Results tagged ‘ Indians ’
Leading up to Spring Training, I’ll take a look at each of the six divisions in hopes of providing an overview for what to expect this coming season. Next up, the AL Central.
Last year’s record: 92-70, 2nd place (lost to Rays in AL Wild Card game)
Key additions: OF David Murphy, RP John Axford, RP Josh Outman, 1B David Cooper, INF Elliot Johnson, OF Nyjer Morgan, RF Jeff Francoeur, C Matt Treanor, SP Shaun Marcum
Key subtractions: SP Ubaldo Jimenez, SP Scott Kazmir, OF Drew Stubbs, CL Chris Perez, OF Jason Kubel, RP Matt Albers, RP Rich Hill, RP Joe Smith, C Kelly Shoppach
Biggest strength: Offense. The Indians ranked sixth in the Majors in runs scored last year, despite down years from Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and Asdrubal Cabrera, and have replaced the strikeout-prone Drew Stubbs with righty masher David Murphy.
Biggest question: Pitching, both in the rotation and in the bullpen. Kazmir signed with the A’s and it doesn’t look like Jimenez is coming back, so it’ll be up to young guys like Danny Salazar, Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister and Carlos Carrasco to fill the void as starters. The bullpen no longer has Perez, Hill and Smith, so the likes of Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw and Vinnie Pestano have to step up.
Most important player: Salazar. The 24-year-old right-hander has the makings of a front-of-the-rotation starter and needs to emerge as one for the Indians to take the next step.
In 25 words or less: The Indians let a lot of veteran pitchers go, and now their playoff fate will rest on an assortment of young, albeit-talented arms.
Last year’s record: 86-76, 3rd place
Key additions: SP Jason Vargas, OF Norichika Aoki, 2B Omar Infante, INF Danny Valencia, SP Brad Penny, RP Jon Rauch, OF Carlos Peguero,
Key subtractions: SP Ervin Santana, 1B Carlos Pena, INF Miguel Tejada, INF/OF Emilio Bonifacio, RP Will Smith
Biggest strength: Relief pitching. Greg Holland was one of baseball’s best closers last year, with Luke Hochevar, Kelvin Herrera, Tim Collins and Aaron Crow helping to make up arguably the game’s best bullpen.
Biggest question: Youth in the starting lineup. If the Royals are going to make the playoffs for the first time since winning it all in 1985, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain will have to finally come into their own.
Most important player: Danny Duffy. The 25-year-old lefty missed almost 14 months due to Tommy John surgery, then posted a 1.85 ERA in five starts down the stretch. He still has upside, and could provide a huge boost to the rotation if he takes a step forward.
In 25 words or less: Aoki, Infante and Vargas could very well be the moves that push the Royals over the top and end a brutal, 28-year playoff drought.
Last year’s record: 93-69, 1st place (lost to Red Sox in ALCS)
Key additions: MGR Brad Ausmus, CL Joe Nathan, 2B Ian Kinsler, OF Rajai Davis, INF Steve Lombardozzi, RP Joba Chamberlain, RP Ian Krol
Key subtractions: MGR Jim Leyland, SP Doug Fister, 1B Prince Fielder, SS Jhonny Peralta, 2B Omar Infante, INF Ramon Santiago, C Brayan Pena, RP Joaquin Benoit, RP Jeremy Bonderman, RP Octavio Dotel, RP Jose Veras
Biggest strength: Starting pitching. Even without Fister, the Tigers’ staff looks like the best in baseball, with the reigning Cy Young Award winner (Max Scherzer), a former MVP (Justin Verlander) and the guy with the lowest ERA in 2013 (Anibal Sanchez). And don’t forget about ground ball machine Rick Porcello pitching with a better defense behind him.
Biggest question: Ausmus, because it’s always tough for a rookie manager to take on a veteran team with World Series expectations, especially while filling the shoes of a legend (though Mike Matheny seemed to do OK). Everything else about this club is solid.
