Questions About the Cleveland Indians

Below are questions many are asking about the Cleveland Indians as they begin spring training?

Will Travis Hafner be able to produce in the lineup this season?

Plagued by injuries over the past couple seasons, Hafner has not been the dominant force in the Indians lineup like he was early on in his career. Hafner has not had a breakout season like he had in 2007 and is limited to serving as the Indians’ designated hitter. Hafner is in the last year of his contract and will need to produce to generate interest from the Indians and possibly other teams who may be interested in signing him.

Could catcher Carlos Santana be a dominant force in the lineup?

After being called up from Triple-A Columbus in the season, Santana was on a tear for the Indians and proving he was a valuable asset in the lineup. A freak injury at the plate ended his season early but Santana’s offensive numbers were nothing to be ashamed of. When healthy, Santana has proven he can be a power hitter and drive in runs.

What will the Indians’ rotation bring to the table?

Last season, the Indians rotation struggled at times and injuries forced numerous call ups. Fausto Carmona had a couple of rough games here and there but started to become the dominant pitcher the Indians saw him as in 2007. Mitch Talbot was a pleasant surprise in the rotation and Jeanmar Gomez was surprising impressive in his first few starts when called up late in the season. The Indians rotation will be young but may turn some heads if they pitch consistently well.

The Indians are a young team but will it be enough contend in the AL Central?

After two seasons of trading top name talent for prospects, fans are waiting to see if the trades that former General Manager Mark Shapiro praised have worked. Shapiro dumped a lot of salary and top talent to bring in prospects and whether or not the plan has worked is still up for debate. First baseman Matt LaPorta got more playing time last season after Russell Branyan was traded away but only posted a .221 batting average for the season. Teammate and outfielder Michael Brantley was constantly shipped back and forth between Triple-A and the Indians and it was questioned whether or not he would live up to his full potential. Both of these players came in the CC Sabathia trade a couple seasons ago and were supposed to be top prospects in the Indians system. The front office has been trying to build a young team that has room for improvement, however, it still needs to be seen whether these prospects can come together and compete in the AL Central. Shapiro stood behind these trades and has believed in these prospects but it still remains whether that will produce wins.

Can the Indians offense improve in 2011?

The Indians lineup was a revolving door of players last season due to injuries but could pack a punch if everyone remains healthy this year. If Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner stay healthy and play to their potential, both hitters can pack a powerful punch in the lineup. Santana proved he has power and Shin-Shoo Choo has become one of the most dominant hitters in the Indians lineup. Asdrubal Cabrera can be a key hitter as well and these players will need to stay healthy and consistent in order for the Indians to have a better offense in 2011.




~ by jeffrsabo on February 19, 2011.

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