Sep 24, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians left fielder Michael Brantley (23) runs after doubling in the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
The regular season is right around the corner. That means that our last minute fantasy drafts are happening tonight and tomorrow.
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For each team, I will rundown the projected lineup, players to watch, and a complete list of 2014 stats to get you prepared for your upcoming fantasy drafts. We are finished with everything but the AL Central. Let’s let those five teams have their day in print as well!
In case you missed any:
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Rays
New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Angels
Chicago White Sox
2015 Cleveland Indians Projected Starting Lineup:
C: Yan Gomes (.278, 21HR, 74RBI, 0SB)
1B: Carlos Santana (.231, 27HR, 85RBI, 5SB)
2B: Jason Kipnis (.240, 6HR, 41RBI, 22SB)
SS: Jose Ramirez (.262, 2HR, 17RBI, 10SB in 69 games)
3B: Lonnie Chisenhall (.280, 13HR, 59RBI, 3SB)
LF: Michael Brantley (.327, 20HR, 97RBI, 23SB)
CF: Michael Bourn (.257, 3HR, 28RBI, 10SB in 106 games)
RF: David Murphy (.262, 8HR, 58RBI, 2SB)
DH: Brandon Moss (.234, 25HR, 81RBI, 1SB with Oakland)
Gomes burst on to the scene last year as one of the best hitting catchers around. He showed good power, and hit for a good average in the minors, so another .270, 20 homer season is not out of the question. He could be an absolute steal in round 14, where he is currently going.
Santana hit for a terrible average last year. In fact, his average was not above the Mendonza line to stay until the middle of June! I wouldn’t bet on him struggling that much this year. He still has really good power, and is a threat for a 30-100 season. He loses some value since he is no longer eligible at catcher, but he still holds third base eligibility. He is a good pick in the seventh or eighth round.
Kipnis also struggled last year. After a breakout 2013, he hit 11 less homers last year, and drove in 43 less runs. Nagging injuries didn’t help, so there is reason to believe that he can be a really good contributor at 2B again. Well, even if he struggles like he did last year, he should still get you at least 30 steals. I do have a feeling though that you can nab him in the eighth round, but he will produce like a 4th or 5th rounder.
Ramirez is just keeping the seat warm for Francisco Lindor. Of course, Lindor will have to prove his worth at AAA for a month or two, but he will be up well before the end of June. He is worth stashing if you have the bench spot open. He doesn’t have great power, but he can get on base a lot and rack up some steals.
If you take away Chisenhall’s monster week last year, you are left with pretty weak counting stats for a regular. He needs to get off to a good start of Giovanny Urshela could steal his job outright. Another possibility is that Cleveland could move Santana back to third and bring up Jesus Aguilar. He has the best power in the Cleveland system, and could hit 25 homers if they call him up by May 1st. Chisenhall can still be useful in deep leagues until he loses his job or falls into a platoon. Both seem plausible at this point.
Brantley set career highs in home runs, average, RBI, runs, steals, and batting average last year. Can he come anywhere close to those numbers again? Well, at 28 he is in his prime, so I wouldn’t rule it out. He has vaulted into the top ten of outfielders, and if he has a season like last year, he absolutely deserves to be there.
Michael Bourn battled several injuries last year that all but halted his main threat: speed. A healthy Bourn is a good bet to steal at least 30 bags again, so he can be a good middle round pick that could provide you with a lot of production. Of course, he could also suffer through another injury riddled season. This is not without risk.
David Murphy is solid. He has always been solid. He will never be anything more than solid. Which is bad news for him. The Indians are loaded in the outfield at every level of the organization, and I have serious doubts about whether they will be able to keep Carlos Moncrief and James Ramsey out of the majors for very long. They can both play right, which would turn Murphy into a solid bench player.
Moss has clubbed 76 home runs in the past three years after hitting just 15 in his first 250 major league games. His power should translate well to Cleveland, but hsi average is still going to hurt your fantasy team. He is worth a middle round pick because of the power potential, just make sure you grab guys that can help your average later like Melky Cabrera and Adam Eaton.
Next: How Does The Rotation Look?
Sep 22, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco (59) pitches during the third inning against the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
2015 Cleveland Indians Projected Rotation:
Corey Kluber (18-9, 2.44 ERA, 269K)
Carlos Carrasco (8-7, 2.55 ERA, 140K in 14 starts)
Trevor Bauer (5-8, 4.18 ERA, 143K)
Zach McAllister (4-7, 5.23 ERA, 74K in 15 starts)
T.J. House (5-3, 3.35 ERA, 80K in 18 starts)
Cody Allen (6-4, 2.07 ERA, 91K, 24/28 saves)
House That Hank Built
Kluber came out of nowhere to win the AL Cy Young Award last year. It likely was not a fluke. He looked very good in 2013. I expect his ERA to be closer to 3 than 2, and I expect his strikeouts to be closer to 200 than 250, but that still makes him a good fantasy ace and worthy of an early round pick in your draft.
Carrasco pitched out of the bullpen for part of last year, but he had similar numbers to Kluber’s 2013, except with a better ERA. He could have a breakout season, and it appears that many others also feel the same way. Carrasco is flying off draft boards before the tenth round, which adds a bit of a risk to taking him, but there could be a huge reward.
Bauer has been a top prospect for what seems like forever now, but he just can’t seem to make it work in the big leagues. Still, he just turned 24, and if his minor league record is any indicator, he could be special. Possibly as soon as this year. I like him as a late round pick in standard leagues because of the huge upside.
McAllister is only in the rotation because of necessity. Gavin Floyd (2-2, 2.65 ERA, 45K in nine starts with Atlanta) will have surgery to repair a fractured bone in his elbow. There is no timetable for his return, but you can bet he will be in the rotation as soon as he is ready. If he is going to miss a lot of time, there is a great chance that Cleveland trades some of their outfield depth for pitching. The question marks in the rotation could be the only thing keeping them from contending for a division title this year.
House looked very good as a rookie last year, and there is a good chance that he can build on it. His minor league numbers are solid. He does not have tremendous upside, but he is worth a look at the back of your rotation in deeper leagues.
Allen was brilliant after settling into the closer role last year. He strikes out a lot of batters and should get more save opportunities this year, which makes him a really good pick with upside in the second tier of closers.
Stay tuned to Fantasy CPR for our last two teams!
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