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Legends On Deck

Cleveland Indians: How They Were Built

2015 Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians finished the 2014 campaign with a record of 85-77.  It was down slightly from their 92-win season in 2013, but still heading in the right direction.  With so much parity in major league baseball, it really is turning into anyone’s game at anytime.  It is an exciting time to be a fan of the sport and Cleveland could contend in the American League Central as long as they stay healthy.

Starting Pitchers

Corey Kluber – Acquired in a trade with the San Diego Padres in 2010.  Coming on strong is an understatement for the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner.  The righty won 18 games for the tribe in 2014 with his ERA dropping from 3.85 in 203 to 2.44 in 2014.  Cleveland rewarded Kluber for his success with a five-year $38.5 million contract extension with two option years for 2020 and 2021.

Carlos Carrasco – Acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009.  Carrasco has spent time as both a relief pitcher and a starter.  He made 40 appearances in 2014 with 14 starts.  He had a record of 8-7 with an ERA of 2.55 in 134 innings of work.  Carrasco had a career-high 9.4 K/9 in 2014.

Trevor Bauer – Acquired in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012.  Bauer was a highly ranked prospect in all of baseball prior to the 2012 season.  He hasn’t had a full opportunity to live up to that yet, but came close in 2014 when he made 26 starts.  His statistics weren’t overly impressive but he is still young at 24-years old will have plenty of chances this season.

Zach McAllister – Acquired in a trade with the New York Yankees in 2010.  McAllister is another young arm in the Indians rotation.  He spent time in 2014 coming out of the bullpen and starting.  He finished the season with a 4-7 record and an ERA of 5.23.  Those numbers aren’t the norm for him as he seems to perform better as a starter over his brief career, so it will be put up time for him in 2015.

T.J. House – Drafted in the 16th round of the 2008 amateur draft by the Indians.  House has made his way into the starting five for the Indians due to the injury of Gavin Floyd.  House did make 18 starts last season going 5-3 with an ERA of 3.35.  He certainly seems capable of handling the duties in the rotation, but will he be able to make 30+ starts?

Bullpen

Cody Allen (CL) – Drafted in the 23rd round of the 2011 amateur draft by the Indians.  Allen seemingly took over the closer role in 2014 and did a good job.  He recorded 24 saves and made 76 appearances.  His ERA was just above two and he boasted an 11.8 K/9 which is nothing to balk at.

Bryan Shaw – Acquired in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012.  Shaw is entering his fifth season in the major leagues.  He appeared in a league-high 80 games last season with Cleveland and finished with a 5-5 record and an ERA of 2.59.  He has logged some serious innings on his young arm with the Indians, and will probably be expected to do the same in 2015.

Scott Atchison – Signed a one-year $1 million free agent contract with the Indians in 2014.  The 39-year old righty isn’t showing signs of slowing down and is still more than capable of getting outs.  He appeared in 70 games last season with a record of 6-0 and an ERA of 2.75 with the Indians.

Marc Rzepczynski – Acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013.  Rzepczynski is entering his seventh season in the major leagues.  He appeared in a career-high 73 games in 2014 with Cleveland as their lefty specialist and had a 9.0 K/9.

Nick Hagadone – Acquired in a trade with the Boston Red Sox in 2009.  Hagadone is the second lefty in the bullpen for the Indians and brings with him 107 games of experience.  He is entering his fifth season in the major leagues and is trending in the right direction.  It is certainly a bonus have two left-handed pitchers in the bullpen.

Anthony Swarzak – Signed a one-year $950,000 free agent contract with the Indians in 2015.  Swarzak was a member of the Minnesota Twins in 2014 before being granted free agency at the end of the season.  He is a serviceable reliever and should see plenty of time this season.

Starting Lineup

Yan Gomes (C) – Acquired in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012.  Gomes took over full catching duties after Carlos Santana was switched to first base.  He appeared in 135 games in 2014 posting a .278 average with a career-high 21 home runs and 74 RBI.  The 27-year old backstop also received the Silver Slugger Award.

Carlos Santana (1B) – Acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008.  What he lacked in batting average in 2014 he made for in power.  Santana saw his batting average drop from a career-high .268 in 2013 to a career-low .231 in 2014.  His home runs improved from 20 to 27 and he had an American League leading 113 walks.  He will have to continue doing what he has been for the past several seasons for the Indians to be looked at as contenders in the Central.

Jason Kipnis (2B) – Drafted in the second round of the 2009 amateur draft by the Indians.  Kipnis struggled in 2014 and was a bit off from his All-Star season in 2013.  His health and production will also be key to the Indians success in 2015.  He did improve slightly on defense from 2013 to 2014 in 20 fewer games.

Lonnie Chisenhall (3B) – Drafted in the first round of the 2008 amateur draft by the Indians.  Chisenhall became and every day player and gave the Indians something to be excited about.  Although his power numbers didn’t change all that much, his batting average certainly did (from .225 to .280) and of course with that his OBP went up as well.  Hopefully for the Indians sake he can continue to produce like he did in 2014.

Jose Ramirez (SS) – Signed as an amateur free agent with the Indians in 2009.  Ramirez played off and on in 2014 and posted an average of .262 in 68 games.  He is a decent defensive middle infielder which may be all Cleveland needs from him.

Michael Brantley (LF) – Acquired in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008.  Brantley had a break-out season in 2014, making the American League All-Star Team, batting .327 with 20 home runs and 97 RBI.  He is a tremendous fielder and had 12 assists to go along with his offensive output.  There is no reason to believe that he won’t continue to produce like he did in 2014.

Michael Bourn (CF) – Signed a four-year $48 million free agent contact with the Indians in 2013.  Bourn hasn’t quite been what the Indians hoped he would be after signing him to the contract in 2013.  He has missed time and also has slipped in pretty much every category.  They need a guy to get on base at the top of the order and the hope is for Bourn to be the one.  Time will tell.

Brandon Moss (RF) – Acquired in a trade with the Oakland A’s in 2014.  Moss was brought in to provide the Indians with a little more pop to their lineup.  Moss hit 25 home runs in 2014 which would be a welcomed site if he could do that again this season.  He could add some protection to the lineup for Brantley and others which will help in the long run.

David Murphy (DH) – Signed a two-year $12 million free agent contract with the Indians in 2013.  Murphy was most likely going to split time with Nick Swisher if “Swish” was ready for the season but it doesn’t appear that that is the case.  Murphy will get the brunt of the DH duties and give some rest to the outfielders on occasion.

Projected Bench

Roberto Perez (C) – Drafted in the 33rd round of the 2008 amateur draft by the Indians.  Perez made his major league debut last season and played well.  In 29 games he hit .271 with a home run and four RBI.  He may play a larger role this season depending on Gomes.

Mike Aviles (IF/OF) – Acquired in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012.  Aviles is entering his eighth year in the major leagues and is a super utility player that can play any place he is needed.  He is a career .269 hitter in 712 games with three different teams.

Ryan Raburn (OF) – Signed a two-year $4.85 million free agent contract with the Indians in 2014.  Raburn is entering his 10th season in the major leagues.  He has the ability to play every outfield position and has some experience playing infield as well.  He is a career .253 hitter.

 

John Ginder

Site Co-Founder/Senior Editor and Co-Host at Legends on Deck® The Podcast
In the past John has been a part of such successful sites as MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net.John was born and raised in upstate New York and has a love of all sports but mainly baseball. He has grown used to heartache with his teams as he roots for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres too.John has a loving and understanding wife and is the the proud father of two amazing boys.He also loves heavy metal music.

You can also reach out to John at jginder@legendsondeck.com