Pessimistic Predictions for the Indians’ 2012 Opening Day Roster

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The Rotation

Justin Masterson: The high hit rates and low strand rates of the past weren’t just bad luck. His strikeout rate continues to decline and the gains he made against opposite-handed hitters prove to be short lived. Think 2010 (6-13, 4.70 ERA), not 2011. (full profile here)

Ubaldo Jimenez: Last year wasn’t a fluke. Jimenez struggles to get his velocity back to where it once was and his game falls apart from there. His strikeout rate falls and he continues to struggle with a high BABIP and HR/FB rate, to the point where the Indians would probably be better off throwing David Huff in his place. Adding insult to injury, Pomeranz or White outpitches Jimenez, making the trade for him look like a huge mistake (full profile here)

Derek Lowe: Lowe’s days as a useful pitcher are over. His natural inability to match his DIPS stats combines with a hearty dose of age-related decline to give him another ERA over 5.00. Even his clockwork-consistent durability falls by the wayside as age finally starts to catch up to him, but he doesn’t get the chance to pitch a full season anyway as he loses his rotation spot to David Huff or Jeanmar Gomez. (full profile here)

Josh Tomlin: Tomlin’s walk rate takes a turn for the worse without a corresponding increase in his strikeout numbers. Maintaining even a league-average hit rate proves unrealistic for a soft-tossing pitch-to-contact starter, let alone a low one. Look at Steamer’s projections (8-10, 4.79 ERA), but with fewer innings pitched as Tomlin’s elbow problems continue or he loses his spot in the rotation. (full profile here)

Jeanmar Gomez: Within a few weeks, he loses the fifth rotation spot to Kevin Slowey or David Huff and isn’t even the first in line for a spot start call-up at midseason. When he does finally make it back to the big leagues he’s unable to make any strides with his strikeouts and as a result he gets hit hard. (full profile here)