They’re Shitty

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This Indians season has…not gone exactly to plan. Or at least if this was the plan then AnTitonettpiro are really bad at pranks.

And the worst thing about an under-achieving team (other than, you know, the losing) is that Twitter can’t seem to decide if this team sucks or not.

On one hand – they suck.

On the other hand – there’s a lot of weird numbers that seem to indicate there’s a chance Manny Acta is cackling in his basement lab as he pushes pins into his Chief Wahoo voodoo doll.

Focusing on the offensive side of things – the Tribe has been treating runners in scoring position more like runners in missionary position: they’re getting screwed. Jacob Rosen over at Waiting For Next Year did a great breakout of this earlier in the season, but I wanted to take another look as we head into the break.

Below is a chart showing the last six years overall hitting numbers vs their numbers with runners in scoring position.

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So the Indians’ OPS drops around 0.030 pts with runners in scoring position this year. That stinks. But maybe that’s a normal outlier?

Here’s a look at the overall MLB numbers over that same time frame. Notice that hitting normally improves with runners touching boobs or more. So not only are the Indians not hitting close to their normal averages, they should be hitting even BETTER than those averages.

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So is it bad luck?

Maybe. This is mostly the same roster as the previous season, so it seems odd that these numbers would almost completely flip year over year –

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Or is it lack of the clutch gene? If you ask the Indians for change for a dollar will they give you 3 quarters? Baseball people seem to think that clutch hitting is mostly random and not a real skill. But at the same time, the Indians’ hitting with RISPers has been declining for three years now.
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So what did we learn here?

There’s probably reason to believe the offense will improve. And with the Tribe’s pitching staff, that should be enough to win some games.

But there may also be some flaws in this lineup that need to be fixed. Some of those flaws rhyme with Bichael Mourn. Some are just that guys are slumping.

Today they sit 10 games back of the division and 4.5 of the second Wild Card spot. Hopefully by the end of September we’re having a different conversation.

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View from the Porch: Bold Predictions for the 2015 Cleveland Indians Season

(photo: Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer)

(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

Cleveland Indians 2015 Predictions, Part 1

1Opening Day is just around the corner and the Everybody Hates Cleveland staff has reported to camp in the worst shape of our lives. Before we all get drunk on the sweet, sweet nectar of baseballahol, we here at EHC wanted to take a step back and look at what we can expect from the 2015 Cleveland Indians.

This will be a two-part series – the first exploring what to expect from the team as a whole in 2015 and the second focusing more on individual players. Continue reading

Will the Indians’ defense hold them back in 2015?

The Indians’ defense cost them a playoff berth in 2014.

Whether you watched every game or merely looked at the performance data, this is a conclusion that most fans come to.

This is, of course, a bold claim that cannot be established, though the metric defensive runs saved would cause us to estimate that their defense cost them an estimated seven wins, which allows us to make such a claim.

Defense is a continual frontier. Though we may be better able to estimate defensive skill, defensive value, we accept that at the margins, some flaws are imperceptible. This discussion of the Indians’ defense in 2015 will discuss defensive issues, which are easy to perceive a la the Indians leading MLB in errors with 116 in 2014 or issues which are harder to perceive like the unquantifiable range.

Continue reading

Running the Bases on a Lazy Sunday

(photo: Al Ciammaichella)

I’ll start off this week by begging your pardon for the brevity of this week’s Lazy…an over-aggressive work/travel schedule this week plus friends from out of town prevented me from getting any sort of meaningful writing time. But there were some great Tribe-centric articles floating around the interwebs this week that I wanted to be sure to highlight here, so I wanted to get something on to virtual paper even if it’s not the usual 5-6,000 word effort. I promise that next week will more than make up for it, as I have something special in store to help cure your post-St. Patty’s Day hangovers. If not though, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to The DiaTribe, Corner of Carnegie and Ontario, Cleveland, OH to receive your full refund (purchase price minus small convenience and restocking fees, of course). With that bit of housecleaning out of the way, let’s jump right in to all (ok, most) of the news that’s fit to link…

 
Francisco Lindor is a guy who I’ve spent plenty of time talking about for the last few years, so I’m not going to spend a lot of space on him this week. But I did want to highlight an article from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that focused on Lindor, because Crasnick is normally a guy who covers the MLB beat. It’s a little unusual to see him write an article focusing solely on a prospect. Crasnick (a closet Indians fan) includes a pretty telling quote from veteran infielder Mike Aviles:

Continue reading

The greatest Indians third baseman, Al Rosen, dead at 91

1One of the All-Time Indians’ greats is gone.

Al Rosen, perhaps the greatest Tribe third baseman of all-time, passed away Friday night at the age of 91. While his career was relatively short, his impact on the game goes far beyond just his 1953 MVP award for the Indians, and his 1987 Executive of the Year award with the San Francisco Giants.

Rosen encompassed the game of baseball throughout his life, and with Bob Feller, was a true ambassador of the game of baseball.

In honor of Rosen, here’s a piece I originally wrote in January of 2013 documenting the best third basemen throughout the history of the Indians’ organization. Obviously, cream rises to the top, and so did Rosen. Here are my rankings of the best Indians’ third baseman, and my ode to Al Rosen. Continue reading

A Formula For Success: Constructing Cleveland’s Bullpen

Of the top 10 bullpens in Major League Baseball last year, Cleveland’s pen had the most innings pitched.

