it's already been a little over five weeks since the Cleveland Indians' offseason began on October 8, after what turned out to be a quick postseason appearance. their 91-71 record was the worst of all American League playoff teams and that's part of the reason they were considered underdogs. the Tribe officially won the AL Central Division on September 15, but they really had it wrapped up after like the first month of the season. not one divisional team presented serious competition for this Indians squad and now many are speculating that that could actually have been why the Indians got swept right out of the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros. angry fans also pointed fingers at manager Terry Francona and some of his decisions, including leaving a pitcher in the game for too long, not leaving a pitcher in long enough, and calling the wrong relief pitcher out of the bullpen at specific times. and that's to say nothing of the lack of hitting in the series, which the hitting coach is getting much of the blame for. whoever you want to be mad at, well, your feelings are justified. if the Indians continue to own their division each year, but keep losing in the playoffs, or worse keep getting knocked out of every ALDS, how can anyone be content with that? i get it and i feel the same.
so who wants to go back and
relive the Tribe's 2018 season? yeah, i didn't want to either to be completely honest and i debated whether to even write this blog. then i thought, fine, i'll do it because i spent the whole year taking notes and keeping track of the major goings-on with every player and i don't want all that to have been for nothing. this post mostly just focuses on player evaluations, though it does contain other sections, such as a few facts about the season, my preseason predictions vs reality, guys who are no longer Indians, and those who are free agents.
because i'm reviewing the campaigns of every player who made it onto the 25-man roster at some time or another in 2018 (i think the grand total came to 50), this is a very long blog. you can just read what or which player(s) most interests you, or read it all over multiple days cause it's not going anywhere. whichever you prefer. either way, i hope you appreciate my analysis.📖
A Few Facts About 2018
first, here are a few facts about the Indians' 2018 season:
the Indians had seven walk-off wins, including two back-to-backs and three in their last five home games:
1. April 8 vs. Kansas City Royals, Yan Gomes' 2-run HR in the bottom of the 9th inning.
2. May 27 vs. Houston Astros, Greg Allen's HR in the bottom of the 14th inning.
3. August 8 vs. Minnesota Twins, Francisco Lindor's 3-run HR in the bottom of the 9th inning.
4. August 9 vs. Minnesota Twins, Michael Brantley's RBI single in the bottom of the 9th inning.
5. September 19 vs. Chicago White Sox, Jason Kipnis' grand slam in the bottom of the 9th inning.
6. September 22 vs. Boston Red Sox, Michael Brantley's RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning.
7. September 23 vs. Boston Red Sox, Greg Allen's RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning.
the Indians wrapped up Interleague Play this year on August 15 and finished with a 12-8 record against National League opponents in 2018. this was a huge improvement from the previous season. to be more specific, here's the five NL teams they played and how they did against them: Chicago Cubs, 3-1; Milwaukee Brewers, 3-1; St. Louis Cardinals, 1-2; Pittsburgh Pirates, 1-2; and Cincinnati Reds, 4-2.
when playing AL Central Division teams, the Indians went 49-27. breaking it down, they had a 10-9 record against the Minnesota Twins, 13-6 record against the Detroit Tigers, 14-5 record against the Chicago White Sox, and 12-7 record against the Kansas City Royals. the Tribe finished 2018 with a 13-game lead over 2nd place Minnesota.
for the third time in franchise history, the Indians won 90 or more games in three straight seasons.
this year's American League Division Series was the first playoff series in which the Indians were swept since 1954, when they lost four straight games to the New York Giants in the World Series.
lastly, here are some other final numbers and rankings for the Indians' 2018 (regular) season:
--the Indians went 4-9 in extra inning games.
--the Indians were 22-24 in 1-run games.
--the Indians were 69-50 against right-handed starters and 22-21 against left-handed starters.
--offensively, the team finished 1st in the American League with 135 stolen bases.
--offensively, the team finished 2nd in the American League with 1,447 hits and a .259 batting average.
--offensively, the team finished 3rd in the American League with 786 RBI, 818 runs, .332 OBP, and .776 OPS
--Indians batters struck out 1,189 times, the fewest in MLB.
and in the postseason:
--Indians hitters bat .144, lowest in the American League and 2nd lowest in MLB (behind the Chicago Cubs' .140 average).
--Indians pitchers acquired a .327 batting average against, highest in MLB.
--defensively, the Indians had a .971 fielding percentage, worst in MLB.
am i missing any major team fact that occurred this season? let me know in the comments!
note: the italicized paragraphs throughout the rest of this blog represent some excerpts from the Indians Spring 2018 Recap, Player Evaluations, and Predictions blog that i wrote after spring training ended. they're here to compare my thoughts going into the season to the reality of what really happened. if you don't care to read or re-read those parts, particularly in the Analyzing the Players section further down, feel free to skip them. otherwise be warned: this is going to be a very long blog.
My Preseason Predictions vs. Reality
let's take a look back at some of my preseason predictions and see if i was spot on or dead wrong.
the 2018 Cleveland Indians team is going to be good, no doubt. will they win 100+ games again? maybe. will they go on another 22-game win streak? not likely (though i wouldn't rule it out). but barring some major catastrophe, they're going to be in playoff contention all year and will be fun to watch. we have one of the best starting rotations in baseball, along with one of the best bullpens. they are going to strike people out and sit batters down on the regular. and our lineup is stacked with players who can hit doubles and home runs and feed off each other's offense so there's no let-up for the opposition. and don't forget, we've still got Mr. Terry Francona. with him once again managing the squad, we're in for a memorable season.
well, i mean, that looked like a true assessment going in. um, they definitely had some problems in the bullpen, especially early on in the season. and the offense didn't always feed off each other, particularly in the postseason. a memorable season it was, but maybe not in the best way.😬
i want this to be the year the Indians win it all. this needs to be the year the Indians win it all. the bulk of this particular group has been together for quite a while, building chemistry and constructing a foundation for a positive, winning atmosphere. this 2018 team should win it together and have that memory of the hard road they traveled with each other to make it possible.
...at the end of 2018, the Tribe is going to have a lot of free agents. yes, there is still going to be a solid core intact, but you can't argue that the roster is going to look quite different in 2019. let's win it while we've got the killer combo of Miller and Allen coming at opposing hitters out of the bullpen. let's win it with Brantley in his 10th and final year with the club. let's win it while the Chief Wahoo is still on the Indians' hats and jersey sleeves! let's win the World Series now. no pressure.
ugh i wanted this SO BAD, not just for the group of guys in the locker room, but also in honor of the Chief. i feel so sorry for everyone who had to say goodbye after the October 8 game and is now no longer an Indian. trust me, i've cried a river of tears, especially once it was made known that our owner would not be paying for any of our free agents to return.😭
if we can maintain a relatively healthy roster for the majority of the year, where we don't lose too many players to serious or long-term injuries, and if everyone plays to their maximum capabilities, then i think this team as currently constructed will have a win-loss record of...94-68!
i was only off by a couple wins. it didn't really matter though because the other AL playoff teams all won at least 100 games, so we never had a shot at home field advantage in the postseason unless we bested our record from a year ago.😐
this ballclub is built to win the AL Central Division for the third straight year. let's face it, right now this is the best division to be in because it's weak. really the only competition i can see at the moment is the Minnesota Twins.
ALCS matchup: Cleveland Indians vs. Houston Astros. this is the series most people envisioned a year ago and i'm seeing it for October 2018. who's going to win? sorry, Tribe fans, but i think the Houston Astros will again advance to the World Series in 6 games.
i got the matchup right, but i got the series it would occur in wrong. and i knew the Astros would beat us; however, i wrongly assumed the Indians would win a couple games and make it a good series. then again, i never suspected the Astros would have a spy that was helping them cheat.😕 i'm so glad the Boston Red Sox defeated the 'Stros in the ALCS.
NLCS matchup: Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals. i confess, i am the least educated when it comes to all things National League. i don't really pay attention to the NL teams. so this could be the worst guess in the history of predictions, but i pick these two squads, with the Washington Nationals winning the series in 7 games!
i guess i didn't think the Los Angeles Dodgers would be able to return to the World Series for the second straight year and i definitely didn't have the Milwaukee Brewers anywhere on my radar. i won't make that mistake next season.🔍
World Series matchup: Houston Astros vs. Washington Nationals. it could happen, though i'm well aware that the best teams on paper don't always end up in the World Series or win it. so my 2018 World Series winner is going to be the Washington Nationals in 6 games. can't wait to see how wrong i am at the end of October lol
so, wrong on both counts. the Red Sox basically manhandled the Dodgers in the Fall Classic. congrats to them, i guess.😔
for the record, i saw that this year, the illustrious Sports Illustrated has predicted a Washington Nationals-New York Yankees World Series, with the Nats being victorious.
not even close.👎
did your preseason predictions fare better than mine? let me know in the comment section how accurate or inaccurate you were.🔮
Please Leave Your Uniform At the Door Before You Go
every season, some players don't make it through a whole year with the Tribe due to DFAs or other reasons. this year, the Indians said goodbye to several guys who'd been around the club for a while for different reasons as well as some who weren't with the team for very long at all.
let's start with two particular players of note: one who was with the organization for nine years and one who was a toted prospect that never got a real chance in Cleveland.
Zach McAllister was designated for assignment on August 3 when the Indians activated Andrew Miller from the disabled list. then they released him on August 7. but McAllister didn't stay unemployed for long, as he signed with the Detroit Tigers on August 10 for the league minimum. he struggled with the Tigers, giving up 10 runs in 3.1 innings, and so they DFA'd him after their game on August 18 and he elected free agency on August 21. the Los Angeles Dodgers decided to take a chance on him by signing him to a minor league deal on August 27. he pitched in five games with the Triple A Oklahoma City Dodgers, but didn't appear in any games with LA. McAllister was going to be a free agent after 2018 anyway and the Indians were never going to re-sign him. still, the DFA was an unfortunate roster casualty of an ever-rotating bullpen.
Francisco Mejia, oh how we hardly knew ye. or more like, saw you play in the majors. the Indians traded for Brad Hand and Adam Cimber of the San Diego Padres on July 19 in exchange for Mejia. he was called up to the Indians twice prior, but only played in one game as a DH. there was a lot of strange controversy surrounding the Indians wanting Mejia to convert to an outfielder to better his chances of being called up and actually used on the Tribe, and supposedly at first his heart wasn't in it and he was resistant because he wanted to be a catcher. but then later articles came out refuting that, with the front office claiming Mejia was willing to play the outfield, it was just difficult for him. idk, maybe that had something to do with why he was traded. i for one was very sad to see this prospect go.
unfortunately, the Indians also lost two more guys this year who didn't even play with the big league club in 2018, but had history with the club.
one of the big debates in spring was who would be the Tribe's utility man: Giovanny Urshela or Erik Gonzalez? it was a decision not to be taken lightly because neither guy had any more club options left, so the one who didn't make the team would have to be exposed to waivers and another ballclub would likely scoop him up. the battle between the two was neck-and-neck, as both performed admirably. Urshela, specifically, bat .500 (21-for-42) in 18 games with six doubles, three home runs, seven RBI, and six strikeouts. his 21 hits were also tied for the most on the team with Yonder Alonso. Urshela saw time all over the infield as well, playing 1st base, 2nd base, shortstop, and 3rd base during camp. unfortunately, on March 19, he left the game with a tight right hamstring and two days later it was announced he'd have to be sidelined for 10-14 days with the strain. that automatically awarded the job to Gonzalez and Ursh was set to open up the year on the DL. lucky for him, that will allow him to remain in the organization--for now, anyway. according to yesterday's news, Urshela will be resuming game activity before the end of the week. what's going to happen once he's healthy and ready to be activated is anyone's guess.
Giovanny Urshela began a minor league rehab assignment with the Triple A Columbus Clippers on April 13. sadly, on May 4, he was activated and then designated. the Indians traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays on May 9 for cash or a player to be named later, which now i assume ended up just being cash because they never said anything about a PTBNL. Urshela played with both the Blue Jays and their Triple A affiliate, Buffalo Bisons, before he was purchased by the New York Yankees on August 4. he was assigned to the Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and never got called up to NY. i felt bad for Ursh because i always liked him, but he got edged out due to infielder Erik Gonzalez being more of a utility player. the team couldn't keep them both and Gonzie was Francona's preference. he only played with the Indians for parts of the 2015 and 2017 seasons, but he was constantly hyped for his defense at 3rd base. i wish him well in his future.
Shawn Morimando pitched in four games with the Tribe, starting one, and compiling a 5.40 ERA in 8.1 innings. during his last outing on March 11, before being optioned to Triple A on March 12, he pitched 3.0 innings. overall, he allowed nine hits, five runs, and one walk and struck out seven. fun fact: this was also his second spring in a row where he didn't give up any home runs. is he finally ready to start in the big leagues and be reliable?
Shawn Morimando was released on July 1 in order to make room on the 40-man roster for lefty Marc Rzepczynski. shortly after, the Blue Jays signed him as a free agent on July 9. no shock there since the front office is filled with former Indians execs who were pretty familiar with Morimando. the left-hander played for both the Bisons and Toronto's Gulf Coast League this season. he last pitched with the Indians in 2016 and only in two games. he also got called up in 2017, but was never used. apparently he was never that high on the Tribe's radar, or else he would have gotten way more opportunities with the club than he did.
then there was the injured one, who never got to be an official Cleveland Indian.
sadly, Julian Merryweather is not going to be available to us this season. he didn't get to experience much in his very first big league camp, as his February 16th bullpen session was the last time he threw. he was diagnosed with a sprained UCL and after getting a second opinion, he underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on March 9. Dr. Keith Meister, one of Michael Brantley's biceps tenodesis surgeons, performed the procedure in Dallas. the Indians optioned Merryweather to Triple A on March 12. TJ surgery ordinarily requires 12-18 months to fully recover from. tough break.
Julian Merryweather is gone, y'all. when the Indians acquired Josh Donaldson from the Blue Jays on August 31, part of the terms included a PTBNL. on September 4, Merryweather was rumored to be the player and that became official when he was traded to Toronto on October 5. Merryweather ranked as the Indians' 15th best prospect before his surgery. despite the TJ, i consider this to be a pretty big loss for a rental who turned out to be useless when we needed him to come through in the playoffs.
and finally, we have the roster casualties of the DFA, who are all relief pitchers.
Matt Belisle opened the year with the Indians, but was designated for assignment in favor of selecting the contract of Ben Taylor on May 2. he elected free agency on May 8, but re-signed a minor league deal on May 16 and assigned to Columbus. he was later released on June 11 to pursue another pro opportunity, which happened to be with the Minnesota Twins.
Oliver Drake was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers for cash on May 5. he was added to the big league roster on May 8 and then designated on May 26 when Taylor was recalled. the Los Angeles Angels claimed him on May 31.
George Kontos was signed on June 3 to a minor league contract and assigned to Triple A. his contract was selected on June 19 after Evan Marshall went on the DL. he got DFA'd when Carlos Carrasco came off the DL, cleared waivers and accepted his outright assignment to Columbus on July 10. then the Indians decided to trade him to the New York Yankees for cash considerations on August 4.
Marc Rzepczynski signed a minor league deal with the Tribe on June 18 and assigned to Columbus before joining the Indians when they selected his contract on July 1. but he was soon DFA'd on July 11 when Tyler Olson returned from the DL. he cleared waivers and elected free agency on July 20.
