2007 Cleveland Indians Baseball Preview
With Eric Wedge at the helm, the Cleveland Indians (78- 84) seem to have been playing below their potential. Division championships have not materialized. This year it’s possible but certainly not a given.
LHP and first starter C.C. Sabathia (12- 11, 3.22 ERA) had right knee surgery and should be fully healed and ready to go. RHP Jake Westbrook (15- 10, 4.17 ERA) and LHP Cliff Lee (14- 11, 4.40 ERA) are fine number two and three men. The rotation is rounded out by Paul Byrd (10- 9, 4.88 ERA) and Jeremy Sowers (7- 4, 3.57 ERA). This is a good starting five. However, Cleveland relievers only posted 24 saves last season, the lowest in the majors. Joe Borowski (3-3, 3.75 ERA, 36 SV) from the Marlins will try to rectify that situation.
If DH Travis Hafner (.308 AVG, 117 RBI, 42 HR) can put in a full year, his numbers should be astronomical. Josh Barfield (.280 AVG, 58 RBI, 13 HR) comes from San Diego with a steady bat while Victor Martinez (.316 AVG, 93 RBI, 16 HR), Ryan Garko (.292 AVG, 45 RBI, 7 HR) and Grady Sizemore (.290 AVG, 76 RBI, 28 HR) are all fine producers.
The club’s fielding percentage of .981 tied them for 12th in the league. At short Jhonny Peralta is below average, while Barfield is a fine defensive second baseman. If Martinez can stay healthy, he’ll continue to develop his catching skills. Third baseman Andy Marte looks promising in the field, but needs to prove his offensive capabilities.
When a team doesn’t play well it’s usually two people who field the blame—the manager and the GM. GM Mark Shapiro has a building plan in which owner Larry Dolan believes. Wedge’s players looked unprepared last season. The best advice for Wedge and his staff is to make sure the team puts in a great spring.
This club has the starters and offense to go far. But the bullpen and defense aren’t strong enough to secure enough close games to make them champions.
For more info on the Indians check out the MLB official page for Cleveland baseball news.