Friday, March 30, 2012

Thoughts on Indians Left Field Requirements, Park Factors, and Groundball Staff

The biggest need in the Indians lineup right now is a player with the ability to get on base and the ability to move once there. The Indians need to focus on acquiring these two skills, regardless of the players age, defensive ability, perceived blocking of a player, or whether or not the hitter is a left handed bat or right handed bat. The Indians provide a benefit of a friendly park for left handed hitters and a pitching staff that is constructed to minimize both balls in play and fly balls to left field.

1. A player who is picked up now should not be degraded for what particular skill set they lack.  Anyone brought in today will have scratch and dent written all over them. They will either be a defensive liability, too old, too inexperienced, have a poor track record, etc. The suggestion that the player acquired is not any better than what a team has already should only be applied when compared to the specific skill set an organization is looking to fill.

2. I hate the term blocking as it indicates that the manager and GM have no clue as to what they are doing. The term blocking ranks slightly  ahead of the "organization ruined a player" adage. If guys can hit management will find at bats for them.  Any player added to a roster at this point is going to be acquired based on filling a certain skill set which will add value to the team either by outproducing someone on the field, providing depth and insurance at multiple positions, and putting someone who may of been pushed into an uncomfortable role back into a role where the player has had success. 

In the case of the Cleveland Indians it has become quite obvious that management believes that Shelly Duncan is not suited to be an everyday player but rather a heavily used role player at LF/DH/1b and be utilized as a pinch hitter off the bench. He will still see plenty of action but his skill set doesn't seem to match the Indians need of On-Base Skill (career .313) plus ability to move on the bases (1 career stolen base). 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Around the AL Central: Let the Games Begin

The hits just keep on coming for the Indians and their fans. First Chris Perez has an oblique strain that will put him on the shelf for 4-6 weeks and then its announced that Grady Sizemore has undergone a back surgery that will put him on the disabled list for 8-12 weeks. The good news is that the games have begun in Goodyear and the Indians and Reds battled to a 6-6 tie in the first Cactus League game of the year. The best news to come out of the game, as in any game in spring training, is that nobody was injured.

Indians Notes: 
Tigers Notes: 
  • Eight Tigers pitchers combined on a 1-hit 2-0 shutout over the Atlanta Braves . Prince Fielder was on base 3 times with 2 hits and a double. Former Indians Jered Head hit a solo home run fort he Tigers.
  • Tiger Manager Jim Leyland tells James Schmel of that he supports major league baseball's decision to add a playoff team but doesn't like it.
  • Chris Hannum at Motor City Bengals 
Royals Notes: 
  • Royals Review asks if former Indians farmhand Kevin Kouzmanoff will make the opening day roster. As of this writing the poll response was 76% against.
  • Dick Kaegel at looks at reliever Tim Collins as he attempts to gain command of his pitches and improve control.
  • Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star takes a look at Luis Mendoza who after 11 minor league seasons  is looking to win a job in the Royals rotation. Will the mechanical adjustments made by minor league pitching coach Doug Henry in 2011which  led to a 2.18 ERA in 144.2 innings of work continue with the Royals in 2012?
White Sox Notes: 
Twins Notes:
  • TwinkieTown  discusses the Twins Grapefruit League opener victory over the the Tampa Bay Rays 7-3.
  • Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune looks at what changes the Twins have made in the front office, how expectations have changed, and what Ron Gardenhire has to do to turn things around.