what a season the 2016 Cleveland Indians had! and, for the first time in 19 years, what a postseason they had, too! whether you're currently feeling immense pride or still nursing a broken heart over the outcome, it's time to pick up the pieces and take a trip down memory lane.
this blog recounts some of the particulars that happened on the
Tribe's journey from their postponed Game 1 Home Opener back on April 4, all the way
to the last out of the 10th inning in Game 7 of the World Series on November 2. more importantly, it contains my analysis of every player who spent time with the Indians this year. unlike in the past, however, this analyzation covers player performances in both the regular season AND the playoffs. so yes, it's quite a long read.
let me also acknowledge that this blog is being posted a good three weeks later than i usually post it because the Tribe's season unusually stretched all the way to the Fall Classic and into the early days of November. their final game was a mere 10 days ago, so truthfully, i got this up pretty quickly. enjoy!
Terry Francona Led the Way
the Indians amassed their best record in the Terry Francona era this year,
going 94-67, which is 13 wins more than last season. and oddly enough, for the second straight year, the Indians only played 161 games. that came about because one game in September was
postponed due to rain and rescheduled for the day after the regular
season ended, but it was only to be played if the game would have any
postseason implications. since the Indians won and the Boston Red Sox lost on the final day of
the regular season, the Indians secured home field advantage in the
American League Division Series. AND also because the Detroit Tigers lost and were eliminated from the
AL Wild Card race on the final day of the regular season, the PPD game became unnecessary and was
this season, the Tribe finished with the 2nd best record in the American League behind the Texas Rangers (95-67). had they played that one rained out game, they might have tied for the best. however, 94 wins was more than fine because, based on their playoff opponents and the AL beating the NL in the 2016 All Star Game, the Indians had home field advantage all the way through the World Series.
in his fourth year with the Tribe, Francona had his finest season as the skipper manning the ship. this is exactly what fans were hoping for when Tito was first hired as manager. he utilized every aspect of his team in the most ideal ways to construct a winning formula in 2016, including taking risks with some decisions that could not have yielded better results. for example, he made a lineup change before the end of April that moved Carlos Santana into the leadoff spot against right-handed starters. it sounded crazy to some, but actually worked out very well. he also used a few different combinations of outfield platoons to keep players effective at the plate and their confidence high. this was great for guys like Lonnie Chisenhall, Rajai Davis, Tyler Naquin, and Brandon Guyer. not to mention, Francona was able to keep Mike Napoli durable for 150 regular season games this year by carefully monitoring his time as a 1st baseman and giving him the opportunity to rest/DH when needed. Tito is so good at getting the most out of his guys.
maybe the favorite part of Francona's team to manage is his bullpen. the man loves his relievers and would keep a dozen of them on his roster at all times if possible. this season, over 20 players found themselves in the Indians' bullpen, including some Triple A starters. the 'pen always had a solid back-end core group, but when Andrew Miller was acquired, that changed the game. literally. his ability to strike out players and shut down the opposition was ridiculously majestic. using Miller to bridge the gap to Cody Allen was pretty intimidating. no team wanted to face Miller when they stepped into the batter's box. it was a rally killer for them, no question.
in the postseason, Miller took on a different role, but his job was the same nonetheless. he pitched as early as the 5th and 6th innings in some games and was used for multiple innings as well to ensure the opposing team would not score any runs from that point on. Miller was the stopper and then Allen came in for the saves. it seemed unconventional, but Francona's choice to switch things up with his bullpen in the playoffs proved to be successful--so much so, in fact, that Chicago Cubs' manager Joe Maddon copied Tito's strategy in the last couple games against us. and why not considering he had an 8-0 World Series record coming into 2016. you know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. well, maybe it wasn't in this situation.
one other thing i'll say about Francona is that he's the quintessential players' manager who understands their needs.
that's a big part of the reason why players are drawn to the ballclubs he manages and why they always proclaim that they love playing for him. instead of preaching
to his guys, Francona lets them do their thing. he builds genuine relationships with them and actually
cares. in turn, his players know they can come to him about anything.
he's got pull with the front office, too, because he's highly revered
throughout baseball. if there's a player that Tito wants on his team,
the GM's gonna try and do whatever he can to get him. Francona just
knows how to piece together all his parts and put a good product on the
field, and the Indians were certainly a very good product this year.
Francona assuredly built his case to be named as a finalist for the 2016 American League Manager of the Year Award. writers made their MOY selections before playoffs began. therefore, what happened in the postseason had no bearing on the outcome, but i have to believe he's still the front runner. the winner will be revealed on November 15 and i will write a blog about it when he wins.😀
Team Highs & Lows
this season provided a little bit of this and a little bit of that. there were countless highlights as well as assorted mind-boggling misfortunes. the biggest highlight was probably the Tribe's 14-game win streak between June 17 and July 1, concluding with a marathon 19-inning game win over the Toronto Blue Jays. but it wasn't just win streaks that stood out. the Indians were also the only team in Major League Baseball not to have more than a three-game losing streak during the year.
everything seemed to click for this group and different guys were getting the job done on different nights. it was a true team effort. case in point, several players had career numbers in 2016. and some of the ones who also had team highs should definitely thank Michael Brantley for not playing this year because without him, that opened the door for other players to acquire more stats... just saying.😛
as always, the team dealt with injuries to some key players. the most
obvious here is Brantley. he missed 150 games with shoulder and biceps problems, yet this team almost won a World Series
without him. then there's Yan Gomes. he never really got comfortable at
the plate this year and was eventually lost to two injuries, one
after another--first, a separated shoulder and then a wrist fracture while he was rehabbing. Danny Salazar
had various arm issues off and on for the 2nd half of the year and was unable
to start in the postseason. Carlos Carrasco suffered a broken bone
below his finger on a come-backer two and a half weeks before the end of the season and
became ineligible for the playoffs. then Trevor Bauer had an accident
with a drone and sliced his pinky finger just prior to the American League Championship Series, which
ultimately rendered him ineffective for the series. but somehow, the team
prevailed in spite of all those challenges to come within one win of a
championship. that's incredible.
the Indians were so much improved this year both offensively and defensively. the offseason free agent signings of Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis proved to be greatly underrated and practically steals. speaking of steals, Davis racked up his share, finishing with the most in the American League. and getting back to career highs, Nap hit 34 bombs out of the park this year, prompting 34 "Party at Napoli's."
offensively, Carlos Santana had his best year this season. Jose Ramirez played like an MVP. Francisco Lindor followed up his rookie season with another remarkable year at the plate and his first All Star nod. Jason Kipnis hit more home runs than ever before. Tyler Naquin, though nominated for AL Rookie of the Year, looked like anything but a rookie for much of the season. everybody played a part and contributed.
defensively, we boasted a significant upgrade, especially in the infield. but really we saw many spectacular plays coming from every position. from Lindor's classic jaw-dropping plays at short, to one of the outfielders throwing someone out at home or on the bases, to Napoli digging balls out of the dirt at 1st base, to Roberto Perez smothering balls in the dirt behind the plate. there was plenty to get excited about on any given night.
and then there's the pitching. they may have run short on starters at the end, but they still had their ace, Corey Kluber, and he continued to be dominant on the mound. it's no wonder he's up for another AL Cy Young Award this year and i'll be damned if he doesn't win it. in addition, Josh Tomlin emerged as a rotation gem, overlooked by many outside Cleveland, and aside from a rough August (due to the effects of his father's health issues, no doubt), he was extremely reliable and could be counted on all season.
Cody Allen had another excellent year as the Tribe's closer, almost matching his career high in saves from last season. Andrew Miller was a strikeout machine that opposing batters absolutely HATED to face, probably because they fell down after swinging and missing for strike 3 all too often. lesser-known Dan Otero had a very understated year out of the bullpen as well.
all of the above helped the Indians have the October (to remember) that they did. i could go on and on too, but i think i've covered enough for now lol more individual analyses can be found further down in this blog.
The September Celebration & Postseason October/November
the first exciting big team celebration occurred when the Indians clinched the American League Central Division after their win over the Detroit Tigers on September 26. the main reason they won their division this year (and finished with an eight-game lead over 2nd place Detroit) is because they performed so well when facing their division rivals. in 2016, the Indians went an astounding 14-4 against Detroit. they also had a 14-5 record against the Kansas City Royals, an 11-8 record against the Chicago White Sox, and 10-9 record against the Minnesota Twins.
in postseason play, the Indians swept the Boston Red Sox in three games in the American League Division Series despite not being the so-called "favorite" to win. it was their first ALDS appearance since 2007. then it took them five games to get four wins in the American League Championship Series versus the Toronto Blue Jays and be named the 2016 American League Champions. that was another series they were not expected to win. so by the time they got to the Fall Classic, they were used to being disregarded. but the Tribe played all seven games in the World Series versus the Chicago Cubs, ultimately losing Game 7 at home in extra innings. it was very reminiscent of the last World Series the Indians were a part of back in 1997, except they lost that Game 7 on the road. (for more detailed summations of each playoff series the Indians played in, refer back to the Overview sections of my previously posted Brantley's 2016 Postseason October/November blog.)
yes, it was heartbreaking to lose after being up 3-1 in the
World Series. but when you're missing some of your best men, it's tough. when you're trying to win by using just three starters and asking them to pitch on short rest, that's a gamble. this is where some criticism of Terry Francona comes into play. (for an immediate reaction to the Indians' loss in the World Series that's raw and emotional, read the My Thoughts on the Loss... blog.) but i can't go in too hard on the guy because without him leading the way, this team doesn't get to Game 7. hell, they probably don't even get into the postseason.
so regardless of how the year ended, the 2016 season as a whole was a great ride. and it's very likely that they'll get to have a similar ride next year, but hopefully it will culminate with a parade.
note: throughout the rest of this blog, you will see some italicized paragraphs. those represent excerpts that i wrote in my 2016 Predictions blog at the end of spring training. when you get to the individual player evaluations, you can skip over those if you want and just read how the players actually performed. otherwise, this blog will be an extremely long read for you.
