2012 Indians: Who Will Lead the Team In…


Last week, 12 Cleveland Indians writers from six different sites participated in a big survey to collect predictions for the 2012 season. We’ve already given you our bold predictions for the coming year and our projections for how the Tribe will finish. Today, we offer our picks for who will lead the team in various hitting and pitching stats this season.

Starting with batting average, our pick is Shin-Soo Choo. Seven of our 12 voters picked Choo to lead the team in hitting, with three writers picking Michael Brantley and two chose Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera had the highest average of the three in 2011, hitting .273.

On-base percentage was a closer competition. Carlos Santana earned a plurality of our votes, with five writers picking him to make the fewest outs. Choo finished a close second with four votes, followed by Travis Hafner with two votes. Finally, one panelist—Andy Cooper—chose Brantley. Of this group, Hafner finished first in 2011, getting on base at a .361 clip.

Our opinion was almost unanimous in slugging percentage, with 11 of our 12 voters taking Santana. The outlier: The Tribe Daily‘s Nino Colla, who chose Shelley Duncan. For what it’s worth, Duncan outslugged Santana in 2011, .484 to .457.

Home runs was the only category in which our choice was unanimous: everyone picked Santana to lead the Tribe in dingers again in 2012. He hit 27 last year.

Three-quarters of our panelists agreed that Brantley will lead the team in stolen bases this year. Disagreeing were Colla, who picked Choo, and our own Steve Kinsella, who chose Jason Kipnis. (The Cleveland Fan‘s Ed Carroll simply wrote: “Grady Siz…. I can’t even finish this.”) Interestingly, no one picked Cabrera, who led the team with 17 steals last year.

Moving on to pitchers: two-thirds our voters expect Justin Masterson to lead the team in wins in 2012. Two panelists chose Ubaldo Jimenez, while Carroll picked Derek Lowe. (My favorite entry was Cooper’s—he picked Michael Brantley.) Masterson tied with Josh Tomlin for the team lead with 12 victories last year.

Ten of our 12 panelists picked Masterson to lead the Tribe’s starting pitchers in ERA, as he did last year with a 3.21 mark. The dissenters were Kinsella and SABRTribe‘s David McGarry, who picked Jimenez to lead the team in both ERA and wins.

Finally, our panel was one vote shy of unanimity in picking Jimenez to lead the team in strikeouts; Cooper dissented and chose Masterson. Masterson’s 158 punchouts were the most in an Indians uniform in 2011, but Jimenez beat him with 180 K’s if you include his time with the Colorado Rockies.

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