Blog Entry

Homegrown Team: Cleveland Indians

Posted on: December 17, 2011 5:55 pm
Victor Martinez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

In the 90s, the Indians welcomed a new ballpark with a cast of homegrown talent and twice used that to go all the way to the World Series, losing to the Braves in 1995 and the Marlins in 1997. A core of Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle, Charles Nagy, Paul Shuey, Jaret Wright, Julian Tavarez and more helped that Cleveland team become a power in the middle part of the decade before the pieces moved on. Thome went to Philadelphia, Ramirez to Boston and others dispersed or saw their skills diminish as the window of opportunity passed. The current Indians saw the start of a new influx of talent in 2011 with the likes of Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall, but more talent needs to come out of the system for the Indians to continue the promise of the first half of the 2011 season. The franchise has shown smart drafting and good development can get them to October baseball, and that it's the best way for a team of their means to get there -- and return.


1. Jason Kipnis, 2B
2. Marco Scutaro, SS
3. Victor Martinez, C
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Jhonny Peralta, 1B
6. Luke Scott, LF
7. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
8. Ben Francisco, RF
9. Jose Constanza, CF

Starting Rotation

1. CC Sabathia
2. Fausto Carmona
3. Jeremy Guthrie
4. Bartolo Colon
5. Josh Tomlin


Closer - Vinnie Pestano
Set up - Tony Sipp, Aaron Laffey, Danys Baez, Edward Mujica, Rafael Perez, Brian Tallet

Notable Bench Players

There are some bit pieces, but not too much overwhelming talent coming off the bench. The best pieces are Maicer Izturis, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Russell Branyan.

What's Good?

This team could put up some runs, with a heart of the order featuring Martinez, Thome, Peralta and Scott, that's for sure. You've also got Sabathia leading the staff, and as the Yankees showed this past season, that can be enough to win the toughest division in baseball. Carmona is inconsistent, but still has a live arm, while Guthrie could thrive in a new environment and Colon proved he still has a little something in the tank during his 2011 season in New York. 

What's Not?

Even if this Indians staff is a slight bump up from the Yankees' of 2011, the bullpen is a step down -- and the bullpen was one of the big reasons New York was able to win with a rotation featuring Sabathia and prayers for rain. The bench here is also thin.

Comparison to real 2011

The Indians were one of the feel-good stories for much of 2011, leading the American League Central for most of the first half of the season before fading and finishing the season 80-82. This hypothetical team has a better offense, better starting pitching and a worse bullpen. It's in no way a complete team, but it would have a chance at a winning record. The Tigers finished 95-67, well ahead of anyone else in the division. No, this Cleveland team wouldn't challenge the Tigers, but it would likely be better than the real 2011 Indians.

Next: Miami Marlins

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Since: Jan 30, 2008
Posted on: December 21, 2011 11:45 am

Real Line Up is Better

Hypothetical team has a better offense?  No way.  I'll take Asdrubal, Santana and Choo in the middle over VMart, a 40-yr old Thome and an aging Peralta.  Brantley is better than Scutaro at the top.  And I'll take my changes with Hafner and Sizemore over Scott and Francisco. 

Other than that, this is a good series.   

Since: Jul 22, 2010
Posted on: December 19, 2011 7:11 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: December 19, 2011 3:11 am

Homegrown Team: Cleveland Indians

In that case there really isn't much. LOL!!! What can I say? When I read the article I was sick, tired and getting over a molar being removed from my jaw. Still am but I am no longer tired. Silly me. LOL! Have a great day folks and thanks for the heads up.

Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: December 19, 2011 1:28 am

Homegrown Team: Cleveland Indians

I think by homegrown, they mean drafted by and brought up in the system, but i think there may be a few flaws. and i dont think we drafted tallet.

Since: Dec 19, 2011
Posted on: December 19, 2011 12:04 am

Homegrown Team: Cleveland Indians

Ummmmmmmmm.... Where is Cliff Lee in this?   He did make his major league debut with the Indians.

Since: Dec 10, 2009
Posted on: December 18, 2011 10:16 pm

Homegrown Team: Cleveland Indians

Manny Ramirez. He's back in the league, he should be on this team. 

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: December 18, 2011 6:41 pm

Homegrown Team: Cleveland Indians

Is Brian Tallet homegrown? Thr Rays traded him to the Indians a few years ago for Kelly Shoppach. They first got him from the Astros, along with Ben Zobrist for Aubrey Huff.

Since: Oct 16, 2011
Posted on: December 18, 2011 1:58 pm

Homegrown Team: Cleveland Indians

@miloelfnic  this whole series is about forming teams from players still currently in the league!

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: December 18, 2011 1:18 pm

Homegrown Team: Cleveland Indians

And what about Charley Nagy? He had a very good career for Cleveland and is definitely superior to Jeremy Guthrie. It is obvious to me this guy (Rosecrans) does not have a real knowledge of the Indians or their history except for what he read on CBS sportsline. LOL!!!! By the way it is Shin Soo Choo sir and he started in  the Mariners organization so he does not count here. And don't forget that Paul Shuey was homegrown as well and superior to most of the relievers he has shown. I am sure that with a little patience I could field a much better team than the one he has listed.

Since: Jun 4, 2009
Posted on: December 18, 2011 1:11 pm

Homegrown Team: Cleveland Indians

What about Alex White and Drew Pomeranz? Aren't they homegrown?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or