My Preseason Postulations vs. Reality
now i'm going to paste some of my preseason predictions and expectations in here and compare them with what
so what is my prediction for the Tribe's 2016 season? if everyone
plays to their maximum abilities and we don't have to endure too many
serious or prolonged injuries, i think this team as
currently constructed will finish with a win-loss record of 87-75. (and Terry Pluto
agrees with me!) i believe the competition in our AL
Central Division will continue to be tough, and we could feasibly be
beating up on each other every time we all battle it out. based on that,
i don't think 87 wins is out of the question to win the division. would that be enough wins for a wild card spot though? maybe, but maybe not.
apparently i underestimated this team. then again, had i known at the end of spring that Michael Brantley wouldn't play more than 11 games this year, or that Carlos Carrasco would suffer a few freak injuries, or that Danny Salazar would have continual arm problems, i never would have predicted a win total that high. it's amazing the Tribe did what they did without the benefit of some of these players.
still, i did say they could win the division, which they did. i also thought 87 wins would be enough to win the AL Central, and that too was correct because the Detroit Tigers finished 2nd with 86 wins. lastly, i wasn't quite sure if 87 wins would be enough for a wild card spot, which it wasn't because both wild card teams had records of 89-73. so i killed my predictions this year. go me!
some things that might make a difference this year that we didn't have last year:
--a stronger starting rotation, with better options in the 5th spot
--more right-handed bats to utilize (Mike Napoli, Rajai Davis, Juan Uribe, and a healthy Yan Gomes)
--Francisco Lindor starting the season with the Indians and playing here all year (hopefully)
--Napoli replacing Carlos Santana at 1st base (better defense)
--better defense at 3rd base all season (Uribe and/or Giovanny Urshela later on in the year)
i think almost all of those things worked in our favor and were a huge part in getting us all the way to the World Series. we did have a strong rotation, though the first five guys we started with were not the five we ended with. they weren't even all on the postseason roster lol but pitching was certainly a strong suit for us this year. in their own ways, Napoli, Davis, and Uribe were infinitely helpful in filling the "right-handed bat" role. Gomes on the other hand was not because he sadly spent much of the season hurt and when he was healthy, he struggled a lot. Lindor played his entire sophomore season here and was magnificent both offensively and defensively. Napoli made some exceptional plays at 1st base, though he did share the 1st base duties with Santana. we had better defense at 3rd base as well; however, Uribe did not spend the whole year with us, Urshela never got called up once, and Jose Ramirez played a lot of 3rd and was terrific at it. honestly, we had one of the best starting rotations and infields in all of baseball in 2016.😀
...my picks for the 2016 World Series. i really don't see anyone from the AL
Central Division representing in the Fall Classic.
National League: i just can't ignore the strange factor
of the San Francisco Giants winning three times in each of the
even numbered years since 2010. so yes, i believe they're at least going
to go back this year. seems like a weird pick but i have to go with the
odds. or rather, the evens.
American League: because it would be a kick in the face to
Tribe fans (due to Mark Shapiro's recent departure), i'm gonna predict
the Toronto Blue Jays to emerge as this year's AL victors.
i think the
AL will beat the NL in the All Star Game on July 12 in San Diego at
Petco Park. that said, in this case, i don't think Toronto's home field
advantage is going to make much of a difference against San Fran. i pick
the Giants to beat the Jays in 5 games.
wrong, wrong, wrong, i was right about the AL winning the All Star Game, but wrong about the World Series winner. although, i did accurately predict that an NL team would beat the AL even without home field advantage...😞
No Longer Cleveland Indians
not everybody makes it through a whole season with just one organization. so before i go any further in this blog, i want to recognize the players who are no longer Cleveland Indians.
Designated For Assignment:
Tom Gorzelanny was DFA'd on July 4 and elected free agency on July 9. he did not see much playing time in Cleveland because Terry Francona preferred other relievers ahead of him.
Joba Chamberlain was DFA'd on July 4 as well and elected his free agency on July 10. he broke camp with the Tribe as Tito's veteran presence, but later was a casualty of a roster move. no other team ever signed him. he should have just agreed to pitch in Columbus until Francona inevitably brought him back up.
Ross Detwiler was DFA'd on April 29. he accepted his outright to Triple A Columbus on May 1 and pitched down there until he was traded to the Oakland Athletics on July 17 for cash. he also made the roster out of spring training, but lost his spot once Tommy Hunter was ready to come off the disabled list.
Joey Butler never made it up to play the outfield in Cleveland this year. he was a Columbus Clipper until July 31, when he was DFA'd to clear space on the 40-man roster for the Tribe's new reliever, Andrew Miller.
Juan Uribe was another veteran player, incredibly liked and respected, but the Indians decided to move on from the 37-year old 3rd baseman and DFA'd him on August 1 to make room for their other new acquisition, Brandon Guyer.
Tommy Hunter stuck in the Tribe bullpen once he came off the DL at the end of April. unfortunately, he landed himself on the DL again on July 17 and when he was ready to be activated on August 25, the Tribe released him instead. he signed with the Baltimore Orioles three days later.
Marlon Byrd tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs on June 1 and received a 162-game suspension because it was his second PED offense. since the Indians only signed him to a one-year deal, he's currently a free agent. with him still needing to finish his suspension next season, i seriously doubt the Tribe will look to bring the 39-year old outfielder back.
i will go into more details about everyone's time with the Indians in their respective sections below.
Prospects Traded for Andrew Miller
unlike last year, we didn't trade any of our Major League players this season. this time, we had to dip into our prospects pool in order to get an important deal done at the trade deadline. Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Ben Heller, and J.P. Feyereisen were the four players included in the deal with the New York Yankees for Miller. Frazier was one of our top outfielders at Triple A Columbus, Sheffield was a left-handed pitcher with the Single A Lynchburg Hillcats, Heller was a right-handed reliever at Columbus, and Feyereisen was a righty reliever with the Double A Akron RubberDucks. out of everyone, i knew the most about Frazier and was legitimately sad that we got rid of our Big Red. i'm positive that these kids will all make an impact at the big league level someday, but we had to give them up to get Miller and it was a trade that so far has more than worked in our favor. good luck to our old minor leaguers though!
Analyzing the Players
now here's the part where i analyze the performances of everyone who played for the Indians in 2016. again, because the team played in the playoffs this year, these evaluations are also going to include short postseason summaries as well. in those cases where some players played multiple defensive positions, i listed the player under the fielding position that he played the most.
Davis was unimpressive throughout most of
camp, but he did look better towards the end. his one and only home run
came in the Indians' final game against Texas. he racked up
almost as many strikeouts as hits, however, and that gave me so many
Bourn flashbacks... i
think he will be more of a factor on the defensive end than he will be
with his bat. prove me wrong, bro.
Rajai Davis was nothing like Bourn. the 35-year old remained healthy all year and played in 134 games. he had career highs with 12 home runs, 74 runs, and 33 walks, along with 106 strikeouts. he led the team in batting average in June when he bat .321 (27-for-84). Davis kept his legs in amazing shape and stole an American League leading (and team high) 43 bases. he created havoc on the basepaths and distracted opposing pitchers. his speed was advantageous in the outfield as well. he mostly played center field this season, but also saw a lot of time in left, and started one game in right. in total, he had (a team high) nine outfield assists, five errors, and two double plays. Davis spent most of his time in the leadoff spot against left-handed pitchers, but he was batting leadoff against righties in April for a bit, too. otherwise, he bat in the lower portion of the order. in the postseason, Davis played in every game, but struggled with his bat, particularly in the first two series when he went 0-for-13. of the 15 games, he only started and completed six, and was used as a late innings pinch hitter or defensive substitute in nine. he hit one home run, the improbable big blast off Aroldis Chapman in Game 7 of the World Series versus the Chicago Cubs, which tied the game at 6 in the bottom of the 8th inning. it was a line drive that literally rocked Progressive Field. even though he wasn't hitting much in Postseason October, i personally wish he would have started more games so we could have had his experience and speed in the outfield more. Davis was a great signing and i hope we can retain him for next year.
i admit, despite the .397 average and four home runs, i was very
surprised the Indians decided to give a spot on
the roster to Naquin. he's never opened with
the team before and, on top of that, will be making
his major league debut. usually a player in that predicament would start
out in Triple A no matter how hot a spring he had. i guess this
made mostly because of the peculiar circumstances surrounding our
situation in center field. he's unmistakably the best CF option for us
and he worked hard in the offseason to prove to everyone that he's
legit. he spent some time in AZ
over the winter at strength camp, which may have partially attributed
to the success he had in Cactus League games. it's pretty clear he's
feeling good and he's healthy.
but i can't help but worry that he will struggle with his bat and be
sent down shortly after his debut. being a rookie at the start of the
season can be
overwhelming and having to play through the harsh weather conditions
can be difficult. will his hot stick stay hot in a cold April in
Cleveland? don't be startled if he
gets his ticket punched to Columbus once Brantley gets off the DL either
because it'll be hard to find him playing time then and i doubt the
Indians want him to play sporadically as a bench player.
