Tag: Cleveland

Daily Fantasy Baseball 2015: These MLB Advanced Metrics Can Make You a Winner

Fantasy baseball is often a game of mix-and-match when figuring out the right players to pick in daily fantasy leagues. One aspect of the game is often overlooked by a majority of fantasy baseball players and can help immensely in figuring out players to select.

While looking at too many forms of advanced statistics may do more harm than good, there is no doubt that some metrics are essential in helping a fantasy team win.

Here are a few key MLB advanced metrics to use in daily fantasy baseball leagues.

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Projecting the Cleveland Indians’ 25-Man Roster on Opening Day

The Cleveland Indians shocked the baseball world a year ago.

Improving by 24 wins from 2012, manager Terry Francona led the Tribe to a second-place finish in the AL Central and the team’s first playoff appearance since 2007. The city and its fans welcomed Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Mike Aviles, Ryan Raburn and veteran power hitter Jason Giambi to the team, as the offseason’s free-agent spending spree helped put the team over the top.

Coming into this season, the Tribe are hungry to build upon their success and have their sights set on dethroning the Detroit Tigers for the division crown.

As always, the key to a title lies within a pitching staff. While Cleveland has a number of questions in both its rotation and the bullpen, the Tribe has assembled an exceptional lineup heading into 2014. The following slides depict how that lineup might look come Opening Day against the Oakland Atletics on March 31.

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What Twitter’s Saying About Cleveland Indians as Spring Training Approaches

Spring training is finally here.

While many players reported to camp last week, Monday marks the first official day of workouts for the Cleveland Indians. What this also marks is the beginning to another magical season on Lake Erie. 

Absent the major free-agent signings from a year ago, the Tribe are poised to challenge the Detroit Tigers for the AL Central crown during the 2014 season.

There is a lot to look forward to this spring.

Perhaps the most versatile player on the Indians roster, Carlos Santana will get some looks at third base and allow manager Terry Francona to make the decision as to whether or not his primary catcher in 2013 is ready to make the jump to the hot corner.

Nick Swisher and Asdrubal Cabrera have returned to camp free of the injury bug that led to a modest season despite the Tribe’s triumphant return to the postseason.

Michael Brantley (and his new contract) and Jason Kipnis will look to improve upon their impressive campaigns a year ago to take the Tribe back to the promised land this October.

Justin Masterson begins his argument for a long-term deal, too, as he looks to anchor a promising, young pitching staff.

That only scratches the surface of the excitement.

Can Mickey Callaway rejuvenate the career of Shaun Marcum or Aaron Harang the way he did for Scott Kazmir last season? Can Jeff Francoeur or Nyjer Morgan return to contribute at the big league level the way Ryan Raburn did last season?

There are so many questions to ask, and there are so many questions that will go unanswered.

Without looking too far ahead, let’s see what Twitter is saying about the Tribe’s first official day of camp this spring:

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2013 Cleveland Indians: The Tribe Paid Too Much for Mark Reynolds

According to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, the Cleveland Indians have agreed on a one-year contract for corner infielder Mark Reynolds. The deal is valued at $6 million, but could be worth as much as $7.5 million if he reaches certain performance bonuses.  

Though the Indians now have a first baseman for next season (also an experienced designated hitter and third baseman), allowing for 24-year-old Lonnie Chisenhall to take over at third base, the Tribe definitely paid too much for Reynolds’ services in 2013.

Reynolds is coming off of a year where he saw his power numbers take a dip, batting a mere .221 with 23 home runs and 69 RBI.  He owns a lifetime .235 batting average, and though he has some good pop to his bat, he has struggled to bat over .221 the last three seasons.  

If you ask me, a guaranteed $6 million dollar contract doesn’t warrant the numbers he put up in 2012 where he made $7.5 million with the Baltimore Orioles.  I’m not sure what the Indians front office was thinking, but it seems their current commitment to fans includes players that struggle to hit for average. Even though the team is young and looking to rebuild, guaranteeing Reynolds this much money, even for only one year is absurd and could have been spent on improving other aspects.

