MVP: Asdrubal Cabrera
Rookie (or young player) of the year: Lonnie Chisenhall. He will still be a little short on power but, overall, he will establish himself as the Indians’ third baseman for years to come.
Biggest surprise: Matt Capps will emerge as a quality setup man who will show his closer form, leading to the Indians wanting to re-sign him. As far as rookies, this will depend on how the season goes. For me, the natural is Nick Hagadone. If the season tanks and we trade Chris Perez, look for Preston Guilmet to get a shot at set-up guy and Matt Langwell to get a cup of coffee at 6th/7th inning guy. For these last two, it will be a surprise that they even make it to the majors and it will be icing on that cake when they are, as they will be, effective. Cord Phelps will establish himself as a super utility player, as well.
Biggest disappointment: Brett Myers will be in the bullpen by the beginning of May. For $7 million, this will qualify as the biggest disappointment. Ryan Raburn will be gone by July 1. Jason Kipnis will struggle mightily early on leading to a demotion. When he returns to the big leagues in August he will be, from that point on through the rest of his career, the player the Indians thought he could be. Cody Allen will struggle and spend time in the minors getting more seasoning.
Comments: The Indians will struggle at the 3rd through 5th starters and that will be the key reason they don’t make the playoffs. Rookies and young players will struggle early but, overall, the future will look a lot brighter as the season moves into its later stages and the reason for multi-year signings of Swisher and Bourn and the one-year signing of Myers will be more clear as the 2014 roster starts to take shape in August/September of 2013.
MVP: This is a tough one. My guess is that Tim Fedroff wins by default as I don’t know if anyone else either performs or stays at Columbus long enough. Fedroff, like Jared Goedert and Russ Canzler in the past, will be there long enough to put up numbers.
Rookie (or young player) of the year: Preston Guilmet.
Biggest surprise: Roberto Perez will get his cup of coffee sometime this year. Cord Phelps, when he returns, will beat up AAA pitching and be in Cleveland by July 1st.
Biggest disappointment: Giovanni Soto will be back in AA by June as he just can’t get enough innings in.
Comments: The worst team in years in Columbus. This team has no star power and the veteran presence will quickly evaporate due to call-ups and opt-outs.
MVP: Chun-Hsiu Chen
Rookie (or young player) of the year: Jose Ramirez
Biggest surprise: TJ House being in Columbus before May 15th. Danny Salazar in Cleveland by the end of the year, although the latter is not a huge surprise if the Indians tank this season.
Biggest disappointment: Carlos Moncrief. I want him to break out but I envision him having another in a long line of tantalizing yet not dominating year like last year. To me, he becomes Jonathan Van Every very quickly if he doesn’t break out this year. Fabio Martinez will be released by June.
Comments: I am going WAY out on a limb on this one. I am predicting that all of the kids on this team (and this is a homegrown team with only 5 guys who are not homegrown and an average age (23.8 years, almost a year under the average age of the EL) have very good years and guys who are in their second tour here like House, Jesus Aguilar and Chun-Hsiu Chen dominate before their eventual call-ups to AAA in order, being House before Chen before Aguilar (with this one being a question mark). My feeling is that, if you don’t count AAAA guys on the AAA roster, this Akron roster will have more eventual major leaguers on it than any other team in our farm system and stands a chance of having more eventual major leaguers than ALL the rest of our farm teams combined, if you exclude all guys who have already been in the majors and are now in our farm system.
MVP: Tyler Naquin
Rookie (or young player) of the year: Francisco Lindor
Biggest surprise: Bryson Miles – He will finally start to live up to the Kirby Puckett hype.
Biggest disappointment: Jordan Smith. He will not be a huge disappointment. It’s just that a guy like him whose average is his best tool, will be a huge disappointment when he hits .260.
Comments: Carolina will get a dominant team this year and will win the Carolina League championship. Considering how suspect their pitching depth is, this is a HUGE gamble of a prediction. Still, I think the positions players will dominate and, given the strength I hope the AA guys will show, Lindor, Naquin, et al , should stay in Carolina for a lot, if not all, of the season.
Lake County Captains:
MVP: Luigi Rodriguez – Frankly, this guy should be outta Lake County in a month. Practically, however, the system is so backed up that I see him staying in LC until middle of July, giving him plenty of ABs to rack up MVP numbers.
Rookie (or young player) of the year: TBD. The obvious choice is Paulino if someone from the 2013 draft class doesn't bust out. .
Biggest surprise: I think this one will come from the 2013 draft. I think one of our top picks will be a seasoned college guy who will be assigned to Lake County and perform well. Maybe even our first round pick if it is position player like Colin Moran.
Biggest disappointment: I see three disappointments: Mitch Brown. I just think he is a little young and a little green (being from a northern state) to be pushed up to full-season ball this year. Ditto for Nellie Rodriguez. I don’t know what the Indians are thinking but these two guys were not ready for full-season ball. LeVon Washington – Not for performance but for lack of health. He will be the biggest disappointment out of his disappointing draft class. If he could just stay healthy he would immediately become the second best OF prospect (after Naquin) in the Indians’ farm system.
Comments: A solid team and exactly what a Lake County fan would want: more wins than losses and a chance to see future stars and major leaguers in action. Unfortunately Paulino is the only solid ML star-type prospect on this team (with Luigi Rodriguez being a distant second) but there are lots of guys who have huge upsides who are far away from reaching those projections (i.e., Washington, Brown, Rodriguez, Sisco, Sterling, DeJesus).