2008 Cleveland Indians Baseball Preview

Last season, the Cleveland Indians (96- 66) won the Central Division and were one win away from the World Series. But in three tries, they could not close the deal against Boston. This season, the Tribe, a team that’s done little to better itself, faces a much-improved Tiger team.

The Indians field an excellent rotation with last year’s Cy Young winner, lefty C.C. Sabathia (19- 7, 3.21 ERA, 209 SO), back with a searing fastball, tough changeup and hard-to-hit curve. Righty Fausto Carmona (19- 8, 3.06 ERA, 137 SO) offers a low sinker and variable two-seam fastball. The rest of the starters are certainly a good step or two below, but will prove to offer fine support. Closer Joe Borowski (4- 5, 5.07 ERA, 45 SV, 58 SO) led the AL in saves but had a huge ERA. He’ll need to bring that down this season. Setup man Rafael Betancourt (5- 1, 1.47 ERA, 80 SO, .183 BAA) was one of the best and the addition of Masahide Kobayashi from Japan should make the pen even deeper.

This is not the strongest hitting team. That’s an area that needs to improve. Catcher Victor Martinez (.301 BA, 25 HR, 114 RBI) led the club in batting average, homeruns and RBI. 1B Ryan Garko (.289 BA, 21 HR, 61 RBI), CF Grady Sizemore (.277 BA, 24 HR, 78 RBI) and DH/1B Travis Hafner (.266 BA, 24 HR, 100 RBI) are all good long ball guys. Switch hitter Asdrubal Cabrera (.283 BA, 3 HR, 22 RBI) made the team better once he was added to the starting lineup.

The Indians have a good corps of fielders with sound hands at the corners, an excellent 2B/SS in Cabrera and Gold Glover Grady Sizemore in center. Shortstop is a concern, because Cabrera can’t play both second and short at the same time.

GM Mark Shapiro and manager Eric Wedge both had career years in 2007. Last season, they signed some fine talent to long-term contracts. Shapiro and Wedge look to be counting on those same guys plus their deep farm system to take them to the post-season. Making the playoffs is possible, but it won’t be easy with Detroit ready to pounce back.

Read more on the Indians other AL Central division competitors like the Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, and Kansas City Royals.

For more info on the Indians check out the MLB official page for Cleveland baseball news.


2008 MLB Preview

As usual we cover and break down all 30 of the major league baseball clubs. To read about a particular team simply click on the link of the division of where the team resides. The division pages will also give a quick thumbnail on each team and are order of finish. At anytime you can return to the main baseball preview page.

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