Tyler Naquin opened as the Tribe's center fielder and wasn't sent down until May 7. he got called back up when Lonnie Chisenhall went on the Bereavement List on May 13 and was sent down again on May 18. he returned to the bigs for good on June 1 when Marlon Byrd got suspended for PEDs. overall, he played 116 games with the Tribe and amassed 95 hits, 18 doubles, five triples, 14 home runs, 43 RBI, 52 runs, 36 walks, 112 strikeouts, .296 batting average, .514 SLG, .886 OPS, and 2.5 fWAR. he had the highest batting average on the team in the month of July (.348) and earned consecutive AL Rookie of the Month honors in June and July. his biggest highlight of the season was undoubtedly his walk-off, inside-the-park home run that he hit off Roberto Osuna on August 19 in the game versus the Toronto Blue Jays. the most memorable part about it was how after sliding into home base, he jumped up and threw up the devil horns. rock on, Ty. he bat everywhere in the order at least once except 2nd, but he was mostly down in the lower third of the lineup. in the outfield, Naquin's main role was as a CF, but he also appeared in right in four games. he had six assists and two errors in 820.2 total innings. there were obvious times when he didn't get good breaks and didn't take the best route to a ball, but those are things that should be expected with a rookie. Naquin also had a tough time at the plate with breaking balls, especially in the postseason. speaking of, he appeared in 11 playoff games. he played center field in all of them, but moved over to right in one game, too. he also pinch ran in Game 7 of the World Series versus the Cubs. he received some national attention for his big blunder in Game 6 when he let a ball drop between him and Chiz. Naquin, as the CF, should have taken charge and caught the ball. but he didn't, and that caused the inning to unravel. combine that with his numerous strikeouts, and it's clear why fans criticized Terry Francona for not playing Davis more. Naquin did not fair well at the plate overall, batting just .174 with four hits, two doubles, and 14 strikeouts in 23 postseason at bats. aside from that, Naquin still had a tremendous rookie year as evidenced by him being named a finalist for the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year Award. i personally think he's a long shot to actually win it though.
up until the final week, Collin
Cowgill mostly had a poor spring showing besides two home runs and two
hits off lefty Clayton Kershaw. so he's certainly not one of our
strongest bats. but the Indians seem to think he can be a bench player
and play against southpaws, since he has good carer numbers against
them. besides that, they love that he can play all three OF positions.
he's got a minor league option, so if necessary, he can easily be sent
down to Columbus.
and sent down to Columbus he was, and rather quickly. Collin Cowgill got demoted on April 20 when Chiz came off the DL and did not see Cleveland again. he appeared in nine games, was used only in right field or as a pinch runner, and went 1-for-12 at the plate. he was DFA'd on September 1, but accepted his assignment to Columbus the next day.
Marlon Byrd was our last/very late signing. he was
signed to a minor league deal in mid-March. it seemed a little
coincidental that all the sudden the Indians brought him in once news of
Lonnie Chisenhall's sore arm came to light. sounds like he will mainly
be platooning with Chiz in right field as needed. he did well in limited
time in camp and has hit 72 home runs in the past three years. he'll be making a base of $1 million.
Marlon Byrd had no chance at hitting another 20+ home runs again because he received a 162-game suspension on June 1 after he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. the growth hormone secretagogue ipamorelin was found in the 38-year old's system and, because this was his second PED offense, he was suspended for an entire year. once the news broke, Naquin was called back to the big leagues. Byrd only played in 34 games with the Indians and bat .270 with six doubles, five home runs, 19 RBI, and 11 walks. it actually seemed like it was shaping up to be a good year for him, too. damn it. on the defensive side, he saw time in both right and left field and had three assists and one double play.
as for Chisenhall, boy was he a disappointment. he was dealing with a
sore forearm in the middle of camp but i'm not sure that was the cause
of his earlier struggles. his defense in right field continued to
impress and he lead all the outfielders with five assists in nine games
before it was announced that he would be starting the year on the 15-day DL
because of a left wrist injury. that issue arose supposedly when he was
trying to compensate for his forearm.
Lonnie Chisenhall was activated on April 20. it took him a few games to get going, but he certainly improved as the season went on. he had a batting average over .300 in each of the months of May, June, and July, but by September he lost some steam, batting only .250. strategically, he had significantly more at bats against right-handed pitchers (batting .295, 100-for-339) than lefties (batting .217, 10-for-46). between his late arrival and his use as somewhat of a platoon player, Chiz did not end up being a qualifying player this year. be that as it may, he did set career highs for himself with five triples, a .286 batting average, and .439 SLG. the only other time he spent away from the club was when he went on the Bereavement List on May 13 for three days due to the death of his sister. (my condolences.) my early season panic about Chiz potentially being used as a center fielder over Michael Brantley was all for naught because he only played two games in center. his usual defensive position was right field, where he acquired seven assists and was part of one double play. but he also committed three errors in right. additionally, he appeared as a late innings replacement at 3rd base in one game in July and at 1st base in three games in August. Chiz spent most games batting in the 6th spot in the order. in the postseason, he played all 15 games as the right fielder and had one home run and five RBI. he performed best in the ALDS versus the Boston Red Sox (.300, 3-for-10), was mediocre in the ALCS versus the Toronto Blue Jays (.250, 4-for-16), and had a poor World Series versus the Cubs (.125, 2-for-16).
Michael Brantley is sadly going to open the season on the 15-day DL.
he played a mere two spring games with the Indians in the Cactus League
before experiencing some shoulder soreness that kept him out of the
rest of the Tribe's spring games. when he is cleared to start playing
again, the Indians will have to send him down to the minors in order to
get the rest of his practice in. if the opportunity presents itself, the
Indians will have the ability to activate Michael off the DL prior to
April 19 (15 days into the season) if he's ready before then because
they back dated his DL start date to March 25 (the earliest possible
by now, you all know how Michael Brantley's season went, especially if you're a regular reader of this blog. but to give a brief summation, Brantley came off the DL on April 25 after rehabbing in seven games with Double A Akron and Triple A Columbus. he played 11 Major League games, then experienced shoulder soreness, and he landed himself back on the DL on May 14 with right shoulder inflammation. and basically, that was it for him. he made several comeback attempts, but kept having pain and setbacks. he developed biceps tendinitis for which he received a shot and downtime. he later underwent a hydrodissection to break up the scar tissue along his biceps tendon. eventually, he was able to begin another rehab assignment in July and played four games, but ultimately had to be shut down again. Brantley finally underwent season-ending surgery on August 15 for chronic right biceps tendinitis and should be cleared to start swinging a bat in mid-December. in spite of people referring to his time with the Tribe as ineffective, i was impressed with his seven RBI in 10 complete games and his 4-for-5 game on May 5 versus the Detroit Tigers. when he was able to play, it was decided he would be our cleanup hitter this year and he bat there for all but two of his 11 total games. defensively, he played left field only and did acquire one outfield assist. even though he wasn't on the postseason rosters, he still watched every game from the dugout and was there to provide guidance to and celebrate with his teammates. for more specific details about Brantley's season, you can refer back to my Wrapping Up Brantley's 2016 Season blog, which has all the links to the pertinent blogs that i wrote regarding Michael this year.
Abraham Almonte failed his drug test and ended up being suspended for 80 games.
the anabolic steroid Boldenone, typically used in horses and cattle,
was found in his system. he took responsibility for it, but had no idea
how it got into his system. and so the Indians lost their original
Opening Day center fielder.
before Abraham Almonte was reinstated from the restricted list on July 3, he spent time playing in extended spring in Arizona, then began what was considered a rehab assignment with the Columbus Clippers on June 22. he bat .444 (12-for-27) with two doubles, one triple, one home run, four RBI, five walks, and two stolen bases in seven Triple A games. when he returned to the Indians, he was thrust right into the lineup. it took some time for him to adjust to big league pitching, but by the end of July, he looked more comfortable. in 67 games, he acquired 20 doubles, one triple, one home run, 22 RBI, eight walks, and eight stolen bases. defensively, he played mostly right and left field, but also a little center. he totaled six assists, two errors, and one double play. unfortunately, his PED suspension made him ineligible for the playoffs.
Brandon Guyer was a pickup that many fans did not think much of at the time, but he performed admirably for us. the Indians dealt two minor league prospects (Nathan Lukes and Jhonleider Salinas) to the Tampa Bay Rays on August 1 for the right-handed hitter. he bat .333 while with the Tribe in 38 games. the majority of his ABs came against left-handed pitchers because that's who he thrives against and that's why the Indians wanted him. he was also the hit by pitch king, leading the majors with 31 HBP, eight of which came with the Tribe. Guyer played both corner outfield positions, but mainly saw time in left and had two assists and one error overall. in the postseason, he played in 10 games and bat .333 (6-for-18). he appeared in every World Series game versus the Cubs, went 3-for-10, and played in both left and right field.
the Indians brought Coco Crisp back home this year. (he began his MLB career with the Tribe in 2002 and stayed with the club through 2005.) they sent cash and minor leaguer Colt Hynes to the Oakland Athletics on August 31 in exchange for him. he was obtained because the Tribe needed someone to take Almonte's place in the postseason since he was not going to be eligible for it. Crisp played in 20 games in September/October and had three doubles, two home runs, eight RBI, nine walks, and three stolen bases. in the field, he only played left. he appeared in 12 games in the postseason and hit a key home run in both the ALDS clinch game against the Red Sox and ALCS clinch game against the Blue Jays. you go, Coco!
