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Tribe notes from the new Prospectus book

By jcfortun Published: February 12, 2009

Today I was pleased to find this year’s edition of the Baseball Prospectus placed up against my door. As always, the prospectus is chock-full of interesting tidbits, statistics and predictions for the upcoming season.

Now, if only my Baseball America Prospect Handbook would arrive, I could be content. Whats the hold up BA?

Prospectus is, for me at least, a must buy every year. It has a history of accurate predictions and I hope this year is no different. Although that won’t make many Indians fans to happy. Here is what they have to say about the Tribe last year and its prediction for this season:

2008: If only Cliff Lee could pitch every day, maybe the bullpen wouldn't be so vexing.

2009: The team's recent pattern of winning every other year offers hope, but the offense is underpowered and Kerry Wood doesn't solve all the pen problems.

The book expects the White Sox and Twins to be better than the Indians. (Reader Michael Taylor was quick to point out I was wrong about that. I mistook the Pythagenport record from last season with their prediction for this season. Thanks for the catch.)

The Prospectus projection for this season can be found here.

Prospectus does a few paragraphs on every single player who played last year, as well as some key prospects for each team. Here is a few of the more interesting write ups:

Travis Hafner

Forget 2006 – that may as well be ancient history – but can Hafner even repeat his 2007 production? The Indians still have to pay him nearly $52 million through 2012, and the weakened state of his right shoulder inspires little hope for an adequate return on the investment. At the end of May, when Hafner finally gave up fighting against the soreness that had been present since spring training, rest and rehab were thought to be all that was needed for recovery. He went over three months between major league games, trying to build strength, and then collected five hits in 41 at-bats during his September return. Dr. James Andrews performed surgery on the shoulder in October; oddly he found no structural damage. Given Hafner’s age and skill set –and knowing that players who emerge later tend to burn out quicker –Cleveland fans might soon need to shift the “Mistake by the Lake” label from the old Memorial Stadium to the Pronk-sized albatross now firmly tethered to Chief Wahoo’s neck.

Grady Sizemore

Sizemore carried the stiff carcass of Cleveland’s offense through the spring doldrums and midsummer wasteland, serving as the sole Tribesman who spent the entire season on the warpath. If his teammates had played up to expectations, he might have become the first Indian since Al Rosen in 1953 to win the MVP, for he finished second in league VOPR (Value Over Replacement Player), behind Alex Rodriguez. Sizemore doesn’t deserve the Gold Gloves that have begun to accumulate, but that’s of secondary importance for a player with so unique an offensive skill set – after becoming the second Indian to post a 30-30 season (Joe Carter is the other), Sizemore joined Rodriguez and Bobby Abreu as the only players in Major League history to have accomplished all four of the following single-season milestones: 100 walks, 50 doubles, 30 homers and 30 steals.

Fausto Carmona

… Carmona relies on his ability to discover the right rhythm for his symphony of pounding sinker after sinker into the zones lower depths, and he never found that repeatable groove. His heavy, bat-biting heater remains deadly, as he led all AL started with a 2.96 G/F ratio while lowering his home run rate, and the Indians are confident that with good health and more off-season work (he pitched in his native Dominican Republic’s winter league), he will return to form.

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