The Free Agents
Michael Brantley has been with the Indians since October 3, 2008, when the Tribe got him as the player to be named later in the CC Sabathia deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. that's a long time. he made his Major League debut on September 1, 2009. Michael signed a contract extension on February 10, 2014, for four years at $24 million and a club option for a 5th year worth $11 million or $1 million buyout. after Michael's career year in 2014, the fourth and fifth years of that deal increased by a million dollars. even though Michael had right ankle surgery last offseason, the Indians thankfully exercised Michael's option on November 3, 2017. they took a gamble and it paid off because Michael stayed healthy this year and played at a high, All Star level. but now he is a free agent. to the surprise and dismay of many, the Indians did not extend a one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer to Michael (or any other eligible Indian) for 2019 and it's already been stated that Michael is not expected to re-sign with the Indians because they don't have the money to offer him a deal of any sort. after the Tribe was eliminated in the American League Division Series, Michael was emotional in his locker room interview and admitted he'd like to be part of the team next year, but had to talk with his family. the Indians also declared at the end of 2017 that they wanted Michael on the team beyond 2018, but i think they just said that to be polite. as much as it pains me, i want Michael to go where he's going to get paid what he deserves and get some security to continue his career for as long as he can. that means he's done in Cleveland. book it.😭
Josh Tomlin was the longest tenured Indian because he was drafted by the Tribe in 2006. (however, Brantley had more seasons under his belt than any other Tribesman because Tomlin didn't debut until 2010.) Tomlin's $3 million club option was picked up on November 3, 2017. it seemed like it would be a great deal, except Tomlin really struggled this year with his mechanics, not to mention he had a minor lower back issue at the beginning of the season and then required a trip to the disabled list in July after sustaining a right hamstring strain, which kept him out for six weeks. i have to imagine it was never even a thought that he was in the running for a qualifying offer. that said, i think Terry Francona loves the guy so much that the club might try to bring him back on a cheap deal. but will another team make him a better offer? it could happen. my gut is telling me Tomlin's time with the Indians has come to an end.
Cody Allen signed a one-year deal worth $10,575,000 for 2018 to avoid arbitration on January 10. he became the franchise leader in saves this season, but ultimately had what was the worst campaign of his career, which started back in 2012 with the Tribe. he did not get a QO and i didn't believe he would. Allen also claimed he'd love to return to the Indians, but i'm pretty positive he'll get a multi-year deal and more money with another team.
Lonnie Chisenhall avoided arbitration with the Indians this year by signing a one-year deal worth $5,587,500 back on January 12. unfortunately, his calves held him out for all but 29 games this season. he suffered a right calf strain (which actually cropped up during spring training) after the first week of the year and was on the DL from April 8 - June 4. then the right fielder injured his left calf on July 2 and was diagnosed with a grade 3 strain, ultimately ending his season. it was not a shock that he didn't get a QO. he's dealt with calf injuries now for the past two years, so i'm not sure what kind of deal any team will offer him at this point. Chiz debuted with the Tribe in 2011, so this could be another sad goodbye to yet another player who's been with the team for a long time.
Andrew Miller finished up the final year of his contract after two and a half seasons with the Indians following the trade the Tribe made with the New York Yankees on July 31, 2016. but 2018 was not a good one for Miller, as he made three trips to the disabled list, first with a left hamstring strain at the end of April, then with right knee inflammation at the end of May, and lastly with a left shoulder impingement at the end of August. those issues directly affected his overall numbers for the year, so that shouldn't deter teams from offering him a multi-year deal that the Indians cannot. not surprisingly, they didn't extend him a qualifying offer because $18 million is a lot of money to spend on a reliever for one year and that's a very anti-Tribe thing to do. Miller Time is over in Cleveland.
Brandon Guyer became a free agent on October 30 when the Indians declined his $3 million club option for 2019 and instead exercised the $250,000 buyout. he underwent left wrist surgery in October of 2017, but was ready to fully participate in spring training. not even a week into camp, his injury flared up again and Guyer was diagnosed with inflammation and shut down. he made his Cactus League debut with only four games to left in March and made the 25-man roster. Guyer went on the DL with a cervical neck strain on May 23 and wasn't activated until June 14. he also dealt with a sore right shoulder for the last week or so in September. between the injuries and DL stints, he was never really able to get himself going this year. still, his option wasn't expensive and with all the uncertainty surrounding the Indians' outfield, i was a bit confused that they would buy him out. Guyer's been with the Tribe ever since they traded for him on August 1, 2016, and apparently, they would like to bring him back, just on a cheaper deal. i doubt Guyer returns. #thisteamischeap
Rajai Davis had his second go-round with the Indians when he agreed to a one-year, minor league deal with non-roster invite on February 17. he officially made the opening day roster on March 22 and was mainly used as a backup replacement OF, pinch runner, and pinch hitter. he was not offered a QO and i think his time in Cleveland has finally come to an end.
Melky Cabrera went the whole offseason and all of spring training without being signed. the Indians changed that on April 23 when they brought him in on a one-year, minor league deal, made official on April 25. the deal was constructed with a $1 million base, plus incentives, including $100K for 200 plate appearances, and $150K for each additional 50 PA up to 500 PA total. it also had a June 1 opt-out clause. once signed, Cabrera spent a little time in Goodyear before being activated for the Triple A Columbus Clippers on May 7. he needed to get some reps in before joining the big league club since he never went through a spring training. the Tribe selected his contract on May 20 because they were in desperate need of a new bat. when another OF came off the DL though, Cabrera was designated for assignment on June 14 and elected free agency on June 18. no other team picked him up, and after another Indians' right fielder got hurt, the Tribe re-signed him to a minor league deal on July 5. he played with the Clippers again until his contract was selected again on July 20, and he finished out the year with the Tribe as their RF against right-handed pitching. getting Cabrera turned out to be a smart move and worked out great, especially the second time. he didn't get a QO because he's not an $18 million player. but considering how well he performed with the Indians in 2018, i don't think he'll have trouble finding a new team this offseason.
Oliver Perez was signed to a one-year, $1.75 million deal by the Tribe on June 2, the day after he opted out of his minor league contract with the New York Yankees. the southpaw immediately made the bullpen better and showed he still had a lot left in the tank despite his age. the Indians did not extend a qualifying offer to him, which is understandable. but because of performance, i could see the Tribe trying to bring him back for 2019, though i'm not sure some other ballclub won't propose something better...
Josh Donaldson came to the Indians on August 31, along with $2.7 million, from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for a player to be named later, which turned out to be RHP Julian Merryweather (when the deal was completed on October 5). he was in the midst of working his way back from a left calf strain at this time, so the Indians put him on the DL and let him play some rehab games in the minors. once he was deemed ready to play on a regular basis, he was activated on September 11 and became the Tribe's main 3rd baseman. because he was traded to the Indians, he was ineligible to get a qualifying offer and is most likely not returning to Cleveland next year.
Adam Rosales was signed by the Tribe to a minor league deal on March 27 and assigned to the Triple A Columbus Clippers. he stayed in C-bus until the Indians selected his contract on September 4 and then played minimally at every position around the infield. he didn't warrant a qualifying offer and hence didn't receive one. unless he wants to return on another minor league deal, i don't see him back with the big league club.
Brandon Barnes signed a minor league deal with spring training invite on November 30, 2017. his contract wasn't selected until September 4. he mainly played as a defensive substitute in the outfield late in games. he was arbitration eligible this offseason, but the Indians outrighted him to Columbus on November 1 and he elected free agency the next day. despite the Tribe's desperate need for outfielders, his time in Cleveland is over, as he elected free agency on November 2 after being outrighted to Columbus on November 1.
you can find all the specific stats and details about how these players performed this year with the Indians in the Analyzing the Players section.
Chief Wahoo Got a Raw Deal😢
i can't not take a minute to talk about our beloved Chief Wahoo. the Indians are trying to be cute by saying that the Chief has retired. in reality, it's more like he got fired. see when people retire, they typically do so by choice. but the Wahoo was forced out after being sold out by Paul Dolan in order for him to secure the 2019 All Star Game, which in the grand scheme of things seems like a huge historical sacrifice for something that's gonna be done, over with, and gone in the blink of an eye. then again, why should i expect loyalty from an owner who can't even pony up enough money to re-sign any of his free agents. anyway, i don't agree with what Dolan did and i definitely won't be at the ASG next year. y'all ain't getting my money.
|photo courtesy of Ted Crow via The Plain Dealer|
the Chief is what initially drew me to the Indians when i was a dumb teenager. i see it as nothing more than a cartoon logo who was created in part to honor a past Native American Indian. i love it and i am not a racist. i've written plenty more about this topic in the past, most recently my I'll Stand By You, Chief Wahoo post. check it out if you haven't already.
|photo courtesy of celinacolombo.wordpress.com|
so goodbye, Chief. you may be gone from the Indians' hats and jersey sleeves, but you won't be gone from all my gear. and you will never be forgotten. because, as much as MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred might have tried, HISTORY CANNOT BE ERASED.
Analyzing the Players
now it's time to get into how each player who spent time with the Indians this year did. i have provided analyzations of both the regular season and postseason where applicable. i tried to keep these as short as possible, but for the every day guys, there was a lot to cover, so bear with me. the players are separated according to their positions, ie. outfielders, DH, infielders, catchers, starting pitchers, and bullpen pitchers. after my evaluations, i included some emojis that i felt best represented the players' seasons as well.
Tyler Naquin, after a down and injury-riddled year in 2017, was out to prove himself as a great player once again. this spring, he played in 24 games, the most out of all the players who made the 25-man roster, and bat .286 (16-for-56) with a team-high seven doubles. he also totaled two homers, 10 RBI, nine runs, five walks, and 12 strikeouts. last season in Triple A, the club was trying to groom him as mostly a right fielder because that's where they felt he would be strongest defensively. but Naquin can play all three OF positions and until Michael Brantley returns, he should see his time in left. he made one questionable decision there in his first game on February 24, playing a ball off the bounce and allowing a run to score. conversely, his most memorable play on defense came in the game on March 1, which he ended with an outfield assist.
Tyler Naquin had another bad luck year with injuries. he was optioned to the Triple A Columbus Clippers on April 6 when Michael Brantley was activated from the DL. however, he returned on April 8 after Lonnie Chisenhall went on the 10-Day DL with a right calf strain. he was fine until he left the game on May 11 with left hamstring tightness and went on the 10-Day DL with a mild left hamstring strain the next day. he rehabbed in early June with both the Double A Akron RubberDucks and Columbus before being activated on June 15. but his time on the disabled list was not over. on July 28, Naquin went back on the 10-Day DL with a right hip strain. on July 29, the Indians said Nake was dealing with a stress reaction in his right hip and would get a second opinion from Dr. Bryan Kelly in New York. then on August 2, the club announced Naquin underwent right hip surgery to stabilize the stress reaction and Dr. James Rosneck inserted three screws into his right femur. it was supposed to take him 6-10 weeks to return to full baseball activity, but Naquin progressed quickly. on August 17, he was already riding a stationary bike and by August 28, he was running on the alterG treadmill. he was transferred to the 60-Day DL on September 4 when a few players were brought up from Columbus. Naquin was reportedly taking part in simulated games out in Arizona on September 20 and came back to Cleveland on September 30. he was even able to play in the intrasquad game the Indians had on October 2 ahead of the American League Division Series, but Nake did not make it onto the postseason roster. most of Naquins' at bats this season came from the 8th spot, though he got to bat everywhere except for the top four spots. he played 61 games with the Tribe, going 46-for-174 for a .264 batting average, with seven doubles, three home runs, 23 RBI, 22 runs, six walks, one intentional walk, two hit by pitches, one stolen base, one caught stealing, and 42 strikeouts. he pinch hit in 10 games this year as well, going 2-for-9 with two RBI, and pinch ran once for the DH. defensively, Naquin played everywhere in the outfield. he started out in left, playing five games there before Brantley came off the disabled list. he also played 19 games in center and 39 games in right field, which is his best position by far. he acquired two assists (as the right fielder) in 414.1 total innings. when Naquin did play, he was alright, but nothing really special. he didn't hit for much power and got on typically with base knocks. truth is, he just hasn't been very reliable or healthy since his rookie 2016 season. i think next year will be a very important one for him and if he has another injury, he might be done here for good.😑🤕🤕🏥😟
Bradley Zimmer is on the Opening Day roster for the first time. he's completely recovered from the left hand surgery he underwent in September of last year. in other health news, he had a quick bout of the flu on February 20 and then experienced some mild left groin tightness on March 19, but that's all behind him now. he had some struggles offensively this spring, unlike last spring, and went hitless in more than half the games he played in. that's a little disconcerting because in late 2017, Zimmer had trouble making adjustments at the plate when being pitched to inside and really slumped in August. hopefully he can figure it out with his bat because his defense is so imperative to our outfield. overall, he played in 19 Cactus League games, bat .220 (11-for-50) and had one double, three home runs, and four RBI. besides that, he totaled five walks and 12 strikeouts. on the basepaths, he was a perfect 3-for-3 in stolen bases, just like Lindor. he also scored all the way from 2nd base on Lindor's sac fly in the game on March 23. he tallied three assists in center field as well, to lead all the outfielders.
Bradley Zimmer started out as the Tribe's every day center fielder. then the injuries came and wrecked everything for him and the Indians' outfield. Zimmer was scratched from the game on April 22 with a mild right ankle sprain, which he suffered the previous day after landing on 1st base hard. he only missed the one game, however. then on May 5, Zimmer had to leave the game with a left shoulder contusion after slamming into the wall trying to make a catch. he didn't play again until May 9. and that was his last game for a while, as he went on the 10-Day DL with a left rib contusion on May 15, retroactive to May 12. he began rehabbing on May 27 and played in back-to-back games with Akron, one as the CF and one as the DH, going 1-for-4 with two walks and a stolen base. he then rehabbed with Columbus on May 30 and 31 going 2-for-9. Zimmer came off the DL on June 1. he played with the Tribe on June 2 and 3 and then they optioned him to Triple A on June 5 because they wanted Zim to work on his hitting. unfortunately, Zimmer injured his right shoulder in Columbus doing one-armed swings in batting practice on June 13 and got shut down for five days. on June 16, he was placed on the DL in Columbus, retroactive to June 14, with right shoulder discomfort. Zimmer received an anti-inflammatory shot for right shoulder inflammation on June 22 and could not return to game activity for 4-6 weeks. the Indians gave their next update on July 6, saying Zimmer was out in Arizona doing shoulder rehab and strengthening exercises, but not hitting yet. apparently, that didn't help because on July 22, it was announced that Zimmer had right shoulder surgery for a torn labrum performed by Dr. Keith Meister in Texas. his timetable to return to full baseball activity was 8-12 months. on October 10, it was revealed that Zimmer could be cleared to throw in November and hit in December. but if Michael Brantley's labral tear surgery is any indication, the Indians are not going to rush him through his rehab and he likely won't play for the Tribe before next year's All Star break. this season, Zimmer played in 34 games, batting .226 (24-for-106). he mainly bat in the lower 3rd of the order, mostly 8th or 9th. though it's a small sample size, he did much better batting 8th. he also bat 7th in two games, 2nd in one, and pinch hit in the leadoff spot in one game. overall, he made 2 pinch hit appearances but went 0-for-2 with one strikeout. his other numbers this year were five doubles, two home runs, nine RBI, 14 runs, seven walks, one hit by pitch, four stolen bases, one caught stealing, and 44 strikeouts. so you can see why the team wanted him to work on hitting. Zimmer spent 271.1 innings in center field, which, oddly enough was the third most innings among OF this year. he also totaled four assists (tied for 2nd most) and one double play. this is now the second straight season that Zimmer has had a surgery and couldn't play in the postseason. and he's still having issues offensively because he's striking out more than anything. will 2019 be the year this kid finally figures things out?🤕🤕🏥👎🙁🤷
now that the Indians have Rajai Davis back, i don't think we'll see Lonnie Chisenhall play anywhere other than right field in the outfield this season. he'll be part of a platoon with Brandon Guyer and won't face too many left-handed starters. as for Chiz's camp, it wasn't his most memorable. the club announced that he had some right calf tightness on March 17, which wasn't the best news considering that is the same calf that caused him to miss a lot of time after the All Star Break last season. but he played in several games in spring following that development, so i think the issue is now a non-factor. in total, he played 19 games, going 11-for-56 with only one extra base hit--a double--and three RBI. he also drew three walks while striking out 12 times (an awful ratio). in the outfield, he acquired two assists, including throwing a runner out at home. Chiz, who's making $5,587,500 this year, will be a free agent at the end of the campaign.