Santana had one of the better springs out of everyone in
hit three home runs and five doubles. his batting average was over .300
for a while in the beginning until it leveled off at the end. still,
promising. he's been delegated to the designated hitter role now and he's not all that happy about it.
i'm putting Carlos Santana here, even though he played 1st base this year too, because he spent the majority of his season as a designated hitter (started 92 games as DH vs. 64 at 1st base). looking at his offensive stats from both, however, he did well for himself and acquired career highs with 151 hits, 68 extra base hits (tied for the team high), three triples, 34 home runs (tied for the team high), 87 RBI, 89 runs, 290 total bases (team high), .498 SLG, .865 OPS, and 158 games played. he also had a career low in strikeouts, keeping them just under 100 at 99. some of his career stats were undoubtedly helped by the fact that he became the leadoff hitter against right-handed starters as of April 22. Santana was named American League co-Player of the Week in September with Justin Upton of the Detroit Tigers, the second such honor of his career. in the postseason, he played in all 15 games, including getting two starts in left field during the World Series away games against the Chicago Cubs (where they don't use a DH). otherwise, he mainly DH'd. overall, he hit three home runs, had four RBI, and drew eight walks. this was a phenomenal year for Santana.
Napoli had a ridiculously hot bat in spring. omg i hope that carries
over into the season lol he hit
four home runs and had 14 RBI. i am looking forward to watching him play with the
Tribe this year.
Mike Napoli was the other Indian who split time with Carlos Santana at 1st and as a DH, but he played more 1st base (98 games at 1st vs. 51 games as DH). no longer suffering from sleep apnea, the 34-year old had himself a career year with 133 hits, 34 home runs (tied with Santana, but Nap hit his 34th homer first), 101 RBI, 92 runs, 78 walks (tied career high), 259 total bases, and 150 games played. our cleanup hitter (when Michael Brantley wasn't playing) really started to wear down towards the end of the season though, particularly in September/October when he bat .140 (13-for-93). he did hit five homers, but totaled 31 strikeouts for the month. speaking of strikeouts, he had a career/team high 194 for the entire regular season, which was also a single-season franchise record. defensively, his glove at 1st was a big improvement from what this team had seen over the past couple years, as Nap was able to stretch and get some big outs. sadly, Napoli's struggles at the plate spilled over into the postseason. he played in all 15 games, yet had just one home run and three RBI. the party was surely over for him by the time the Tribe got to the World Series--he only bat .167 (4-for-24) and registered 11 strikeouts versus the Chicago Cubs. altogether he had a great year, but i have to wonder... when Brantley comes back healthy next year, does Nap acquire over 100 RBI (if he remains with the team)? i'm thinking not. and as i've said before, Napoli should thank Brant for being out injured so that he had the extra opportunities to rack up more stats this year and potentially get himself a really good contract this offseason.
Kipnis needed some time to get himself going as well. he hit three home runs and drove in 12 runners, but he did not
have a very good batting average. Kip has never had a very good April in
the big leagues, he always starts out slow. maybe this year he can buck
Jason Kipnis finally had a good April. his best month was July when he bat .344, but after that, his bat began to cool a little. still, he can be considered as one of the more consistent hitters on the team who helped get us to the postseason with his 4.8 fWAR. he had 44 multi-hit games, five three-hit games, one four-hit game, and one five-hit game. Kip had a few career highs this year including 68 extra base hits (tied for the team high), 23 home runs, 91 runs, 286 total bases, .469 SLG, and 156 games played. he also had a career high 146 strikeouts. he played strictly at 2nd base and, despite his 12 errors, played quality defense in combination with Francisco Lindor. in 2016, he bat 2nd in the order in all but three games. Kip didn't have any injuries to deal with and being healthy this year boded well for him. in the playoffs, he had four home runs and eight RBI, but bat .230 overall. he was only 1-for-19 at the plate (.053) in the ALCS versus the Toronto Blue Jays. on the contrary, two of his homers and four of his ribbies came in the World Series versus the Cubs.
Lindor really started heating up in the last two weeks
of camp. he finished with seven doubles, three home runs, and a team
high 15 RBI. but he's never opened with the team or in the big
leagues in April before. i am concerned that he's going to need time to
playing in cold weather and he may struggle a bit, much like he did
after his initial call up last year. once he gets past that, he should
provide many fun highlights for fans to watch this season.
Francisco Lindor's sophomore season was extraordinary and filled with lots of highlights. as our 3-hole hitter, i don't think i even need to say that he put up career highs in almost every offensive category. besides that, he led the team with 182 hits and 6.3 fWAR, and he led MLB with 15 sacrifice flies. i was specifically impressed by his 30 doubles, 15 home runs, 78 RBI, and 19 stolen bases. Lindor was also tied for 10th in the American League with 54 multi-hit games. he had 22 three-hit games, including three straight in May, and one four-hit game. he played in all but four games in the regular season (he's young enough to have that kind of stamina) and his worst month came in September/October when he bat an uncharacteristic .233 (21-for-90). in his first full Major League season, it's conceivable that he wasn't used to playing so much and potentially could have been starting to tire at that point. i think he's going to be a regular .300 hitter in the bigs, however, as he finished 2016 batting .301. he had the highest batting average on the team in both April (.293) and May (.316). he was the lone Indians position player at this year's All Star Game on July 12. defensively, he did have 12 errors, but was recently already rewarded for his swift plays and mobility with the Rawlings 2016 AL Shortstop Gold Glove Award & AL Platinum Glove Award. in the postseason, he was one of the stars. he played all 15 games and his best series was the ALCS versus the Blue Jays when he bat .368 (7-for-19) with one home run and three RBI. he had seven multi-hit games, including two three-hit games, and had the highest overall postseason batting average (.310) on the team. he also made an unbelievable play in Game 7 of the World Series versus the Cubs. with 2 outs in the top of the 9th inning and a runner at 3rd, he got to a ball that was hit into short center field and threw the runner out at 1st to keep the game tied. Lindor is gonna be a superstar shortstop for years to come, and he's all ours!
Uribe had some visa problems and spent a
little time away from Arizona, but he remained adamant that he had
worked out enough in the offseason to keep himself game ready. he did
better than some of his younger counterparts in spring, but he didn't
play as much as the other regulars and so it's hard to tell how he'll
perform once the season starts. he's just a 3rd base placeholder right
now until the Indians decide they want to bring Urshela back up to
seasoned veteran Juan Uribe was well-regarded in the clubhouse. Jose Ramirez took a particular liking to him and the two shared a father-son type relationship. nicknamed, "The Turkey," Uribe was not expected to be an offensive juggernaut when we signed him. be that as it may, he did hit a home run in four straight games from June 18-21, but he struggled with the bat more often than not. his four consecutive homers came right after he missed four games due to taking a grounder to the groin on June 12. he was not wearing a protective cup because he claimed they didn't have one in his size lol aside from that, Uribe still had some moves for a 37-year old 3rd baseman. he made some remarkable plays at the hot corner. then again, there were times when he looked like a hot mess, and he committed a total of seven errors in 68 games in the field. he was also a PH in five games with us this year. eventually, Uribe was designated for assignment on August 1. he was never supposed to be our main 3rd baseman for the whole season anyway, so while the team lost a good guy, they did not lose a cornerstone player. more surprising was that once he was gone, Giovanny Urshela didn't replace him--Ramirez did. and so the torch was appropriately passed.
Ramirez was a little fireball this spring. i was quite surprised that
he was swinging the bat so well and accumulated four home runs and 13 RBI. if
he's gonna be our new utility man, then this is an interesting
development with his game.
the evolution of Jose Ramirez this year was special and i'd love to know what brought that on. maybe it was Uribe taking him under his wing. maybe it was not having to worry about Lindor's arrival in the back of his mind. maybe it was simply knowing that he had a definite place on the team this season. he was initially just supposed to be a utility player filling in wherever needed, but Ramirez became much more than that. at one point this year, he dyed his hair orange, which could have symbolized how on fire he was. in his first full year with the Tribe, he led the team in batting average (.312), which also ranked 7th in the American League. he boasted the team high in batting average for the months of August (.350) and September/October (.327) as well. he additionally led the team with 46 doubles and finished 2nd in the AL behind the Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz (48). showing real promise as a Major League hitter, Ramirez put up career high numbers in all the major categories in 2016, including 76 RBI and 22 stolen bases. writers and fans alike had fun counting how many times his helmet flew off as he ran the bases (final count: 62 in the regular season, 5 in the postseason, per Zack Meisel). he might have been "Mini Mi" to Uribe, but he quickly began to draw comparisons to Brantley. i'd say some stats were similar, but Brantley definitely has more power than him. defensively, Ramirez played primarily left field in the month of April, but from May to July, it was mixed between left and 3rd base. then after Uribe's departure, he played solely 3rd base in all of August and September/October and by that point, he was looking like a natural 3rd baseman. in total, he played 117 games at 3rd and 48 in left. as for his place in the lineup, he bat 5th behind Napoli for the majority of the season. however, he started and completed at least one game in all nine spots this year. that became official on June 27 when he bat cleanup for the first time. in the playoffs, Ramirez played all 15 games at 3rd base, batting either 5th or 6th. he had a great ALDS performance versus the Boston Red Sox, going 5-for-10, but struggled mightily in the ALCS versus the Blue Jays, going 1-for-17. then in the World Series versus the Cubs, he bat .310 (9-for-29) and hit his only home run of the postseason.
now before i close the book on Jose, i also want to bring this up because i feel it's something to think about and keep an eye on next year. what would Ramirez's numbers have been if Brantley had come back on April 25 and stayed healthy for the rest of the year? ponder that. had Brant returned and stayed, Ramirez's playing time would have decreased because Uribe was still the main 3rd baseman then. so where would Ramirez have fit in? and when he did get to play, would that have affected his ability to remain a hot hitter? i'm curious to see how Ramirez follows up his 2016 performance next season. i remember when Brantley had his All Star 2014 season, a lot of skeptics thought it was a fluke. yet that doesn't seem to be the case with Ramirez, as several fans already want his contract extended. it'll be interesting to see if he can repeat this caliber of play when Brantley's back full time (or even if Brant somehow is not back) in 2017.
