Welcome to my first ever daily News & Notes column, which by happy coincidence also happens to be the first time that we shall actually be seeing some live baseball in 2015. At 1:05 (MST)/3:05pm (EST) the Tribe's Spring Training campaign finally gets underway against the Reds in an 'away' game at Goodyear Ballpark. The game will (I believe) be broadcast on STO, WTAM and Indians.com.
The ST opening day line-up has already been revealed: SS Ramirez, C Gomes, 3B Chisenhall, 1B Santana, RF Murphy, 2B Aviles, DH Holt, LF Ramsey, CF Naquin. Francona has stated that James Ramsey (who was acquired last summer in the Justin Masterson trade) will play all three OF spots this Spring. The OF prospect contest between Ramsey, Naquin, Holt and Moncrief should be an intriguing sub-plot in the coming months.
The pitching line-up had already been announced at the weekend: Zach McAllister to start, followed by Charles Brewer, Michael Roth, Bryan Price, Nick Hagadone and Dustin Molleken.
McAllister, Hagadone and Price (who will be hoping to get back on track after a disastrous MLB debut last September) are familar names, but there are some off-season acquisitions in there. The 26yo Brewer is actually on the 40-man, having been signed from the DBacks in November. He did receive a cup of coffee in a relieving role back in 2013, but right now he's probably in line for a Columbus rotation spot. Michael Roth, a soft-tossing 25yo leftie, might well also form part of that same rotation - Roth was signed as a MILB free agent in January, having appeared in the MLB (again primarily in a relieving role, with just one start) for the Angels in both 2013 and 2014. As for the 30yo Molleken, he has just spent the last two years as a AAA reliever for the Brewers without yet making it to the bigs.
Indians news & notes
There was some discussion on LGT about the pros and cons of a Kluber extension early last month. Fangraphs' Craig Edwards believes that working out an extension could prove problematic, given that Tim Lincecum received more than $60MM over the course of his four arbitration years. Ouch.
This year, at the suggestion of Akron manager Dave Wallace, stopwatches are being utilized for certain defensive drills, adding an element of time pressure. "You put a clock on them and all of a sudden, there's another gear. Some guys go quicker. Some guys start fumbling it. It just shows you some of the work that needs to be done," explained Terry Francona.
Apparently, Mike Aviles never stops yapping. Perhaps his future lies in coaching.
Hoynesie's take on the Rzepczynski/Hagadone/Crockett three-headed monster.
And while wer'e on the subject of Kyle Crockett, here's Jordan Bastian's feature on him. "What year were you born?" the 38-year-old Atchison asked Crockett on Monday morning. "1991? That was a bad year for me."
The second installment of Al Ciammaichella's excellent annual Tribe prospect countdown is dominated by LHPs.
At this point this doesn't really qualify as news: "If you [promote] a guy too quick and you get him beat up, that's not development. They've got to go through a progression, for the most part," said Tito.
Tidbits from around MLB
"The 30" for Grantland - that's a power ranking to anyone else. Jonah Keri is on board what he calls "a bandwagon I will not be trying to slow down."
Anthony Castrovince reviews a wild off-season for baseball's GMs.
Which of these two recently retired players was more valuable? In an excellent piece, Ben Lindbergh breaks down the question using WAR.
Stanton achieved by far the most 3-0 counts in 2014, but Carlos Santana and Brandon Moss made the top ten. August Fagerstrom explores the power of hitter intimidation.
Hopefully ironically, FiveThirtyEight has chosen to tag this post under "nerds". Fangraphs' David Cameron also provides a good alternative recap of the weekend's baseball presentations.
The full league-wide ZiPs projections have just been published. Fangraphs has also combined them with Steamer to create updated projected team standings - the Tribe tops the AL Central at 84-78.