Optimistic Predictions for the Indians’ 2012 Opening Day Roster

4 of 4

The Bench

Aaron Cunningham: Cunningham’s BABIP shoots up 100 points while his plate discipline and power numbers don’t budge from their 2011 peaks. Chris Antonetti looks like a genius as Cunningham usurps the starting left field job, manages to outplay Grady Sizemore when he returns, and becomes a regular in the Indians’ lineup for years to come. (full profile here)

Lou Marson: Marson’s walk rate increases, his strikeout rate falls, and he starts showing respectable power—think the Bill James projection (.236/.323/.328, 83 OPS+), but with about 25 more points of slugging percentage. He proves that he’s not a hole in the lineup, and as he continues to prove himself it’s actually worth moving Carlos Santana to first base on a regular basis. An almost-league-average hitter who plays great defense is the ideal backup catcher. (full profile here)

Jose Lopez:  Lopez really has turned over a new leaf. He picks up where he left off in 2008-9, clearing 20 homers and supplementing his subpar on-base ability with power and good contact. He plays solid defense and sees significant time as a late-inning defensive replacement for Jason Kipnis and as Manny Acta’s go-to starter when an infielder needs a day off. (full profile here)

Jason Donald: He sees significant time in the outfield while Grady Sizemore is gone and he gets to start at second, third, or shortstop two or three games a week. As both a cause and an effect of his increased playing time he sees his plate discipline numbers improve and looks more confident in the field. (full profile here)

Don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS feedLike us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!