Erik Gonzalez got called up to the Tribe on July 14, made his Major League debut on July 16, and got his first hit on July 19. between his call up and August 4, he played in 10 games and then was sent down to Columbus on August 5. while with the Indians, he was typically used as a late innings defensive replacement or pinch hitter. Gonzalez came back up when rosters expanded on September 1 and appeared in 11 more games before the regular season ended. he played one complete game on September 27 against the Detroit Tigers, the day after the Indians clinched the Central Division, and went 3-for-3 at the plate. overall, he played 15 games as an infielder, two as a right fielder, and four as a PH. he was not on any postseason roster, though he did stay with the team and watch all the games from the dugout. right now, it's hard to say where his place with the Tribe is going to be in the future.
Jesus Aguilar spent a full season down in Triple A this year and does not seem to be in the Indians' plans anymore. he was not brought up to the majors until September 11, right after the Columbus Clippers lost in the Governors' Cup Semifinals. he had six at bats in nine games with the Tribe and did not register a hit. like Gonzalez, he also played one full game on September 27 while the regulars got the day off to rest and recuperate from their hangovers. he mainly played 1st base, but PH'd a few times, too. honestly, it's getting to the point where i don't understand why he's still in the organization and i think they should let him go so he can have an opportunity with another big league club.
Urshela had a phenomenal spring. he was right behind Gomes for the
team lead in home runs with five. it's pretty clear that he had a rough
debut with the Indians last year because of the injuries he was dealing
with and still recovering from. he looks healthy now but they want him
to get some more work in down in Columbus. how much work, i'm not sure,
but he will be back at the hot corner for the Tribe at some point this
an interesting turn of events led to Giovanny Urshela spending all of 2016 in Columbus and not getting a call to join the Indians this year. Urshela was supposed to replace Uribe at 3rd base after a little bit of seasoning in Triple A. except, Urshela did not get off to a good start in Columbus because he wasn't hitting and then he suffered a hamstring injury. he did progress as time went on, but he no longer looked Major League ready. when the Indians had to make a roster move and chose to say goodbye to Uribe on August 1, they did not hesitate to declare Ramirez as the new every day 3rd baseman. so once the Clippers got eliminated from their quest for the Governors' Cup in September, Urshela's year simply ended. with Ramirez now the 3rd baseman for the Tribe, it's puzzling as to how Urshela is going to fit in with the team and if/when he'll make it back to the bigs with us...
Michael Martinez had a considerably good camp, but there were just so
many hitters ahead of him that he was never in the conversation to start
the year with Cleveland. he's a versatile player since he can play the
infield or outfield. if someone is injured, he might be high on the call
i put Michael Martinez in the utility category because he played all three OF positions for us this year as well as 2nd base, 3rd base, and shortstop. he was called up from Columbus on May 14 when Michael Brantley went back on the DL. he started some games and was a defensive substitution for others. he was DFA'd on July 2 and traded to the Boston Red Sox on July 8. the Indians claimed him off waivers on August 4 and sent him to Triple A before bringing him back up to Cleveland on August 5. Martinez did considerably better with his bat the first time he was with the Tribe this year than the second time. that said, his stats still weren't exactly head-turning, but he was getting himself on base a lot with singles. in total, he bat .242 (23-for-95) with four doubles, one home run, four RBI, 15 runs, and 21 strikeouts in 59 regular season games. what he was or wasn't doing offensively didn't matter much though because his main purpose was to fill in where necessary on the field. Terry Francona really loves those versatile players lol Martinez was on every postseason roster, coming in to play seven games as either a late innings defensive replacement or pinch runner. he scored the one and only winning run in Game 3 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs, but went 0-for-4 overall in the playoffs at the plate, including hitting into the final out that led to Chicago's World Series win.
you can really tell that Gomes is healthy now. he hit three homers in
spring before coming down with the flu, and then finished camp with six
total--most on the team. he
will be a big right-handed bat in our lineup this season as long as
nothing unforeseen happens to him.
Yan Gomes is a classic example of how you shouldn't read too much into spring stats. he was certainly not a big bat in our lineup this season. he showed way more value behind the plate than standing next to it. his teammates were so concerned about his lack of hitting that they organized a chicken sacrifice on July 16. while their hearts were in the right place, it did not work because the very next day, Gomes was injured. he went on the DL with an A/C joint separation in his right shoulder on July 18. he began rehab for that in September, and then was hit in the hand during a game with the Akron RubberDucks (in which he was the DH!) on September 14, resulting in a non-displaced fracture of his right wrist. after two weeks, Gomes was told that he couldn't hurt himself any worse, so the Indians allowed him to play in a few games before the regular season ended. he was also on each postseason series roster, though didn't appear in any games until the World Series versus the Chicago Cubs, and he went 0-for-4 overall at the plate. Gomes is getting into an unfortunate pattern where he's out with an injury for half the year and doesn't hit much for the other half. i hope that's not the case in 2017.
Roberto Perez lost some weight and toned up a bit since
we saw him last. this was a good spring performance for him. that said, he is never going to blow anyone away with his bat, but
it's his ability behind the plate that makes him a valuable asset to the
team. case in point, he threw out seven runners trying to steal. he also had nine RBI in camp, only two less than Gomes.
Roberto Perez suffered an injury this year also, his coming prior to Gomes'. he only appeared in four games before going on the DL on May 1 with a small break in his right thumb. then when Gomes went on the DL in July, Perez was called up in the midst of his rehab assignment. it took him a while to both build up to being ready to catch every day and get his bat going, but there was definite improvement from him in August and especially September/October. he, too, was great at calling pitches behind the plate and throwing out runners. in the postseason, he was the team's #1 catcher, starting every single game and completing all but three. he also hit two home runs in Game 1 of the World Series versus the Cubs. his one other home run of the playoffs came in Game 1 of the ALDS versus the Boston Red Sox.
Adam Moore is our designated backup to the backup catcher.
he had considerably less at bats than others, yet still managed to get
several hits so that his BA was over .400. god forbid Gomes or
Perez get hurt, but if they do, he's next in line. that'd be the only
way he comes to Cleveland before the September roster expansion.
i couldn't have nailed that one better. Adam Moore was called up from Columbus on May 1 when Perez went out with the thumb injury, but he was DFA'd on May 4 when the Indians signed Chris Gimenez to be the new backup catcher. Moore accepted his assignment to Columbus and wasn't seen in Cleveland again until the rosters expanded on September 1. he played in nine total games--one complete--and had five at bats overall, registering four strikeouts and zero hits.
the Indians got Chris Gimenez from the Texas Rangers in exchange for cash on May 4. he stepped in and did a great job working with the pitching staff and calling games first when Gomes needed a day off, then when Perez needed a day off, and later as simply our other catcher. he also played a little 1st base and 3rd base, mostly as a late innings replacement, though he did play one full game in September at 3rd. he had a few big hits here and there, but offense was the team's secondary concern with him. and maybe a tertiary concern was his ability on the mound. yes, he pitched for the Tribe in two losses this year, giving up four runs in 2.0 innings in one game, and zero runs in 1.0 inning in the other. Gimenez was on the first two postseason rosters, but did not appear in any games.
Kluber was one of three starters who pitched 24.2 innings this spring,
and he maintained an ERA under 1.00 until his last two starts. he struck
out 26 and had the best record of everyone, going 4-1.
Corey Kluber started 32 games and went 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA. he threw an American League best two complete game shutouts and had three complete games overall. he pitched 215 innings, allowing 170 hits, 22 home runs, and 82 runs. he struck out 227 batters and walked 57. he was named to the AL All Star team and pitched a perfect 2nd inning with one strikeout. he also got credited with the win that ended up giving the Indians home field advantage in the World Series. in addition, he was named AL Pitcher of the Month for August when he went 5-0 in six starts with a 2.43 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 40.2 innings pitched. Kluber's dominance this season earned him a 2016 AL Cy Young Award nomination, which he's likely to win for the 2nd time in his career. on September 26, he left his last game of the regular season early after pitching 4.0 innings due to what was considered a mild right quad strain. the next day, the Indians said he'd be out for 7-10 days, but would be ready to go for the playoffs. in the postseason, Kluber was a true ace and started six games, including three in the World Series versus the Chicago Cubs. he pitched on short rest once in the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays, taking a loss, and twice in the Fall Classic, winning one game and getting a no-decision in Game 7. he was considerably less sharp in each game he pitched on short rest, with Game 7 being his worst outing as he gave up two home runs and four runs. still, his overall ERA was 1.83. had the Tribe won the title, he would have been named MVP for sure.
Carrasco gave up more hits than he probably would have
liked but he managed to limit a lot of damage. he kept the walks down
and stuck out 23 batters, just behind Kluber. he's ready to go.