Lonnie Chisenhall was the team's third starting OF this year. and, just like the other two, had his fair share of injury problems to make him almost a complete non-factor in 2018. he played the least amount of games ever in his MLB career, which began with the Indians in 2011. Chiz played in just seven games before getting injured. he left the game on April 7 early with a right calf injury after making a catch. the bad news came the following day, when he was placed on the 10-Day DL with a mild right calf strain, said to be in the same area as his calf strain last season) and was expected to be out 4-6 weeks. Chiz missed almost two full months before returning. his rehab began with some land-bases jogging on May 11 before his minor league rehab assignment commenced on May 21. he played five games with Columbus on May 21, 23, 30, 31, and June 3. he had four hits in 14 at bats, hit two doubles and one home run with two RBI, five runs, and four walks. he also played in Akron on May 25, 27, 28 and went 3-for-9 with a double, home run, three RBI, and one run. Chisenhall was activated from the DL on June 5. he played for a large portion of the month, too, except for when he had to miss the game on June 20 because was scratched from the lineup with bilateral calf soreness. after July 1, he did not play another game with the Indians. he was scratched from the July 2 game with moderate left calf strain, which he popped up while he was running during warm ups. on July 3, Chisenhall was placed on the 10-Day DL with the left calf strain. a few days later on the 6th, it was announced that he would miss considerable time and was wearing a walking boot on his left leg. then on July 10, the Indians said Chiz got a second opinion from Dr. Wiemi Douoguih in Washington, D.C., and was diagnosed with a Grade 3 left calf strain (left soleus muscle) and would miss 8-10 weeks, pretty much ending his year. he was transferred to the 60-Day DL on July 20 to make room on the roster for Melky Cabrera. on August 3, Chiz was running on a treadmill and by the 14th, he'd advanced to jogging, using the alterG, hitting, and throwing. on August 19, they said he was going to Arizona to continue his rehab work and on August 21, it was revealed that he "not as close" to returning as they'd hoped. the Indians updated he was jogging and doing baseball activities in Arizona on August 28. nothing else came out until September 20, when he was said to be taking part in simulated games in AZ. the last bit of news came on September 30, when Chisenhall, who had been running the bases hitting, was heading home to North Carolina because of possible hurricane damage to his home. prior to the end of his season, Chiz was mostly used against right-handed pitching, though he did go 2-for-7 with an RBI double against lefties. in 29 total games, he bat .321 (27-for-84) with six doubles, one triple, one home run, nine RBI, 11 runs, eight walks, one intentional walk, two hit by pitches, one stolen base, one sac bunt, and 12 strikeouts. he did have three 3-hit games, however, including back-to-back 3-for-4 games on June 10 and 11. he got most of his at bats in the 6th spot, but was also used in the 5th, 7th, and 8th spots, and bat 4th in one game and 9th in two games. aside from right field, his best OF position, he pinch hit in five games, going 1-for-4 with a walk. in 212.0 innings, he acquired two assists, committed one throwing error, and turned one double play. now that he's a free agent and has not played Major League ball since July 1, i don't know where Chiz will sign his next contract, but i don't think we'll see him with the Tribe again.😀👏🤕🤕🙁👎
Brandon Guyer had left wrist surgery to repair the extensor tendon back on October 11, 2017, which was technically before the Indians were even eliminated from the 2017 ALDS versus the New York Yankees. originally, it was thought that he'd have plenty of time to recover and return for the 2018 season. alas, Guyer had a setback in spring. when he initially reported to camp, he was cleared for throwing. not even a week later, on February 20, his wrist flared up and he was shut down for a few days after an MRI showed inflammation. Guyer eventually got some at bats in simulated and minor league games, but didn't appear in his first Cactus League game until March 24. he conceded he could still feel pain when he swung and missed, but that it wasn't an issue. the team decided he was close enough to 100%, and since he's only going to be used against left-handed pitching anyway, they inferred he could start the year on time without a rehab assignment. so on March 26, Guyer was named the final member of the 25-man roster. he played in just two big league spring games on March 24 and 26, going 1-for-6 with two strikeouts. oh, and, like clockwork, he was hit by a pitch (in the left hand!) in his debut game. if he's really healthy, finally, then we should have another good weapon to mash left-handed pitching.
Brandon Guyer never had to go on the disabled list for his wrist this year, but another issue did crop up on him. on May 23, he had to be placed on the 10-Day DL with a cervical neck strain, retroactive to May 20. it transpired when Guyer got struck in the head by a fan when reaching for a foul ball on May 19. he began his rehab assignment on May 25 and played three games with Akron. then he played five games with Columbus between May 30 and June 10. he didn't get any hits until his seventh game on June 8 when he hit two solo home runs. then he was removed from his final game early after being hit in the wrist. he was activated on June 14. he fouled a ball off his left knee on July 3 and left the game, but it wasn't anything serious. on September 22, the Indians shared that Guyer had been dealing with a sore right shoulder, but he was still playing in games at that point. it was only after September 27 that he sat out the final three games of the season to rest the shoulder ahead of the playoffs. some of Guyer's highlights this year include when he hit a grand slam on May 15 and a pinch hit 3-run home run on June 27. Guyer also made his Major League debut as a pitcher on June 16 versus the Minnesota Twins. he only threw eight pitches and pitched a clean inning in the top of the 9th, surprisingly, and set the Twins down in order with one groundout and two flyouts. i was at that game and it was a crazy sight, but i loved it. he played in 103 games in 2018, the most he's appeared in since 2015 when he was with the Tampa Bay Rays. he bat .206, or 40-for-194, with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, 25 runs, 15 walks, a team high 11 hit by pitches, one stolen base, one caught stealing, one sac bunt, and 48 strikeouts. Francona used him a fair amount against righties even though he was here to hit lefties. Guyer wasn't very successful when facing right-handers, going just 16-for-91 (.176 BA). he didn't do much better against southpaws though, as he was 24-for-103 (.233 BA) with 12 of his 15 total walks. in the order, Guyer mostly bat 5th against lefties and 6th when he played against righties. that said, he got at least one AB in the 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th, and 9th spots. he went 4-for-19 as a pinch hitter. as the DH, he was 2-for-2 with one walk, one hit by pitch, and two runs. in addition, he pinch ran eight times. Guyer played in all three spots in the outfield for a total of 506.1 innings, the third most among OFs. he also acquired two assists and committed fielding three errors, the most among OFs as no one else had more than one. he played parts of 21 games as a left fielder, three as a center fielder, and 76 as a right fielder, which is where all his assists and errors occurred. Guyer was on the postseason roster, but only played in Game 3 when a lefty was starting. he went 0-for-2 with a strikeout while batting 7th. he also played 7.0 innings in right field before being replaced. Guyer was supposed to be a weapon against left-handers. that was his job and he just didn't really do it. the Indians opted not to pick up his $3 million club option and instead pay him his $250,000 buyout. they said they were interested in bringing him back on a cheaper deal than the 3 mill, but i'm not seeing him return to Cleveland.😕🤕👎
Rajai Davis: age ain't nothin' but a number and when it comes to this guy, he can run better than some players in their 20s. he was brought back into the fold for outfield depth (he can play all three spots as needed) and to generate more speed on the bases, like he helped set the tone for in 2016. but Davis is not going to be a juggernaut with his bat. truthfully, the chief uncertainty with him is can he get on base regularly in order to cause chaos on the basepaths? that will be his challenge to conquer. Davis played in 16 spring games with the Tribe, going 9-for-40. his lone double was his only extra base hit. besides that, he drew one walk compared to striking out 10 times. he led the team with four stolen bases, but he was also caught stealing once.
Rajai Davis ended up playing more than was initially expected because of all the injuries to several outfielders. at least he stayed healthy. his contract was purchased on Opening Day, March 29, and he spent a lot of time being a replacement outfielder, pinch runner, and pinch hitter this year, especially in the second half of the season. on June 6, Davis became the oldest Indians player with three steals in one game (three different innings). on August 22, he was placed on the 10-Day DL with a non-baseball medical condition, retroactive to August 20. the Indians said it was something he dealt with all year and should take about 10 days and he would be ready to return by September 1. Hayden Grove got more specific when he revealed on a cleveland.com facebook live video that Davis had hemorrhoids and was having surgery to remove them on August 27. LOL on the 28th, the Tribe updated that he was okay and expected back on September 1. he rehabbed in Akron on August 29 and 30 as the DH and CF, respectively and went 0-for-6. Davis was activated on September 1. he mostly bat 9th, but got at least one at bat in every spot in the order aside from 3rd, although he did pinch run in the 3 hole on one occasion. his best game was easily on July 2 against the Kansas City Royals when he went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with one double, one hit by pitch, and three runs scored. i know he wasn't here for offense, but he had a major slump going on for the latter portion of 2018. he had one hit in all of September, going 1-for-21. and from July 30 - September 30, he was just 3-for-36 with the bat, though he scored six runs and stole five bases in seven tries. he was a pinch hitter in 11 games and pinch runner in 29, 14 of which were in September. he also went 1-for-6 as a designated hitter. in 101 games, Davis had 44 hits in 196 at bats (.224 average). he almost had the same number of ABs against righties and lefties and his splits were pretty even, too. he had 101 AB vs RHP and bat .228, while getting 95 AB vs LHP and batting .221. for the season, he totaled six doubles, one triple, one home run, six RBI, 33 runs, 11 walks, 21 stolen bases (tied for 3rd most on the team), seven caught stealing, four hit by pitches, four sac bunts, and 48 strikeouts. as an outfielder, Davis played 470.2 innings total, with three assists and one double play. he played every OF position and here's the breakdown: 30 games in left, where he played early on while Michael Brantley was still on the DL and then when Brant got days off and also as a defensive replacement, with one assist; 47 games in center with two assists and one double play; and two games in right for 9.0 total innings. Davis got the last spot on the 25-man ALDS roster over Erik Gonzalez because Terry Francona wanted his speed off the bench. but Davis never got off the bench to run or bat. he did what he was brought here to do and i have a feeling he'll end up with a different team next year.💨
there was talk that Michael Brantley could open the year on time and the team would utilize the early off days in April to work in some extra rest for him, but that's no longer the case. on March 25, it was decided that Brantley hadn't played enough to build up his endurance to take on the workload of a starting position player, and so he would begin the 2018 season on the DL. it's unfortunate that spring training ended so soon this year; otherwise, he might have been able to make the active roster. he's going to play in minor league games until the minor leaguers break camp on Saturday, March 31. i anticipate Dr. Smooth will be back with the Tribe by mid-April at the latest. in his final camp with the Indians, Brant totaled four hits in 10 at bats with one home run, two RBI, two runs, and two strikeouts (looking). he had at least one hit in all three Cactus League games he played in. Brantley could be facing some adversity this year because he's not going to be batting 3rd in the lineup anymore, which was his best career BOP. hopefully he can handle the different pitches he'll now be seeing in the cleanup spot/5th spot without too much difficulty. (if you want to read all the details of Brantley's spring rehab and/or peruse the breakdowns of his spring numbers, click here and here.)
