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Best AL Line ups (INDIANS #5)

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[font=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]American League[/font]
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NO. 1 -- RED SOX

Stunningly, they had a lot easier time beating the Yankees in this poll than they did in the ALCS. Of the 14 men who voted on the AL lineups, 13 picked the Red Sox as the best of the best. Hey, why not? They're already the fifth team in history to score at least 949 runs two years in a row. So just ahead are the 1930-31-32 Yankees and 1936-37-38-39 Yankees -- the only teams to do that at least three seasons in a row. And these Red Sox actually ought to be better offensively. They've added Edgar Renteria, who has averaged 40 doubles, 24 steals and 85 RBI a year over the last three seasons. So now every regular in this lineup has had at least a .370 on-base percentage in one, or both, of the last two seasons. Which is downright ridiculous.

THE REVIEWS: "The best, hands-down. They can all crush you, one through nine." ... "Their nine-hole hitter (Mark Bellhorn) had 57 extra-base hits." ... "They have such a relentless offense, it takes real mental toughness to get them out. It isn't the most talented [pitchers] who stop them. It's the toughest."

PITCHER'S REVIEW: "They're so tough at home. All their left-handed hitters have power the other way, so they can take you over the wall or off the wall. And they're all clutch guys -- every one of them."

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NO. 2 -- YANKEES

Most of our panelists picked George's Bombers second to Boston, but not everyone is sold -- since they were also chosen as low as fifth. On one hand, seven of the nine regulars hit between 21 and 36 homers last year -- and an eighth (some guy named Giambi) used to hit 40 a year before You Know What. On the other hand, there are lots of age and health concerns -- especially at the bottom of the order. So about all that's safe to project from this group is that they'll make a ton of home-run trots. They've made at least 230 of them two seasons in a row -- and only the 2001-02-03 Rangers and 1996-97-98-99 Mariners have done that three straight years or more.

THE REVIEWS: "Still good. Just getting older and not likely to close the gap." ... "The big difference between this team and the Red Sox is the number of breathers in the lineup. The Yankees are easier to pitch to." ... "When Jeter, A-Rod, Sheffield and Matsui lock in, they can really grind at-bats and score runs in a hurry." ... "Needless to say, Mr. Giambi is the X-factor." ... "I don't like this group that much at all. I'm not sold on [Tony] Womack. Giambi, who knows? Bernie [Williams], the sun's setting. And Tino, I don't know what he's got left."

PITCHER'S REVIEW: "A lot like the Red Sox, with maybe a little more power."

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NO. 3 -- ANGELS

They had exactly the same team batting average (.282) and on-base percentage (.341) last year as that Angels team that won the World Series in 2002 -- and hit more homers. So this lineup continues to be a handful. Only now the Angels have slightly retooled. They've subtracted Jose Guillen, David Eckstein and Troy Glaus -- but added Steve Finley, Orlando Cabrera and a rookie third baseman (Dallas McPherson) whose 43 homers and 186 minor-league strikeouts last year suggest he could evolve into anyone from Adam Dunn to Russell Branyan. One thing about this offense: It hasn't read "Moneyball." No team in the big leagues struck out less last year than the Angels -- but these guys also walked 200 fewer times than the Yankees or Red Sox.

THE REVIEWS: "More question marks than the Red Sox or Yankees, but you could make a case they could be better in the end, because of the gas in the middle of their lineup." ... "A little similar to Florida. They've got a lot of different types of guns to beat you -- speed, power and pretty good depth to the lineup if McPherson comes through."

PITCHER'S REVIEW: "Vladimir Guerrero is probably the best hitter I've ever seen in my life."

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NO. 4 -- RANGERS

Only the Red Sox bashed more extra-base hits last year than this team. Only the Yankees and White Sox hit more homers. Only the Red Sox, Yankees and White Sox scored more runs. Now factor in the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the non-Coors Field portion of the continent, and it's clear that scoring runs will not be the Rangers' problem. And just for the record, this is not a recording. The only thing that makes this lineup tough to evaluate is trying to figure how much the ballpark inflates their numbers. If you're wondering, the answer last year was 30 points in batting average, 80 points in slugging percentage and a 35-percent assist in their home run rate. Most significant new face this year: Richard Hidalgo, who considers himself a clear winner in the contract-drive lottery.

