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Optioned RHP Fausto Carmona and RHP Jeremy Guthrie to Buffalo (AAA)

I guess you can see what the Indians think about Guthrie by sending him out this early in camp. I believe he’s still a starter, but the clock is really ticking; I think 2005 is a “make or break” season for Guthrie. If he can’t get out AAA hitters, especially at his age, he might be sent packing at the end of the year. His strikeout rate, even when he had success in 2003, was low; his career professional strikeouts/9 is 5.89. That’s almost as low as Jake Westbrook’s career numbers, and Jake is a groundball pitcher.

I’m a bit surprised that Carmona is being sent to Buffalo. He wasn’t all that good in Akron last year, but maybe he’s been impressive in camp. Given the Indians’ usual conservativeness with promoting pitching prospects, this might be a good sign for Carmona. He turned 21 last December, so Fausto still has a lot of upside. I like his control, but he’s still a bit too hittable to get me excited just yet. I placed him #5 in my prospect rankings, which might be a bit of an overreach in hindsight. But who knows?

Optioned RHP Jake Dittler to Akron (AA)

Ditter’s downfall in 2004 was the drop in control. He’ll have another year in Akron to get things figured out.

Assigned C Javi Herrera, IF Jose Morban, and 3B Jake Gautreau to minor-league camp

Herrera is a classic catch-and-throw backstop, but he’s going to have to hit in order to be anything other than a backup catcher. Gautreau got a lot of playing time early in the season, but with Aaron Boone healthy enough to play everyday now, he’s expendable. He’s probably Buffalo’s starting third baseman this spring.

Check out the Hardball Times’ new article on line drives and future projections. Studes examines the difference between line drive rates and BABIP. On the offensive side, Travis Hafner made the list with a .170 difference between his LD% (.186) and BABIP (.356). What does this mean? Usually this indicates some luck, and the next year the hitter usually sees a decline in batting average. Hafner’s kind of a strange addition to the list, because it’s mainly filled with slap-hitting, speedy players like Ichiro, Alex Sanchez, and Rocco Baldelli.

Among pitchers, Jake Westbrook and Scott Elarton appear on the “lucky” side, and Kevin Millwood and Jason Davis appear on the “unlucky” side.

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