(photo: Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer)
As you may have noticed, Jeff Nomina did an excellent job earlier this week compiling staff predictions for the 2015 Cleveland Indians season. If you follow Fangraphs or read any of their things, their staff is releasing a series of bold predictions for the fantasy baseball season this week. It’s just that time of year for the glass half full approach to the season. Safe to say that the glass is certainly half full, or possibly overflowing, for some of the staff here at EHC regarding the Indians.
With that in mind, it’s a good time for me to step up and make some bold predictions for the 2015 Cleveland Indians season. There’s no point in stepping on what Jeff put together, so I won’t be making the same bold predictions that I made regarding the questions he posed like the team’s record or how far they will go in the playoffs. Instead, I’ll focus more on individual players and look at some of the personal accomplishments that they may enjoy in 2015. Continue reading
A lot of the Indians content here at EHC has largely been in support of the team and its players. This is a dangerous line to walk in the Cleveland media world and, yes, I consider us part of that because we have an audience (thank you!) and some guys that really understand the sports landscape in the city. The reason it’s dangerous is because supporters are labeled as apologists or shills for the team. Those that criticize are welcomed with the “one of us” mentality.
As I suggested during a conversation on Twitter with some of my EHC colleagues and other respected Cleveland sports blogosphere residents, this happens because it’s far easier to criticize than to acknowledge. Fans that are still hellbent on voicing their anger over the CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee deals seem content to forget that Michael Brantley and Carlos Carrasco came out of those trades. Fans that feel the need to consistently belabor the “Dolanz are cheep” argument conveniently ignore that the Indians have locked up in-house players to contract extensions and also went out and spent on free agents like Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher. Those that blame Chris Antonetti or Mark Shapiro for the team’s lack of success willfully ignore the moves that worked out handsomely. Yan Gomes, Corey Kluber, and Carlos Santana came from Esmil Rogers, Jake Westbrook, and Casey Blake. Trevor Bauer and Bryan Shaw came from one season of Shin-Soo Choo. Marc Rzepczynski came from Juan Herrera, a light-hitting infielder that has not played above Single-A. They’ll also ignore that the Indians have a playoff appearance and 177 wins over the last two seasons, which is hardly a lack of success.
Those that complain about the draft tend to forget that TJ House was a 16th-round pick. Cody Allen was a 23th-round pick. Kyle Crockett was a fourth-round pick less than two years ago. Tyler Holt was a 10th-round pick. Roberto Perez was a 33rd-round pick. Jason Kipnis was a second-round pick who changed positions and made it to the Majors in two seasons while on the fast track to the bigs. Continue reading
It seems that there are a lot of people out there that don’t understand the point of Spring Training. When the Indians’ social media accounts are littered with “Where’s Brantley?” or “We lost 10-0 smh” comments during Spring Training games, it fills me with a combination of rage and disbelief. How can a group of people be so out of touch with the purpose that the month of exhibition baseball in Arizona serves?
In light of this horrifying development, I’m going to use this week’s View from the Porch as a Guide to Spring Training. Included will be thoughts on what to look for, what to watch for, what Spring Training means, and what to take away from Spring Training.
Let’s start with a very simple concept. Spring Training stats mean practically nothing. For one thing, the sample sizes are so small that it’s nearly impossible to make any meaningful conclusion about a player’s performance. Starters in the everyday lineup and players getting serious roster consideration will get around 60 at bats during the Spring, barring injury or illness. Asdrubal Cabrera posted a .357/.438/.518 slash line in Spring Training last season. He did not do that, or anything close to it, during the regular season. Ryan Rohlinger batted .346 in 26 Spring Training at bats. He batted .233 for Triple-A Columbus last season.
Corey Kluber ended Spring Training 2014 with a 5.60 ERA. Josh Tomlin, even in the hitter-friendly conditions of the desert, posted a 3.54 ERA. Kluber won the American League Cy Young. Tomlin hung a 4.76 ERA. Carlos Carrasco was 3-1 (yay win-loss record!) with a 5.17 ERA. He gave up 24 hits in 15.2 innings of work.
One bad outing, like Kluber’s seven runs on 11 hits in six innings against Colorado on March 22, is going to have an enormous impact in a small sample. He didn’t pitch that well overall anyway, but unless you’re watching the game, you cannot put any context on the performance. This will be addressed again later on. Continue reading
In my quest to continue dispelling the myth that the Cleveland Indians have a poor offense, I decided to do some more digging. In this week’s View from the Porch, I’ll address why the Indians don’t need the #righthandedpowerbat that everybody thinks they need and I will also talk about what makes the Indians offense so good.
