2009 Cleveland Indians Baseball Preview

The Cleveland Indians (81- 81) finished third in the Central last season. It was thought at the start of the 2008 season that they'd have a shot at the division title. The team, which lacks consistency from year-to-year and never seems to live up to expectations, saw a laundry list of important performers go on the DL last season. After winning 96 games in 2007 and taking the Central Division, the 2008 campaign was a disappointment.

This is overall a young pitching staff. Number one man Cliff Lee (23- 3 W/L, 2.54 ERA, .253 BAA), a southpaw, offers four quality pitches and throws with confidence. Righty Fausto Carmona (8- 7 W/L, 5.44 ERA, .271 BAA) throws a 90- 94 mph sinking fastball; when he has it under control, he can dominate. The rest of the starters are a tad tenuous. Jake Westbrook (1- 2 W/L, 3.12 ERA, .256 BAA), who is coming off of Tommy John surgery, works both sides of the plate nicely, but his health is a question mark. Lefty Aaron Laffey (5- 7 W/L, 4.23 ERA, .281 BAA) and righty Anthony Reyes (4- 2 W/L, 2.76 ERA, .253 BAA) have shown good stuff but both need some new confidence. Closer Kerry Wood (3.26 ERA, 34 SV, .219 BAA), who just signed a new, lucrative multi-year contract, throws a tough-to-hit fastball and elusive slider.

Center fielder and leadoff batter Grady Sizemore (.268 BA, 90 RBI, 33 HR, 38 SB) has power and speed. Catcher Victor Martinez (.278 BA, 35 RBI, 2 HR) is a switch-hitter who can produce. Johnny Peralta (.276 BA, 89 RBI, 23 HR) and Mark Derosa (.285 BA, 87 RBI, 21 HR) offer power and run production. DH Travis Hafner (.197 BA, 24 RBI, 5 HR) knows how to work the count to his advantage. Coming off a shoulder injury from last season, if he's healthy he could hit 30 or more dingers.

The infield shows good play in the middle with Asdrubal Cabrera playing a rangy second and Peralta a smart short. At third, Derosa makes up for a lack of range with good positioning. He's got a strong and accurate arm. Garko at first is passable. Behind the plate, there are question marks. In the outfield, Sizemore has a fine jump and can track down balls in center, while Shin-Soo Choo and Ben Francisco are average to below average.

The management team is sound with manager Eric Wedge starting his seventh year and General Manager Mark Shapiro his eighth. Wedge brings a winning 496- 476 record into the 2009 season. He's a smart baseball man who runs a tight ship. Shapiro doesn't have a lot of money to spend so he has to be resourceful in identifying prospects. He's done a good job in that respect.

The Indians will be competitive especially if they can stay healthy. A GM like Shapiro and a manager like Wedge both know how to keep a team in the hunt without investing in extravagant contracts. The Indians will have a shot at the playoffs.

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.


2009 Baseball Preview

The 2009 Major League Baseball season is here and Maddux Sports once again has unveiled their annual preview of this years summer pastime. We go in-depth on all 30 baseball teams as well as our divisional predictions including order of finish. To find your favorite team click on the division links to the right. At anytime you can return to the 2009 baseball preview page.

09 MLB Division Previews

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