The Indians are an interesting team on ‘paper’, yet still do not hold any water with the style of baseball they can bring to the field on an everyday basis. New manager Terry Francona will bring some new looks to the Tribe this year, and will be reunited with a Mike Aviles, and Justin Masterson, who he worked with in Boston. Francona will have his work cut out for him the first year or two in Cleveland, but hopefully can turn this young ball club around to be a contender. The weakest link I see in the Tribe is the ‘Pen’. If closer Chris Perez can save 30 games or more this year, the Indians will be the White Sox of 2012, however, if not, look out for a record of about 62-100. Newly acquired RF Nick Swisher should bring about the same bat, but with weaker defense than the previous RF Shin-Soo Choo did. Swisher should hit about 25 HR and have about 88 RBI. The Indians traded Choo to the Reds for young CF Drew Stubbs. Stubbs has 30-30 potential, especially now that he will be hitting in the AL stadiums. This Cleveland team is a speed team, and should be top 5 MLB team in SB this year. Top Prospect Trevor Bauer was also acquired by the Indians in a trade with Arizona, Bauer is an interesting ball player, who works with his own traits; set aside this and let this youngster work his magic, he could work his way up to the No. 2 starter in the near future. Right now, Bauer starts the year No. 5 starter and should see about 10 wins.
The Rockies, not much to say here, however, Colorado is just an IR team. Star players going down last year just destroyed this team as well as anyone who had SS Troy Tulowitzki and or OF Carlos Gonzalez. A few players who were added late to anyone’s fantasy team was young catching phenom Wilin Rosario, and 2B Josh Rutledge. Rosario killed the ball last year, knocking out double digit HR, and Rutledge was a late adds to all rosters considering his speed and his OBP. New manager Walt Weiss will more than likely get a home town discount with the team record this year, as I cannot see this team doing any better than last year’s record of below .500. If healthy, Tulowitzki and Gonzalez should hit 25 or more HR, as well as bring in 100 RBI. They will fit nicely in the 3rd and 4th slots in the batting order. In Dynasty league and AL/NL leagues I would take the entire Outfield of the Rockies, however, Cargo is a 2nd round pick, Fowler worked his way up to a 6th round pick, and Cuddyer is a 9th round pick due to his multi position eligibility. Tulowitzki should be a 1st round pick, however, injuries has cost him to bounce back between rounds 1 and 2. I personally have kept C Wilin Rosario as a backup catcher, I just feel it is hard to let him go back into a draft in a Dynasty League format, when he hit .250 last year with 25 HR, and did not get in a full season. Look for the Rockies to go 74-88 this year.
This is going to be a World Series favorite this year. They will be getting back DH/C Victor Martinez who was out for all the 2012 season with an injury. His bat will contribute to the lineup as well as the newly acquired RF Torii Hunter. This is a very powerful lineup, who is capable of having 7 players hit 20 HR or more. If you are playing a Dynasty Team League or AL only League, the Tigers have potentially 3 players who could go in the 1st round. SP Justin Verlander, 3B Miguel Cabrera and 1B Prince Fielder could all land in the 1st round. Alex Avila should be a steal in all drafts, look for him to go somewhere between rounds 12-14; Avila is a young catcher who can hit .300, 20 HR, 80 RBI, not to bad for a catcher these days. Interesting prospect the Tigers have in the minor leagues is 3B go OF Nick Castellanos, who myself drafted in a Dynasty League minor draft. Nick was drafted as a 3B, however, since acquiring 1B Prince Fielder and moving Cabrera to 3B there is no room for Castellanos. Now, Castellanos is being treated as a LF, with a powerful bat, who can generate very nice power. Castellanos is about a year away with coming to Detroit, but may be a steal in 30 round leagues, and if you can afford to keep him on the roster all year for you Dynasty players. Look for Justin Verlander to lead the league in wins this year, with 22 and win the Cy-young award. Detroit should once again win the AL Central with a record of 92-70.