If Reynolds can somehow find a way to replicate the numbers he put up in 2009 with the Arizona Diamondbacks (.260 average, 44 home runs, 102 RBI), perhaps this deal will look like a steal. However, with three consecutive years of average baseball, my guess is this contract will turn out to be a big waste of money.  

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Cleveland Indians’ Travis Hafner: Will Slugger Be Inducted into Hall of Fame?

As a devoted Detroit Tigers fan and follower, I probably should not be discussing the Cleveland Indians. But sometimes my love for the greater game of baseball takes precedence over my own biases.

I sure am going to miss watching Cleveland Indians slugger Travis Hafner play once he decides to retire, because Hafner has been one of my favorite ballplayers to watch over the past decade.

This 34-year-old North Dakota native did not attend a major college baseball pipeline, he attended Cowley County Community College in Arkansas City, Kansas.  

But do not tell that to opposing big-league pitchers who swallow hard fear whenever Hafner swaggers to the plate amidst heavy rock music.

At 6’3”, 240 pounds, Hafner is built as if he is the spiritual being sparking fear in bulls darting through the streets of Pamplona.

Sometimes when I watch Hafner, it seems more like a WWE wrestler just entered the ballpark.

Like John Cena meets Hack Wilson.  

When Hafner makes contact, you almost feel sorry for the baseball, as if he just knocked the wind out of the poor mass with stitches. I wonder how different major league record books would look if Hafner could have stayed healthy.  

Hafner achieved a stretch from 2004-2007 where no big-league pitcher wanted anything to do with him. This was because he averaged 32 home runs and 109 RBI during this time.

In Hafner’s best season (2006), his stats were beyond ridiculous. Hafner had 42 homers, 117 RBI to go with a .308 average, .659 slugging percentage and an OPS of 1.098. It is no wonder pitchers walked him 100 times that season.

As Hafner made his way from ballpark to ballpark, many fans grew convinced this behemoth figure was well on his way to a Hall of Fame career.  

But darn Mother Nature—since 2007 Hafner just could not remain healthy. The most on-field appearances Hafner has been able to muster in a single season the past four years are 118 games. Looking at Hafner’s complete body of work, he has averaged just 97 games a season in his 10-year career.

Career-wise, Hafner has hit 194 home runs and 875 RBI. His slugging percentage is .508. This is good for 70th all-time, right behind Ty Cobb.

Eerily, give Hafner a few more of years of baseball and his career numbers will look strikingly similar to Hack Wilson’s.

For the record, Wilson is a Hall of Famer.

Not to say Hafner will muster enough healthy seasons to achieve the same, but it would be nice to see.

But as a Tigers fan, I would humbly ask Hafner be traded out of the AL Central before he does.

I am sure Cleveland Indians fans would have something to say about this.

Join us on Basebook!

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Cleveland Indians: The 10 Greatest Trades of the Mark Shapiro Era

Mark Shapiro is one of the most polarizing GM’s in professional sports. ‘Shap’ took over as Cleveland’s GM following the departure of John Hart, a man many identify as synonymous with the winning Tribe baseball of the 1990s.

Shapiro’s arrival and tenure as Indians GM coincided with the team’s sale to the much-maligned Larry Dolan. As Shapiro will forever be linked to Dolan, many Tribe fans are quick to associate words like “cheap” and “rebuilding” as hallmarks of his legacy.

Shapiro has the dubious distinction as being the only GM to trade away successive reigning Cy Young winners. The trades of CC Sabathia in 2008 and Cliff Lee in 2009 will live forever in Cleveland Indians infamy.

Cleveland fans were encouraged to remain patient after both deals were made, as the Tribe obtained a total of seven prospects for Sabathia and Lee. Three and four years removed from both trades, however, only Michael Brantley is an everyday player for the Tribe, and he’s had his own struggles with inconsistency.

