It may be too early to vote, but I got to show appreciation to the guys off to the hot starts so I voted. Here are my all stars as of today. I’ll just give you the starters and then I’ll do a complete all star roster (my opinion) when the full rosters are revealed.
1B Kevin Youkilis
.395 5 HR 15 RBI 1 SB
2B Ian Kinsler
.322 7 HR 20 RBI 7 SB
SS Marco Scutaro
.281 5 HR 15 RBI 1 SB
3B Evan Longoria
.369 6 HR 24 RBI 1 SB
C Victor Martinez
.386 5 HR 11 RBI
OF Jason Bay
.324 5 HR 19 RBI 2 SB
OF Torii Hunter
.325 8 HR 16 RBI 1 SB
OF Nick Markakis
.381 2 HR 22 RBI
1B Albert Pujols
.337 8 HR 28 RBI 4 SB
2B Chase Utley
.342 7 HR 20 RBI 2 SB
SS Hanley Ramirez
.289 2 HR 12 RBI 3 SB
3B Ryan Zimmerman
.289 5 HR 16 RBI
C Bengie Molina
.329 4 HR 18 RBI
OF Andre Ethier
.306 5 HR 22 RBI 1 SB
OF Raul Ibanez
.359 7 HR 17 RBI 3 SB
OF Manny Ramirez
.372 5 HR 15 RBI
The Yankees debut of the New Yankee Stadium was filled everything you can imagine a $1.5 billion stadium could provide, but apparently you cant buy the tally in the “W” column. Grady Sizemore and the Tribe had a different idea for the christening of New Yankee.
FIRST PITCH: Fastball misses outside from CC Sabathia to Grady Sizemore
*May have set a tone for the rest of Sabathia’s 5.2 innings–he walked five before he was lifted
FIRST STRIKEOUT: CC Sabathia gets Victor Martinez on a 2-2 fastball in the top of the first
FIRST HIT: Johnny Damon on a Cliff Lee slider in the bottom of the first
FIRST EXTRA BASEHIT: Ben Francisco double in the top second
FIRST RUN: Ben Francisco crosses the plate on a Kelly Shoppach double in the top fourth
FIRST HOMER: Jorge Posada launches one over the centerfield wall in the bottom fifth
FIRST GRANDSLAM: Grady Sizemore in the heart of a nine-run seventh
FIRST WIN: Cliff Lee has returned
Wow, does Alex Rodriguez need to return to this lineup or what? Cody Ransom is now hitting .100 on the young season and left nine men on base today. Not saying that A-Rod is Mr. Clutch but he wouldn’t be posting those numbers.
NATIONALS WIN ONE
The Nationals got their first win of the season this year. Jack Taschner got tagged for four earned runs in eighth to take any thoughts of a ninth inning rally and forget about it. I don’t want to talk about that game. Except for…
He singled and doubled today to start off his 2009 season. Going 2-for-3 with a run scored hitting in the eight spot. He had Shairon Martis previously in the minors though, and hit him pretty well down there, so good move by Charlie placing Marson into the starting lineup today.
Season Preview: Cleveland Indians
Projected MLB Rank: 7th — AL Rank: 3rd — AL Central Rank: 1st — Record: (90-72)
AL Central Champions
They needed a thirdbaseman. Check. They needed a closer. Check. They need their middle of the lineup players healthy. Check and Check. So why not the Indians in 2009? They are good. Especially in such a weak division, they should take advantage of the oppurtunity. They turned it around last season. At the all star break they were 40-52. They ended the season at .500 going 41-29 in the second half and saving Eric Wedge his job.
Pertaining to injuries, Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez are both back from injuries. Last year neither played a full season, and the games they did play–they played hurt. Expect the production there that they didn’t get last year which changes the whole complexion of their season.
Martinez is expected to start at first to keep him healthy which opens up the catcher position for Kelly Shoppach. Last year he hit .261 with 21 homeruns. He should put up the same kind of power numbers this season from behind the plate. He also slugged .517 last season. Where in this mix will Ryan Garko fit? He drove in 90 runs in this lineup last season and hit over .300 in the second half but with Martinez at first and not being able to catch, Garko has no where except maybe the outfield. If Ben Francisco doesn’t do what’s expected of him (steal bases) maybe Garko will work his way into the lineup.
The rest of the outfield is rounded out by Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo. Choo had a monster second half and in 94 total games last season he hit .309 and slugged .549 with 14 homers and 28 doubles. Sizemore is just, Sizemore. He makes nightly appearences on web gems and can flat out hit. I don’t expect him to hit .268 again and his 33 homeruns and 90 RBIs have potential to increase, he’s still 26.
The middle of the infield is manned by Jhonny Peralta and Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera found ways to get on base last season and hopefully will continue that this season. Peralta set a few career highs last year and hopefully will keep up the solid production numbers (23 homeruns / 83 RBIs). The trade for Mark DeRosa brings in a solid veteran option at third base. His career year last year included a .285 average, 21 dingers, and 87 RBIs.
Cliff Lee displayed unbelievable command last season and in reward he gets to display a Cy Young award on his mantlepiece. There’s no reason to believe he doesn’t have the same season again posting a 2.54 ERA with a 1.11 WHIP while going 22-3. I’m hearing good things about Fausto Carmona this offseason, to the extent that he’s regained his 2007 form in which he won 19 games and posted 3.06 ERA.
I think Carl Pavano can turn around his career here in Cleveland. After having a career year with the Marlins (like 5 years ago?) he scored huge with a nice contract in the Bronx, which didn’t really pan out. Pavano got shelled, and not by bats, by injuries. Now he has a new setting in the AL Central. Scott Lewis, who’s 25, had four solid starts with Cleveland last season posting a 2.63 ERA along with 1.08 WHIP. The lefty has nice control and should stick aorund in the Indians rotation. Fifth starter Anthony Reyes is coming back from injury. Prior to the injury last season, he was doing a nice job for Cleveland. In his six starts with the Indians, he went 2-1 with a 1.84 ERA.
Kerry Wood comes in to Progressive Field(?), I hate the name so I’ll continue to call it Jacobs Field, and he’s the closer. Last year in Chicago he tacked up 34 saves with a 3.26 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. Joe Smith, Jensen Lewis, and Rafael Perez do a nice job out of the bullpen. But Rafael Betancourt and Masa Kobayashi need to lower their ERAs and WHIPs for the Tribe coming out of the bullpen.
I am all about this Indians team this year in the weak division they’re in. My MVP and Cy Young candidates are each on this team along with a lot of underrated bats and arms. I think that if Lewis and Reyes can have solid years in the rotation, the Indians will be the AL Central champions.
And a side note: GO PSU in the NIT