So here we are at the Cleveland Indians’ 112th opening day. Since the year 2000, the Indians haven’t fared that well on opening day – their last win was in 2008 (10-8 over the White Sox at Progressive Field) and they’ve only won the opener four times in that span – 2000, 2002, 2007, and 2008. In 10 of those 13 opening day games, the Indians allowed five or more runs. Before it all starts tonight at 7, it’s time to predict what you think will happen this season.
Just prior to last season, the writers at It’s Pronounced Lajaway made a number of predictions about the 2012 season. Some turned out good, some not so good. We’re trying it again in 2013, with 13 predictive questions. I guess we can’t be any worse than Punxsutawney Phil, can we?
1. Where will the Indians finish in the AL Central?
Stephanie Liscio: Second (optimism!)
Susan Petrone: I will optimistically say 2nd
Chris Burnham: Second. But I don’t say that with complete conviction. Chicago still has the offensive firepower (and a Cy Young winner-in-making in Chris Sale) to potentially keep them in play for a Wild Card berth even if it is considered a rebuilding period. It’s still Detroit’s division unless aliens abduct them.
Sam Butts: 2nd place
Adam Hintz: 2nd Place
Matt Hutton: Second place
Justin Lada: 3rd place the Royals still have a good lineup and better pitching that just edges the Indians out for 2nd place.
Ryan McCrystal: Tied for 2nd with the Royals, behind Detroit.
Vern Morrison: Third
Ryan Pinheiro: The Tribe will finished tied for 3rd with the White Sox with the Royals narrowly ahead of both teams for 2nd.
Joe Werner: Second
David White: 1st
2. What will their win/loss record be?
Stephanie Liscio: 82-80
Susan Petrone: 84-78
Chris Burnham: 83-79. If I’m right, and even if they don’t get into the Wild Card mix with this record, that has to be considered a rousing success.
Sam Butts: 83-79
Adam Hintz: 87-75
Matt Hutton: 83-79
Justin Lada: 83-79
Ryan McCrystal: 82-80
Vern Morrison: 80-82
Ryan Pinheiro: 84-78
Joe Werner: 84-78
David White: 91-71
3. Who will make the All Star team?
Stephanie Liscio: Carlos Santana, Lonnie Chisenhall, Asdrubal Cabrera
Susan Petrone: Michael Bourn
Chris Burnham: Swisher, Cabrera, Perez. A dark-horse candidate: Kipnis. And I’d be shocked if Tito doesn’t go as a member of Jim Leyland’s coaching staff.
Sam Butts: Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana
Adam Hintz: From most to least likely: Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, Michael Bourn, Vinnie Pestano
Matt Hutton: Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana
Justin Lada: Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall, Chris Perez
Ryan McCrystal: Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana
Vern Morrison: Nick Swisher, Chris Perez
Ryan Pinheiro: Michael Bourn, Chris Perez, Carlos Santana
Joe Werner: Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana
David White: Carlos Santana, Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Masterson
4. At the end of the year, who will be the team’s MVP?
Stephanie Liscio: Carlos Santana
Susan Petrone: Michael Bourn
Chris Burnham: The only two choices are probably Cabrera and Swisher, and I’m thinking it’ll be Cabrera who would get the national attention purely based on the numbers. But I feel that internally, Swisher is counted on as being that “be everything to everyone” type of guy that is invaluable to the team itself. If he’s able to garner MVP talk by his play, then all the better. They’re paying him for that, too.
Sam Butts: Nick Swisher
Adam Hintz: Jason Kipnis
Matt Hutton: Carlos Santana
Justin Lada: Carlos Santana
Ryan McCrystal: Nick Swisher
Vern Morrison: Nick Swisher
Ryan Pinheiro: Michael Bourn- His superb defense along with being a top-tier leadoff batter will make him the most valuable
Joe Werner: Carlos Santana
David White: Justin Masterson
5. If there’s a demotion or an injury to a pitcher in the starting staff, who gets
the first call-up from Columbus to replace them?
Stephanie Liscio: Carlos Carrasco (unless it’s the second half of the season…then maybe Bauer).
Susan Petrone: Trevor Bauer
Chris Burnham: Matsuzaka. With his prior history with Tito, there’s a level of trust there, and he had a pretty strong spring. I’d be very surprised if he’s not the first guy they look at if they’re in a pinch.
Sam Butts: Trevor Bauer
Adam Hintz: Dice-K
Matt Hutton: If it’s a spot start or two Corey Kubler, but the first permanent change will be Trevor Bauer
Justin Lada: Corey Kluber
Ryan McCrystal: Depends on when it happens. April/May, Carrasco probably gets the nod. Later in the year it might be time for Bauer.
Vern Morrison: Trevor Bauer
Ryan Pinheiro: Carlos Carrasco- Carrasco obviously seems to be the next in line on the depth chart after Kazmir
Joe Werner: Matt Capps
David White: Carlos Carrasco
6. Will Asdrubal Cabrera and Chris Perez still be Cleveland Indians at the end
of the season?
Stephanie Liscio: Unless the Indians completely tank, yes. I’d pick Perez to go before Cabrera though.