Michael Brantley, after being placed on the 10-Day DL on March 29, retroactive to March 26, he rejoined the Tribe very quickly. he played in three games in extended spring training and was activated on April 6. Francona was careful with Brantley though, and made sure he got some days off in April. even though he didn't get as many at bats as the guys who played a full spring, Brant was doing quite well and even had 5 consecutive multi-hit games between April 11-20. he began his year batting either 4th or 5th depending on if a righty or lefty was starting. then on May 11, Tito decided to drop a struggling Jason Kipnis down in the order and Brant took over his spot batting 2nd. and that's where he remained for the rest of the season. hitting in the middle of Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez proved to be a huge benefit to the team, so it was a smart move and one that probably should have happened sooner. Brantley had a tremendous first two months of 2018. he hit his first home run of the season on April 17 when the team was playing against the Minnesota Twins in Puerto Rico at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. he hit the first grand slam of his MLB career on May 1, and hit his second grand slam ever 10 days later on May 11. that put him in the history books, as no Indian had hit two consecutive home runs via grand slams since 2004. he finished May with a career high seven home runs and career high/team high 26 RBI. he also put together a team high 19-game hitting streak, in which he bat .366, between May 9-30 (over 22 days), and had a 21-game on-base streak between May 8-31. that's probably what contributed to his peers voting for him for the 2018 All Star Game. good thing the votes were already in because once June came around, Brantley went into a bit of a slump and had not only his worst month of the season, but one of the worst months of his entire baseball career. he turned things around in July before the break and reached some big career milestones, including getting his 500th career RBI on July 4 and scoring his 500th career run on July 6. between May 1 and July 7, Brantley compiled a career high 27-game on-base streak at home. then on July 8, Dr. Smooth nabbed the third All Star nod of his career when he was selected to be an outfield reserve. on July 17, he collected his first career RBI in an All Star Game. coming out of the break, Brantley struggled a bit again, batting just 9-for-45 in 11 games. the only real bright spot was when he played in his 1,000th MLB Game on July 28 and became the 30th Indians player in franchise history to play 1,000 MLB games with the club. once August and September rolled around, well, he finished his year much like he started it. Brantley hit a walk-off RBI single on August 9 in the bottom of the 9th inning versus the Minnesota Twins, the 6th walk-off of his career. then on September 22, Brantley hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning versus the Boston Red Sox, marking his 2nd walk-off hit of 2018 and 7th walk-off in his career. in addition, he ended the year on 9-game hitting streak that will continue with his next team next Opening Day. as far as injuries were concerned, Brantley had no setbacks with his ankle at all. he did have a minor issue with his left ankle, when he bruised it in the game on September 5 after fouling a ball off it and sat out the following day to rest it. then he also hit himself with another foul ball on his right calf on September 25 and was removed from the game as a precaution. he missed no time because of it, however. in his 2018 campaign, Brantley played a total of 143 games and bat a team high .309 (176-for-570). he's now held the highest batting average on the Indians in each of the last five seasons that he's been a qualifying player. he also had a .364 OBP, .468 SLG, and .832 OPS this season. he was tied for the team lead with his two grand slams with Yonder Alonso and tied for the team lead with two walk-off hits with Greg Allen. the rest of his stats included 26 doubles, two triples, 17 home runs, 76 RBI, six sac flies, 89 runs, 48 walks, five hit by pitches, 12 stolen bases, three caught stealing, and 60 strikeouts. his strikeouts were tied for the 3rd least in MLB and his 9.5% strikeout rate was the 2nd best in all of baseball. he had a 3.5 fWAR, 3rd best on the Indians out of six total qualifiers and 2nd out of 10 qualifying American League left fielders. among American League qualifiers, Brantley's batting average ranked 5th and his hits ranked 7th. and in MLB, his batting average was the 8th best among 141 qualifiers. i also want to acknowledge that he actually had a very successful year in Interleague play, one of his weaker areas, batting .310 (22-for-71) in 19 games against NL teams. the only area he really had trouble with this season was with RISP, when he bat an typically low .254 (36-for-142). on the other hand, he was an incredible .583 (7-for-12) with 18 RBI with bases loaded. he didn't have the best numbers on the road or against lefties this year either, though he greatly improved on both in the final two months of 2018. in the field, Brantley only ever played left and totaled 1136.1 innings, six assists, and two double plays, all of which were team leads among the outfielders. he also committed one fielding error on June 26 and had a .996 fielding percentage. he presently has a 74-game errorless streak in the outfield. when Tito wanted to get Brant off his feet a little bit, he had him be the DH in seven games and Brant went 10-for-31 (.323 average). Brantley also made two pinch hit appearances, both in the 6th spot, the only times he bat there this season, but went 0-for-2. in the ALDS, Brantley played all three games, but had some difficulties, though didn't do as badly as most of his other teammates. at the plate, Michael was just 2-for-10, but he also had one RBI sac fly, giving him his first career postseason RBI, and drew one walk. his two hits were tied for the 2nd most on the team, by the way. in left field, Brant played three complete games/25.0 innings and had a team high one outfield assist. this was one hell of a comeback season for Brantley. he stayed healthy and proved to everyone that his career is not over. not by a long shot. i could not have asked for more from Brantley. he had a fantastic walk-year and teams are going to notice. you can refer to my Wrapping Up Brantley's 2018 Season + Postseason blog, which contains links to my other season wrap up posts and highlight blogs that i wrote throughout the year, for many more streaks and slumps and overall details about his campaign. on October 16, Brant named a finalist for the Players Choice Awards' 2018 AL Comeback Player of the Year Award. he's up against David Price of the Boston Red Sox and Edwin Jackson of the Oakland Athletics. the winner will be announced on November and despite me originally thinking he was a lock for this award, i have a feeling Price will end up with most of the votes. to my dismay and disgust, the Indians chose not to extend a one-year, $17.9 qualifying offer to Brantley on November 2. his is now a free agent and is said to not be returning to Cleveland. i think that's a shitty way to treat a 10-year vet on your team, whom you referred to as the "heart and soul" of your team numerous times and i don't agree with it. i'm currently putting together a blog with all the rumors that have accumulated so far this month and whenever he signs his new deal, i'll post everything, as well as what i have planned for the future of this blog now that Michael is not gonna be an Indian anymore. goodbye, Brant. you've impacted my life more than you will ever know and you'll always have a special place in my heart. thank you for everything you did for this club and i'm sorry they couldn't bring you back. they will live to regret it.👏😀💪⭐👊👏💪💗💔😭
Greg Allen saw plenty of game action with the Indians prior to being optioned to Columbus on March 22. his spring stats read as: 23 games, .250 average (9-for-36), two doubles, one triple, six RBI, eight runs, two walks, two stolen bases vs. one caught stealing, and 12 strikeouts. he continues to impress with his speed, but there was no reason to rush him and name him to the OD roster. he will absolutely benefit from spending some time in Triple A, a level he completely skipped last year after being promoted from Double A Akron. he'll see Cleveland again, no doubt.
Greg Allen was first recalled from the Clippers on April 17 as the 26th man for the series against the Twins in Puerto Rico. he was optioned on April 19 when it was over. Allen got brought back up on May 6 and this time stayed all the way until June 18. he returned on July 3, but was optioned on July 19. Allen was called up for another quick trip from July 30 to August 1, which is when Leonys Martin was added to the roster. he came back indefinitely on August 9 when Martin went on the DL with his season-ending bacterial infection. Allen mainly bat 8th or 9th in the order, but got at bats in every other spot minus 3rd. he spent a lot more time with the Indians this year than he did in 2017, so pretty much all of his numbers are career highs except for his slugging percentage and sac fly totals (which were equal). in 91 games, he totaled a .257 batting average, 68 hits, 11 doubles, three triples (2nd most on team), two home runs, 20 RBI, 36 runs, 14 walks, one intentional walk, seven hit by pitches, 21 stolen bases (tied for 3rd most on the team with Davis), four caught stealing, four sac hits (2nd most on team), and 58 strikeouts. Allen hit two walk-offs this season as well, tied with Brantley for the team lead, including a walk-off homer (on the first pitch, mind you) in the 14th inning on May 27 versus the Houston Astros and walk-off single in the 11th inning on September 23 versus the Boston Red Sox. in the field, he played all three OF spots, but mainly center when he had to take over for the injured Zimmer and later ill-stricken Martin. Allen spent parts of three games in left, 78 games in center, and 16 games in right. overall, he played 659.2 innings, the second most among outfielders behind Brantley, and tallied two assists, one fielding error, and one double plays (all as a CF). he also was a pinch runner eight times and pinch hit twice, going 0-for-2 with two strikeouts. Allen made it onto the 25-man postseason roster, but only played in Game 3. he came in to pinch hit in the bottom of the 9th and grounded into a double play. i think he did well this year, especially considering he's still getting his feet wet in the league. not bad, G-Rag.🙂👌👊
Melky Cabrera officially signed a minor league deal with the Indians on April 25. since he went unsigned during spring, he was set to play in extended spring in Goodyear, AZ, for 7-10 days before going to Triple A. he was activated in Columbus on May 7, then had his contract selected by the Indians on May 20. unfortunately, Cabrera was a casualty of a roster move when Guyer was activated from the DL on June 14 and got designated for assignment. he cleared waivers and elected free agency on June 18. Cabrera remained unsigned and after Chisenhall went down with a calf strain, the Indians needed outfield help. so they re-signed Cabrera to a minor league deal on July 5 and assigned him to Columbus. his contract was selected on July 20 and he stayed with the Tribe for the rest of the season. Cabrera did much better the second time around with the Indians, likely because he'd gotten more ABs under his belt by then. to compare, he played 17 games before being DFA'd and bat .207 (12-for-58) with five doubles, 11 RBI, three walks, and 10 strikeouts. then after he was re-signed, Cabrera bat .302 (58-for-192) in 61 games with 12 doubles, six home runs, 28 RBI, 17 walks, and 28 strikeouts. in the lineup, he usually bat 6th, but also saw a good amount of time in the 5 and 7 holes. furthermore, he had at least 1 at bat in the 3rd, 4th, 8th, and 9th spots. he got the majority of his at bats against righties, because, even though he's a switch-hitter the Indians only really needed him to play against righties and that's mainly who he faced during his second go-round. however, he actually did better against lefties, batting .309 (21-for-68), while his average against righties was just .269 (49-for-182). aside from the outfield, Cabrera played in four games as the DH and pinch hit in six, going 0-for-5 with one walk. in 78 games total, Cabrera bat .280, going 70-for-250, with 17 doubles, six home runs, 39 RBI, five sac flies, 28 runs, 20 walks, three hit by pitches, one stolen base versus one caught stealing, and 38 strikeouts. he hit a home run in three straight games between August 19-21, including a grand slam on August 19 versus the Baltimore Orioles. he also had three, 3-RBI games with the Tribe this year. he played 500.0 innings exactly with four assists (tied for the 2nd most on the team with Zimmer) and one double play. he played four games and 33.0 innings in left field, and 68 games and 467.0 innings in right field. right is also where all his assists and double play came from. in fact, Cabrera threw out two runners in his first two games with the Indians on May 20 and 22. in the postseason, he play in all three games, completing the two on the road and playing the final 2.0 innings of the third. he played 18.0 total innings in right and went 1-for-8 at the plate. after he got his "spring training" out of the way, Cabrera did a good job for us. something tells me he won't go unsigned this offseason, but despite the Indians' current outfield holes, i doubt he'll be back with us.😐😀👌👍
Leonys Martin's time with the Indians was short-lived this year. the left-handed center fielder came to the Tribe (along with Double A RHP Kyle Dowdy) from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for shortstop Willi Castro. he was added to the roster on August 1, but did not start the game. he came into it as a pinch hitter and then played the last 4.0 innings in center. he hit home runs in back-to-back games on August 3 and 4. Martin only appeared in six games total for the Indians, batting 9th in the four he started. in his final game of the season with the Tribe, on August 7, he pinch hit and then played 1.0 inning in right field. he played 41.0 innings total with Cleveland before tragedy struck. on August 8, the Indians announced Martin was out with intestinal turmoil. the next day, he was placed on the 10-Day DL with a non-baseball medical condition and on August 10, it was revealed that he was getting treatment at Cleveland Clinic for his illness. details emerged on August 13, when it came out that Martin had a life-threatening bacterial infection that entered his bloodstream, produced toxins, and affected multiple internal organs. at this point though, he was recovering and had already regained a lot of organ function. however, the Indians said his progress would be measured in weeks, not days. Martin got out of ICU on August 15 and was released from the hospital on August 19. he went back to Cleveland Clinic for a recheck on August 22 and was expected to fully recover in 1-2 months, but he would not be able to train in order to return this season. he was transferred to the 60-Day DL so newly acquired Josh Donaldson could be added to the 40-man roster. as an Indian, Martin went 5-for-15 (.333 average) with two home runs, four RBI, three runs, one walk, one caught stealing, and two strikeouts. the Indians avoided arbitration with him already by signing him to a one-year, $3 million deal on October 31. sorry to say, but it is so classic Tribe that they trade for a guy who only played a handful of games and then was out for the rest of the year. he literally almost died, that's so crazy to think about. they still don't know how Martin got the infection. most of his teammates wrote LM13 on their hats after the news broke so he would know that they hadn't forgotten about him. when he played, his home runs in back-to-back games were cool. hopefully he won't see the disabled list at all next season.😷🙏🙌
|photo courtesy of mlb.com|
Brandon Barnes had an odd spring offensively with only five hits in 35 at bats, but they were all extra base knocks. he totaled one double, one triple, three home runs, eight RBI, two walks, and 20 strikeouts in 18 games. Barnes was reassigned on March 19 to minor league camp. it would seem as though he's pretty far down on the Indians' call up list, if i'm being honest.
Brandon Barnes didn't play with the Indians until his contract was selected on September 4. aside from two complete games, he was mostly used as a defensive substitute late in games, totaling 60.1 innings. he mainly played in right field, but saw time in center and left as well. he also played 2.0 innings at 2nd base in one game. at the plate, Barnes was 5-for-19 (.263 average) with one home run, two RBI, two walks, and five strikeouts in 19 games. the Indians outrighted him to Columbus on November 1 and he elected free agency the next day. he wasn't a big contributor here, so this isn't a big loss.😐
never one to heat up in spring, Edwin Encarnacion had a rough camp. in 18 games, he went 9-for-50 with only two extra base hits (home runs), seven RBI, three walks, and a team-high 21 strikeouts. he played a little bit of 1st base throughout his Cactus League games, but mostly DH'd. he sat out the final two contests because he felt some "general soreness" after he slept wrong, but will be good to go for Opening Day. it's clear what EE can do during a season so i'm not worried about him or upset over his spring stats.
Edwin Encarnacion started out batting 4th and 5th in the order, depending on whether a right-hander or left-hander was starting, because he would bat cleanup against lefties with Michael Brantley batting 5th. the opposite was true against righties, at least until May 11. then Encarnacion took over the cleanup spot indefinitely as Brantley was promoted to 2nd in the lineup. he was the Tribe's main DH this year, but also played 23 games at 1st base and totaled one fielding error. Encarnacion had some minor injury issues this year, beginning with a stiff neck and back spasms in mid-May that kept him out of two games. he had some slight right ankle soreness on June 9 and 10. then during the final game before the All Star break, he got hit on the right hand. he missed games on July 22 and 23 because of what was called a deep bone bruise. his hand issue forced him to alter his swing and basically take his hand off the bat after making contact, which in turn affected his left biceps. on August 12, he was placed on the 10-Day DL with a swollen left biceps and bruised right hand, though an MRI showed his hand was clean and the bruise was said to be better. he was activated 10 days later. lastly, Encarnacion left the game on September 15 after rolling his right ankle and was held out until September 19. in 137 games in 2018, EE went 123-for-500, giving him a .246 batting average, with 16 doubles, one triple, 32 home runs, team high 107 RBI, team high seven sac flies, 74 runs, 63 walks, and team high 132 strikeouts. he even stole three bases. he finished 2018 with his lowest average since 2010, but clearly still produced for the Tribe despite having just a 1.0 fWAR. he had four multi-homer games this year, including a three-homer game on May 2. he also hit an inside-the-park home run on April 2, which was already his third long ball of the season. he registered his 100th RBI on September 23 (and that runner who scored just happened to be my boy Brantley), giving him at least 100 RBI in four consecutive years and sixth time in his last seven seasons. additionally, Encarnacion became the first Indian to have two 100-RBI seasons in his first two years as an Indian. in the postseason, Encarnacion played the first two games as the DH and was the 1st baseman in the third. he struggled with his bat, going a mere 1-for-10 with one run, two walks, and four strikeouts. it was the second straight year where he did great during the regular season, then just didn't show up in the playoffs.💪😬
Yonder Alonso made quite the impression in his first camp with the Indians. in his debut Cactus League game on February 23, he hit a home run. he had four straight games with at least one home run actually, during which time he hit two separate go-ahead homers in one contest. that's why he led all Indians in home runs in spring. he finished batting .375 (21-for-56) and his 21 hits were tied for most on the team. Alonso had five doubles, seven homers, 14 RBI, nine runs, six walks, and eight strikeouts in 21 games as well. he also had a team-high 12 extra base hits and 47 total bases. he looks good to me, but my one concern is gonna be his ability to hit left-handed pitching. he might not start every game when a southpaw is on the mound against the Tribe in an effort to keep him productive at the plate all season.
