Don’t get me wrong, Casey Kotchman was a wizard with a mitt last year at 1B for the Indians, but he just couldn’t hit the ball. The Indians have signed 32-year old switch-hitting Nick Swisher and he will be the starting 1B in 2013. Swisher played in 148 games for the Yankees last year and he was 146 of 537 (.272 avg, .837 OPS) with 75 runs scored, 24 homers, 93 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. Swisher played in 41 games (27 starts) at 1B for the Yankees last year and he had 3 errors there while showing good range. Swisher has now played in 1,209 games in his first 9 years in the majors and he is 1,085 of 4,241 (.256 avg, .828 OPS) with 684 runs scored, 209 homers, 673 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. The Indians also signed 29-year old righty swinging Mark Reynolds over the winter, but he will be doing most of his work at DH for the Tribe in 2013. He played in 108 games (105 starts) at 1B for the Orioles last year and he had 5 errors while showing below average range. 25-year old righty swinging Yan Gomes will also compete for a backup job at 1B. He is a catcher by trade. Gomes played in 43 games for the Blue Jays last year and he was 20 of 98 (.204 avg, .631 OPS) with 9 runs scored, 4 homers and 13 RBIs. He also played in 79 games in AAA-ball for the Jays last year in which he was 100 of 305 (.328 avg, .938 OPS) with 44 runs scored, 13 homers, 59 RBIs and 4 stolen bases. Gomes played in 20 games (13 starts) at 1B for the Blue Jays last year and he had 1 error. 28-year old righty swinging Matt LaPorta is likely going to get his last chance to make it with the Indians this spring. He played in 22 games for the Indians last year and he was 14 of 58 (.241 avg, .594 OPS) with 2 runs scored, 1 homer and 5 RBIs. He played in 11 games (8 starts) at 1B for the Tribe last year and he didn’t make any errors. LaPorta has now played in 291 games in his first four years in the majors and he is 230 of 967 (.238 avg, .694 OPS) with 106 runs scored, 31 homers, 120 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. He has been a bust for the Indians so far in his career as he was supposed to be the key player the Indians got back from the Brewers when they dealt C.C. Sabathia to them. 23-year old switch-hitting Michael McDade is a longshot to win a roster spot this spring. He played in 118 games in AA+AAA-ball for the Blue Jays last year and he was 128 of 449 (.285 avg, .806 OPS) with 53 runs scored, 17 homers, 67 RBIs and 1 stolen base. McDade has now played in 630 games in his first six years in the minors and he is 626 of 2,364 (.265 avg, .744 OPS) with 278 runs scored, 76 homers, 325 RBIs and 4 stolen bases. The Indians selected 24-year old lefty swinging Chris McGuiness off the Rangers in the Rule 5 Draft, so he will get a shot to make the team this spring. McGuiness played in 123 games in AA-ball for the Rangers last year and he was 122 of 456 (.268 avg, .840 OPS) with 65 runs scored, 23 homers and 77 RBIs. He has now played in 350 games in his first four years in the minors and he is 332 of 1,275 (.260 avg, .814 OPS) with 175 runs scored, 51 homers, 212 RBIs and 4 stolen bases. 26-year old switch-hitting Carlos Santana played 1B when he wasn’t catching last year. That won’t be the case in 2013, as they Indians no longer have a hole at 1B. Santana played in 21 games 920 starts) at 1B for the Indians last year and he had 1 error while showing average range.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE FIRST BASEMEN IN 2013: B+