There were 39 pitchers who made at least 70 appearances last year. Cleveland had four, including 80 appearance man Bryan Shaw. Terry Francona used Shaw, Cody Allen, and Scott Atchison for 70 innings each, give or take a few here or there.

When Francona was managing the Red Sox from 2004 to 2011, he utilized his bullpen less than every team in baseball outside of the Angels and White Sox, at least in terms of innings pitched. But he had one of the most effective bullpens, proving that less usage equals greater success. But he did that because he had the pieces in place.

You could go on with a list of names from some of the most important pieces like Jonathan Papelbon to someone like former Indian Dan Wheeler. But it isn’t the names, so much as it is the roles those names fill and how the roles lead to results. Continue reading

A Healthy Rotation Can Win The Central Division

1Going into the 2015 season the Cleveland Indians have a starting rotation that has been talked about as one of the best in all of Major League Baseball. Riding the momentum they built during the second half of 2014 has not only made them a trendy pick but a smart pick as well. This is a young group of starters that is either in their prime or coming into their prime. Things definitely look promising going forward.

In recent days there has been a few reported hiccups in this rotations armor. First Gavin Floyd is heading to the MRI table for his sore elbow. Josh Tomlin was scratched from his start and has already had an ultrasound on his “cranky elbow”. While both of these items may only be precautionary in the early days of spring, it does make you think about the depth of the rotation as a whole.

The meat of the rotation seems to be okay right now with the five best starters Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, T.J. House and Danny Salazar all have gotten through the early part of Spring Training unscathed to this point. The potential issues that losing Floyd or Tomlin for significant time are causes for concern. That would leave Zach McAllister, Shaun Marcum and Bruce Chen as the “Calvary”. While I am intrigued by Marcum and his bounce back potential to a useful backend starter leaning on this group for any period of time is not ideal to the success of the 2015 season. Continue reading

A Dream of Spring on a Lazy Sunday

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Were proud to have the Diatribe’s Al Ciammaichella with his weekly installment of ‘A Lazy Sunday.’ Today, Al discusses a variety of spring topics, including his prospect rankings, Francisco Lindor, the Indians place in Major League Baseball, Brantley’s potential in 2015, upticks from three starters, worries for another starter, and close look at the player that the season could hinge on: Brandon Moss. On a sidenote, we here at EHC are proud to have Al on our team. There’s nothing I love more than to grab a cup of coffee, and read a Lazy Sunday. Now you can do it right here at EHC. Tune in over the coming weeks to find more content from Al, as #EHC begins to spread its wings.

Make sure you check out Al’s site, The Diatribe!

You can also check out all of Al’s work, right here at #EHC!

All photos used in this piece are attributed to Al Ciammaichella.

Real baseball is here! Well, spring training baseball is here, and with the rest of the country stuck in the throes of winter, spring training baseball looks pretty good right now. The sample sizes are small, the pitchers aren’t stretched out, and the stats are meaningless. But Yan Gomes is throwing runners out (and hitting home runs), Bradley Zimmer is legging out triples, and Trevor Bauer is back tinkering with his delivery. It’s baseball! Indians baseball! In the sunshine! I can’t stop using exclamation points! We’re less than a month away from the games that count, as the Indians open the season in Houston on April 6.  Then, just a few days later, the home opener on April 10, which is the first in a three-game series against the reigning AL Central Champion Detroit Tigers. It’s certainly not a must-win series or any nonsense like that, not in early April. But it sure would feel good to come roaring (pun) out of the gates and take three from the Motor City Kitties, announcing our presence with authority and making sure the Tigers know that their reign at the top of the division is crumbling beneath them like the marble columns of the Roman Empire. And if one of those games involves hanging a ten-spot on Kate Upton’s boyfriend and chasing him out of the game in the 3rd inning, so much the better. If you’re not excited for the prospect of real, actual baseball that counts in the standings, there’s something wrong with you. Continue reading

Indians Prospect Countown: #5-1

1Here it is…

The Diatribe’s Al Ciammaichella finishes up his 2015 Indians’ Top 30 prospects list with the Top Five. To some, today’s list starts off with a name that has been known in the inner circles for a few years, but has gone largely unnoticed by both national pundits, as well as most casual fans. If things fall the right way though, he could find his way into some major league playing time. The rest of the top five includes a high upside catcher, two high upside outfielders that could either play center, or get pushed to the corner, and perhaps the best prospect in all of baseball, who I’m guessing most readers will be able to guess.

If you’ve missed the first five installments, you can find them here, at Everybody Hates Cleveland:

Prospects #30-#26

Prospects #25-#21

Prospects #20-#16

Prospects #15-#11

Prospects #10-#6

You can also check them out at The Diatribe here:

Prospects #30-#26

Prospects #25-#21

Prospects #20-#16

Prospects #15-#11

Prospects #10-#6

The photos used in this piece were provided by Lianna Holub, via Lianna Holub Photography. Make sure you check out her facebook page, and give it a like! She’s an amazing baseball photographer who is about as official an EHC photographer that you’ll get! Keep checking out EHC for more of her fabulous work!

Check out prospects #5-#1, after the jump: Continue reading