Yonder Alonso turned out to be an adequate replacement at 1st base for Carlos Santana. he stayed healthy all season and only missed a little time when he was placed on the Family Medical Emergency List on June 15 for an undisclosed reason. he returned on June 18. otherwise, he was ready to play whenever Terry Francona called on him. Alonso played a fair share against left-handed pitchers this year and seemed to be having success early on, but as the season continued, he couldn't hit them as much and wasn't used as often in games that southpaws started. altogether, Alonso bat .227 (29-for-128) against lefties with four home runs and 19 RBI and .258 (100-for-388) against righties with 19 home runs and 64 RBI. he mainly hit 6th and 7th at the beginning of the year, though did get some starts in the cleanup spot ahead of Edwin Encarnacion before Michael Brantley came off the DL. then when Brantley moved into the 2 hole in May, Alonso began regularly batting 5th behind Encarnacion, at least against righties. he also got a few PH appearances in the 8th and 9th spots. he pinch hit in nine games and went 2-for-6 with three walks. he was the DH for the first and only time on September 25, going 1-for-2 with two RBI and two walks. otherwise, Alonso played 1st base exclusively. in 138 games, he played 1168.1 innings and committed 10 errors, third most on the team, for a .990 fielding percentage. he had at least one error in every month of the season and three in July, including back-to-back games on July 27 and 28 against the Detroit Tigers with a throwing and fielding gaffe, respectively. Alonso bat .250 (129-for-516) in 145 games for the Tribe this season. that marked his lowest batting average since 2014 when he bat .240. in addition, he had a .317 OBP, .421 SLG, and .738 OPS. he totaled 19 doubles, 23 home runs, a career high 83 RBI, five sac flies, 64 runs, 51 walks, one intentional walk, two hit by pitches, a career high 123 strikeouts, and team low (among qualifiers) 0.7 fWAR. his HR and RBI ranked 4th most on the team and his strikeouts were the 2nd most, trailing only Encarnacion. he had his best month in July when he bat .302 and had 21 RBI, and his worst month in August, when he bat .194 and struck out 28 times. in the postseason, Alonso played in the first two games against the two righty starters. he played 16.0 innings at 1st base, bat 6th, and went 0-for-6 with four strikeouts at the plate. highly ineffective, to say the least. i think we definitely felt the sting of not having a switch-hitter at 1st base and it changed the lineup around for sure, but that situation corrected itself a bit once Melky Cabrera was acquired. so overall i feel like Alonso did his job this season. too bad he couldn't get a hit to save his life in the playoffs, however.😀💪💩
Jason Kipnis came in hot this spring, but then fizzled out by camp's end. shortly after he arrived in Arizona, on February 22, the Indians said he would be held out of early games with a sore lower back. that's when i thought, 'and so it begins.' but he played in his first game on February 25 and hit a home run. then he hit two home runs on February 27, one being a go-ahead, prior to hitting another go-ahead home run on March 2. after that, he missed one day on March 3 with the flu. he returned to play on March 4 and 6, hitting a two-run home run in each contest. Kipnis hit six home runs in five of his first six games through March 6 before his power dwindled. in fact, he went hitless in his last six spring games, though he did draw six walks during that time--four coming over his final three contests. in 19 total games, Kip still hit .346 (18-for-52) and collected two doubles, one triple, six home runs, and 12 RBI. he had a team-high 12 runs scored, walked seven times, and struck out nine times. i did find it odd, however, that Kip did not attempt to steal any bases this spring. it's not like him to not want to run. defensively, he committed two throwing errors. he was also on the backend of a triple play with Jose Ramirez. at least we know he'll be playing 2nd base this year and not monkeying around out in center again or trying to learn left field on the fly.
Jason Kipnis stayed healthy this year, but unfortunately most of the season passed before he got on a roll. his first month was terrible, but it looked like he was coming out of it after he accumulated four multi-hit games out of five contests from April 30 to May 3, including a doubleheader. Francona tried to let him figure it out but by May 11, he finally moved Kip out of the 2 hole and down lower in the lineup to take the pressure off. and that still didn't help much. and he did end up in center field again this year. from September 11 on, after Jose Ramirez moved to 2nd base because Josh Donaldson came off the DL and was going to play 3rd, Kipnis played the rest of his games in CF. he had a minor issue with a tight hamstring when stealing a base on July 6, so he was removed from the game, but was back in the lineup the very next day. Kip had two very exciting games this year. the first came on August 26 against the Kansas City Royals when he hit an inside-the-park (2-run) home run, which represented his 100th career home run. he went 4-for-5 that day with four RBI actually. then on September 19 versus Chicago White Sox, Kip hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 9th inning for his only hit of the game. that marked his 1,000th career hit and made Kip the first player in franchise history with at least 1,000 hits, 100 home runs, and 100 stolen bases. but let's go back to the inside-the-park homer. that came after Kip spent a night in his hotel room watching video clips from his 2016 season and using a rolled up magazine to emulate that swing. (there's a great in-depth interview about all this on Jordan Bastian's Covering the Bases blog on bastian.mlblogs.com.) and that's when things started to finally click for him at the plate. the homer sort of led it all off. from March 29 to August 25, Kipnis bat .216 (94-for-435), and from August 26 to September 30, he bat .295 (28-for-95). so he definitely found something that worked. still, some of his season stats, other than the batting average, ended up being decent, like his home run total and RBIs. in 147 games, Kip went 122-for-530 for a .230/.315/.389 slash line. he hit 28 doubles, one triple, and 18 home runs. he also had 75 RBI, 65 runs, 60 walks, one intentional walk, seven hit by pitches, seven stolen bases, one caught stealing, 112 strikeouts, and 2.1 fWAR. once demoted, Kipnis hit out of the 6th, 7th, and 8th spots a lot. there was also one game when he bat 3rd and three games when he bat 5th. he even bat 9th this year in eight total games, seven in September. now let's get into his defense. when Kip was the 2nd baseman, he played in 131 games there and had nine errors in 1133.2 innings. that gave him a .982 fielding percentage. he appeared in 14 games in center and totaled 102.0 innings. Kip was a DH once this year too, going 0-for-3 with one walk. and he pinch hit in three games, going 1-for-2 with a home run, two runs, and one walk. in the playoffs, Kipnis played in all three games as the center fielder, 25.0 innings. offensively, he hit just 1-for-9 with six strikeouts. awful. so i guess you could say he redeemed himself a bit at the end of the year, but his season as a whole was one of his worst. and it sounds like he's going back to the outfield next year to fill the void in left field now that Brantley is not going to be retained. i don't know how that's going to work out, but learning another new position could have an affect on his offense, so that's something to watch. otherwise, he better bust out that magazine again.😖😠👎💩👌👍🙂👎
Francisco Lindor first got everybody in camp talking about his bright new hairdo; then it was back to business as usual. the leadoff man acquired a team-high 71 plate appearances and 65 at bats in 22 Cactus League games played, making him one of just two qualifying players on the ballclub. in total, he bat .231 (15-65) with three doubles, one triple, five home runs, 12 RBI, 11 runs, four walks, and 10 strikeouts. he went a perfect 3-for-3 in stolen bases, which was tied for the best ratio on the team. he did end his spring with three straight 0-fer games, but that's not really a big deal. in the field, he committed one throwing error in 108 innings and 48 total chances. Lindor's constantly talking about continuing to improve defensively and cleaning things up, so i'm excited to see how he can better his already skilled defense at short this year.
Francisco Lindor was probably the most durable of everyone this year. i never heard one thing about him having any type of injury or soreness. guess that's what happens when you're that damn young lol he had an exceptional season, beginning with the very special moment of hitting a go-ahead home run in Puerto Rico when the Indians played the Minnesota Twins on April 17 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. a few days later, he collected his 500th hit of his career already on April 22. on May 7, he was named AL Player of the Week for the first time in his career and on May 14, he was the AL co-Player of the Week. on July 2, Lindor had a 7-RBI game against the Kansas City Royals, including a grand slam and three-run homer. he was selected to the All Star team on July 8. Lindor hit a walk-off 3-run home run in the bottom of the 9th inning on August 8 versus Minnesota Twins. he mashed his 30th home run of the season on September 3, which made the Indians the only team in club history with two switch-hitters with 30+ home runs (including Jose Ramirez) and the only switch-hitting teammates in MLB history to have 30 or more home runs. with that homer, Lindor also became the only Indian in history with 40+ doubles, 30+ home runs, and 20+ stolen bases. he made history again on September 15 when he broke a franchise record with his 8th leadoff home run. he also became the first shortstop in MLB history with 40+ doubles, 35+ home runs, and 20+ stolen bases in a season. on October 25, he was named a Gold Glove finalist for AL shortstops, but did not win, finishing as the runner-up instead. on November 8, however, Lindor won the AL shortstop Silver Slugger Award for the second year in a row. some other notable happenings of his season were his 58 multi-hit games and five multi-HR games. Lindor had five straight two-hit games from August 5-9, and six consecutive multi-hit games between April 30 and May 4, including a DH on May 3. he also had four 4-hit games this year, including a perfect 4-for-4 game on May 12 versus the Royals with two doubles, two home runs, and two RBI. but he had numerous games when he didn't get any hits as well, making him a bit of an all or nothing player. and he definitely slowed down his pace in the latter portion of the year, batting just .256 in the second half only .233 (27-for-116) in September. Lindor became the team's leadoff man this year, telling Tito he wanted to be that guy to set the tone and table for the guys behind him. but he also got one start batting 3rd and four batting 4th. the switch-hitter's splits against righties and lefties was pretty drastic. when facing RHP, he only bat .253, but totaled 29 home runs and 71 RBI, and when facing LHP, he bat .343, but only had nine home runs and 21 RBI. Lindor played a team high 158 games and bat .277 (183-for-661), the second best average behind Michael Brantley. he had a .352 OBP, career high .519 SLG (also 2nd best on the team), and career high .871 OPS (2nd best on the team). he had a career high and team high 183 hits. he also had an MLB-leading 745 plate appearances and AL-leading 661 at bats, which were both career highs as well. his 129 runs were a career high, team high, and tied for the MLB lead. more career highs include 82 extra base hits (also a team high), 42 doubles (team high), 38 home runs, 92 RBI, 70 walks (2nd most on the team), seven intentional walks, eight hit by pitches, 25 stolen bases (2nd most on the team), 10 caught stealing, 107 strikeouts, and 343 total bases (team high and 2nd most in the AL). Lindor also totaled two triples and three sac bunts in 2018 as well as a 7.6 fWAR (2nd best on the team). he was the DH in just one game this year, on June 16 and went 2-for-5 with one home run. he was the Indians' shortstop in parts of 157 games. in total, he played 1386.1 innings, committed 14 errors, the latter of which tied for the most on the team with Ramirez, and had a .976 fielding percentage. he had one error in back-to-back games on April 12 and 13. he also committed two errors in the games on May 5, a fielding and throwing error on one play, and June 15, throwing and fielding. he had five errors in the month of May, but none in August and only one in September, so he improved as the year went on. in the postseason, Lindor played in all three games and did the best out of everyone at the plate. he led off and went 4-for-11 with two solo homers and three runs. he also played 25.0 innings at short. Lindor's only getting better as each year passes, he's setting new career highs and franchise records like they're nothing. but Tribe fans should enjoy him now because won't be able to re-sign him after 2021 and there's probably a chance they trade him during 2020 to get something back for him. sorry, that's how this team operates.😁👏⭐💪🥇😐👏
Jose Ramirez had some rough spring games, not gonna lie. Ramirez experienced a frightening moment in the game on March 17 when he was hit in the right ankle while stealing 3rd base. he left the game after that incident, but it turned out to be nothing more than a contusion and he was fine. another scare transpired in the Tribe's last game on March 27 when Ramirez cut his left middle finger in the dugout in the 1st inning while reaching for his bat in the bat rack. he played one inning of defense before they pulled him for the day. Terry Francona assured everyone he will be starting at 3rd base come Opening Night. in 22 spring games, Ramirez led all qualifying Indians with his .273 batting average after going 15-for-55 at the plate. that seems low for him. but he did put together a little 4-game hitting streak, including two three-hit affairs. he totaled three doubles, one triple, one home run, seven RBI, eight runs, a team-high nine walks, two stolen bases, and 15 strikeouts as well. on the defensive side, he committed a co-team high three errors (and team high at his position), one throwing and two fielding, in 109 innings and 26 total chances. on the contrary, on March 11, with the bases loaded, he recorded the first two outs of an impressive triple play before Kipnis finished it off.
Jose Ramirez, like Lindor, had a big season. oddly enough though, it didn't start out that way, nor did it end well. aside from his seven home runs, he seemed to be having trouble hitting in the cold temperatures of March/April. he missed the game on May 2 with mild right groin and hip soreness. he dealt with some controversy on May 29 when a report out of the Dominican Republic claimed he would soon be getting suspended 80 games for testing positive for PED use. the Indians and he denied the accusation and MLB confirmed he would not be suspended. fans didn't care much for any bit of the noise because on July 8, it was announced that Ramirez would be the starting 3rd baseman for the AL All Star team for the second straight year. on July 16, Ramirez was named AL Player of the Week and on August 2, he was named AL Player of the Month for July. he set a new club record with 35 home runs by a switch hitter on August 13 and was also the first Indian with 35+ home runs and 25+ stolen bases. on September 3, Lindor joined him in the 30 home run club, making the Indians the only team in club history with two switch-hitters with 30+ home runs as well as the only switch-hitting teammates in MLB history with at least 30 homers. in addition, Ramirez became the 3rd Indian in history with a 30 home run, 30 stolen base season on September 9. this year as a switch hitter, he had 33 home runs and 81 RBI against righties while just 6 home runs and 24 RBI against lefties. he spent all of his time batting 3rd in the lineup, as Francona much preferred Josey in the 3 hole after his performance there last year when Michael Brantley was out. he had a total of 14 three-hit games and four straight two-hit games from July 10-13. he also had three two-homer games, including one on April 22 against the Baltimore Orioles and one on July 30 against the Minnesota Twins. his other two-homer game came on July 11 versus the Cincinnati Reds and resulted in five RBI from a two- and three-run HR. he really took a nosedive in the second half, however. he only bat .166 (24-for-145) in his last 40 games from August 15 to September 30. Ramirez mostly played in the field, but did get to DH for four games, in which he went 5-for-15 with one homer and five RBI. he was the 3rd baseman in 137 games for 1210.1 innings. he also committed 11 errors at the position. he bat .281 (142-for-505) with 36 HR and 93 RBI. Ramirez moved to 2nd base, his natural position, indefinitely on September 11 when Donaldson was activated from the DL and took over the 3rd baseman duties. in 16 games at 2nd, Ramirez played 142.0 innings and committed three errors. at the plate, he was just 9-for-58 (.155 BA) with two home runs and seven RBI. overall, he had 14 errors defensively, which was tied with Lindor for the most on the team and registered a .962 fielding percentage. for the season, he played a career high 157 games (2nd most on the team behind Lindor) and bat .270 (156-for-578). he totaled 38 doubles, team high four triples, career and team high 39 home runs, career high 105 RBI (2nd most on team behind Edwin Encarnacion), career high six sac flies, career high 110 runs (2nd most on team behind Lindor), career and team high 106 walks (2nd most in the AL), team high and career high 15 intentional walks (2nd most in the AL), career high eight hit by pitches, career high 34 stolen bases, six caught stealing, career high 80 strikeouts, and career high 698 plate appearances. he also had a career and team high with his 8.0 fWAR and .387 OBP, and his .552 SLG and .939 OPS were both team highs as well. lastly, Ramirez's 81 extra base hits and 319 total bases also ranked 2nd most on the team. in the ALDS, Ramirez was the 2nd baseman for all three games and a total of 25.0 innings. he bat his usual 3rd in the order, but went a horrible 0-for-11 with an RBI groundout, one walk, and three strikeouts. it truly was a terrible finish to the season and terrible postseason performance from a guy who was named a finalist for AL MVP on November 5. Ramirez was also named a Gold Glove finalist on October 25 for AL 3rd basemen, but finished third. he did however, win the AL 3rd baseman Silver Slugger Award on November 8 for the second year in a row. still, you have to wonder, why did he fall apart in the back half? was he simply getting too pull happy or is it something more? and did the move to 2nd base in September only make things worse? you tell me.😕😀💪👏⭐🙁💩
Erik Gonzalez opened up the season with the Indians for the first time in his career as the Tribe's utility man. Gonzalez received the good news on March 22 once it was evident that Giovanny Urshela, his competition for a bench spot, would probably be starting the year on the DL with a hamstring injury. Gonzo jammed his right leg on a slide very early in camp, but otherwise remained healthy. in 23 games, he bat .320 (16-for-50), hit two doubles, collected two RBI, drew four walks, struck out 10 times, stole one base, and was caught stealing twice. defensively, he saw time at every position around the infield. he committed three errors on defense, tying Ramirez for most on the team, in 46 total chances. two were throwing errors, including one in the final game of spring. Gonzalez does not have any options left to be sent down to Columbus, so he's either going to be with the team for the entire season, or end up designated for assignment at some point. stay tuned.
