I'm not really sure if the Indians are rebuilding, or continue to destroy what they have. After trading away back to back Cy Young award winners and with key parts of the team being significantly injured or deteriorating. The bright spot was Shin-Soo Choo and I guess Fausto Carmona. This team has two players that should go pretty high in any fantasy draft, and only a handful of others that will be drafted at all.
Projected Starting Lineup:
CF Grady Sizemore/Trevor Crowe - Sizemore, who was at one time an all world outfielder, and potentially one of the top 10 players in baseball went 33 games without a homerun last year and was injured for most of the season. Trevor Crowe has decent speed, occassional power and really doesn't belong at the top of any line-up, but in the absence of Sizemore, this is where he'd be. I have Sizemore and Crowe ranked outside the top 75 outfielders.
2B Orlando Cabrera - Who knows what Manny Acta is going to do here, but what should be done is probably bat Cabrera, he's got a good contact ratio and he's spent most of his career hitting out of the 2 hole. He is aging (36), and well past his prime, but he seems to find his way into the playoffs, double digit steals and 60-70 runs scored. I have him ranked between 21st and 25th for shortstops and/or second base.
RF Shin-Soo Choo - His power speed numbers are definitely something to drool over, back to back seasons of 20/20. For the 2nd consecutive season he also hit exactly .300, had 78 or more walks, knocked in 86 or more runs, and scored 81 or more times. In fact, everything was great about Shin-Soo Choo and one thing was better, he improved his strikeouts by 33 and that's a huge thing. I have Choo as a top 10 outfielder.
CA Carlos Santana - Last year he hit 3rd for most of the year, and that might be the case again, but you have to assume that Choo will bat third and Santana will bat either 4th or 5th, but again with the Indians, who knows? I'm just guessing. With Santana you get something very rare. A young hitter who walks more than he strikesout and he's a catcher to boot. The only other catcher that does that has an MVP under his belt. He has decent power (20+ homeruns can be expected over a full season) and some speed (10+ steals is a realistic expectation), but he'll also make some errors (10+ is realistic) and he's a potential stud in the making, like Joe Mauer was. I have Santana projected to be a top 5 catcher.
1B Matt LaPorta - He was terrible in 2010, with a .221 average and only 12 dingers in 110 games. Not the kind of power you'd want in a corner infield spot. I'd avoid him like the plague. I have LaPorta ranked between 26th and 30th.
DH Travis Hafner - To start the season last year, I think everyone had the same thought, that the old Hafner was back, that his dead shoulder had resurrected like Moses parting the Red Sea, or something like that, kind of. In actuallity it was all for not as he ended up with 13 homeruns in 396 at bats, for a nice clean HR/AB of 1/30. Not good, not the power he used to have. I'm not saying that he was a roider, but he had 42 dingers in 2006, where'd that guy go? I have Hafner ranked between 21st and 25th for fulltime DHs, he does not qualify anywhere else.
LF Michael Brantley - There is some talk that he might take on the leadoff responsibilities, but it doesn't really matter, when it comes to fantasy, he has very little value. His only redeeming quality is that his BB/SO ratio is decent at 22/38 in 297 at bats. I have Brantley ranked between 76th and 100th for outfielders.
3B Jayson Nix - If you thought LaPorta was useless as a 1st baseman, well meet his twin at third base. If you draft this clown, I might kick you in the nuts, just to remind you which feels better (trust me, it's the kick in the nuts). He did hit 14 homeruns last year, but in 56 games at 3rd base he made 10 errors (fulll season translation = 29), he also struck out 4 more times than he walked (20/87), umm that's not good. Heck he even got caught stealing more than he successfully stole. He's pretty useless. I do not have Nix ranked in the top 30 for 3rd basemen.
SS Asdrubal Cabrera - He led off a lot last year, and in fact hit in several line-up spots throughout the season and of course his value improves if he stays at the top of the line-up. He suffered a major forearm injury and had 12 errors in 95 games, while only producing 3 homeruns and 6 SBs (with 4 CS). If shortstop wasn't so thin, I'd tell you to stay away from this guy, but it's so thin that I have him ranked between 16th and 20th.
#1. Fausto Carmona - I hate Carmona, not personally (that'd be awkward), but from a fantasy baseball perspective. He's decent in a Chien-Ming Want To Strike People Out But Can't, kind of way. He had a 0.59 K's per IPs last season, and that was worse than any team average (excpept the Indians). You just don't want that in an ace. It's a good thing that other teams have #1s that are just as bad. I have Carmona projected to score between 325 - 350 fantasy points.
#2. Justin Masterson - Yep, he's the #2 in Cleveland, I wonder if fans will actually show up to Jacobs field to watch games this season. I bet tickets are cheap at this point. Oh sorry, back to the analysis. 6-13 4.70 ERA and 73 walks in 180 innings, his only redeeming statistic is that he struck out 140 batters and was 4th in ERA on his team (out of 5 at least). I have Masterson projected below 300 points.
#3. Carlos Carasco - Okay Indians fans, think upside, because if you are thinking about anything else it gets rather depressing, trust me I know (Mariners fan). Carasco is the future of the Indians and projects to be a front of the rotation pitcher. He's a strikeout pitcher with four above average pitches and excellent control. His combined stats last year (between AAA and the Indians) was 12-8, 192 IPs, 3.71 ERA, 171 K's, 60 walks. His numbers stayed consistently good when he pitched at the MLB level. I have Carasco cautiously projected between 300-325 points.
#4. Josh Tomlin - Who? I have no idea, well I do, that's why I'm writing these up. Tomlin had a decent year in 2010. At the Major League level he put up a 6-4 record and had 12 starts and averaged just over 6 innings per start. Combined with AAA, he was 14-8 with a 3.45 ERA (4.56 with the big club), and 123 Ks and 52 walks. We'll see how the sophomore campaign goes, I do not have Tomlin projected over 300 points.
#5. Mitch Talbott - 10-13, 4.41 ERA, 88 K's in 159 Innings, and 69 walks. I'm pretty sure that I don't need to go on, so I wont. Don't draft this clown, he's useless, unless you are desperate.
Closer - Chris Perez - If the Indians weren't so terrible, then I'd suggest snagging this guy up, he's a solid strikeout guy, and he puts up really good numbers (23 saves in 25 opportunities). The problem is the opportunities just aren't there. I have Perez ranked between 21st and 25th for closers.
Prospects - In two, maybe 3 but probably 4 seasons, the Indians can once again have a shot at rising to prominance. But not likely, on the farm, they are weak, and unless Lonnie Chisenhall wins 3rd base out of spring training, they will have limited impact.