Shin-Soo Choo...he matters
As news of the Indians final roster moves trickles in, there will likely be considerable discussion about backup catchers, fourth and fifth outfielders, bottom of the bullpen guys, and utility infielders. It is worth pointing out that these guys are highly unlikely to dramatically shape the Indians 2011 season.
The biggest questions coming into camp, for 2011 and beyond, go something like this:
- How do Sizemore, Santana and Asdrubal come back from injury?
- Do our starting pitchers stay healthy?
- Does Choo stay healthy?
The answers to all of these in camp have been almost entirely positive. As I mentioned a few months back, a return to health from Sizemore and Asdrubal would, by itself, go a long way towards making us a .500 ball club. A full season of Santana would significantly increase that. And as much as we might question the ceiling of our starting pitchers, if we can get average to above-average pitching out of at least four of them for 170+ innings, that is a tremendously valuable thing. And Choo is the only healthy star we had coming back, so maintaining his health is critical.
Asdrubal has been driving the ball and looking better on defense according to reports. Sizemore is back in the field and has not reported any setbacks, although obviously what level of play he will return to remains in doubt. But his status throughout camp has been a source of positive news. Our pitchers may or may not be any good, but they all appear to be healthy, from Carmona at the front of the pack to Huff and Gomez six and seven deep. And while that elbow tenderness in Choo early in camp was frightening, all of the reports since then have been positive.
Adam Everett being excited about making the team is great, and hopefully he'll be a positive defensive influence, but significant contributions tend to come from a minority of the 25-man roster. It would be great if the young guys like Brantley, LaPorta and Carrasco could step into those roles, but heading into camp, the incumbents in those roles have had a good and healthy camp. And in that sense, it has been a good Spring for Cleveland.