Most important player: Victor Martinez. With Fielder in Texas, it’ll probably be his job to protect Miguel Cabrera as the new cleanup hitter and get pitchers to throw the two-time MVP a strike every once in a while.
In 25 words or less: The defense is a lot better with Cabrera at first and the ninth is finally locked up with Nathan. If healthy, they’ll contend once again.
Last year’s record: 66-96, 4th place
Key additions: SP Ricky Nolasco, SP Phil Hughes, OF Jason Kubel, C Kurt Suzuki, SS Jason Bartlett, RP Matt Guerrier
Key subtractions: C/OF Ryan Doumit, SP Liam Hendriks
Biggest strength: Their farm system. Keith Law ranked them second, behind only the Astros, while center fielder Byron Buxton (first) and third baseman Miguel Sano (third) rank among MLB.com’s top three prospects.
Biggest question: Starting pitching. The Twins had by far the worst rotation in the Majors last year, with a 30th-ranked 5.26 ERA, then spent a combined $84 million to bring in Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes and resign Mike Pelfrey. They’ll be better, but they’ll still be bad.
Most important player: Joe Mauer, of course. He’s signed through 2018 and is making the transition from catcher to first base in hopes of staying as healthy as possible during that time. How will he handle it defensively, and will he produce the power numbers required for that position? These are crucial questions for the Twins’ future.
In 25 words or less: They’ll take their lumps again this season, but the rotation will be better (how can it be worse?) and some very talented prospects arrive soon.
Last year’s record: 63-99, 5th place
Key additions: CF Adam Eaton, 1B Jose Abreu, 3B Matt Davidson, SP Felipe Paulino, RP Ronald Belisario, RP Scott Downs
Key subtractions: SP Gavin Floyd, CL Addison Reed, OF Brandon Jacobs, SP/RP Hector Santiago, SP Dylan Axelrod
Biggest strength: The front of the rotation. Chris Sale is up there among the best pitchers in the game, and 25-year-old Jose Quintana (3.51 ERA in 33 starts last year) has emerged as a solid No. 2.
Biggest question: The lineup. It could be solid; it could also be very bad. Eaton, Abreu, Davidson, Dayan Viciedo, Avisail Garcia, Alejandro De Aza, Adam Dunn, Gordon Beckham, Tyler Flowers and Alexei Ramirez all bring varying degrees of questions.
Most important player: Abreu. He was given the largest ever contract for an international free agent ($68 million over six years) and has supplanted Paul Konerko as the everyday first baseman. Now we’ll see how the Cuban slugger’s power translates to the States.
In 25 words or less: The White Sox can’t contend this year, but GM Rick Hahn is doing a nice job rebuilding in hopes of getting them there soon.
Predicted order of finish …
- White Sox
OK look, before you freak out by the headline, just keep in mind the Angels probably will get another starting pitcher. If they can’t get Masahiro Tanaka, or they can’t fit Matt Garza into the budget, they’ll likely turn to the likes of Bronson Arroyo, Chris Capuano, Paul Maholm, etc. And chances are they’ll land someone.
But that’s not the point of this exercise.
The question, if given more character space, is something like: Is the Angels’ current five-man rotation already good enough, even without a shiny new free agent?
Impossible to determine, you say. And you’re pretty much right. But thanks to the assortment of reliable projections that exist in this sabermetric age, we can at least come up with some semblance of where they stand among their American League counterparts. For that, I turned to Oliver, which is available subscrition-free via FanGraphs.com (and tends to be a lot more favorable than Steamer). I projected the five-man rotations for each team, and added up the cumulative ERA, FIP, WAR and innings total. For the Angels, I have Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs (pictured).
Before we take a look at where the Angels (project to) stand, some notes …
- A lot of teams — most, actually — have a fifth spot open. In deciding who to pick as the fifth starer, I chose the guy projected to have the highest WAR.
- The best teams have quality depth beyond the five starters, and the Angels still lack in that department. That isn’t really reflected in this.
- Things can change drastically for any team that signs Tanaka, or Garza, or Ubaldo Jimenez, or Ervin Santana.
