The Cleveland Indians’ roster appears to be close to set as the Indians round out their spring training over the next two weeks. The only battle may come down to the final utility role, the final spot in the starting rotation, and perhaps some semantics in the bullpen, depending on how many pitchers the Indians choose to break camp with.
With the focus clearly turning to the start of the major league season in April, the focus of Today’s power poll will head that direction as well.
The majority of discussion around the Indians has been positive, but hidden among all of the roster changes have been some players who have struggled a bit in Spring Training. While I’m not a guy that worries about spring training numbers all that much, they can provide a bit of insight as to how a player is going to start the year off.
Which Indians player are you most worried about heading into the 2013 season?
- Jason Kipnis-Kipper is currently hitting .162, and has struggled mightily since last August. Is this something that’s going to pass, or is he still mired in some hybrid of the sophomore slump?
- Drew Stubbs-There’s been a lot of talk about new surroundings for Stubbs, as well as a new approach at the plate. So far that new approach (a much more simple swing, that really looks good) has looked a lot like the old approach. He’s hitting .216, with 11 K’s and two walks. The K’s are the most on the team in the spring.
- Michael Bourn-Bourn comes to the American League for the first time, and with it comes some concern that his offense will take a hit. So far, the Tribe centerfielder has gotten off to an extremely slow start, hitting .222, with a double and a triple. Will speed prevail here, or is Bourn’s numbers going to continue their downward trend?
- Asdrubal Cabrera-Cabrera has looked good from the start. He’s in shape and ready to play in what could turn into a massive year for the Indians’ shortstop. There’s a part of me that wonders, though, if playing non-stop this entire offseason won’t eventually wear him down? Of course, with down-time, would Cabrera come in looking like the ‘Round Mound of Rebound?” I should probably eliminate his name from the list, but he’s a curiosity to me.
- Nick Hagadone-This kid has been unstoppable so far this offseason, showcasing the type of talent that he has. With that said, he started off the season in the bigs last year in a similar fashion, and we all know how that ended. Is Hagadone finally for real, or will his “stuff” become all too familiar to the big league hitters he faces?
- Scott Kazmir-When Terry Francona talks about Kazmir and his rejuvenation, he keeps talking about whether or not the balloon is full yet, or if there’s more progress to be made. What if the balloon is full? Is Kazmir going to pop?
- Carlos Carrasco-Carrasco is in an interesting situation. He’s missed 1 ½ years, and he was coming off of a dominant month of pitching when he got hurt. Taking all that into account, there’s a lot on his shoulders this year to be a top-end guy at some point. Can Carrasco come back healthy and return to form, or is he destined to be a guy that just misses?
- Ubaldo Jimenez-He’s had flashes of good in the spring, but in the end, is he
just a guy that “just gets by?” I can’t help but feel that he’s similar to Kazmir in that I can’t help but think his balloon is full and about to pop again, or still popped from 2011.
- Vinnie Pestano-Pestano’s stuff is electric, of that there is no doubt. With that said, he got lit up like a firecracker this past Friday night in the U.S.’s elimination game, turning a 1-0 Puerto Rico lead into a 4-0 lead. The U.S. would lose 4-3. It’s only the WBC, but I get the impression that Pestano took this whole thing very seriously. Will it make him better, or will it hurt him in the 2013 season?
- Justin Masterson-Alright, I have to say it, is he a starter, or a reliever?
- Jason Giambi-Giambi appears a lock to make this club as the 25th guy. Will his addition mean a guy like Chris McGuiness goes away, and becomes a solid everyday player in Texas down the road?
- The starting pitching-It will never be good enough to help an offense that will be pretty good.
- This team—is overhyped, and will never be able to match the buzz it has created in Cleveland
- Other—I’ll post it below!!!
To be quite honest, this was a piece that I wanted to avoid writing this year. The vibe around Cleveland has been nothing but positive, when generally things are about as optimistic as a demolition derby. So here’s my line of thinking here. I’m the optimist here at IBI, so I thought I’d be the one to throw the curve ball out there with this piece about the worries of this team.
My commentary is simple: I’m not worried about a thing right now with this team, other than that starting rotation. I know there are pieces to the offense that may not jibe. I know that there will be a ton more strikeouts. I know that there will be strikeouts and blown saves and bad starts. I know that there will be one or two or more of the guys listed above that will struggle.
I also believe that this team is built to overcome that.
What’s your biggest concern?
Jim is currently the senior editor and Columnist, as well as the host of IBI's weekly online radio shows, Smoke Signals and Cleveland Sports Insiders. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IBI, or contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.