Taking a look at the 2015 projections for the Indians
Projected statistics for 2015 have been posted by Steamer Projections Blog and, while it’s difficult to predict what a team will look like six months before Opening Day, it offers Tribe fans clamoring for next year an early look at what they might expect.
Might is the key word to remember here as they are projections. Injuries, career years, and down years happen every season. Most importantly, this is before the Indians’ offseason, so free agent signings and/or trades could shake up the roster. While I don’t expect Max Scherzer or Nelson Cruz to be an Indian come April, I don’t think they’ll simply just bring everyone back either.
With all of that said, let’s take a look at the projections (position and bat in parentheses):
Michael Bourn (CF, LH) - 2.0 WAR, .253/.313/.351, 20 SB
Jose Ramirez (SS, SH) - 1.6 WAR, .262/.308/.355, 18 SB
Michael Brantley (LF, LH) - 3.2 WAR, .291/.351/.429, 14 SB
Carlos Santana (1B, SH) - 3.0 WAR, .245/.367/.432, 22 HR
Jason Kipnis (2B, LH) - 2.6 WAR, .262/.338/.398, 20 SB
Yan Gomes (CA, RH) - 3.4 WAR, .260/.308/.434
David Murphy (RF, LH) - 0.7 WAR, .256/.319/.392
Nick Swisher (DH, SH) - 0.4 WAR, .234/.321/.384
Lonnie Chisenhall (3B, LH) - 2.0 WAR, .263/.320/.428
Cody Allen - 0.6 WAR, 4-3, 28 SV, 2.87 ERA
Bryan Shaw - 0.2 WAR, 3-3, 6 SV, 3.77 ERA
Kyle Crockett - 0.3 WAR, 2-2, 1 SV, 3.37 ERA
Scott Atchison - 0.3 WAR, 3-3, 3 SV, 3.65 ERA
Nick Hagadone - 0.2 WAR, 2-2, 3.04 ERA
Marc Rzepczynski - 0.3 WAR, 3-3, 2 SV, 3.64 ERA
C.C. Lee - 0.0 WAR, 1-1, 3.69 ERA
A few things I noticed while looking at these projections:
- Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher are both projected to do about the same in 2015 as they did in 2014. Swisher’s numbers are projected up a bit while Bourn’s defense is rated higher, but neither is expected to regain their prime form. I view this as a fair expectation, and one the Indians should be planning for.
- The projections see Michael Brantley and Corey Kluber both maintaining their status as top players, but don’t have either expected to repeat their 2014 performances.
- Steamer sees Jason Kipnis as closer to his 2012 campaign (3.0 WAR) than his All-Star 2013 season (4.4 WAR), which I view as a fair assessment. It would still be a significant upgrade over Kipnis’ forgettable 2014.
- The projections are not big on Trevor Bauer’s 2015 outlook with his walk rate, strikeout rate, and home run rate all getting worse. While I don’t necessarily agree that Bauer will take a significant step back in 2015, this does serve as a reminder of the youth of this pitching staff. It would serve the Indians well to find at least one solid veteran option this winter.
- The bench is not a particularly strong one. The lack of Major League depth caught up to the Indians late in 2014 (Chris Gimenez started at first base in the biggest series of the year) and is something they need to address, especially given the concerns about Swisher, Bourn, and Kipnis staying in the lineup.
- The opportunities for the Indians to upgrade are clear (and, to most, have been for a while): DH, third base and/or right field. With Swisher’s huge contract and the likelihood he’s a DH-only at this point in his career, it means the Indians should be seeking upgrades at third base and/or right field. Upgrading both and pushing Murphy and Chisenhall to part-time roles would not only help the lineup, it would also improve the poor depth on the bench as well.
- For those wondering about Francisco Lindor, Steamer projects him at 0.7 WAR, .244/.297/.332 in 73 games.
As frustrating as 2014 was at times, the Indians aren’t far away. They have a nice core in place, but need to make some impact moves – most likely through trade – to get to the next level. Indians fans will be hoping Progressive Field isn’t the only thing improved before Opening Day 2015.
Adrian Beltre - Dream acquisition to me...great defense, RH...Brantley/Beltre/Santana would be great
Evan Gattis - Braves may deal him and he would certainly bring some RH pop
Michael Cuddyer - Would be perfect #2 hitter if healthy (huge if though)
As for trade possibilities, not sure he's on the market, but with the prospect surplus in the pocket, why not ask the Rays about Zobrist. Would be a huge upgrade in RF, both with the bat and defensively. He would probably end up a one year rental at a cheap 7.5mil and probably cost a couple of good prospects. They seem to lack at C, 1B, SS and corner OF and BP arms. They seem like a good match to trade with. Would Naquin + Gonzalez + CC Lee/Adams get it done? Probably would want a more ML ready piece and ask for JRam+
I wasn't saying Victorino was some kind of savior, just saying he's a realistic target, because I believe Boston would be willing to part with him without the Tribe giving up a significant piece of their future. To get Van Slyke, the Tribe would have to give up a serious prospect or two. I'm not opposed to such a move, just trying to be realistic here. Victorino is in the final year of a 3 year deal. The Indians can afford to take on some salary this year but *not* next season, so the move would make some sense from a financial standpoint.
Also, calling Victorino "often injured" is a bit misleading. He played 144 games per season from 2006-2013 before missing significant time last year for the first time in his career. "Once injured" would be more accurate. Also, Van Slyke had 11 homers this season, and only 20 bombs in 200 career games. Let's not pretend he's Albert Belle.
Surely this is a joke or a dream.....especially since this Victorino earned 13 MM per year on his last contract.
Trade for Scott Van Slyke....better, cheaper, younger, more (much more) power......and just as right handed as Victorino.
He missed most of last year due to injury, but was pretty damn effective in 2013. He only has 1 year left on his deal, which as we've discussed is the kind of deal the Indians have to focus on this offseason. He gave up switch hitting in 2013 and only bats righty now, so he could be a good platoon partner with Murphy, allowing Swisher to be a full-time DH.
I'll admit I don't have any idea what kind of prospect return the Red Sox would be looking for, or whether they'd be willing to eat any of his salary, but it seems to make sense for a lot of reasons.
This is only an abbreviated selection of the Steamer projections. Here's a link to the full list, which projects the Indians for 85-77.
Agree Matthew. RF needs a trade badly. Then, the bench improves by Murphy going there and pushing Rayburn to AAA, Swisher to PH and DH. Infield backup improves with Ramirez and Urshela, while not picking up Mike Aviles option. DH improves with healthier Swisher plus Chiz.
As far as right field goes, I'd dearly love to trade for Jose Bautista but I don't see it happening. I'd even live to get Khris Davis but that probably won't happen either. Barring a big deal, I'm betting on an in season 2015 trade, because it's easier to find counter parties then. But I am hoping for a right hand hitting RF in my Christmas stocking.
At third, I hope to see a tough competition between Urshela and Chiz, with (ideally) both making the team.
Other than those points I'm pretty enthused by these projections: no terrible WAR and plenty of upside possible. Regression for Brantley can easily be offset by a little better performance from Kipnis and Swisher. Spreading out the offense would score more runs too.
*8 different pitchers started a game for the Indians this season. Those 8 pitchers accumulated 56 wins, but 6 were in relief appearances by Carrasco McAllister and Tomlin.
this is stupid
RF, DH and bench are an issue for sure.
These projections indicate disaster in the pen, as none of the pen crew received more than 0.6 and most were .2 and .3. By comparison, Joe Smith last year was 2.5 WAR.