The Indians have brought in Joe Borowski, Roberto Hernandez and Aaron Fultz to give the kiddie corps some veteran leadership and hopefully some results. Soon to be 36 year old righty Joe Borowski will be the Indians stopper this season as long as his shoulder holds up. He had signed a 2-year contract with the Phillies but the contract was voided because of an issue with his pitching shoulder, which is not a good thing. Borowski was 3-3 with 36 saves, a 3.75 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP in 72 games last season for the Florida Marlins. Batters only hit .235 against him last season but he walked 33 batters and that’s way too many for a closer. Another thing that should worry the Indians a little bit is the fact that Borowski had a 3.07 ERA at the gigantic Dolphins Stadium and a 4.71 ERA on the road. Look for Borowski to save around 30 games if he stays healthy, but his ERA will likely be over 4.00 in 2007.
42 year old righty Roberto Hernandez was signed on to handle the set-up job for the Tribe. He was 0-3 with 12 holds, 2 saves, a 3.11 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP in 68 games for the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates. Batters only hit .248 against Hernandez last season but he walked 32 batters in 63.2 innings and that could cause problems late in games. Look for Hernandez to pitch relatively well as long as he cuts down on his walks this season.
33 year old lefty Aaron Fultz has been brought in to give the left-handed side of the bullpen some experience. Fultz was 3-1 with 9 holds, a 4.54 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP in 66 games (1 start) for the Philadelphia Phillies. Batters hit .288 against Fultz and lefties hit .277 against him so this signing has me scratching my head a little bit. Also, Fultz has only had one good season (2005) in his 7 year career in the majors. Look for Fultz not to be worth the money the Indians are giving him in 2007.
Soon to be 32 year old Rafael Betancourt returns to throw some more very straight 92 mile per hour fastballs in 2007. He was 3-4 with 7 holds, 3 saves, a 3.81 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in 50 games in 2006. Batters only hit .241 against Betancourt last season and he only walked 11 batters in 56.2 innings for the Tribe last season. Betancourt will do a decent job for the Indians as long as they don’t trust him late in games where he tends to melt down just like David Riske used to do.
25 year old righty Fernando Cabrera has an electric arm but he didn’t get any good results last season for the Indians. He was 3-3 with 6 holds, a 5.19 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP in 51 games in 2006 for the Tribe. He only allowed batters to hit .243 against him and he whiffed 71 batters in only 60.2 innings last season. But, he walked 32 batters and allowed a stunning 12 homers! Look for Cabrera to pitch better this season if he can keep the ball down and cut down on his walks.
35 year old righty Matt Miller comes from an odd submarine style that gives the Indians bullpen a new look and he’s been very effective for them the last 3 seasons. Last year he only pitched in 14 games and he was 1-0 with 1 hold, a 3.45 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP in 2006. In three seasons with the Indians, Miller has a 6-1 record with 12 holds, 2 saves, a 2.77 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 94 games. Look for Miller to pitch well again for the Indians in 2007.
26 year old righty Jason Davis has been a big tease his whole career for the Indians as he has great stuff but he’s never really learned how to pitch effectively. Last year he was 3-2 with 6 holds, 1 save, a 3.74 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP in 39 games for the Indians in 2006. Batters hit .302 against Davis last season and that should never happen with the stuff that he has. Look for Davis to have another season that makes you scratch your head in 2007 for the Tribe.
26 year old Tom Mastny was the stopper for a little while as a rookie last season and the results were mixed. Mastny was 0-1 with 5 saves, a 5.51 ERA, and a 1.53 WHIP in 15 games in 2006 for the Tribe. Batters hit .279 against him in the majors and he allowed 8 walks in only 16.1 innings and that hurt him last season. He was a very effective pitcher in the minors last season as he was 2-2 with 6 holds, 1 save, a 2.01 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in 36 games (1 start) in AA+AAA ball last season. He did whiff 76 batters in 62.2 innings in the minors.
24 year old lefty Rafael Perez pitched in 18 games for the Indians last season and he was 0-0 with 1 hold, a 4.38 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Batters only hit .204 against Perez and he whiffed 15 batters in only 12.1 innings. Perez is a pitcher to keep you eyes on as he has outstanding stuff. Perez was 4-8 with 4 holds, a 2.76 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 25 games (12 starts) in AA+AAA ball last season.
26 year old lefty Juan Lara pitched 5 innings for the Indians last season and he only gave up 4 hits and 1 earned run. Like Perez, Lara pitched well in AA+AAA ball last season. He was 5-3 with 9 holds, 8 saves, a 2.77 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 53 games. He whiffed 63 batters in only 61.2 innings in the minors.
22 year old righty Edward Mujica was 0-1 with a 2.95 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in 10 games. Those are amazing numbers given the fact that major league batters hit .333 against him but he minimized the damage by not walking anyone in 18.1 innings for the Tribe. Mujica dominated in AA+AAA ball last season as he was 4-1 with 1 hold, 13 saves, a 1.57 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 34 games.
26 year old righty Brian Slocum had a rough first experience in the majors. He only pitched in 8 games (2 starts) for the Indians last season and he was 0-0 with a 5.06 ERA and a 2.04 WHIP. Batters hit .360 against him in the majors and he walked 9 batters and gave up 3 homers in only 17.2 innings. He will need to start the season in the minors and learn how to throw strikes and miss bats more often.
32 year old righty Brian Sikorski was 3-2 with 2 holds, a 5.03 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 2006 for the San Diego Padres and the Indians. Batters hit .273 against him (lefties .346) and he gave up a whopping 8 homers in only 34 innings. He will have a hard time making the Indians this season but he could hook on with someone else if they let him go.