. Minnesota's Sam Deduno was the starting pitcher and was dominant, but made Santana dance all around behind the plate with the extreme movement on his pitches. Santana will certainly enjoy some time off as he returns to the Indians camp after starting at catcher in every single game for the DR.

As the rest of the players get ready to rejoin their MLB teams in Spring Training, here are a few notes from this years World Baseball Classic:

• While David Wright lead all players with 10 RBI in just four games, Aviles came in second with 9. Jose Reyes lead all players with 11 runs scored as the Dominican Republics lead-off hitter.
• Despite getting knocked out in the first round by team USA, three of the best hitters came from team Canada. Michael Saunder lead all batters with an incredible .727 batting average (winning him MVP of the Pool D) and two of the other top five hitters also played for team Canada.
• While the two top power hitters both came out of the strong Cuban lineup (Jose Abreu and Alfredo Despaigne each hit three home runs), there were some big surprises who hit two home runs. Team Italy's Chris Colabello (Minnesota) and two Dutch players (Jonathan Schoop and Andrelton Simmons) each hit multiple home runs. Cleveland's Carlos Santana also hit two including one incredible shot to right in Miami.
• Three pitchers threw more than seven innings without allowing a run. The already mentioned Fernando Rodney was joined by Chinese Taipei pitcher Chien-Ming Wang and Cuban starter Danny Betancourt. As a team, the Dominican Republic allowed just 14 runs in their eight games, leading to a 1.75 team ERA.
• On the other end of the spectrum, team Canada also allowed 24 earned runs, but did so in just three games, leading to a 8.64 team ERA, the worst of any team.
• Assuming the same standards will apply for the next World Baseball Classic, teams Australia, Brazil and Spain will have to win a qualifying round for the next Classic after losing all three of their games. Brazil and Spain were two of the qualifying teams from this year. Both team Mexico and Canada won just a single game in Pool D.

Ruler of all that is Classic; Canada's Michael Saunders.