Carlos Carrasco had a tough year due to injuries. first, he went on the DL on April 25 with a right hamstring strain and didn't return to the Indians until June 2. then, he suffered a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal on his right hand after throwing two pitches in the September 17 game versus the Detroit Tigers, which ended his season. it sucked because the Indians really could have used him in the playoffs. when Cookie was healthy, he acquired an 11-8 record in 25 games with a 3.32 ERA in 146.1 innings and threw one complete game shutout. he gave up 134 hits, 21 home runs, and 64 runs while striking out 150 and walking just 34. it didn't look like he would do that well in the beginning of the year, however, because in his first game of the season, he gave up three home runs and four runs in 5.0 innings. clearly he refined his performances after that. he traveled with the team during the playoffs and participated in their clinch celebrations with a plastic bag apparatus over the cast on his right hand/wrist.
Salazar was not dominant in some of his starts. he gave
up a lot of runs, along with a team high five home runs and 13 walks, in
a team high 26.1 innings pitched. the weird thing about him though is
he doesn't usually have good springs. last year his ERA was over 8 and
look how his regular season turned out. so i'm not concerned here.
Danny Salazar was another 11 game winner, going 11-6 this season with a 3.87 ERA in 137.1 innings. he started 25 games and gave up 121 hits, 16 home runs, and 61 runs. he also amassed 161 strikeouts and 63 walks. he had three bad games where he gave up six runs, once in July and twice in August. but Salazar dealt with a handful of injury issues this year. it began when he skipped a start on June 7 due to right shoulder fatigue. he was selected for the AL All Star Game in July, but it was decided that he would not pitch because he had some mild right elbow discomfort. then on August 2, he went on the DL with right elbow inflammation. he was activated on August 18, but soon after went out on a three-day paternity leave on August 29. (congrats on the birth of Danny, Jr!) finally, on September 12, he was diagnosed with a flexor strain in his right forearm and was projected to miss 3-4 weeks, leaving his postseason status at that time unknown. on October 4, right before the ALDS versus the Boston Red Sox began, Salazar went out to the Indians spring training complex in Arizona. the day prior to Game 1 of the World Series versus the Cubs, Terry Francona announced that Salazar would be on the Fall Classic roster and available to pitch for the Indians out of the bullpen. Salazar made two WS appearances, pitching 3.0 innings and giving up one hit while walking two and striking out four batters.
the Indians felt Anderson did so well last season and
put a lot of work in during the offseason that they couldn't justify
sending him to Columbus. he's gained some velocity on his pitches since
last year and added a
third pitch (curveball) to his repertoire. he worked out hard in the
offseason to redistribute his body weight and become more athletic, and
it showed. he had a few rough spring outings in the beginning but
apparently the Tribe trusts him as a starter more than Trevor Bauer now,
which i found as a total shock. he'll be opening with the team for the
first time, but i have suspicions that he'll end up seeing some time in
Columbus later on in the year.
Cody Anderson began as a starter with the Tribe and finished in the bullpen. after three consecutive poor starts in April, he was optioned to Columbus on April 27. from then on, he rode the I-71 from C-bus to Cleveland and back a lot. he came up again on May 7, but was sent down on May 17. he was called up on May 23 as the 26th man in a doubleheader, then returned to Columbus right after the game. next, he came up to start the June 7 game after Salazar needed to be skipped, then went back down to Triple A on June 8. a week later, on June 15, Anderson was placed on the minor league disabled list with right elbow inflammation. he didn't return to the bigs until July 17 when Tommy Hunter went on the DL, but was sent down on July 18. finally, he got his last call up on July 22 when Joe Colon went on the DL. at that point, he was used strictly out of the bullpen. he started eight games with the Tribe while appearing in 19 total. he had a 2-5 record with a 6.68 ERA in 60.2 innings. he gave up 85 hits, 13 home runs, and 45 runs, but he also struck out 54 and walked 13. considering everything Anderson did to prepare in the offseason, his year was a disappointment to say the least. he was on both the ALDS and ALCS postseason 25-man rosters, but did not pitch in any games in either series. shortly after the World Series, on November 9, Anderson had an arthroscopic debridement of his right elbow for an impingement, which probably explains his frustrating 2016 performance.
at first, Tomlin was struggling to find himself and a
big part of that came from having to learn how to pitch without worrying
about favoring his arm. he's healthy now and throwing harder, so i
think he just needed to be more confident in his pitches. in his final
spring start, he struck out 10 and finally found his changeup and curve.
Josh Tomlin did not battle any injuries this year, but he did have to battle through his emotions when his father needed surgery. Tomlin was placed on the Family Medical Emergency List on August 17 and returned to the team on August 20. the issue was not publicized then, but we all learned during the postseason that his father suffered an arteriovenous malformation, or a tangle of blood vessels on his spinal cord. though paralyzed from the chest down, Jerry Tomlin was able to watch his son pitch in two World Series games. but i'm getting ahead of myself here. Tomlin pitched in 30 games this year, going 13-9 with a 4.40 regular season ERA. he allowed 187 hits, 36 home runs, and 97 runs while striking out a career high 118 batters and walking a measly 20 in 174.0 innings (career high). he definitely hit a snag in August when he lost five straight decisions and was temporarily taken out of the starting rotation. but that all could have been a result of trying to come to terms with what was happening with his father. he did get back in the rotation by mid-September and had a 1.69 ERA in five games (four starts), striking out 10 in 26.2 innings for the month. in the postseason, Tomlin was the #3 guy in the rotation. he got the win in his one start in the ALDS against the Red Sox and his one start in the ALCS versus the Blue Jays. in the World Series against the Cubs, he got a no decision, then lost the second game he pitched in Cleveland on short rest. his playoff ERA was 4.58 and he gave up 15 hits, one home run, and nine runs (six of which came in his second WS game) while striking out 11 and walking five in 17.2 innings. had he pitched that second WS game on normal rest, i know we'd be looking at much different results. all-in-all, this was a great season for Josh.
Bauer finished spring with a 2.14 ERA in 21 innings pitched, including
four starts, and only walked five batters. so i'm not real clear on why
he was demoted. he worked on his fastball in spring. he said his goal
was to throw
harder this year and he'd worked on that during the offseason. he can still be erratic at
times and that may have contributed to his move into the bullpen. the
Indians say they believe he will help them in a starting role again this
season but at this rate, i would not be surprised if that doesn't
happen. there was speculation that he was being shopped. he may
not last the entire 2016 season with the Tribe. we'll see.
i have Trevor Bauer under the starters section because even though he did begin as a reliever, by April 30 he was reinserted into the rotation and then remained there for the rest of the year. he earned his first win of the season in his 6th and final game out of the bullpen on April 24. (well, minus the 19 innings game on July 1 when he pitched the final five--15th through 19th--innings.) in 2016, he went 12-8 with a 4.26 ERA in a career high 190.0 total innings pitched. he gave up 179 hits, 20 home runs, and 96 runs. he also struck out 168 and walked 70. he appeared in 35 games, starting 28 of those, and threw one complete game. with the way he prepares so intensely, it's no surprise that his body exhibited good durability throughout the year. he pitched in five games in the postseason, starting four. he pitched Game 1 of the ALDS versus the Red Sox, opening the Indians' playoffs with his classic metal intro song, "The Pursuit Of Vikings," by Amon Amarth, and got a no decision. he was pushed back to pitch Game 3 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays because he cut his right pinky finger while doing "drone maintenance" on October 13 and had to get stitches. so instead of pitching on October 15, he received two extra days off. he pitched a mere 0.2 innings on October 17 before Toronto's manager and the umpires saw blood gushing out of his finger and required him to leave the game. (miraculously, the Indians still won that "bullpen" game.) Bauer did not pitch again until Game 2 of the World Series versus the Cubs, when he was pulled after only 3.2 innings and took the loss. he next pitched on short rest in Game 5 and again left early after 4.0 innings and took the loss. his last appearance of 2016 came when he pitched a scoreless 0.2 innings in Game 7 out of the bullpen. overall, his playoff ERA was 5.27 and he gave up 18 hits, three home runs, and eight runs while striking out 17 and walking four. definitely not your ideal #2 postseason starter.
Clevinger could be like Anderson was last year--a secret weapon with
dangerous stuff that blows opponents away. he was really amped up this
spring and the Indians had to settle him down some days. but he's now
one of the top prospects in the system and his debut in Cleveland isn't
that far away.
Mike Clevinger made his debut with the Indians on May 18 and pitched in four games prior to being sent down to Columbus on June 2. in that time, he started three games and gave up 14 runs in 14.1 innings. he came back on July 4, was sent down on July 7, and got his final call up on August 3. overall, Clevinger went 3-3 with a 5.26 ERA in 53.0 innings. he started 10 games, including five in September, but appeared in 17 total. he allowed 50 hits, eight home runs, and 31 runs. he also walked 29 and struck out 50. he was on all three postseason series rosters, but only pitched in the ALCS against the Blue Jays and World Series versus the Cubs. he was exclusively used as a reliever, coming out of the bullpen in four total games and earning himself a 4.76 ERA. he gave up three hits, one home run, and three runs in 5.2 innings, induced three strikeouts, and walked five batters. between going back and forth as a starter and bullpen pitcher, i think the kid did alright this season.
even though Ryan Merritt was used more as a reliever with the Tribe, he is a starter by nature and his big game in the postseason "merits" him to be listed here. he appeared in four regular season games with the Indians, going 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA. he gave up six hits, two runs, and had six strikeouts in 11.0 total innings. he was first brought up on May 23, but did not make his debut until May 30. he pitched 4.1 innings out of the bullpen and allowed just one hit, then was sent to Columbus the following day. he was called up again on August 3, pitched on August 4, then went down to C-bus on August 5. once the Clippers were eliminated from their postseason, Merritt returned on September 11. he pitched in two more games, finally getting a start on September 30. in 5.0 innings, he allowed three hits and one run, struck out four batters, and earned his first MLB win. the Indians reassigned him to the minors on October 6 as they opened up the ALDS versus the Red Sox, and so Merritt went out to Arizona to pitch. he didn't stay there long though because when Bauer cut his finger, the Tribe added him to the ALCS roster (on October 14). he started Game 5 against the Blue Jays, and was the hero when the Indians won to advance to the World Series. Merritt was not "shaking in his boots" like Jose Bautista claimed he would be. instead, he pitched 4.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits while striking out three in his one and only playoff appearance. fans were so excited and thankful that they scooped up just about every item on Merritt's wedding registry. sadly, we never saw him start or come out of the bullpen in the World Series versus the Cubs.
in 2016, Indians relievers were directly responsible for 21 of the team's 67 total regular season losses. (let me be clear, i consider a loss to be the bullpen's fault if the Indians are either in the lead or tied for the lead when a reliever comes into the game and then the reliever blows the lead or cannot hold the tie.) looking back, in 2015, the bullpen essentially lost 16 games; in 2014, it was 23; and in 2013, it was 15. the majority of losses this year were results of the starters having rough outings. in the postseason, the Indians lost five total games, but you can really only point to the bullpen for one loss and that's the one that hurt the most--Game 7 of the World Series versus the Chicago Cubs, in which Bryan Shaw could not hold the tie.