Erik Gonzalez lasted the whole year with the Indians. he was the ultimate utility man, playing all four spots on the infield. more specifically, he was the 1st baseman in nine games (most of which he came in as a replacement), 2nd baseman in parts of 30 games, shortstop in 16 games (most as a replacement, some when Lindor got a day off), and 3rd baseman in 20 games. he made eight errors this year, seven at 2nd base, including four fielding and one throwing error, and one throwing error at 3rd. June seemed to be his worst month when he committed three errors, two of which occurred in back-to-back games on June 19 and 20 when he played 2nd (fielding error) and 3rd, respectively. for the most part, Gonzalez either bat 8th or 9th. however, he get at least on at bat in every spot in the lineup except 4th, though he did slide in as a pinch runner there once and did score. he also came in to several games to either pinch hit or pinch run. in addition, he subbed in as a pinch runner for the DH in two games, but never got an at bat afterward. one highlight for Gonzalez came when he hit his first major league triple on May 2. he also hit a double and went 3-for-4 that day. he had a 4-RBI game with two doubles on May 3 in the second game of a doubleheader. he hit two doubles on June 10 as well and collected three RBI. Gonzie's only injury issue this year occurred when he got hit in the helmet by a pitch during an at bat on September 26 and left the game early. he went through concussion protocol after that and did not play any more regular season games. this season, he bat .265 and set career highs with 81 games played, 36 hits, 12 extra base hits, 10 doubles, one triple, 16 RBI, five walks, three stolen bases, two hit by pitches, 51 total bases, 143 plate appearances, and 136 at bats. Gonzalez also hit one home run, scored 17 runs, and struck out 34 times. though perfectly healthy and cleared to play, Gonzalez was not on the ALDS roster; Francona chose Rajai Davis instead. he did the best he could considering he played so sporadically. can't ask for much else from a guy with a role as a bench player.🙂👌
with no opening at 3rd base this time around, there wasn't any room for Yandy Diaz on the OD roster. he was optioned to Triple A on March 19 and given strict orders to work on his defense. in 18 games, he bat .412 (14-for-34) with two doubles, one grand slam, 10 RBI, four walks, and 10 strikeouts. he also had two errors on the infield. i'm sure he'll be coming up to Cleveland in 2018, it's just a matter of when.
Yandy Diaz didn't get his call up until after the All Star break on July 20. he played 2.0 innings in one game on July 21 and then got sent down on July 24. when Edwin Encarnacion was placed on the disabled list with a swollen left biceps on August 12, Diaz came back and stayed for the remainder of the season. he hit his first Major League home run on September 4. he got most of his ABs in the 4th of 6th spots, but bat in every spot in the order at least once except 8th. in the field, Diaz played a mix of 1st base and 3rd base, totaling nine games at each position. he was a DH and PH in 16 and eight games, respectively, as well and even entered one game as a pinch runner. Diaz did most of his DHing in August. then in September, he would get starts at 3rd when Josh Donaldson got a day off and/or he'd sub in defensively late when Francona pulled Donaldson. Diaz also committed one throwing error as a 3rd baseman on September 20. in 39 games, he bat .312 (34-for-109) and totaled five doubles, a career high two triples, one home run, career high 15 RBI, 11 walks (career high one intentional walk), and 19 strikeouts. Diaz made it onto the postseason 25-man roster, but only played in Game 3 on October 8 as the DH because of the left-handed starter. he went 1-for-3 with a double and strikeout before being subbed out. he did great for the limited opportunity he got. i wonder a full season of big league stats would look like for Diaz... turns out, we might finally see that next season because the Indians seem to really want him to play for them regularly.😀👏👍
Adam Rosales signed a minor league deal with the Indians at the end of spring training on March 27 and was assigned to Columbus. his contract wasn't selected until September 4. Rosales was typically used as a pinch runner and late innings defensive replacement all around the infield. he played in five games at 1st base, four games at 2nd, two at short, and three at 3rd totaling 52.2 innings in the field. in 13 games overall, three of which were complete, Rosales went 4-for-19 (.211 batting average) with one double, one home run, two RBI, four runs, one walk, five strikeouts, and one sac bunt. there's not much to say about a guy who mostly played to give the regulars extra rest in preparation for the playoffs.😶
Josh Donaldson came to the Tribe from the Toronto Blue Jays on August 31 in exchange for a player to be named later, who turned out to be right-handed pitcher Julian Merryweather. Donaldson was added to the active roster the next day, but because he was still rehabbing from a left calf strain he suffered earlier in the year when the Indians acquired him, they decided to place him on the 10-Day DL on September 3, retroactive to the 1st. while his calf seemed to be fine, the Indians mostly wanted him to build up to being able to play regularly. he played in a rehab game with Columbus and hit a grand slam that same day. he rehabbed three more times with the Double A Akron RubbersDucks and hit another home run. the Indians activated him on September 11 and he became their new 3rd baseman who mostly bat 5th in the order behind Encarnacion. he played in 16 total games with the Tribe, 12 occurring at 3rd base, while acting as the DH in two and also getting two pinch hit appearances in two other contests. defensively, he committed two errors in one game on September 25 against the Chicago White Sox. overall, Donaldson bat .280 (14-for-50) at the plate with three doubles, three home runs, seven RBI, eight runs, 10 walks, and 10 strikeouts. Donaldson played 3rd base in all three ALDS games, but only went 1-for-11 with one walk and four strikeouts. the Indians took a good chance on Donaldson, who turned out to be fully recovered from his injury. (though a couple of teams were not happy with how the Tribe acquired him, then put him on the disabled list and complained to MLB about it.🙄) he did well in limited time in September, but was not helpful at all in the postseason.👌💪👎
Yan Gomes got the first Indians hit of Cactus League play on February 23. in what turned out to be no big deal, Gomes was stricken with a little arm soreness in the middle of March, holding him back from going on the Vegas trip. other than that, he looked superb. Gomes played 18 spring games, bat .348 (16-for-46) and hit three home runs, two of which were grand slams. he also had five doubles, a team-high 15 RBI, and eight runs scored, while drawing five walks and striking out 10 times. behind the plate, he caught 85 innings and threw out three baserunners, but did commit two throwing errors. at the end of spring, Francona proclaimed Gomes would be the Tribe's Opening Day catcher, but he views both guys as starters, labeling them 1A and 1B.
Yan Gomes had one of his best seasons in the majors, his best since 2014 when he was a Silver Slugger. he bat .266 (107-for-403) in 112 games and totaled 16 home runs, 48 RBI, and 21 walks compared to 119 strikeouts. Gomes also had a career high 26 doubles and was selected to his first ever All Star Game after being named as a replacement reserve. he gave the Indians' their first walk-off of the season on April 8 when he hit a 2-run homer vs. Kansas City Royals in the bottom of the 9th inning. he remained healthy this year aside from a little right hamstring tendinitis in early August and then getting hit on the right thumb on a follow-through of Alex Gordon's swing in the game on September 29. the latter resulted in two stitches on the left side of the thumb due to a laceration. he never bat higher than 5th in the order and mostly bat 7th and 8th, though he did also bat 6th in 14 games and 9th in one. Gomes caught 111 games and 948.2 innings, committed nine errors, and threw out 20 of 69 baserunners for a .710 stolen base percentage. he was the DH in one game and went 1-for-3 with one walk. he also went 1-for-1 with a double as a pinch hitter and even came in to pinch run in one game. in the American League Division Series, Gomes played and caught in every game and threw out one of two baserunners. offensively, he was one of the few Indians to register (at least) one hit in the series, going 2-for-8 with one walk, two runs, and four strikeouts. on October 25, he was named one of three Gold Glove finalists at the catcher's position in the American League for the second year in a row. he did not win the award, but was the runner-up.👏⭐
Roberto Perez had himself an excellent camp. he began changing his batting stance towards the end of last year by standing taller in the box. he remained in Cleveland all offseason to work with Nelson Perez, the Indians' assistant strength and conditioning coach. seems to me, his efforts were rewarded. in 18 games, he went 14-for-43 at the plate (.326 batting average) and hit five home runs, including a grand slam. he also had four doubles, 13 RBI, and six runs scored, while drawing four walks and striking out eight times. Perez caught 88 innings, threw out one baserunner, and didn't have any errors. defense and working well with the pitching staff are the main priorities for our catchers, but, for the Tribe's sake, it would be phenomenal if both guys could also provide value with their bats this season.
Roberto Perez wanted to be the team's #1 catcher, but it was made apparent very early on in 2018 that he was gonna have to settle for #2. he played in 62 games this year, catching in most but PHing and DHing in a few as well. he mainly bat in the lower third of the order and went 30-for-179 at the plate, giving him a career low .168 batting average. he hit nine doubles, one triple, and two home runs. he also had 19 RBI and 21 walks versus 70 strikeouts. on the positive, he stole his first base in the majors and set a career high with seven sac bunts. and he never had any serious injury issues, aside from getting hit on the right hand on June 10 and leaving the game, and also getting hit by a foul tip on September 23 and leaving that game with a right shoulder contusion. so he was healthy, but just didn't hit and didn't get much playing time. he was Trevor Bauer's regular catcher and caught 476.2 innings in 58 games. he committed five errors, all fielding; however, four of those came in his first nine games in April, and two were in the same game on April 28. in addition, he threw out one fourth of the runners who attempted to steal bases, going 9-for-36 in that department. Perez was on the 25-man postseason roster, but did not play in any of the three ALDS games. this was not the year any of us wanted to see from him.👎
Francisco Mejia. this 21-year old switch-hitter remains a highly touted player, but he might not be the Indians' catcher in the immediate future. Mejia was willing to do whatever the team wanted, including play some 3rd base in winter ball--an experiment that didn't pan out. now, he's going to start learning outfield positions to make him more versatile. that way, if Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez are still healthy but the Indians have another spot open, they can call him up and get his bat, which they feel is just about Major League ready, in the lineup. before being optioned to Columbus on March 12, he appeared in 11 spring games with the Tribe and went 8-for-19 (.421) with two doubles, two home runs, seven RBI, two strikeouts, and no walks.
Francisco Mejia (who i technically could have listed in the DH section) didn't get called up from Triple A until June 11, but was sent back down to the Columbus Clippers the following day without even playing. he was brought up again on July 14 and optioned after the July 15 once the All Star break officially started. before the break was over, on July 19, the Indians traded Mejia to the San Diego Padres for closer LHP Brad Hand and right-handed reliever Adam Cimber. it's still not completely clear what happened here. i read that Mejia was reluctant to play the outfield like the Tribe asked because his heart wasn't in it and he wanted to continue catching. i read that was struggling with the move and didn't quite understand that if he learned to play the OF, he could play with the Tribe immediately. and i read that Mejia said he had no problem moving into the outfield. so you figure it out lol in the one game he played with the Tribe, he went 0-for-2 with two walks as the designated hitter. i'm sorry things didn't work out and that our much hyped future star catcher is no longer in the organization.🙁👋
Eric Haase played in 13 games ahead of his optioning to Triple A on March 19 and went 5-for-20 with one double, three home runs, 10 RBI, and seven runs. one of his homers was a grand slam, by the way, and the other was an inside the park job. he also drew three walks, struck out eight times, and committed one throwing error. i have to wonder, if something happens where either Gomes or Perez is going to miss some time, would Haase get the promotion over Mejia?
Eric Haase had his contract selected by the Indians on September 1. he appeared in nine total games, completing two, catching in parts of seven, and was also used a few times as a pinch hitter. he went just 2-for-16 at the plate, but did collect one RBI and also got hit by one pitch. he struck out six times as well. defensively, Haase caught 32.0 innings, committed one fielding error, and allowed five stolen bases. he didn't make much of an impact in his limited time, but it was good that he got some Major League experience now, because he's probably going to be the backup catcher next year if Gomes or Perez get hurt.😐
Michael Martinez. it shouldn't have shocked anybody who follows the Indians that the two parties agreed to a minor league deal with spring invite on December 2, 2017 (though it wasn't made official until December 11). Martinez is like a boomerang--he always finds his way back to the Tribe. be that as it may, while doing agility drills to prepare for spring training in the Dominican Republic, Martinez ruptured his left Achilles tendon. he underwent surgery for it on January 31 and was given a six-month recovery timetable. he popped up in the Indians' clubhouse on the last day of spring before their final game, sporting a walking boot and crutches. we'll see him on the field again sometime during the September call ups lol
Michael Martinez did not get called up because, as far as i know, he never played a rehab assignment anywhere this year. the Indians didn't provide one health update about him at all this season so i couldn't tell ya what his status is. he's currently a minor league free agent.🤷
party at Napoli's in Columbus! i'm not kidding. the Indians did Mike Napoli a favor by extending him a minor league deal with spring invite on February 27, made official on February 28, because he was still a free agent at that time. they gave the 1st baseman a chance to work out and showcase himself for other clubs while playing with a Major League team. he was never going to get a spot on the 25-man roster because the Tribe had already signed Yonder Alonso to replace Carlos Santana at 1st base, and also because they presently have an expensive DH in Edwin Encarnacion. Napoli knew this and was fine with it. on March 22, he was technically released, then re-signed to a minor league deal with the Tribe. on March 25, he agreed to begin his year in Triple A. the only way he gets called up is if Alonso or EE get injured. in 13 games, the 36-year old went 8-for-32 with one double, two home runs, three RBI, three walks, one stolen base, and eight strikeouts. his second spring home run came in his final big league game with the Indians on March 27 and it put the club on top--a sight we grew used to seeing many times back in 2016.
Mike Napoli never got his second tour with the Tribe because he injured his right knee on April 17 while playing with the Clippers. turns out he tore his ACL and meniscus and required season-ending surgery. some even speculated it could be a career-ending injury. they had to wait two weeks for the swelling to go down before the knee could be operated on. the procedure was done on May 4 at Cleveland Clinic and his recovery was said to be a 10-14 month process. Nap did visit the Tribe six weeks out of surgery and noted that he does plan to train in an attempt to play next year. he recently elected free agency. good luck, Nap!🤕
the main four starters in the Indians' rotation made history this year:
on September 7, Carlos Carrasco joined Trevor Bauer with at least 200 Ks, making this the fifth time in club history that the Indians had two pitchers with 200 Ks in the same season. it was also the third time in the last four years that this occurred, as Carrasco and Corey Kluber each had at least 200 strikeouts in both 2015 and 2017.
on September 18, Bauer, Carrasco, and Kluber became the first trio in Indians history with 200+ strikeouts.
on September 22, after Mike Clevinger recorded his 200th strikeout, the Indians became the first team in MLB history with four pitchers with 200+ K.
on September 28, Kluber and Clevinger gave the Indians two pitchers with 200+ strikeouts and 200+ innings pitched for the fourth time in club history. it last happened a year ago, with Kluber and Carrasco.
this year, the Indians will begin the campaign with a starting five of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, and Josh Tomlin.
