I’ve always tried to be an educated fan, especially when it comes to the Cleveland Indians. I try to maintain a level head and avoid the overly optimistic and painfully pessimistic mindsets that so many fans fall victim to. However, I’ve now drawn the personal conclusion that the 2012 Cleveland Indians will not be playoff contenders this year.
It seems that a lot of people are gunning for the front office to sell sell sell. Recently, there have been trade rumors involving Shin-Soo Choo and Chris Perez. While I don’t feel that bringing in two or three big league names will be enough to push this team into contention, I do believe there a couple of guys down at the AAA level who may as well be given a shot, especially considering the situation in left field can’t get much worse. These guys are not the answer to a failing year, but they are certainly solutions that may aid some of the misery. And Aaron Cunningham causes quite a bit of misery.
Tim Fedroff: I had the pleasure of seeing Fedroff start out the year in AA-Akron and was blown away by his numbers. He hit .305 down in Akron, though he was hitting over .400 at one point earlier in the year as their leadoff guy. In Columbus, he’s hitting .345 with four home runs through 31 games, including a .414 OBP.
What may be keeping Fedroff down in Columbus, other than the fact that the jump from AAA to the big leagues is more significant than the jump from AA to AAA, is the fact that he’s a lefty. I’m thinking Fedroff may be a September call-up if the Indians remain out of contention, which it seems they will be.
Jared Goedert: This is the guy I personally am gunning for. I covered Goedert in Akron too, and he absolutely tore the cover off the ball there as he hit .395 through 35 games. His numbers have tailed off a bit as he’s hitting .302 in Columbus, but he’s got a notable 14 total home runs on the year – and he’s a right-hander. Goedert can play third base and left field, which makes him a notable candidate for a big-league call-up with Chisenhall out and Hannahan and Lopez both hitting below .250.
Russ Canzler: Canzler had a bit of a slow start as he was a disappointment in the initial battle for left field when Sizemore went down, but recently, he’s resurfaced as an option. He’s bumped his average up to .272 this year, though his strikeout to walk ratio is concerning at 96/33. I’d still take Goedert or Fedroff over Canzler, but Canzler is once again someone to keep an eye on as he’s started to prove that he was not a wasteful acquisition.
Vinny Rottino: The second the Tribe obtained Rottino, I called him “LaPorta 2.0”, meaning he is another AAAA-player and excels at the AAA-level but fails miserably in the big leagues. However, none of the current Indians left fielders are necessarily succeeding at the big league level either. Rottino isn’t my prime choice for a call-up, but he’s the only one with legitimate major league experience. He’s currently hitting .325 through 21 games with the Clippers and his .404 OBP is something that should turn a few heads. He’s not big on extra-base hits, but then again, neither is Cunningham.
None of these guys are going to be the next Ryan Braun, nor will they propel the Indians to the World Series. But they’re certainly guys who have made formidable cases for themselves and are proving that they may be better options than Dunningdam (Duncan-Cunningham-Damon). While I’d personally like to see Goedert get the chance, I’d take any of these guys over the current mess out in left. Cunningham’s tattoos are cool and all, but I’d rather see a player who can tattoo the ball.