- Derek Holland isn’t listed with the Rangers because the projections came out before it was learned that he’d be out until midseason due to knee surgery.
- THEY’RE PROJECTIONS; NOT FACTS. (Obvious, but worth reminding.)
OK, now, here’s a look at each team individually, in alphabetical order. The first cumulative number is ERA, the second is FIP, the third is WAR and the fourth is IP …
Angels (Weaver/Wilson/Richards/Santiago/Skaggs): 18.27|19.62|9.0|826
Astros (Feldman/Cosart/Oberholtzer/Peacock/McHugh): 21.78|22.3|5.0|736
Athletics (Parker/Kazmir/Gray/Griffin/Straily): 18.27|19.91|9.0|782
Blue Jays (Dickey/Marrow/Buehrle/Happ/Hutchison): 20.85|21.44|8.1|757
Indians (Masterson/Kluber/McAllister/Salazar/Carrasco): 19.41|18.99|9.1|755
Mariners (Hernandez/Iwakuma/Walker/Ramirez/Paxton): 18.05|19.06|11.4|802
Orioles (Gonzalez/Tillman/Chin/Norris/Bundy): 20.03|21.62|7.9|764
Rangers (Darvish/Harrison/Ogando/Perez/Tepesch): 19.3|20.41|10.5|727
Rays (Price/Cobb/Moore/Hellickson/Archer): 17.85|19.12|11.0|848
Red Sox (Lester/Buchholz/Lackey/Peavy/Dempster): 19.38|20.16|12.7|860
Royals (Shields/Vargas/Guthrie/Duffy/Davis): 20.97|21.36|8.6|827
Tigers (Verlander/Scherzer/Sanchez/Porcello/Smyly): 17.01|16.5|19.2|904
Twins (Nolasco/Correia/Hughes/Pelfrey/Worley): 21.23|20.99|7.8|783
White Sox (Sale/Quintana/Danks/Johnson/Rienzo): 19.37|21|8.8|743
Yankees (Sabathia/Kuroda/Nova/Phelps/Pineda): 19.6|20.5|9.9|783
Now, the fun stuff (as if you weren’t having fun already). Here’s where the quintets rank. We’ll start with cumulative ERA (obviously, the lower the number, the better) …
Now, FIP (like ERA, the lower the better) …
Now, WAR …
Lastly, IP …
To summarize, the Angels’ current group projects to rank tied for fourth in ERA, fifth in FIP and innings, and tied for eighth in WAR. For comparison’s sake … in 2013, the starters ranked 11th in ERA, sixth in FIP, 11th in WAR and ninth in innings. So, they’re already much better, right? Well, no. Or, perhaps. Who really knows. But Jerry Dipoto has said several times since the Winter Meetings that he’d be perfectly fine with going into Spring Training with this current group, and that may not be just a negotiating ploy.
Some other takeaways from these numbers …
- Despite losing Doug Fister, the Tigers will probably still be very, very good.
- Despite adding Scott Feldman, the Astros will probably be really, really bad.
- If you’re a big believer in FIP, then the Indians are a lot better than given credit for, even without Ubaldo.
- The Rangers have a lot of talent, but also a lot of health uncertainties, as reflected in their projected innings total.
- If the Mariners get Tanaka, they can be pretty scary.
The Angels are on the verge of falling out of the playoffs for the fourth straight season, but it looks the organization will extend its streak of consecutive years drawing three million fans to the ballpark.
The announced attendance for Friday’s game against the Mariners was 39,469, putting Angel Stadium at 2,823,874 for the season with five home games remaining (two against the Mariners, three against the Athletics). That means the Angels would have to average more than 35,225 the rest of the way to reach 3,000,000 fans for an 11th straight season.
Their average for the season: 37,125 (eighth in the Majors).
The last time the Angels didn’t draw three million fans during their 81 home dates was 2002, when they won the World Series and elevated the interest level of baseball in Orange County. When you consider how difficult it is for playoff teams like the Rays, A’s and Indians to draw 20,000 a night, it’s pretty impressive that the Angels would reach three million fans when they’ve been out of the playoff mix for basically the entire year.