Despite the perceived ineptitude, however, Shapiro and his protégé Chris Antonetti have laid the groundwork for a competitive young Indians team that is currently atop the AL Central.

Setting aside the Sabathia and Lee deals, I’m going to focus strictly on Mark Shapiro’s history of successful trades, many of which go unnoticed by the pitchfork-wielding mob of nay-saying Tribe fans.

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Cleveland Indians Fans Not Coming out to the Ball Park

Cleveland was, once upon a time, a baseball town, featuring a team on the cusp of the World Series and perennial All-Stars like CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez.

Those days are a distant memory.

Since the Tribe’s home opener, which is always a sell out, the Indians have drawn record low attendances at Progressive Field. The Tribe has played in front of crowds of less than 10,000 fans four times already this season, including Tuesday night’s game that saw only 9,137 fans.

Ticket prices in Cleveland have fallen dramatically. On StubHub’s website, tickets for the upcoming series against the Kansas City Royals range from only $2-10. Tickets into the stadium would cost less than a hot dog and a beer for the typical baseball fan to enjoy.

The Indians front office saw the major drop-off in attendance start last year and it has carried over into this season. But not because of lack of effort from the front office. Starting this season, the front office has adopted a more fan-friendly philosophy hoping to draw as many fans as possible. They have veered away from the typical baseball menu and installed more food kiosks with a variety of food in the stadium. New items on the menu include macaroni and cheese and buffalo chicken. The Indians have also altered their strict non-re-entry policy they have had in recent years in order to get more fans out to the ballpark.

All of these additions and more to the ballpark still haven’t paid off in getting fans out to Progressive Field. The team’s struggles in recent years, and lack of a World Series title since 1948, have likely left some Cleveland fans fed up, and caused them to remain indoors. 

With the majority of seats empty at a stadium, many would assume that it would have a negative impact on the team. Indians manager Manny Acta speaks to the contrary (via the Akron Beacon Journal). “Once a guy gets to the ballpark, he’s focused on the other club and trying to win,’’ Acta said. “Is it better when the seats are filled? Yeah, but players know they can’t control that. We’re sure not going to make excuses because there aren’t 40,000 people there.’’

The Indians players also realize that sparse crowds likely are a result from their woeful home record to begin the season. The Indians first baseman says he hope an improvement in on-field performance will result in improvement in the seats. “I’m hoping the fans will come when we play better [at home],’’ Kotchman said. “If they don’t come, we know it’s not in our control. But if you’re not playing well, it’s hard to expect fans to want to show up, especially in bad weather.’’

On the Bull and Fox show, Indians ace Justin Masterson isn’t worried about the attendance to start the season. “It’s only two games,” Masterson said. “It [was] Easter. Everyone has to go to church one day of the year,” he added.

Holiday or not, the attendances have been declining drastically in the last two years in Cleveland. If the new fan-friendly philosophy doesn’t pay off in bringing in the crowds, and the team doesn’t start improving it is hard to tell where the Indians front office will turn to try to draw the crowds.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Major League Baseball 2012 and Beyond: 5 Young Teams on the Rise

It’s that time of year again in Major League Baseball.

Division leaders and Wild Card hopefuls dominate the headlines as fans across the nation begin to anticipate the excitement of October pennant chases. 

September is where legends cement their place, managers justify their contracts, role players previously shrouded in obscurity make their names known, MVPs and Cy Young winners bring home their hardware, headlines are stolen and franchise-crippling collapses are immortalized. 

The most exciting month of baseball’s regular season is where the pretenders and the contenders are finally separated as W’s, X’s, Y’s and Z’s begin to finalize the standings, granting a select few ball clubs the ever-so-elusive invitation to the sport’s most exclusive dance.

Lost in the hype, however, as disgruntled fans of hopeless teams begin to switch the channel over to football are their first glances at a brighter future. 