Look at any post on Indians social media and there will be at least one person complaining about the lack of a right-handed hitter with power. Want proof? Here you go:
The Indians are better off not focusing on right-handed hitters. Power is power, no matter what side it comes from, and that’s the important part. All sports have home field or home court advantages. Baseball is no different. The home team always has a chance in the bottom of the ninth if they need it and all ballparks are different. In the case of Progressive Field, left-handed hitters have a major advantage. The home run park factor in Cleveland, overall is 101, which is one percent above league average. Lefties have a home run park factor of 109, while righties have a home run park factor of 93. In essence, lefties have a 16 percent advantage over righties when it comes to hitting home runs at Progressive Field.
Enter Brandon Moss, the Indians lone offensive acquisition of the offseason. Moss bats left-handed, much to the chagrin of some in the fan base. A lot has been said about the supposed lack of power in the Indians lineup, even though their 142 home runs were right in line with the 144 home run average in the American League. Continue reading
“What about Mike Aviles?”
That was a question seriously posed by a follower of the Cleveland Indians Twitter account after this tweet:
The second reply was “Don’t forget aviles” [sic]
Why shouldn’t we forget Mike Aviles? August Fagerstrom, one of my favorite Indians writers, captured Aviles perfectly in his Fangraphs+ profile of the Tribesman. Fagerstrom wrote:
“Mike Aviles is a super-utility man with an 80-grade personality. Aviles’s bat used to be nice for a utility man, but four consecutive seasons of declining power combined with a nonexistent walk rate makes him pretty useless at the plate.”
I’m a sabermetrician, but I’m not a black and white guy when it comes to players like Aviles, or recently retired Jason Giambi. These veterans do have value that cannot be quantified by statistics. It’d be better to see them in a coaching capacity rather than on the field, but it is what it is and it will always be that way. Good guy teammates earn roster spots solely because of what they mean to the camaraderie and morale of the team. Continue reading
Santana is better than you think, you just have to really pay attention to the reality
“WE NEED BETTER HITTERS!”
“WE NEED A RIGHT HANDED POWER BAT!”
“SANTANA’S AVERAGE WAS .231! HE’S A BAD HITTER”
If you look around Twitter, Facebook, message boards, or wherever else Indians fans go to vent, you would think that the Indians lost 90 games last season. They didn’t. They won 85 games. They were one of 10 teams to have an above average offense per the sabermetric stat wRC+. If you disagree with the above “quotes”, you probably already know what wRC+ is. If you agree with the above “quotes”, then you don’t care what wRC+ is. You should, but that’s another discussion for another day.
The Cleveland mentality is, and it always has been, to dwell on the negative rather than celebrate the positive. Does the Indians front office wish that they had a .300 hitter that cranked 30 home runs every season? I’m sure they do. I’m sure 28 other teams do as well because two players accomplished that feat last season. Continue reading
Long-haired freaky people need not apply. (Adam, during the original VftP days, the long hair is gone. Thankfully, the column isn’t…)
Hello friends of the feather. You may remember me as that crazy, opinionated, almost-always-correct author of The View from the Porch over at TheClevelandFan.com. While I still have the same home at Jacobs, er, Progressive, Field, I’ve got a new home for my thoughts on the Cleveland Indians right here at Everybody Hates Cleveland. I’m excited about the direction of this incredible collection of talent, which is convenient, because I can say the same thing about both the 2015 Cleveland Indians and the outlook here at EHC.
Because I can, I’m going to wax poetic about personal growth and how it parallels to the Cleveland Indians and the View from the Porch. The first installment of View from the Porch was published on April 30, 2011 at TheClevelandFan (and thankfully archived by the wonderful Dan Wismar). Up until that point, I was dabbling in hockey coverage and writing a weekly recap article titled the Wahoo Week in Review. Suffice it to say that the View from the Porch became my soap box and the platform from which my Indians fandom grew by leaps and bounds. Nearly four years later, I won’t cite batting average in any sort of meaningful context and I won’t have to ever mention David Huff’s name in this recurring column (this one excepted).
My days as a baseball fan date back to pretending I was Candy Maldonado, happily hitting a wiffle ball in our fenced-in side yard while my dad stood shirtless in a pair of jorts watching me run around like my head was on fire. Ignore that Candy Maldonado and I have drastically different skin colors and I don’t have a cool name like Candido. Maldonado posted a .261/.331/.446 slash with the Indians, which was well below my slash line as a seven-year-old wiffle ball All-Star. Continue reading