But that’s four straight years without a playoff gate, after back-to-back blockbuster offseasons. And keep in mind that the attendance figures are bloated because of the season tickets that were purchased before the start of the season (that’s why paid attendance and actual attendance doesn’t always seem to match up). Next year is when the Angels could really see a drop-off.
Here are the year-to-year averages during the three-million-fans-a-year streak, with the Major League rank in parenthesis …
2003: 37,791 (5th)
2004: 41,675 (3rd)
2005: 42,033 (4th)
2006: 42,059 (5th)
2007: 41,551 (5th)
2008: 41,194 (6th)
2009: 40,004 (5th)
2010: 40,133 (5th)
2011: 39,090 (5th)
2012: 37,799 (7th)
Mike Trout was out of the lineup for a second straight day on Tuesday because of a tight right hamstring that forced him to exit Sunday’s game in the sixth inning. Trout got treatment on Monday and said then that the hamstring was feeling “a lot better,” though he was still “a little sore.”
This is the third start Trout misses this year, including June 30 in Houston (when he was also nursing a sore right hamstring).
Trout is batting .333/.430/.574 in 122 games. If he doesn’t get a plate appearance in the second of a three-game series against the Indians, his 40-game on-base streak — the longest active streak in the Majors — will remain intact.
Here’s the full lineup …
J.B. Shuck, LF
Erick Aybar, SS
Josh Hamilton, DH
Mark Trumbo, 1B
Kole Calhoun, RF
Chris Nelson, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
Grant Green, 2B
Peter Bourjos, CF
SP: LH C.. Wilson
UPDATE, 5 PM PT: Trout said the hamstring “feels a lot better than it was,” but said he doesn’t want to be out there thinking about it. Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t want him playing until he can run the bases, and Trout can’t do that yet. He’s hopeful of playing on Wednesday, but that’s also up in the air.
Some other pregame notes …
- Howie Kendrick is running, but hasn’t been able to run yet. Still no timetable of his return. He’s in baseball activities, but still has to be comfortable running before getting activated.
- Bourjos is hitless in 12 at-bats since returning from a fractured right wrist, but Scioscia said he doesn’t have any physical limitations. He’s just working to get his timing back.
- Asked about the rotation order coming out of the Thursday off day, Scioscia said he’s “going to make some adjustments.”
Michael Kohn appeared in his 52nd game of the season on Monday night, if you count the Minor Leagues. That’s 13 off his career high, with six weeks left to go in the season, for a guy who’s fresh off Tommy John surgery.
The Angels are mindful of that, of course. Which is why at some point, it’ll be time to pull back the reigns and give him more time between appearances.
Right now, though, they really can’t.
“After Sept. 1, we’re going to have more options to monitor some guys,” Mike Scioscia said. “Right now, there’s really no roster flexibility. We have [Mike] Trout who’s down; it’s tough to get another pitcher here. [Pitching coach Mike Butcher] is really diligent about just the day-to-day monitoring of these guys. There’s some guys, as we said, that are tired. As far as Michael Kohn coming off Tommy John, it is something we have given consideration to and will continue to give consideration.”
Kohn — who, if you’ll recall, had Tommy John surgery one day after Ryan Madson — is probably the Angels’ Comeback Player of the Year, with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP in 40 1/3 innings after a scoreless seventh in Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Indians. But he has a 7.20 ERA since July 5 and has been charged with six earned runs in 6 1/3 innings this month. Ten times this season, he’s appeared in back-to-back games. And three of those times, it’s been three in a row.
Scioscia said the Angels won’t completely shut Kohn down if he’s healthy, but they’ll “monitor him a little bit and see how it goes towards this last month of the season.”
The Angels need to preserve as many viable bullpen options as possible heading into 2014 — but Kohn is also in his first full season in the big leagues.