Corey Kluber was told in his one-on-one meeting with Terry Francona at the beginning of camp that he was going to be the Opening Day starter, marking his fourth consecutive year as the Tribe's OD pitcher. that was never in question. the only doubt about him was if he was healthy now (after a mysterious injury that was kept close to the vest prevented him from pitching like an ace in the American League Division Series last October). and it appears that he is. he got five total starts in spring, increasing his innings in each. after his final start on March 24, Kluber said he felt right where he needs to be, and that his mechanics and delivery are where he wants. overall, he pitched 19.2 innings and amassed a 4-0 record with a 2.29 ERA--lowest of all the starters. he gave up 11 hits, one home run, and five runs, while walking five and striking out 25 batters. Klubot activated.
Corey Kluber opened up the Tribe's season on March 29 and threw a complete game consisting of 8.0 innings. the Indians lost, 2-1, and he got his first loss of the year. Kluber became the first pitcher in the American League to get 10 wins on June 10. after his next start on June 15, Kluber's streak of not giving up more than three runs ended, but his 26 starts with three or less runs allowed was the longest in AL history. he also went 46.1 innings without walking a batter between May 8 and June 15 (over eight games). on June 20, he became the first pitcher in MLB with 11 wins. on July 8, Kluber was named to the 2018 American League All Star team. the Indians announced on July 13 that he would not pitch in the ASG because he received a gel injection in his right knee and would be shut down for seven days, but be ready to pitch on July 23. on August 4, Kluber tossed a 98-pitch Maddux, aka a complete game shutout under 100 pitches, versus the Los Angeles Angels. he scattered three hits and one walk and struck out seven batters. he felt a little under the weather on August 11 and went back to the team hotel. on September 5, Kluber became the first MLB pitcher to total 18 wins. his game on September 18 was a big one for him, as he registered his 200th strikeout of 2018. that gave Kluber his fifth consecutive 200+ K season and fifth overall in his career. he joined Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer to become the first trio in Indians history with 200+ K. Kluber also became the only pitcher in Tribe history with 200+ innings and 200+ K in five straight seasons. he also got win #19 for the first time in his career. even more excitingly, Kluber got his career best 20th win on September 24 to become the first Tribe pitcher since Cliff Lee in 2008 with 20 wins. he was also the first righty with 20 wins since Gaylord Perry in 1974. after his final start on September 29, Kluber had pitched in more than 200 innings and struck out at least 222 batters in each of his last five years and never had an ERA over 3.49. but his year wasn't perfect, and there were two starts when he exited after only 1.2 innings, back on June 26 at St. Louis and September 10 at Tampa Bay. Kluber gave up six runs on six hits against the Cardinals and four runs on five hits against the Rays. otherwise, he was definitely worth the price of admission. in 2018, Kluber started 33 games and pitched a team high 215.0 innings to a 20-7 record and 2.89 ERA. his total innings were the most in the American League and his 20 wins were the 2nd most in MLB. Kluber allowed 179 hits, 75 runs, and a career high 25 home runs. he struck out a team high 222 batters and walked 34. he tallied seven games with 10 or more K and struck out a season-high 13 on April 9. his 0.99 WHIP was a team high as well and his 1.42 BB/9 led the American League. he also had a 5.6 fWAR, second best out of the pitchers after Bauer. this year, Kluber pitched two complete games, which were tied for the Major League lead, and one complete game shutout, also tied for the MLB lead. his two complete games were also the lowest number of CG he's had since 2013 when he didn't pitch any complete games. in addition, Kluber hit three batters and threw two wild pitches, and his four stolen bases versus seven caught stealing was the best ratio on the team. Kluber bat in three Interleague games this year against NL teams. he didn't have any success, however, going 0-for-6 with four strikeouts. Kluber started Game 1 of the American League Division Series and was mediocre. he pitched 4.2 innings, allowed four runs on six hits and three home runs. he also walked two, hit two, and struck out two batters. he took the loss and had a 7.71 ERA. Kluber was named a Gold Glove finalist on October 25, but finished as the runner-up, and named a finalist for the AL Cy Young Award on November 5. despite his minor knee issue, Kluber had a tremendous regular season. the problem is, he's now struggled in the past two postseasons and that has some people concerned. i can't offer any explanation for it, but i do know that we'd have a hell of a time winning the AL Central Division without him. because the Indians don't have any money to spend in free agency this offseason, there are exploring the possibility of trading away one of our starters. if Kluber goes, it wouldn't be good. it wouldn't be a good thing for the team, it wouldn't be a good look for the organization, and it wouldn't send a good message to the fans.😀👏👊⭐🤕💪😖👎
Carlos Carrasco first appeared in a game on March 2, coming in for an inning of relief. then he started in all the rest of his next five outings. overall, he accumulated 18.2 innings, the least of the starting five. he went 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in six games. his other numbers include 22 hits allowed, five home runs, 16 runs, six walks, and 23 strikeouts. i can't lie, his last two performances of spring were not good. that's why the totals look bad; he got rocked both times. in the game on March 21, he got struck on the left foot, which turned out to be just a contusion. before that though, he gave up six runs on nine hits and two homers in 4.2 innings. then, in his final start on March 26 in a big league ballpark (Chase Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks), he was removed after pitching 4 innings, when normally a starter's last tune-up exceeds his previous mound time. Carrasco again gave up six runs and two home runs, but only five hits. he walked two and struck out seven as well, but i have to wonder, is his foot really okay? guess we'll find out when he pitches in the real games.
Carlos Carrasco got off to an ugly start on March 31, allowing five runs in 5.2 innings, but he still earned the win in the game lol things greatly improved after that, though he did have one bad start per month for the first three months. on April 11, his third game, he threw a complete game. his threw another CG on May 9. his two complete games tied Kluber for the team lead and were also tied for the MLB lead. sadly, Carrasco got struck in the right forearm with a comebacker on June 16. it looked very serious at the time, but turned out that nothing was broken. he was placed on the 10-Day DL on June 17 with a right elbow contusion. Carrasco pitched in a rehab game with the Double A Akron RubberDucks on June 30 and threw 58 pitches in 4.0 innings. he was activated on July 6 and got two starts in before the All Star break. on July 11, Carrasco collected his 1,000th career strikeout, making him the 12th pitcher in Indians history with 1,000 Ks and 3rd fastest in club history to reach that mark. he also pitched out of the bullpen for 1.0 inning on July 15, striking out two Yankees. Carrasco had an excellent second half of 2018. he got his 200th strikeout of the campaign on September 7, giving him three seasons with at least that many Ks. on September 25, he gave up his start so Trevor Bauer could pitch first and then he followed him out of the pen for 4.1 innings, although Cookie did get the loss, his last of the year. his final regular season start took place on September 30, the Tribe's last game. in 2018, Carrasco went 17-10 with a 3.38 ERA in 32 games, 30 of which were starts, and 192.0 innings, giving him a 5.3 fWAR. his 17 wins were the second most on the team after Kluber. Cookie allowed 173 hits, a career high 78 runs, and 21 home runs and had a 1.13 WHIP. he walked 43 and struck out a team high/career high 231 batters. he also totaled seven games with 10 or more Ks and two games with 14 Ks and had a career high 10.83 K/9. Carrasco hit six batters, threw nine wild pitches, and had one pickoff, making him the only Indians starter to have at least one pickoff besides Mike Clevinger. he surrendered 15 stolen bases versus four caught stealing as well. on May 9, Carrasco bat in the game against the Milwaukee Brewers and went 1-for-4 with RBI single and two strikeouts. in the playoffs, Carrasco started Game 2 and pitched 5.1 innings. he allowed two runs on six hits while striking out three and walking one. he took the loss and finished with a 3.38 ERA. Cookie has become a very reliable starter who could be rivaling Kluber for the title of ace now. had he not missed time with the elbow injury this year, the Indians would have had another 200 inning/200 K guy in their rotation. he did awesome and was rewarded for it. on October 30, the Indians exercised Carrasco's $9.75 million club option for 2019. however, it's recently been floating around that they are entertaining calls about potentially trading him depending on what's offered in return. i wish this team wouldn't have to resort to stuff like this because of their stupid payroll restrictions.😀👏🤕💪🂡
Trevor Bauer barely took any time off before rejoining the crew in Arizona. he spent his offseason working on a slider, which he believes will give him another offspeed pitch to go with his curveball and another strikeout pitch. on February 15, it was uncovered that Bauer won his arbitration case against the Indians and would be receiving $6.525 million for the 2018 season and not the $5.3 million that the Tribe offered. if Cactus League games are any indication, he'll be worth every penny of that. in spring, Bauer led not only all Tribe pitchers, but all MLB pitchers with 29.1 innings and 39 strikeouts. after seven starts, Bauer compiled a 2-1 record and 3.99 ERA while allowing 28 hits, five home runs, and 14 runs. he did give up at least one home run in four of his seven starts, however, and also walked eight total. nevertheless, i don't think he could be any more ready for the season than he is right now.
Trevor Bauer suffered an injury that was out of his control and took him out of the running for the AL Cy Young Award this year. ain't that some classic Tribe shit? everything started out so well. Bauer made the All Star team for the first time in his career on July 8, though he was told he would only pitch in the game if it went to extras. and it did go to extra innings, but he still wasn't used. on August 6, he set a career high in strikeouts and became the 11th pitcher in Indians history with a 200 strikeout season. unfortunately, in the game on August 11 against the Chicago White Sox, Bauer was struck by a line drive in the right ankle area and had to leave the game. he returned to Cleveland to get his right ankle examined and have an MRI, and was placed on the 10-Day DL with small stress fracture in his right fibula, retroactive to August 12. it was his first trip to the disabled list in his career. on August 15, it was reported that Bauer was seen in a walking boot. on August 17, Bauer, still in his walking boot, was throwing long toss from his knees in the outfield. the doctors claimed he'd be out 4-6 weeks. on August 19, Bauer was throwing long toss in center field while standing in his boot. the Indians gave their next update on August 28 and revealed Bauer had been out of the boot for a week, but his right leg was still wrapped and he could wear cleats. he played long toss at 320 feet and threw off the mound a little for the first time on August 27. an MRI on August 31 showed minimal improvement and Bauer reported minimal soreness when throwing bullpens. he began throwing bullpens on September 12, 20-25 pitches, and was running at 80% on the alterG treadmill. he threw another bullpen session on September 14, consisting of 40 pitches with a break to simulate two innings. he threw off a mound to hitters in a sim game on September 18, three innings/60 pitches, 17-19 pitches per inning. Bauer was activated from the DL on September 21 and started that game, pitching just 1.1 innings. he started the game on September 25 as well (in place of Carrasco, who came out of the pen) and was scheduled to get 60-65 pitches, equaling 4.0 innings. in the last regular season game September 30, Bauer followed Carrasco and pitched out of the bullpen for 4.0 innings and registered the first save of his career. overall, Bauer amassed a 12-6 record in 175.1 innings and had a career low 2.21 ERA, which was also the second lowest ERA in the AL. he appeared in 28 games, 27 being starts. he allowed 51 runs on 134 hits, nine home runs, and a career best 1.09 WHIP. he had a career high 6.1 fWAR, which was the highest among Indians pitchers. Bauer walked 57 batters and struck out a career high 221, giving him an 11.34 K/9. 11 runners stole a base off him while seven were caught. he hit a team high nine batters and threw a team and career high 12 wild pitches. Bauer also had career bests with a 198 ERA+, 2.44 FIP, and 0.5 HR/9, with the latter two being league highs. offensively, Bauer bat in the game on May 22 against the Chicago Cubs. he went 0-for-3, but reached on a forceout and scored a run. he also struck out looking once. Bauer was used out of the bullpen in the ALDS and pitched in all three games. he pitched a clean inning in Game 1, no runs on two hits. in Game 2, he struck out two, but gave up one home run in 0.2 innings. then in 1.1 innings in Game 3, he gave up four hits, three runs, and one walk while striking out one. he also committed two throwing errors in the game and was charged with the loss. for the whole 2018 postseason, Bauer went 0-1 in one save opportunity with a 6.75 ERA in 4.0 innings. he allowed seven hits, four runs, one home run, one walk, and struck out four. he really tried, but missing so much time pitching regularly definitely put him at a disadvantage in the playoffs and that's why he didn't perform up to par. it's not his fault, but it sure was a shame.🤘⭐💪🤕😟😞👎
Mike Clevinger. before camp, it looked like his only shot at making the team would be if he pitched out of the bullpen. but the Danny Salazar injury all but solidified a spot for Clevinger in the rotation. Clev opened up Indians Cactus League play by starting the first game on February 23. his roughest spring outing occurred on March 10 when gave up three home runs. aside from that blunder, he also dealt with the flu for a bit. he was scratched from his start on March 15 and ended up losing seven pounds, but he came back and pitched on March 18, striking out nine batters. his innings increased each time he pitched. he finished spring with a 2-0 record, 3.79 ERA, and 19.0 innings in six starts, giving up 12 hits, four homers, and eight runs. he walked four batters and punched out 25 as well. he spoke highly about mental prep and belly breathing as being a way to help him when his adrenaline is rushing. personally, i like him better as a starter than a reliever and i hope he's not relegated to the pen once Salazar returns.
Mike Clevinger wanted to pitch 200 innings this year and he got what he wanted. in his fourth start on April 21, he threw a complete game shutout, the first of his career, which was tied for the MLB lead. he pitched with the stomach flu on July 28, going 5.0 innings, allowing two runs, one home run, and striking out eight. on September 22, Clevinger registered his career high 200th strikeout, making the Indians the first team in Major League history with four pitchers with 200+ K. in his final start of the regular season, on September 28, Sunshine reached exactly 200.0 innings pitched, the second most on the team behind Kluber, and got his 13th win, a career high. he and Kluber became the 4th duo in Indians history with 200+ innings and 200+ strikeouts. Cleving went 13-8, giving him one more win than last season, and was yet another career high. he finished 2018 with a career best 3.02 ERA, 3rd behind Bauer and Kluber, respectively. but here's the thing about that. he almost had a 2.98 ERA, except in his last start, Adam Cimber came on in relief of him and allowed the inherited runner at 2nd base to score, and that bumped Clev's season ERA up over 3, which was a bit of a bummer. Clevinger pitched in a career high 32 games, all of which were starts--he did not pitch one game out of the bullpen this year. he set career highs with a 4.3 fWAR, 164 hits allowed, 71 runs, 21 home runs, 67 walks, and 207 strikeouts. he tallied five games with at least 10 strikeouts this year and totaled a 9.32 K/9. his 1.16 WHIP was the 4th best among Tribe starters and a career low. Clev had career highs with his four wild pitches and four hit batters as well. he allowed 15 stolen bases when he pitched versus three runners being caught. he had a team high six pickoffs and also tallied two errors. Clev got to bat in two games against National League teams, but went 0-for-4, striking out in each trip to the plate. in the postseason, Clevinger started Game 3 of the ALDS. he pitched 5.0 innings and gave up three hits and one run via one home run. he walked three, hit one, and struck out nine batters, which was the most Ks in Indians history for a pitcher in his first career postseason start. he also committed one error on a pickoff attempt and compiled a 1.80 ERA. it was by far the best pitching performance of the three starters. to see him emerge as one of the best pitchers in all of baseball this year was outstanding. and it was even better that he was the only one of the four man starters to remain healthy for the entire season, too. fantastic performance, Sunshine.😀👏💪🌞
in case you missed it, the Indians picked up Josh Tomlin's $3 million club option back on November 3, 2017. while many weren't sure if Tomlin would be pitching for us in the rotation or out of the bullpen, i've always had him slotted as a starter, so i'm happy that that's where he's gonna be. knock on wood, cause Francona could still put him in the pen at some point... this spring, Tomlin was working on adding a changeup to his arsenal in order to make him perform better against left-handed batters. the Indians also tried something different with Tomlin on the mound, in that 1st basemen were playing behind the runner at 1st to take the hole away, making it even more difficult than it already is to run on Tomlin. in five Cactus League starts, he pitched 19.2 innings and finished with a 5.03 ERA and 2-1 record. he allowed 11 runs on 21 hits, including three home runs, walked three and struck out 18. the good thing about when Tomlin gives up homers is that they're almost always solo shots. so, just as long as the Tribe's offense is doing its job, the team can still win games he starts despite him surrendering a home run here and there.