Susan Petrone: Yes, but Perez will be traded in the off-season
Chris Burnham: Hopefully not, and definitely not if my earlier prediction comes to fruition. That said, if the bottom falls out again (and we’ve become conditioned to expect that it likely will), Antonetti will be on the phone faster than a guy struggling to adhere to the “don’t-call-for-a-day” buffer zone after a date with a hot chick.
Sam Butts: Only Perez will be traded
Adam Hintz: Yes
Matt Hutton: Yes
Justin Lada: Yes
Ryan McCrystal: I suspect Perez is as good as gone assuming they aren’t in playoff contention. Cabrera’s future probably depends on whether or not they get blown away with an offer. St. Louis is an obvious trade partner. If they offered Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal, it’d be hard to turn it down.
Vern Morrison: No and no
Ryan Pinheiro: Yes they will both still be with the team
Joe Werner: Asdrubal Cabrera: Yes. Chris Perez: I hope not. Look, Perez is a fine pitcher but he’s overrated. Plus, he’s getting expensive. My only fear is that the team really punted on getting a maximum return for him this past offseason.
David White: Yes
7. Who will be the biggest disappointment?
Stephanie Liscio: Drew Stubbs
Susan Petrone: Jason Giambi
Chris Burnham: The easy answer is Jimenez. But we’re already disappointed in him, and we know full well that every time he is on the bump, chances are pretty good that we will be in for an unpleasant adventure that day. Kazmir is a full-fledged reclamation project, so it’s unfair to have many expectations for him; if we have any at all. Masterson and Santana could be if they can’t bounce back with seasons that are more along the lines of their expected norms. Hmmm… Y’know what? It’s Jimenez. You know it. I know it. Let’s just move on.
Sam Butts: Brett Myers
Adam Hintz: Brett Myers
Matt Hutton: Drew Stubbs: He’ll still steal bases and hit 15ish homers, but his line will look a lot more like 2012 (.213/.277/.333) than 2009 (.255/.329/.444)
Justin Lada: Brett Myers
Ryan McCrystal: Trevor Bauer. I think most fans are expecting him to contribute and I’m not sure he’s ready.
Vern Morrison: Ubaldo Jimenez
Ryan Pinheiro: Brett Myers- I am concerned the veteran may not be able to provide the consistency that the Tribe was hoping for
Joe Werner: Jason Kipnis. I’m just not really sold on the bat yet.
David White: Brett Myers
8. Which player will be the most pleasant surprise?
Stephanie Liscio: Lonnie Chisenhall
Susan Petrone: Scott Kazmir
Chris Burnham: Lonnie Chisenhall. Health permitting, this could (should?) be the year where he starts to establish himself and the national stage will start to notice.
Sam Butts: Lonnie Chisenhall
Adam Hintz: Kazmir is too easy of a choice. I’ll say Jason Giambi does a decent impression of 2012 Travis Hafner, in that he’ll be intermittently hurt, but still somewhat productive with a little bit of pop in his bat.
Matt Hutton: Ubaldo Jimenez … in that he will not be the worst pitcher in the baseball this year.
Justin Lada: Drew Stubbs
Ryan McCrystal: Ubaldo Jimenez. He averaged 2.1 walks per nine inning in spring training, less than half of his average from a season ago. In fact, he’s never gone a full season with less than a 3.5 average. I’d call that a very good sign.
Vern Morrison: Justin Masterson
Ryan Pinheiro: Trevor Bauer- He’s going to get his chance at the big-league level at some point this season. I think he’s going to take the opportunity and run with it.
Joe Werner: Cody Allen and/or Zack McAllister. I’m not ashamed to make my man-crushes known.
David White: Ubaldo Jimenez
9. Will any of the Indians receive votes for league-wide awards like the MVP, Cy
Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year? If so, name them.
Stephanie Liscio: If by some miracle Bauer ends up in Cleveland early in the season and does well, he could get some ROY votes. If the Indians do much better than expected, Francona could get a few votes for MOY as well.
Susan Petrone: Trevor Bauer
Chris Burnham: I doubt it, but like I said earlier, Cabrera and Swisher are the clear candidates if we have any. But I’ll add Kipnis as a dark-horse. Tito would have to be in line for Manager of the Year if things shake out the way I’m leaning.
Sam Butts: Trevor Bauer-AL Rookie of the Year
Adam Hintz: If Indians are in the postseason, Terry Francona is likely given major consideration for MOY. Only pitcher on roster who has Cy Young pedigree is Ubaldo, and those days feel long, long gone.
Matt Hutton: Trevor Bauer, ROY
Justin Lada: MVP – none, Cy Young -none, ROY – Bauer, Manager of the Year- Yes
Ryan McCrystal: Francona is a strong candidate for Manager of the Year if they can win over half their games. They’ll win enough games for someone to earn MVP votes. I’d bet on either Bourn or Santana.
Vern Morrison: No
Ryan Pinheiro: Yes, I believe Bauer will get votes for Rookie of the Year, Bourn and Swisher will both get votes for MVP, and Francona will get votes for Manager of the Year.