“He’s still developing,” Scioscia said of the 27-year-old right-hander. “The thing about Michael is he’s not the finished product. So, every day you go out there to prove yourself, you gain a little more experience. And you’re seeing him develop more of an off-speed pitch, like he used tonight that helped him. You’re seeing him move forward with some things. To artificially truncate that development doesn’t make sense, but it does make sense to monitor just where he is on his innings and appearances and try to contain that as much as you can.”
UPDATE, 4:55 PM PT: Trout said he’s feeling “a lot better” but the hamstring is still “a little sore.”
Trout did not get an MRI.
“I wanted to play, but I don’t need to push it. No grabbing today. It was grabbing a little bit yesterday, but today nothing.”
Not surprisingly, Angels outfielder Mike Trout was out of the Angels lineup for Monday’s series opener against the Indians, one day after exiting with tightness in his right hamstring.
Trout suffered the injury while legging out a double in the third inning of Sunday’s 7-5 loss to the Astros. He later scored on a single from Mark Trumbo, then flied out in the bottom of the fifth and was replaced by Kole Calhoun to start the sixth. Afterwards, Trout didn’t deem the injury serious.
“I just didn’t want it to get worse,” he said. “Didn’t want to push it too much.”
The only other time Trout missed a game this season was on June 30. That was also a tight right hamstring — and also against the Astros, in Houston — but Trout said Sunday that the two are unrelated.
Here’s the full lineup …
J.B. Shuck, DH
Erick Aybar, SS
Josh Hamilton, LF
Mark Trumbo, 1B
Hank Conger, C
Chris Nelson, 3B
Kole Calhoun, RF
Grant Green, 2B
Peter Bourjos, CF
SP: RH Jered Weaver
The Angels face Scott Kazmir today. Remember him? Well, you might not recognize him because he’s, well, good again. He has a 1.93 ERA in his last nine starts and has been more than the Indians could’ve expected after obtaining him on a Minor League deal this offseason. Kazmir went 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA in 2010, had a rough spring the following season, gave up five runs in 1 2/3 innings of his 2011 regular-season debut, was charged with 30 runs in 15 1/3 innings at Triple-A Salt Lake, got released and spent the summer of 2012 struggling through a stint of independent ball.
“It’s tough to see any player go through what Scott went through,” Mike Scioscia said. “You saw first-hand. It was really rough on him, and obviously disappointing for us. For a pitcher to really just re-discover himself and pitch as well as Scott did is really just a function of a lot of hard work and determination. And he’s found it. He’s throwing the ball really well. Not quite the way he did in Tampa, but better.”
SP: RH Jered Weaver (6-5, 2.90 ERA)
SP: Kazmir (7-4, 3.89 ERA)
- In case you missed it earlier, Albert Pujols‘ ex-trainer vehemently denied on-air allegations from Jack Clark that Pujols used steroids under his watch.
- Jason Vargas felt good in his rehab outing for Triple-A Salt Lake, even though he gave up four runs and surrendered three homers in Round Rock, Texas. The lefty feels like he can start in the big leagues in his next turn, which would come Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, but Scioscia will give it a day or two to see how he responds before making a final determination.
- Howie Kendrick‘s left knee sprain hasn’t progressed the way the Angels would’ve hoped, and it looks like he’ll be placed on the DL.
Howie Kendrick (becoming a regular on this blog) went 2-for-4, giving him a hit in all 15 of his starts and putting his Cactus League batting average at .511.
Mark Trumbo went 2-for-4 with a hard lineout and played the entire game on the field, as did Vernon Wells.
Albert Pujols laced a standup double in four plate appearances.
Tommy Hanson exited for the start of the fourth with a right triceps injury. Afterwards, though, he said there’s “zero” concern and he could’ve kept pitching. The only legitimate concern would be that he didn’t get to 75 pitches and has only two spring starts left, but Mike Scioscia says he’ll be ready to start the season if he gets 75 and then 90.
Sean Burnett relieved Hanson and gave up three runs on three hits and a walk in a third of an inning.
Best play (that I saw)
Kendrick ranged way to his right to make a nice backhand stab of a hard grounder and get the speedy Michael Bourn out at first with an off-balance throw to start the third inning.
