Sep 21, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Indians designated hitter Jason Kipnis (22) stands in the on deck circle against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Will Jason Kipnis and Zach McAllister return to 2013 form?
Joe Gerberry: My pick for most improved from last year will be a fairly easy one: Jason Kipnis. There’s no way his 2015 could be as bad as his 2014. After making the All-Star team in 2013 with a slash line of .284/.366/.452, including 17 home runs and 30 stolen bases, he suffered a strained oblique and had a disastrous 2014. He’s been working out more this winter, getting more streamlined rather than ripped like he was in 2014, focusing on flexibility and conditioning. A healthy Kipnis hitting near the top of the order could change the dynamic of this team and help bring up the defensive side as well.
Matthew Bretz: The Cleveland Indian that will be the most improved this year will be Zach McAllister. Last spring, McAllister entered as a lock for the rotation after two solid seasons in the rotation. He got off to a hot start in April (2.92 FIP); however, the month ended with him making a start on 3 days rest and he was never the same after that. Three weeks later, he was on the DL, and he became a rotation afterthought. Eventually, he lost his rotation spot and the bullpen seemed likely. However, as a starter, McAllister actually improved in 2014, posting a career best 3.80 FIP and 4.10 xFIP. He’ll use his experience in the bullpen in the same way that Carlos Carrasco did last year, and I fully expect him to win the final rotation spot and have a breakout season for the Indians in 2015.
Next: Can Nick Hagadone finally be a shutdown reliever?