Joe Werner: Trevor Bauer will get a handful for Rookie of the Year. Of course, the organization would have to get out of it’s way for this team. And, yes, this is a subtle reference to giving Jose Lopez 200+ PA last season when Cord Phelps remains a complete unknown — still.
David White: Trevor Bauer – very few 5th place votes for ROY. Francona wins manager of the year.
10. Who will lead the team in home runs?
Stephanie Liscio: Nick Swisher
Susan Petrone: Mark Reynolds
Chris Burnham: This is a fun question, and I think there could be three, maybe four guys who could win the team title. I’ll go with Reynolds, simply because I don’t think this guy has ever heard of “shorten your swing.” He will be a human fan that will be cooling everyone down in the middle of July, but he’ll do it majestically. Rob Deer approves.
Sam Butts: Nick Swisher
Adam Hintz: Mark Reynolds (35)
Matt Hutton: Mark Reynolds (27)
Justin Lada: Mark Reynolds
Ryan McCrystal: Carlos Santana with 28
Vern Morrison: Nick Swisher
Ryan Pinheiro: Mark Reynolds- His all or nothing approach should result in a lot of long balls, though his average won’t be pretty
Joe Werner: Mark Reynolds
David White: Mark Reynolds
11. Which pitcher will lead the team in wins?
Stephanie Liscio: Ubaldo Jimenez (Or he’ll be awful and will be released by the All Star break. Hey, I had to pick one nutty one, didn’t I?)
Susan Petrone: Masterson
Chris Burnham: Total shot in the dark: Zach McAllister.
Sam Butts: Justin Masterson
Adam Hintz: Justin Masterson (13)
Matt Hutton: Justin Masterson (12)
Justin Lada: Masterson
Ryan McCrystal: Justin Masterson with 14
Vern Morrison: Justin Masterson, with 15
Ryan Pinheiro: Justin Masterson- I think he’s poised for a bounce back year
Joe Werner: Zack McAllister
David White: Justin Masterson
12. Who will win the AL Central?
Stephanie Liscio: Detroit
Susan Petrone: Detroit
Chris Burnham: As I said, it’s Detroit and everyone else at the moment. Now, if something were to happen to Verlander, Fister, Cabrera and Fielder, all bets are off. I’m up for getting them all deported somehow.
Sam Butts: Detroit Tigers
Adam Hintz: Tigers (96-66)
Matt Hutton: Detroit Tigers
Justin Lada: Tigers
Ryan McCrystal: Detroit with a 90-72 record, eight games ahead of the Indians and Royals
Vern Morrison: Detroit Tigers
Ryan Pinheiro: The Tigers
Joe Werner: Detroit
David White: Indians
13. Any wild predictions you want to make not mentioned above?
Stephanie Liscio: I think Santana could do very well batting further down in the lineup, and with more protection from the addition of Bourn, Swisher and Reynolds.
Susan Petrone: Progressive field will have an on-field invasion by either a bird, an animal, or a streaker. (The crystal ball isn’t clear–needs to be washed.)
Chris Burnham: 1. This is the year I will finally see an Indian throw a no-no or perfect game. I was two years-old (or around there) when Len Barker did it, so that really doesn’t hold much relevance to me. 2. Marson will hit for the cycle. 3. In Tito’s return to Boston, Reynolds will have a 4-for-7 game; four homers and 11 RBI with three strikeouts sprinkled in for fun. Tribe will win 26-18 in an eight-hour, 32 minute game. Please don’t assign me this day.
Adam Hintz: Lonnie Chisenhall has a breakout season, showing improved plate discipline and the ability to hit left-handed pitching. He hits 20 HRs and bats at least .280. Kazmir sticks the whole season, struggles at times but is brilliant at others. Finishes with an ERA over 4.5, something around 10 wins and 10 losses. Bauer comes up mid-July, and pitches well enough to stick around in the big leagues.
Matt Hutton: Scott Kazmir will be the early feel good story pitching well, with an era below 4, until he gets hurt in May or June and eventually clears the way for Trevor Bauer.
Justin Lada: One member of the ‘Bullpen Mafia’ will not make it with the Indians through the season. (Joe Smith) Not exactly a bold prediction, but someone might be expendable or they might feel they just don’t want to pay him north of $1million to pitch in the 7th inning all season and have other capable options.
Ryan McCrystal: Paced by Reynolds and Stubbs, the Tribe will set the MLB record for strikeouts in a season set by the 2010 Diamondbacks (1,529)
Vern Morrison: Drew Stubbs will hit .265.
Ryan Pinheiro: Michael Bourn will win a Gold Glove, Carlos Santana will win a Silver Slugger, and Ubaldo Jimenez will win finish the season with an ERA under 4.00.
Joe Werner: Mark Reynolds finishes in the top 6 for AL homeruns
David White: Tribe make big deadline deal to shore up the middle of the rotation (big in the Tribe standards). I’d expect targeting someone like Matt Garza from the Cubs, or more likely a starter/converted reliever from the Dodgers such as Chris Capuano, Chad Billingsley or Aaron Harang.