Hanson, half-joking when asked about his velocity (again): “You guys love talking about velocity. It’s unbelievable. But yeah, I feel good with my command. That’s what I can control is my command and what the pitches look like coming out of my hand. I can’t control the velocity. I work hard in the weight room, I run, I do everything I possibly can do. So I’m not going to worry about that. But I can worry about my command and where those pitches are going in the strike zone. And as of right now, I feel great with that.”
Through sporadic parts of the last seven years, Albert Pujols has played through plantar fasciitis on his left foot.
“It comes and goes,” Pujols said.
And recently, the Angels’ first baseman, recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, has dealt with a flare-up. Plantar fasciitis is when the ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes is strained, causing it to become weak, swollen and irritated, according to WebMD. That results in pain when walking or standing, which could be annoying for baseball players.
“It’s nothing that’s going to keep me out of the lineup,” Pujols said, “because I’ve played with it the whole season before.
Pujols says he’s been more aggressive treating plantar fasciitis this spring and is wearing orthotics for the first time. Another treatment is to just cut the ligament via surgery, but Pujols isn’t sure if he’ll have to do that.
The 33-year-old played first base in a game for the first time on Tuesday, is in the lineup as the designated hitter on Wednesday and may return to first base on Thursday.
Asked how his foot feels while playing, Pujols said: “Sore, but nothing really dramatic where I would say, ‘Man, I can’t play, this is too bad.’ Right now, I’m just concentrating on getting my knee strong. I can handle the plantar fasciitis.”
Some other notes …
* Bill Hall says his right quad has healed, but the left calf continues to keep him off the field, relegated to only treatment. Hall received a platelet-rich plasma injection on the calf a couple days ago, which made it feel better but forced him to give it time to heal. Hall hasn’t appeared in a game since Feb. 27, all but guaranteeing he won’t make the team out of Opening Day. The Angels owe him a $100,000 bonus if he isn’t on the active roster by March 26. One very real possibility is that they cut him, then resign him so he starts the season in Triple-A.
* Kevin Jepsen, who hasn’t appeared in a game since March 9 because of tightness in his right triceps, was slated to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday and could return to game action two days later.
* The lineup against the Indians: Trout CF, Kendrick 2B, Pujols DH, Hamilton RF, Trumbo 1B, Callaspo 3B, Wells LF, Iannetta C, Harris SS; Hanson SP.
That’s right, one day after losing to the Royals, 17-11, in a game that included 33 hits, the Angels finished with a 0-0 tie after nine full innings in Goodyear on Monday. Heading in, Angels pitchers had a 7.63 spring ERA — more than a run a game higher than anyone else in baseball …
Jered Weaver continued to look good, this time while getting stretched out to four innings. He scattered three hits, walked two, struck out six and got several swings and misses on his changeup.
Jerome Williams escaped some trouble and hurled five scoreless innings, giving up five hits, walking one and striking out six. He needed that, after giving up six runs (five earned) and two homers in his previous four frames.
Howie Kendrick went 1-for-3 and has hit safely in each of his nine Spring Training starts. He’s batting .481.
Scott Kazmir hurled four shutout innings against his former team and has thrown eight scoreless frames this spring. His velocity is up to the low-90s, his delivery looks smooth and, though it’s early, he looks nothing like the guy who flamed out with the Angels.
“What he went through for a year and a half with us was absolutely just awful,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He felt that he tried everything and just couldn’t find it. If today’s any indication, he took a step forward.”
Alberto Callaspo went 0-for-3 and is batting .190.
Best play (that I saw)
With runners on the corners, one out and both teams scoreless in the bottom of the ninth, Scioscia brought in Tommy Field and went with a five-man infield. It worked. Ryan Raburn hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Luis Jimenez, leading to an out at home plate, and Cord Phelps grounded out to second to end the game.
Kazmir, on how he feels now compared to when he last pitched in the Angels organization: “Night-and-day difference. I’m just a completely different pitcher. I guess the velocity would be different by about 10 mph.”