For those of us not lucky enough to construct our hopes around the boys in New York, Milwaukee, Texas, Arizona, Detroit or Philadelphia, September call-ups are all we’ve got left to give the tail end of the schedule some measure of relevance.

This is where the old Brooklyn Dodgers mantra of “wait till next year” becomes a battle cry, because unless your favored club is within a few games of a postseason berth, the future is your last resort.

Now, that’s not to say that next year’s prospects are looking too bright in every corner of Bud Selig’s empire.

In remote ball-playing wastelands, such as Houston, Texas and Baltimore, it’s going to take years of patience and good faith before the home team can even begin to see itself on the same page as the rest of its competition.

For these five clubs, however, grim outlooks need not be applied.

With the savvy dealing, creativity and patience of their front offices alongside the steady development of their promising talent on the farm, brighter days appear to be just on the horizon, merely awaiting a fresh 162 or two.

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2011 Fantasy Baseball Waiver-Wire Gems: American League

Derrek Lee, 1B Baltimore Orioles (26 percent owned in Yahoo, 28.8 percent in ESPN)

Current Stat Line: .247 AVG/26 R/5 HR/19 RBI/2 SB

Lee has certainly not lived up to expectations so far in 2011, but his bat seems to be coming alive. In the past seven games, Lee has hit .438 with five XBH and six runs.

He has been shuffled between the fourth and sixth spot in the lineup, so if he can stay healthy, he should help your team in AVG and RBI.

Projection (rest of season): .283 AVG/39 R/11 HR/44 RBI/2 SB


Alexi Casilla, 2B/SS Minnesota Twins (28 percent owned in Yahoo, 55.6 percent in ESPN)

Current Stat Line: .260 AVG/32 R/2 HR/15 RBI/11 SB

Casilla has been on fire for the past month. Since May 24th he has hit .327 AVG/9 R/2 HR/11 RBI/8 SB. Casilla is currently batting second for the Twins and he should stay there. I don’t expect him to hit .327 for the rest of the year, but he should be a solid contributor in AVG, R, SB. 

Projection (rest of season): .280 AVG/36 R/4 HR/23 RBI/11 SB


Jemile Weeks, 2B Oakland Athletics (20 percent owned in Yahoo, 35 percent in ESPN)

Current Stat Line: .305 AVG/11 R/0 HR/6 RBI/6 SB

Weeks started out with a .400 BABIP and one walk in 44 AB. Since then he has shown more patience at the plate with four walks in 19 at bats and he is batting leadoff for the Athletics.

The stolen bases is a huge plus, but it will only be a matter of time before pitchers start adjusting to him. Pick him up while he is hot but don’t expect a long-term fix.

Projection (rest of season): .260 AVG/26 R/2 HR/19 RBI/10 SB


Alcides Escobar, SS Kansas City Royals (29 percent owned in Yahoo, 73.5 percent in ESPN)

Current Stat Line: .246 AVG/34 R/1 HR/21 RBI/12 SB

In the minors, Escobar was an annual three category producer in AVG, R and SB. When called up by the Brewers, he was planted in the eight hole where he was unable to showcase his true potential.

Now that he is batting ninth for an AL team, he will have more opportunity to steal bases and score runs. Since June 7th he has hit, .411 AVG/13 R/8 RBI/6 SB. I would rather roster Escobar than Chone Figgins, Gordon Beckham, Darwin Barney and Omar Infante.

Projection (rest of season): .265 AVG/40 R/2 HR/27 RBI/15 SB

Carlos Carrasco, SP Cleveland Indians (39 percent owned in Yahoo, 47.1 percent in ESPN)

Current Stat Line: 7 W/4 L/53 K/3.62 ERA/1.21 WHIP

Carlos Carrasco, a regular on “Spot Starting,” has been untouchable on the mound in his last four starts. During that time he has thrown 29.2 IP/2 ER/21 K/5 BB. His current K/9 sits at 5.48, but last year it was at 7.66 even though his current SwStr% of 8.4 is nearly identical to his 8.7 mark in 2010.

