Welcome back to Baseball Instinct’s series: Chin Music 2011. We’re taking a quick snap shot at key players in each organization’s major league club as well as their minor league system. We don’t always “point out the obvious” elite players. We are taking a look at player’s in situations that could help your fantasy team or be a good addition to your fantasy farm. Let’s start out with the team with the best record in baseball, lead by the hot start of SP Justin Masterson.
Record: 19-8 (1st in the AL Central)
Payroll: $ 49,190,566 (26th in Baseball)
The Cleveland Indians are 11 games over .500 and lead the Kansas City Royals by 4.5 games in the American League Central. They currently have the best record in baseball, no doubt surprising everyone. 4 years ago the Indians came out of no where to claim the AL Central title and were oh so close to knocking off the Red Sox to go to the World Series. Can this team do the same? Possibly, to be sure the White Sox, Twins, and Tigers have done little to impress in the early going.
Major Leaguer: Justin Masterson SP
Masterson has been “Masterful” to say the least. He’s 5-0 with 2.25 era, 29 k’s, and 13 walks in 40 innings pitch on the season. In his last outing Sunday, he was denied a win for the 1st time this season. Despite this fact, Masterson 7 innings of 2 run ball, striking out 7 and walking 2. The Indians eventually won that game. He’s 1 win away from matching career highs set in 2008 and 2010 with 6. In fact, he went 6-13 with a 4.70 era while serving up 14 hr’s in 2010 for these same Indians. The difference this season is that hes throwing some serious filth with both the sinker and the slider, not to mention that his fast ball has a ton of movement on it. If you don’t own him, try to trade for him pointing out his previous career numbers, but understanding he just may becoming the ace a lot of people in Boston thought he could be before the dealt him for Victor Martinez.
Minor Leaguer: Lonnie Chisenhall 3B
The 22 year old Chisenhall is hitting .275 with 2 hr’s, 15 rbi, and 20 runs scored in 91 at bats for AAA Columbus. As I did last year, I will turn the rest of this report over to Baseball Instinct’s Tom Belmont, truly a minor league aficianado.
Major Leaguer: Grady Sizemore OF
Can Sizemore regain his elite status that he had from 2005-2008? It’s hard to say when a player has battle after battle with injuries, but if Sizemore’s 1st 12 games back, where he’s hitting .340 with 4 hr’s, 9 rbi, and 10 runs, is any indication, then he’s making a pretty good case for himself. 8 of his 17 hits have been doubles, and while he’s only attempted 1 stolen base, it appears that his speed isn’t totally gone. The microfracture surgery that he had on his left knee in June seems to have been a success. He comes with the risk of injury, be he is certainly a high reward type of player.
Minor Leaguer: Alex White SP
The 22 year old White was 1-0 with a 1.90 era, 28 k’s, and 5 walks in 23.2 innings pitched over 4 games with AAA Columbus. White made his Major league debut Saturday night, giving up 2 runs on 2 solo hr’s in a no decision against the Detroit Tigers. He struck out 4 and walked for in this quality start effort that the Indians eventually won in 13 innings. Prior to the game Tom Belmont had this to say about White:
Tom: White is being called up to take a turn in the rotation and replace Carlos Carrasco. White is ready to take over at the back end of the rotation but this may only be a one and done for the time being. White is only 23 and has so far handled AAA better than he did AA which wasn’t bad either.
Tom: The Indians #1 pick in 2010 is off to a fast start for the Kinston Indians who play A ball in the Carolina League. While Pomeranz is a College draftee he does still have plenty of work to do in the minors before he’ll be ready to face major league lineups. His plus fastball and plus 12-6 curveball are both top pitches but his command is erratic at times and his changeup needs major refinement.