Posts in this series:
|Catcher||First Base||Second Base|
|Shortstop||Third Base||Designated Hitter|
|Left Field||Center Field||Right Field|
|Starting Pitching||Relief Pitching|
Part I: Review
Travis Hafner appeared in over 100 games for the first time since 2007, and posted his highest OPS+ since his fantastic 2006 campaign. Shelley Duncan was Hafner's primary backup, making 18 starts at the position.
The Indians ranked in the middle of the pack as far as DH production was concerned:
As I've looked at these positional standings, it's become painfully obvious how awful Seattle's offense was. Their Designated Hitters only managed a .609 OPS. If not for Russell Branyan's second-half .801 OPS, they might have broken some records.
12 Indians saw time as DH, but only 6 accrued more than 10 at-bats. Here they are:
Whenever Shelley Duncan wasn't playing left field, he was horrible at the plate. Same with Jayson Nix; he was good at the plate while starting at second, and awful at third and DH. Hafner is no longer a 140+ game player, so the Indians should be able to utilize the at-bats for LaPorta (if Santana plays some first) and Duncan.
Part II: Looking Towards 2011:
Travis Hafner (Signed Through 2012)
Now that there's two years left on Hafner's contract, the Indians could manage to deal him if they had to, but Pronk is still a nice offensive player if his playing time is managed carefully, and the Indians don't have the offensive production on hand to replace his bat. Even though Pronk hit just 13 home runs in 462 plate appearances, he hit 29 doubles and walked 51 times. He's not near as selective as he used to be, but still good enough to work himself into good hitter's counts.
Shelley Duncan (Pre-Arbitration) - No Option Years Left
His range in left is marginal, so it would make sense to let Duncan be Hafner's primary understudy. With left-handers in the outfield and at DH, Duncan should get at least two starts a week.
Jayson Nix (Pre-Arbitration) - No Option Years Left
He should be fighting for the second base job, but I have a sneaking suspicion he's the default option at third. The free agents pickings are thin at best, so the Indians may fill other holes instead, content to live with Nix learning on the job.
Matt LaPorta (Pre-Arbitration) - 1 Option Year Remaining
Matt might get some at-bats at DH if he's hitting and the Indians start working Carlos Santana in at first base.
Jordan Brown (Pre-Arbitration) - 2 Option Years Remaining
A left-handed gap hitter with little defensive ability doesn't fit on this team, nor many others.
Carlos Santana (Pre-Arbitraion) - 1 Option Year
The Indians are more likely to give Santana "off days" at first base, since at this point first base is the weaker offensive position.