Allen had some shaky appearances and overall this was not his strongest
spring outing. for the $4.15 million he's gonna be making this year, he
better be lights out when the ballpark lights turn on.
Cody Allen took on the closer role for most of the year, except when Terry Francona opted to use Andrew Miller for a save after he was obtained at the trade deadline. there were also times, however, when Allen pitched in multiple innings in games. in total, Allen had 32 saves and a 2.51 ERA in 67 appearances. in 68.0 innings, he allowed 41 hits, eight home runs, and 23 runs while striking out 87 batters and walking 27. in the postseason, Allen pitched in 10 games and acquired six saves and one hold. he allowed eight hits, but zero runs, had 24 strikeouts versus five walks, and finished with a 0.00 ERA after facing 55 batters. perfection.
Shaw had a typical spring, giving up many hits and runs. oddly enough, i
expect that to mean he'll be fine during the regular season.
as the 8th inning setup man who also saw time in the 6th and 7th innings after the Miller deal, Bryan Shaw appeared in an American League high 75 games. he had a 2-5 record with a 3.24 ERA in 66.2 innings totaling 25 holds and one save. he gave up 56 hits, eight home runs, and 26 runs while striking out 69 and walking 28 hitters. Shaw pitched in 11 postseason games and had four holds with a 2-1 record. his loss came in Game 7 of the World Series versus the Cubs when he could not keep the game tied at 6 in the top of the 10th inning. overall, he allowed 14 hits, one home run, and seven runs. he also had 12 strikeouts, five walks, and a 4.35 ERA in the playoffs. Shaw has shouldered the load for the last four years and still continues to be a productive and integral part of the bullpen despite his unfortunate final outing of 2016.
McAllister had a tough break. he came down with
the flu during camp and didn't get to start pitching in games until they
were halfway done.
he looked pretty good on the mound when he did finally pitch. the
Indians originally had plans to stretch him out as a starter, just for
extra insurance, but by the time he recovered, they weren't able to
execute that plan. i think he's still trying to put back on some of the
weight he lost while sick...
Zach McAllister pitched in 53 games this year. he used to be in the rotation, but is now a multi-innings reliever, though he did start two bullpen day games. he had two consecutive bad appearances in early July, giving up seven runs combined in just 1.1 innings, then went on the DL on July 7 for right hip discomfort. normally a reliable pitcher, it's easy to deduce that when he's not pitching well, it's because he's hurt. he was activated from the DL on July 29 and finished his season strong. overall, he gave up 53 hits, six home runs, and 21 runs in 52.1 innings, yielding a 3.44 ERA. McAllister also had 54 strikeouts, 23 walks, and seven holds. in the playoffs, he appeared in three games, one in the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays and two in the World Series versus the Cubs. in 3.0 total innings, he gave up four hits and three runs, struck out two, and walked one. he did have a 9.00 postseason ERA, but was not directly responsible for any Indians' losses.
Manship didn't exactly wow us in spring at first.
he left some balls up and fell behind in the count. he got stronger
towards the end and finished with 15 strikeouts, so hopefully he's
worked out all the kinks and can pitch as well as he did last year once
Jeff Manship, mainly used as a middle innings reliever, appeared in a career high 53 games and pitched a career high 43.1 innings this season. he had a minor injury issue when he went on the 15-Day DL on July 29 with right wrist tendinitis, but came back on August 11 and seemed fine. Manship allowed 40 hits, seven home runs, and 20 runs to compile a 3.12 ERA this year. additionally, he struck out a career best 36, walked 22, and acquired six holds. he was only called to the mound in three postseason games because Francona tried to solely use his trio of Allen, Miller, and Shaw as much as he could. Manship pitched in one game in the ALCS against the Blue Jays and two in the World Series versus the Cubs. overall, he gave up three hits, but no runs, and had two strikeouts and one walk in 2.1 innings.
i knew from the minute we brought Chamberlain in that
Tito was gonna want to keep him around if for no other reason than his
veteran presence. while he did have some trouble in his early outings,
he pitched much better towards the end. he does have a tendency to get
himself into jams, and during the regular season, well, i don't know how
much he'll be able to get out of them. could end up being a weak link
in our pen. we'll see if he lasts the whole year with us.
no, Joba Chamberlain did not last the whole year. he was DFA'd on July 4 and elected to become a free agent on July 10 thinking another big league team would want him. (none did.) while with the Indians, Chamberlain appeared in 20 games, pitched 20.0 innings, and totaled a 2.25 ERA. he gave up 12 hits, one home run, and six runs while inducing 18 strikeouts and walking 11 batters. he started his season strong, pitching 7.0 innings in seven games in April and not allowing any runs to score. he did go on the DL on May 23 with a left intercostal strain, but he never had any really bad outings. after he came off the DL on June 8, he pitched in just six more games before being designated.
Detwiler had an okay spring
but he hasn't been very successful in the big leagues. he's a lefty who
can supposedly get both right-handed and left-handed hitters out. he
also can start and
relieve, but the Indians prefer him to come out of the bullpen. pitching
coach Mickey Callaway helped him with a flaw in his mechanics, but i'll
to see some consistently clean innings before i put confidence in this
guy. i think it's probable that he'll be another weak link.
Ross Detwiler only pitched in seven games with the Tribe, all in April, before being DFA'd on April 29 and outrighted to Columbus on May 1. six of his appearances came in games that the Indians lost. in total, he had a 5.79 ERA in 4.2 innings. he allowed three hits, one home run, three runs, and four walks while striking out three batters. Detwiler was eventually traded (while in Triple A) to the Oakland Athletics on July 17 and made it back to the big leagues with them in August. this was not a big loss for us.
Otero had a mostly positive camp with the Indians. he
had a bit of a rough time when they first began stretching him out
though. he didn't give up any home runs but he did surrender 20 hits,
which i think is a lot for a reliever. Callaway also found a flaw with
his delivery and so the Indians think they can help him. i don't know
much about him. maybe he can be this year's
Dan Otero became a bullpen mainstay and pitched a bullpen team high 70.2 innings. he amassed a 1.53 ERA in 62 appearances. he faced 269 batters and surrendered 54 hits, just two home runs!, and 14 runs, while striking out 57 and walking only 10 batters. that's outstanding. he even registered one save this season to go along with three holds. Otero proved to be dependable, too, as he never had any injury issues. he obviously made all three playoff rosters, but only appeared in six games. he pitched once in the ALDS versus the Boston Red Sox, twice in the ALCS against the Blue Jays, and three times in the World Series versus the Cubs. in 6.2 total postseason innings, he allowed six hits, two home runs, and two runs, giving him a 2.70 ERA. in addition, Otero struck out two and didn't walk anybody. i don't think he was given nearly enough credit or recognition for his fantastic season.
Kyle Crockett should be at the point where he's a
no-brainer to make the big league team, yet he's not. his spring was not
as strong as i think it should have been, but the good thing is he's
still young and has time to figure things out.
Kyle Crockett was the first reliever called up to the majors from Columbus. he arrived on April 27 and stayed until May 22. he was with the team again from July 18 - August 19, and returned for the final time on September 5. he appeared in 29 games, pitching 16.0 innings and acquiring a 5.06 ERA with three holds. he gave up 16 hits, no home runs, and nine runs while striking out 17 and walking seven hitters. he was once a promising southpaw, but now i don't know if he will ever stick in the big leagues.
Tommy Hunter had
offseason surgery for a core muscle injury, and was expected to miss at
least one month of the regular season. he's supposed to have a really
good fastball, but since he didn't pitch in spring, i really can't
comment on it. when he comes off the DL, i'm not sure if he'll come to
Cleveland right away or go to Columbus first.
Tommy Hunter was activated from the DL on April 29 following a short rehab assignment in Columbus. but after a stroke of bad luck, he went back on the DL on July 17 with a non-displaced fracture of the vertebrae in his lower back. (he fell on some stairs during the All Star Break while carrying his son.) when he was ready to return, the Tribe decided to just release him on August 25 and he was quickly signed on the 28th by the Baltimore Orioles. while with the Indians, Hunter pitched a total of 21.2 innings in 21 games and obtained a 3.74 ERA. he gave up 21 hits, one home run, and 10 runs. he also struck out 17, walked five, and was charged with one blown save.