THE REVIEWS: "A young lineup that should continue to improve, [but the] 7-9 holes aren't as strong as [Boston or New York]." ... "Superior collection of young hitters." ... "The guy at first base [Mark Teixera] is a monster. He should be a 40 home run guy for a lot of years. And look around: The second baseman [Alfonso Soriano], the shortstop [Michael Young], the third baseman [Hank Blalock], the left fielder [Kevin Mench], the right fielder [Hidalgo] and even the catcher [Rod Barajas] hit a lot of balls in the seats." ... "They need [Laynce] Nix to take the same step forward that Teixeira, Young and Mench have taken."

PITCHER'S REVIEW: "A lot of aggressive hitters who can hurt you. Probably the most aggressive team in the American League."

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NO. 5 -- INDIANS

Talk about your deep lineups. This team had seven hitters with 70-plus RBI, eight with 70-plus runs scored and five with 50-plus extra-base hits. So no wonder they rocketed from 25th in baseball in runs to fifth. And that was with the youngest team in the league. If Jody Gerut makes it back from knee surgery and they succeed in reincarnating Juan Gonzalez and Aaron Boone, this No. 5 ranking might seem low by autumn.

THE REVIEWS: "Dark-horse offensive force, but the uncertainty of the right fielder [Gonzalez] can either drag it down or [surprise!] support it until Gerut returns." . . . "They just keep coming at you." ... "People don't talk about them, because they have so many young guys mixed in. But they've got a lot of bats in that lineup." ... "Deep and well-balanced. Should be able to use their bench to get favorable matchups."

PITCHER'S REVIEW: "Nobody gives them any respect, but very scrappy."

NOT ENOUGH VOTES TO MAKE THE LIST: Orioles, Tigers, Athletics, Mariners.
With Coco Crisp leading off and Belliard batting second, they have the table setters for Hafner and Martinez, not to mention Casey Blake and Jody Gerut (when he returns from knee surgery), if we can get any production from Gonzalez and Boone, they could be explosive.
 

souL

I.bulldoze
As a White Sox fan... I sure hate the Indians :biggrin:

Seriously though, the AL Central looks like it's taken big steps in becoming a better division. I sure as hell am worried whenever the schedule has a Cle on it.
 
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I think that is a pretty fair assessment of the Indians, who I am very excited about this year. Talking about Juan Gonzalez as a difference maker though... well, I'll believe it when I see it. He's already hurt himself this spring (strained hamstring I think), and we got him for next to nothing, which is probably what he's worth as a player at this point.

What the Tribe really added this offseason (besides pitching) was depth. Alex Cora and Jose Hernandez off of the bench sound good to me. Not to mention Josh Bard replacing Tim Laker as the backup catcher, and a hopefully healthy Ryan Ludwick. I think the AL Central race will be at the least interesting this year.
 
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AKAK

Well, that's like hypnotizing chickens.
Staff member
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bucknuts44820 said:
With Coco Crisp leading off and Belliard batting second, they have the table setters for Hafner and Martinez, not to mention Casey Blake and Jody Gerut (when he returns from knee surgery), if we can get any production from Gonzalez and Boone, they could be explosive.

While I agree that the Tribe could have a very good offense... unfortunately... because I'm a fan of the Kid, but Jody Gerut probably will never be a significant contributor to the Tribe again... he's about the 7th outfielder on their list even if he were healthy behind Gonzalez (who may still get released, I guess) Crisp, Blake, Sizemore, Franklin Gutierrez, and Jose Hernandez (because of his versatility) that's without counting Ryan Ludwick who's had health issues of his own.
 
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Nate

I am Nate and I approved this message.
Unfortunately AKA is right about Gerut. When he returns he will be a fourth OF at best if he has a spot on the team. As I see it out of ST if Gonzo makes the club,

LF: Blake
CF: Crisp
RF: Gonzo
4th: Ludwick

If Gonzo doesn't make the team,

LF: Crisp
CF: Sizemore
RF: Blake
4th: Ludwick

There is really no room for Gerut unless injuries accure or Ludwick or Sizemore (if he makes it) struggle.

As for the batting order, I don't think Belliard will bat 2nd. He's more of bottom of the order hitter. I would guess

Crisp
Boone
Hafner
Martinez
Gonzo
Blake
Brousard
Belliard
Peralta

**Boone and Blake may switch in the above lineup. But this is just my opinion. **
 
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