Cleveland Indians

Manager: Terry Francona
Stadium: Progressive Field
2008 Record: 81-81 (3rd in AL Cent)
Team Page | Roster | Schedule

LINEUP

'08: Batting | Runs (6th in AL)
PLAYER B POS
Grady Sizemore L CF
Mark DeRosa R 3B
Travis Hafner L DH
Victor Martinez B C
Jhonny Peralta R SS
Shin-Soo Choo L RF
Ryan Garko R 1B
Ben Francisco R LF
Asdrubal Cabrera B 2B
OFF THE BENCH
Jamey Carroll R INF
Kelly Shoppach R C

PITCHING

'08: Pitching | ERA (9th in AL)
ROTATION T POS
Cliff Lee L SP1
Fausto Carmona R SP2
Carl Pavano R SP3
Anthony Reyes R SP4
Aaron Laffey L SP5
BULLPEN
Jensen Lewis R Setup
Rafael Perez L Setup
Kerry Wood R Closer
 
Mark DeRosa used to play in the AL and thought he knew the Cleveland roster. But after being traded to the Indians in December and spending a few weeks in spring camp, he sought out GM Mark Shapiro about one player in particular. "Hey, what about that Choo guy?" DeRosa asked. The entire baseball world might know a whole lot about Shin-Soo Choo by the end of the summer. "He's one of those guys who, when he's in the batting cage, the ball just sounds different when he hits it," says hitting coach Derek Shelton. Injuries have limited the 26-year-old Choo, a native of South Korea, to 509 at-bats over four seasons, but he blistered AL pitching in the second half of 2008, hitting .343 with a 1.038 OPS. This spring, Choo is driving the ball more consistently to the opposite field -- the product, Shelton believes, of a greater focus on his preparation. Over the past two seasons, Cleveland's offense has mirrored the struggles of Travis Hafner. But if the DH, who's coming off shoulder surgery, falters this year, the Indians should be OK with that Choo guy.
-- Buster Olney

ESPN The Magazine's Indians preview Insider

PROSPECTS

HITTER TO WATCH:

Matt LaPorta, the centerpiece of the CC Sabathia deal, is close to ready for the majors, with power and patience that Ryan Garko can't provide.

PITCHER TO WATCH:

Scott Lewis wasn't one of the top dozen prospects in Cleveland's system this spring but made their rotation almost by default. He's a slight lefty with good control of fringy stuff.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.

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SPORTSNATION

Is Grady Sizemore the best center fielder in the American League? Do the Indians have the top lineup in the AL? Is Victor Martinez the best catcher in the league? Register your vote.

AL poll page

Featured Comment

Straight up, best team in the division.


IndiansIn October

American League fan previews

FANTASY

SLEEPER

The more Jhonny Peralta plays, the more power he displays. Coming off career highs in runs and RBIs, we expect Peralta to be an offensive juggernaut in 2009, which is even more valuable coming from a shortstop.

BUST

With Kerry Wood, it's all a question of his health, and with his track record, it's a big question. Blisters derailed him in the second half of 2008. We're afraid of a repeat performance, or perhaps something far worse.
-- AJ Mass

INJURY TO WATCH

It seems like every year there's someone who's expected to return midseason after Tommy John surgery (ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction) the previous year. Jake Westbrook is one of those guys this year, with a twist: He also had hip surgery during the same time frame. It actually makes sense, since the rehab following Tommy John surgery is so extensive. Adding the hip procedure in order to recover from both simultaneously seems to have been a wise move, but as a result, Westbrook's return may take a bit longer. As of the start of the season, the Indians are hoping he rejoins the team in June, and he is already throwing fastballs from a mound. Most pitchers, however, require an additional nine to 12 months to truly regain their form after this type of elbow surgery, so Indians fans need to temper expectations accordingly.
-- Stephania Bell

MORE

30 Questions: Can Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez bounce back?

PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS

  • Jayson Stark

    Stark
    No. 13 overall
    (3rd in
    AL Central)

  • Tim Kurkjian

    Kurkjian
    No. 9 overall
    (1st in
    AL Central)

  • Buster Olney

    Olney
    No. 8 overall
    (2nd in
    AL Central)

  • Rob Neyer

    Neyer
    No. 6 overall
    (1st in
    AL Central)

  • Jim Caple

    Caple
    No. 12 overall
    (3rd in
    AL Central)