Jacobs Field Park Factors: Hits 97; Runs 94; HRs 85
(100 is average, under 100 is favorable to pitchers)
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: $9 2002: $4 2003: $12
Sabathia has been a top prospect since being drafted in the first round in '98. He is a physically large guy and there's been some concern about his ability to stay in condition. Having said that, he's made good progress the last two years. In 2002, Sabathia concentrated more on keeping the ball down and making batters hit his pitch. His walk rate improved 20%, he induced more ground outs and his HR Rate improved. Last year, he made further progress with his control, lowering his walk rate another 20%. He's become somewhat more hittable as he's stayed around the plate, however. Sabathia throws an upper 90s fastball together with a good curve and change. When I last saw him, he was dominant with just the fastball and curve. The ratios are all positive at this point, if not outstandingly so. He should be a solid buy at last year's value.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: $2 2003: $7
Part of the Colon deal, Lee is a power lefty with a 90-94 fastball, good curve and developing change. Lee has posted outstanding hit rates and plate command ratios. He has, however, been plagued by the longball. In 2002 at AA and AAA he went : Hit Rate = .74; K/BB Ratio = 2.78 with better than a strikeout an inning; HR Rate = .137. Lee strained an abdominal muscle last spring and was sidelined a few weeks. When he returned to Cleveland, he gave a glimpse of his promise. A definite buy. Lee progress this spring has been slowed somewhat by hernia surgery, but he's expected to be in the rotation at the start of the season.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: $4 2003: $2
Davis lost some value late in the season with a sore shoulder and was shut down at the end. It's a shame since it cost owners some value late; until that point Davis had pitched creditably in his rookie season. As indicated by his minor league ratios, Davis showed good control, but is not overpowering. He's supposed to have an above average fastball and splitter, but somehow he's never posted high K rate. His Hit Rate was better than expected but he gave up more HRs than his minor league numbers would suggest. I have yet to see him pitch but I'm looking forward to seeing him work. He probably merits a bid in most leagues based on his 2003 success, but the ratios would keep him low on my list.
Values ~ 2000: $21 2001: -$9 2002: -$6 2003: -$5
D'Amico 's career has been marked by injury an inconsistency. He pitched just one inning in '98-'99 following 2 shoulder surgeries in '98. He missed time in 2000 with rotator cuff tendinitis in June and a torn tendon in his ankle in September. He missed most of 2001 with nerve surgery on his pitching arm and was ineffective when he returned late in the year. He's a finesse pitcher and has to hit his spots to be effective. His best pitch is a sweeping curve. His fastball is in the high 80s and he also throws a change-up. D'Amico is in competition to be the Indians' fifth starter. No interest at this point.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: $3
Stanford was signed as a non-drafted free agent, but has made rapid progress through the system because of his superior plate command. His ratios last year at AAA were: Hit Rate = .98; K/BB Ratio = 4.32; HR Rate = .103. Not worth a bid at this point but a free agent possibility if he makes the staff. Stanford has apparently won the #5 starter job.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: $4 2003: $0
Tall lefty with a good college pedigree and success in the lower minors, Tallet has struggled a bit since reaching AAA (Hit Rate = 1.03; K/BB Ratio = 1.84; HR Rate = .083. His 90-92 fastball is complemented by an excellent slider and change. Keep an eye on him. Tallet will be on the 60-day DL to start the season.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: -$4
Traber is a former #1 draft choice of the Mets acquired through trade. He appears to have been rushed a bit and probably could have benefited from spending at least part of 2003 at AAA. Traber shuttled between the rotation and bullpen during his rookie year and struggled as a starter. He throws a 90mph sinking fastball, change, curve and splitter. Traber had Tommy John surgery last year and although he's expected to possibly return mid-season, I'd keep him off my list.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: $5 2002: -$2 2003: $15
Riske's minor league resume is impressive. He has worked in the closer's role at every stop, has a career ERA of 2.11 with more than a strikeout per inning and a career hit rate of .73. I had tabbed him as something of a sleeper for the Indian closer role a couple of years ago, but his ratios have been mixed prior to last year. He throws a lot of fastballs but doesn't seem especially overpowering. Nevertheless, he's had a high K/IP rate, indicating batters may have trouble picking up the ball from his delivery. Riske appears to be in line to close.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: $5 2002: $14 2003: $0
Stewart's return from off-season elbow surgery last year was slow, and he lost the Montreal closer job as a result. He also missed a month and a half in the middle of the season due to an appendectomy. Stewart has a fastball and a breaking pitch and posted very good ratios in his two years prior to his injury-filled 2003. I was impressed by his intensity on the mound when I've seen him.
Values ~ 2000: $21 2001: $26 2002: $11 2003: NA
Wickman lacks the overpowering stuff of the premier closers in the game. He's a sinker/slider pitcher, gets a lot of groundball outs and maintains an excellent HR rate. He had reconstructive elbow surgery, missed 2003 and will be attempting a comeback. Watch this spring; Cleveland does have options if he struggles. Wickman will miss at least the first three months of the season. He's just a speculative buy now.
Values ~ 2000: $19 2001: $10 2002: $20 2003: -$3
Jimenez has a fastball in the low 90s with a lot of sink and he mixes in an effective slider and change. He's a pronounced groundball pitcher, which gives him a positive HR rate. When I watched him pitch he was getting ahead of hitters with a lot of first-pitch strikes and worked both sides of the plate to his advantage. Jimenez works very quickly and despite hitter attempts to slow him down, he has remained composed when I've seen him. He lost his closer job last year as his hit rate increased 35% and his K rate, which has never been high, declined 31%. Normally no interest with his hit and K rates at their current levels, but while Wickman is out and until Urbina is signed, his closing experience gives him temporary interest..
Values ~ 2000: -$3 2001: -$3 2002: -$2 2003: $0
He is a former #1 draft pick of the Rockies and although this is his fourth organization, he seems to have found a home. Westbrook throws a sinker and slider. The lack of a third pitch may account for why he has pitched better in relief so far than as a starter. Despite that fact, he was pressed into the rotation last year without notable achievement. He's apparently headed for the pen this year where he should be more effective. In his defense, he missed part of 2002 to elbow surgery and he was sent to AAA at one point last year to help build arm strength. His K rate has been down the last two years compared to 2001; however, it's not clear if there's a chance that it will improve. Filler at this point.
Values ~ 2000: -$14 2001: -$3 2002: -$1 2003: -$1
Durbin is attempting to come back following Tommy John surgery. He pitched well in 15 minor league starts (Hit Rate = .81; K/BB Ratio = 4.15; HR Rate = .133. but was roughed up after his call-up. He reportedly has a good change that helps make his 90ish fastball faster. Durbin failed to win the #5 starter job this spring but apparently has a spot on the staff.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: $7
Betancourt started the season back at AA, a level he first reached in '98, but after posting 1.66 K/IP he was promoted. He spent 2000 in Japan and missed 2002 due to injury. His ratios have generally been very good in the minors, and he's had some experience saving games, but he's never thrown many innings. He showed well after his midseason call-up and has a good chance to return in a relief role. If all the other Indian options fall apart and he pitched as well as 2003, he could merit closing consideration but it's enough of a long-shot that he probably doesn't merit a bid.
Values ~ 2000: $0 2001: $5 2002: -$4 2003: $6
Cressend was called up after the start of the 2001 season and gave the Twins some much-needed quality middle relief work but 2002 was a struggle and he had shoulder surgery late in the year. Claimed off waivers by Cleveland, he proved he was healthy at AAA, earned an early season recall and again did a creditable job in middle relief. Probably not destined for greater things, however.