Expect a slight uptick in strikeouts. 

Projection (rest of season): 6 W/4 L/78 K/3.5 ERA/1.20 WHIP


For other entries in our waiver-wire gems series, click here!

Brian “Killboy” Kilpatrick is a Senior Writer for 4thandHome.com, where this, and other work, can be found. Additionally, he is co-host of The 4th and Home Show on Blog Talk Radio.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2011 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Gems: American League

J.J. Hardy, SS Baltimore Orioles (23 percent owned in Yahoo, 37.1 percent ESPN)

Current Stat Line: .288 AVG / 19 R / 6 HR / 19 RBI / 0 SB

Hardy has been a monster the past 14 days hitting .375 AVG, 11 R, four HR, seven RBI. It seems like everyone has forgotten his ’07 and ’08 seasons with the Brewers when he hit .280 AVG, 167 R, 50 HR, 164 RBI. I am writing off last year as a fluke because Target Field is a tough place to call home. Now he is in a park that is very friendly to right-handed hitters.

My Projection: .279 AVG / 80 R / 20 HR / 65 RBI / 2 SB


Michael Brantley, OF Cleveland Indians (49 percent owned in Yahoo, 83 percent in ESPN)

Current Stat Line: .293 AVG / 35 R / 5 HR / 26 RBI / 8 SB

You Yahoo people need to get with the program. I don’t know what else this guy has to do to be more universally owned. He is sitting atop a good AL lineup that will continue to score runs, he is taking walks at a decent clip and the batting average should stick. I would like to see him be more active on the base paths because he has shown the ability in the minors and don’t expect 15 home runs.

My Projection: .290 AVG / 100 R / 10 HR / 62 RBI / 29 SB


Corey Patterson, OF Toronto Blue Jays (43 percent owned in Yahoo, 77.8 percent ESPN)

Current Stat Line: .293 AVG / 35 R / 5 HR / 28 RBI / 9 SB

If Brantley isn’t available in your league, hopefully Patterson is because you are getting similar production. He has not consistently hit for high average in his career (.255 career AVG) but it should remain respectable if he continues to hit in front of Bautista and Lind. His .153 ISO is in-line with his career mark of .151 ISO so 15 HR is not out of the question. He has been caught stealing 6 times but the Jays are very aggressive on the bases so he still has the green light.

My Projection: .270 AVG / 85 R / 15 HR / 65 RBI / 30 SB


Mark Trumbo, 1B Los Angeles Angels (34 percent owned in Yahoo, 79.2 percent ESPN)

Current Stat Line: .252 AVG / 23 R / 11 HR / 29 RBI / 6 SB

Mark Trumbo’s Yahoo ownership level baffles me. In the minors last year, he hit .299 AVG with 36 HR and he is showing the same type of power in the majors. This guy is a near lock for 25 HR and the stolen bases are an added bonus. He has been hitting out of the seven spot more often than I would like but he may get an opportunity to move up.

My Projection: 250 AVG / 65 R / 26 HR / 79 RBI / 12 SB


Miguel Olivo, C Seattle Mariners (31 percent owned in Yahoo, 29.2 percent ESPN)

Current Stat Line: .241 AVG / 28 R / 8 HR / 30 RBI / 2 SB

In a year that the catcher position is so thin, Olivo deserves a good look. Seattle may not have the best lineup in the world (or 28th best) but Olivo is batting cleanup or fifth everyday for the Mariners. In the past seven games he has four HR and 11 RBI. He may finish the year as a top ten catcher so give him a shot.

My Projection: .250 AVG / 72 R / 22 HR / 85 RBI / 4 SB

Click here for our other waiver wire gems!

Brian “Killboy” Kilpatrick is a Senior Writer for 4thandHome.com, where this, and other work, can be found. Additionally, he is co-host of The 4th and Home Show on Blog Talk Radio.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

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