Austin Adams had a good spring. i feel like he got much better as the
March went on cause the beginning did not go well for him. he's never
been my favorite reliever simply because he's been inconsistent
during his time in the bigs. with some of the other vet relievers we now
have in Columbus, i don't know how high he ranks on the totem pole
anymore despite all his previous experience.
Austin Adams' first tour with the Tribe this year came from May 22 - June 7. he appeared in seven games during that time, giving up two home runs and two runs while striking out 12 for a 2.35 ERA. he came back again after a month, and that call up spanned from July 7 - August 3. then he remained in Columbus until September 10 and finished out the year with the Indians. his second and third times in the majors were not good and he had the most trouble in his four games in September. overall, he pitched in 19 games and acquired a 9.82 ERA in 18.1 innings. he allowed 27 hits, five home runs, and 22 runs to go along with 17 strikeouts and seven walks. i don't know if he will still be in our organization come next spring.
Shawn Armstrong pitched just 1 inning in two games this spring as
he dealt with a sore lat muscle. he took the mound for the Indians in
September, threw hard, and struck guys out. he will be called up at some
Shawn Armstrong went up and down between Columbus and Cleveland on a few occasions this season. he was first called up on May 31 and sent back on June 1. he wasn't brought up again until August 3 and was sent down immediately after that game's conclusion. he had another quick stint here on August 19 and went back to C-bus on August 20 before finally getting called up for good on September 6. in total, he appeared in 10 games, pitched 10.2 innings, and earned a 2.53 ERA. he gave up nine hits, one home run, and three runs while striking out seven and walking five batters. i'm baffled as to why he wasn't used more or kept here for longer periods of time, especially over certain other relievers.
lefty Tom Gorzelanny was middle of the road in my
opinion. he didn't really do anything to excite me, didn't strike many
guys out. we'll see how he pans out in C-bus.
Tom Gorzelanny was not called up until June 1. then, when forced to make some roster moves, the Indians DFA'd him on July 4 and he elected free agency on July 9. while with the Tribe, he pitched in seven games, totaling just 3.0 innings, and faced eight batters. he allowed four hits, one home run, and seven runs, giving him a 21.00 ERA. yikes. he also struck out four batters and walked three, and was credited with one win and one hold. on July 24, Gorzelanny signed a minor league deal with the Orioles, but they released him on August 7.
Shawn Morimando was a starter in Columbus, but used out of the bullpen in Cleveland. he appeared in two games, on July 2
and August 5, and was sent back down to Triple A the day after each. between both of those outings, he pitched a total of 4.2 innings and had an 11.57 ERA! he gave up nine hits, two home runs, and six runs after facing 27 batters. he also struck out five and walked five. the overall numbers look bad, but he had a decent July debut (four strikeouts versus two runs allowed).
House really had no chance at cracking the Indians rotation. he didn't
have a good spring performance until his final start before being
optioned to Columbus. last year he opened with the team, pitched
poorly due to shoulder problems, and couldn't get off the DL. he needs
the time in Triple A to work off the rust before getting back to the big
TJ House had one brief stint in the big leagues this year between July 4 and July 14. generally a starter, he pitched out of the bullpen with the Indians. his total numbers read: four appearances, six hits, one run, two strikeouts, and 3.38 ERA in 2.2 innings. and the one run he gave up came in his final outing here. simply put, when the Tribe needed starting pitching this season, they did not look to House.
Joseph Colon, who was with the Columbus Clippers last year, had to serve a 50-game suspension at the start of this season due to a positive drug test. the Indians purchased his contract on July 2 in order to add him to the 40-man roster (in anticipation of a future call up), and then optioned him to Triple A. he got his call on July 7 and pitched in three games before going on the DL with right shoulder inflammation on July 22. in his July outings, he surrendered four hits and two runs in 3.2 innings. he came off the DL on August 15 and was sent back down to Columbus. Colon returned when rosters expanded on September 1. overall, he appeared in 11 games and had a 1-3 record. he allowed 12 hits, two home runs, nine runs, and seven walks in 10.0 innings to give him a 7.20 ERA. in addition, he struck out 10 batters.
the Indians acquired Andrew Miller through a trade with the New York Yankees at the deadline on July 31, as explained above in the Prospects Traded for Andrew Miller section of this blog. he was brought in to really solidify the back of our bullpen. we gave up a lot to get him, and boy was he worth it. Francona used him in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings depending upon the game situation. with the Indians, he had a 4-0 record and 1.55 ERA with nine holds and three saves in 26 games. he pitched 29.0 total innings and allowed 14 hits, three home runs, five runs, and two walks. oh and he struck out 46 batters. 46! although, he did give up a home run in his very first outing with the Tribe on August 1, but that only made him fit in here more, in my opinion lol in the postseason, Miller pitched in 10 games and had a 0.00 ERA through the first eight. in his final two games, World Series Games 4 & 7 against the Cubs, he gave up one homer and one run, and one homer and two runs, respectively--the first home runs and runs of his postseason career. otherwise, he was lights out, good night, thank you for coming. Tito used him as early as the 5th inning in some instances, and for multiple innings as well. in total, he pitched 19.1 innings, allowing 12 hits, two homers, three runs, and five walks while striking out 30. 30! he compiled a 1.40 ERA and 2-0 record with five holds and one save. Miller was named ALCS MVP to boot.
in 2016, Perci Garner played with both the Akron RubberDucks and Columbus Clippers before being called up and making his debut in The Show on August 31. he pitched 0.2 innings, allowed two hits and one run, and then left the game with a big league ERA of 13.50. there was nowhere [for his ERA] to go but down after that. overall, he made eight appearances with the Tribe. he gave up 12 hits, six runs, and five walks, but struck out 12 in 9.1 innings and finished with a 4.82 ERA.
Adam Plutko started the year in Double A and then moved up to Triple A in mid-June. after about three months in Columbus, he was promoted to join the majors on September 20 and appeared in two games before the Tribe's regular season ended. typically a starting pitcher, he was used as a reliever with the Indians. he didn't allow any runs in his first outing, but gave up three in his second. he pitched a total of 3.2 innings and acquired a 7.36 ERA while giving up five hits, one home run, and three runs. after facing 18 batters, he struck out three and walked two.
lastly, i think it's very unfortunate that the Indians chose not to put
Joe Thatcher on the team. he's a southpaw but he's just a lefty
specialist and that really hurt his chances since we could only start
with seven guys in the bullpen (well, until they put Bauer in there as
#8, that is). so despite the fact that he looked the best in spring
out of all the relievers and was my early favorite to open with the
team, Francona regretfully could not give him a roster spot. he was
granted his release and will probably do very well with another team.
i clearly wanted Joe Thatcher to make the team, and early on it seemed like letting him go was a big mistake. the Indians may have realized that as well and later were able to sign him to a minor league deal on July 23. he had previously been released from the Los Angeles Dodgers after pitching for their Triple A team. in a strange twist though, Thatcher never played for the Clippers because he was on the temporary inactive list until August 11. then, at his discretion, he was released on August 13. and wouldn't ya know it, the Chicago Cubs signed him to a minor league deal two days later. of course they did. except, they didn't call him up to the majors either. seemed like a wasted year for a southpaw i believe could have helped some big league club, namely ours.
okay, i think i remembered everybody. if you made it this far in my blog--congrats if you did!--and notice that i left a player out who played for the Indians at any time this year, please leave it in a comment below!
now i'm going to recognize some star players and MVPs on the Tribe this year. really there were several. Kluber had a Cy Young-type season and was outstanding. Tomlin did excellent this year minus his little August blip. Perez did an unbelievable job calling pitches behind the plate when he was rushed back from his rehab and took over the every day catcher's duties. Allen was dominant in the bullpen. Miller was practically untouchable. Lindor was unforgettable in the field and at the plate. Ramirez seemingly came outta nowhere with his bat productivity and became a very solid 3rd baseman. Napoli provided veteran leadership and right-handed power with his bat. truthfully, i could list more, but those are my mains.
if we're talking strictly postseason MVPs, then my list vastly decreases. i'm only gonna go with Kluber, Miller, and Lindor here, with Allen as an honorable mention.
no team is perfect and there's always a few players who seemingly didn't contribute much and whom i consider to have had letdown seasons. this year i have to go with Gomes. he played for a little over half the season, didn't have much success at the plate, and then dealt with injuries for basically the rest of 2016. it was just not a good year for him and after his 2015 season, people might be starting to wonder if he'll ever get back to his Silver Slugger form of 2014. and yes, i'll also acknowledge that some could even argue that Brantley was a letdown player, too. but at least in his 11 games played, he drove in seven runs. 😛
no question, this goes to Napoli. where the hell was the party in October, dude? very disappointing performance from him in the postseason.
i'd love to know who you think was extraordinary this year and who was subpar in a comment below!
that's it! my 2016 analysis is complete. it's still hard to believe that this Indians team came so close to winning the World Series or that they even got to that point. just one more win, only two more runs. they literally couldn't have made it any closer. so you would think that when they get their injured players back next year, they'd be shoo-ins to at least make another postseason appearance. but that's still gonna be very hard to accomplish. remember, other teams are going to make moves and attempt to get better in the offseason, and the Tribe needs to do that as well. bring in a few more starting pitchers for depth in the rotation, grab another outfielder for back-up, and find another right-handed power bat (if Napoli doesn't want to re-sign with us). then i think we'll be contenders once again.
i will go into more specifics about the areas i think we should focus on improving for next season in my upcoming Tribe Needs: Looking Ahead to 2017 blog.
'til then, thank you so much for reading and Go Tribe 2017! 142 days left until Opening Day!
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