Josh Tomlin had a rough year and that's being nice. his first start on April 3 only lasted 3.0 innings and he gave up eight runs on eight hits and four home runs. all his starts weren't that ugly but most were bad. on April 9, the Indians said he'd been dealing with a lower back issue that cropped up on April 3 during his third batter faced, so his next start got pushed back a day. on April 10, he pitched 5.0 innings and did not allow any runs while scattering four hits, walking two, and hitting one batter. on April 16, due to off days and two rainouts, the team changed their rotation a bit and moved Tomlin to the bullpen until April 20. after five outings in April, he'd already accumulated four losses. on May 9, he was put in the bullpen again until his next start on May 15; however, he never pitched in reliever during that time span. after that May 15 start, on May 19, Tomlin was put in the bullpen "for now," but that turned out to be a permanent move. on July 10, Tomlin went on the 10-Day DL with a right hamstring strain. between August 3 and 18, Tomlin pitched in four rehab games, one with the Double A Akron RubberDucks and three with the Triple A Columbus Clippers. he was activated on August 23 when Neil Ramirez went on the DL with back spasms and pitched in nine more games before the season ended. aside from one game when he allowed four runs, he was mostly effective, which was nice to see from him. Tomlin was inserted back into the rotation on September 14 and started three games in his last four outings of 2018. he finished with 70.1 innings, 6.14 ERA, and 2-5 record. Tomlin pitched the least number of innings out of the seven starters this year and had the highest ERA among them. his two wins both came in September when he pitched in relief, after he'd previously registered five losses, and were his least number of wins since his 2013 season that was all but lost to Tommy John surgery. this ERA was also his worst since 2012. Tomlin appeared in a career high 32 games this year, nine of which were starts, which was the least of all the starters. he allowed 92 hits, 52 runs, and 25 home runs--which tied with Kluber for most homers allowed BUT in almost 145 less innings.😯 Tomlin walked 12, struck out 46, hit four, threw five wild pitches, and allowed two stolen bases. he also had a career high 1.48 WHIP and his -1.3 fWAR was the lowest out of all Tribe pitchers. Tomlin did not make it onto the postseason roster, so his start on September 27 when he only allowed one run on four hits in 4.2 innings was the last time he pitched with the Indians. i'm sad that Tomlin had trouble with his mechanics and just couldn't put it together this year. that's a terrible way for the longest tenured Indian to end his career with the Tribe. one thing i want to include in here is this nice interview Jordan Bastian transcribed for his blog. i highly recommend you read it if you didn't when he originally posted it back in August. good luck in your future, Little Cowboy, and thanks for the memories.😩👎🤕✊🙏👋🤠
Adam Plutko had surgery to repair a tear in the labrum of his right hip on October 9, 2017, and had a recovery timetable of 4-6 months. on February 15, the Indians noted he was doing well and throwing bullpens. he was able to pitch in two Cactus League games for the Tribe, totaling 1.2 innings, three hits, one home run, four runs, one walk, one strikeout, and a 21.60 ERA. he was optioned to Triple A on March 12 and likely won't be taking on a Major League starting role for a while.
Adam Plutko surprised me with how fast he recovered from that surgery. he pitched a lot for the Indians in 2018, but he also spent a lot of time traveling the I-71 between Cleveland and Columbus. Plutko got his first call-up on May 3 as the 26th man for a doubleheader and was optioned to C-bus the next day. in that start, he pitched 7.1 innings and allowed three runs/three home runs on six hits. he also struck out six and the Indians won the game. on May 23, Plutko was recalled and was going to be the 5th starter while Tomlin got moved to the bullpen. after two starts, Plutko was optioned on May 29 then brought back up on June 12. on June 18, he was put in the bullpen and Shane Bieber took over the 5th spot in the rotation. Plutko started again on June 24 and 30 before being optioned on July 1. when Tomlin went on the DL with a right hamstring strain on July 10, Plutko came back up to take his place in the bullpen. he was optioned again on July 20, recalled on July 28, and optioned again on July 30 before coming up for good on August 18. when Tomlin was put back in the rotation on September 14, Plutko moved to the bullpen, but got one last start on September 23. before this season, he'd previously only pitched in two Tribe games for a grand total of 3.2 innings in 2016, making this a career year for him. he totaled 17 appearances, 12 of which were starts. Plutko pitched 76.2 innings, had a 4-5 record, 5.28 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and one save in one opportunity. he gave up 78 hits, 45 runs, and 21 home runs. (other Indians pitchers gave up that many homers in almost three times more innings, so he clearly has some things to work on.) he walked 23 and struck out 60, and only allowed one stolen base versus three runners being caught. Plutko also hit one batter, threw three wild pitches, and was charged with one balk. additionally, Plutko got to bat in one interleague game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field and laid down two sac bunts in his only two plate appearances. there's certainly room for improvement here, but considering Plutko went back and forth between MLB and Triple A and starting and relieving, i think he did well.😵👌
Shane Bieber was not in Indians camp this spring because Chris Antonetti said if Bieber had been invited, Francona never would have let him go. and that's probably true. Bieber started 2018 pitching for the Double A Akron RubberDucks before getting promoted to Columbus on May 1. not even a month later, he made his Major League debut on May 31 when his contract was selected and he got roughed up a bit in his very first MLB game. he was optioned the next day on June 1, but recalled on June 17 after Carrasco went on the DL with his elbow contusion. and that's when Bieber became a regular in the rotation. he pitched his best game on June 22 versus the Detroit Tigers--his third MLB game, going 7.0 innings, striking out nine, and not allowing any runs on four hits. he also walked one. the Indians sent him back down to Columbus on July 14 so that he could continue to pitch during MLB's All Star break. he was called up on July 24 when the Tribe needed him to start and stayed with the big league club for the rest of the year. that start versus the Pittsburgh Pirates in particular was his worst with the Tribe, when he allowed seven runs in 1.2 innings. on September 21, Bieber pitched out of the bullpen when Bauer was activated from the disabled list. on September 11, he became the first Indians rookie to reach 10 wins since Mitch Talbot in 2010, and after his win on September 26 against the Chicago White Sox, he became the first Indian to go 7-0 on the road as a rookie. since this was his first time in the bigs, all his numbers were career highs. "Not Justin" (the best Players Weekend nickname ever, btw) made 20 appearances with the Indians, including 19 starts, and pitched 114.2 innings. he had an 11-5 record, 4.55 ERA, 2.8 fWAR, and 1.33 WHIP. Bieber allowed 60 runs on 130 hits, gave up 13 home runs, hit two batters, and threw five wild pitches. he totaled 118 strikeouts compared to 23 walks and had a 9.26 K/9. four baserunners stole bases off him, but two were caught. not bad for a first season. Bieber also got to bat in two games in National League parks this year and went 1-for-4 at the plate with one double, one walk, and two strikeouts. Beiber made the postseason roster and was penciled in to be the Game 4 starter, but the Indians never made it to Game 4 so he didn't get to pitch. we definitely saw flashes of a very good pitcher despite some of his rookie struggles. now let's just hope the Indians don't trade him away.👋👊👏
basically, the only way the Indians were going to keep Ryan Merritt in the organization was to designate a spot for him in the bullpen because the left-hander was out of options and couldn't be sent to Columbus without being put on waivers first. or so that's what fans thought. on March 23, the team finally made it public that Merritt had actually been battling a right knee issue that stemmed from the winter. it persisted during spring and he now will be starting the year on the DL with a "tired arm." in what does seems like an injury of "convenience" to avoid a tough decision, Merritt clearly did not look right in his fifth and final outing of spring, when he gave up eight runs on 11 hits and allowed three home runs in 3 innings. his velocity was down and then Merritt admitted he was behind and had cut some of his long toss program. altogether, he pitched 9.2 innings in five games, three of which he started, struck out 10 batters, walked only one, and compiled a 9.31 ERA. he also allowed 17 hits, four home runs, and 13 runs total in spring.
Ryan Merritt was placed on the 10-Day DL with a left knee sprain on March 29, retroactive to March 26. he started games in extended spring on April 11 and 16. the next bit of news about Merritt didn't come out until May 13, when he was diagnosed with left shoulder inflammation. the Indians said his minor league rehab assignment was on hold, he hadn't pitched since May 4, and was shut down from throwing for three to five days. he was transferred to the 60-Day DL on May 15 to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Neil Ramirez. Merritt began his rehab assignment again on June 14 with the Triple A Columbus Clippers. it was also reported that he pitched on June 24 and 29. on July 13, the Indians activated Merritt from the disabled list and designated him for assignment. they explained his velocity had dropped, so they couldn't bring him up to the Indians and had no other option than to release him. however, on July 21, Merritt cleared waivers and was outrighted to Columbus. and that's where he stayed for the rest of the season. it's a shame he got hurt, but it probably saved him from leaving the organization and trying to find a new team this year. he's now a minor league free agent.🤕⚾👇
on February 15, it was brought to light that Salazar had experienced an onset of right shoulder rotator cuff inflammation in mid-January. so when the pitchers reported to camp, he had just resumed throwing and was a couple weeks behind the rest of the starters. at that point, the writing was on the wall that he wouldn't be able to open the season on time/in the rotation. he also had strep throat for a bit during camp, but that was the least of his worries. he threw off a mound for the first time all spring just last week on March 22. Salazar claims his shoulder doesn't hurt anymore and he's in a better place now. as of today, March 28, he's had three bullpen sessions. they noted he'll need seven or eight sessions before he can even pitch a simulated game and start his "spring training." he's gonna be doing all this back in Goodyear while the Indians get their season underway. he'll eventually go on a minor league rehab assignment and have to build up some innings prior to his activation. once that happens, it's unclear as to whether he'll be inserted into the starting rotation or placed in the bullpen. this was a disappointing spring for a guy who desperately needed a good showing to convince everybody that he can be reliable and stay healthy.
Danny Salazar didn't pitch once for the Indians this season. he was placed on the 10-Day DL on March 29, retroactive to March 26, with right shoulder rotator cuff tendinitis and began long toss on April 7. he was transferred to the 60-Day DL on May 3 to make room for Evan Marshall on the 40-man roster. unfortunately, on May 8, the Indians announced Salazar had right shoulder impingement tendinitis, received a PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection from Dr. Keith Meister and had to be shut down for 7-10 days. on May 24, they said Salazar was back to throwing, but still felt something and on May 29, he was shut down for 5-7 days after a cortisone injection. Salazar resumed throwing on June 15, but on June 30, the Indians reported he would undergo exploratory right shoulder surgery on July 2. Dr. Meister performed the arthroscopic surgery in Dallas, an arthroscopic debridement to clean up inflammation/his inflamed rotator cuff and bursectomy to remove bursa in the shoulder. it was a season-ending procedure and Salazar wouldn't be able to throw again for 12-16 weeks. the last update that came out during the end of the season press conference on October 10 was that Salazar would resume throwing in November. so Salazar's year was a bust and right now there's no telling what's going to happen with him in 2019.🤕💥🤷
shortly after pitchers arrived at camp, on February 17, Cody Anderson threw his first bullpen off a mound since his Tommy John surgery on March 27, 2017. he will need a lot more throwing sessions before he's declared Major League ready again. he was placed on the 60-Day DL on February 25. i would not expect him to even be an option for us until August at the earliest.
Cody Anderson was said to be making bullpen progressions as of April 7. on May 31, he was instructed to stop throwing for three weeks due to a "dead arm" period. it wasn't really considered a setback, it was more like this was something that could happen. Anderson started long toss on July 17 and was out to throwing at 100 feet by August 3. he progressed to throwing live BP on August 17 and threw in his first rehab game on August 25 with the Arizona League, where he pitched 1.0 inning and allowed one hit, walked one batter, and struck out two. his next rehab game was with Class A on August 30, then he pitched in two games with the Double A Akron RubberDucks on September 3 and 11. when there were no more minor league games left, the Indians sent him back to Arizona where he was throwing in simulated games, so they said on September 20. after the Indians' season ended, they revealed Anderson would have a normal offseason. it's been a long road to recovery for him, but maybe next year he will finally be able to contribute to the Tribe in some way.🤕⚾
in 2018, the Indians bullpen registered a 4.60 ERA, which ranked 25th in the majors. this year, the relievers were directly responsible for 29 of the team's 71 total regular season losses. i consider a loss to be the fault of the bullpen if one of two things happen:
1. the Indians have the lead and then a reliever comes in and blows the lead and the Indians end up losing the game.
2. the game is tied when a reliever enters and he does not hold the tie and the Indians end up losing the game.
this season, relievers blew the lead 10 times and couldn't keep the game tied 19 times.
the 29 losses this year rank the highest since i've been keeping track of this in 2013:
2017 - 24 of the 60 total losses
2016 - 21 of the 67 total losses
2015 - 16 of the 80 total losses
2014 - 23 of the 77 total losses
2013 - 15 of the 70 total losses
in three American League Division Series games against the Houston Astros, various members of the bullpen blew leads in Games 2 and 3.
once again, most of the bullpen was set prior to coming into camp. Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, Zach McAllister, Dan Otero, Nick Goody, and Tyler Olson had their spots locked. the only real question was if Terry Francona wanted to start the year with seven or eight relievers. we got our answer during the final days of spring when it was revealed that Matt Belisle would be rounding out the relief core.
Cody Allen will be the Indians' usual closer yet again this year. he's going to earn $10.575 million in what is likely his final season with the club, and if he can pitch like he has in his past couple years, then his raise was warranted. Allen boasted the lowest ERA of all the relievers in spring, at 1.13. he made eight total appearances and struck out 12 batters in 8 innings. he only allowed one run/one home run on two hits and walked three. he's ready. look for him to become the franchise leader in saves sometime in July, i'd guess.
Cody Allen became the franchise leader in saves this year on July 4 when he collected his 140th save. (so my guess was accurate!) he finished 2018 with 27 saves, his lowest total since 2014, and set the Indians record at 149 saves. in mid-September, Allen was shut down for six days because he'd been pitching a lot and not recovering so well. he threw a bullpen on September 22 and he and the Indians used the downtime to figure out how much he needed to pitch to be ready for October. when he first got back to pitching in Tribe games, it looked like the break did him good. but then he had an awful final two games, allowing six runs in 0.2 innings. Allen pitched in a team high 70 games this year. he started out on a hot streak, not giving up a run until his 11th appearance on April 27. but he had a rough next three months in particular, and ERA went up each month for the duration of the season. his worst game by far was on July 10 when Allen allowed six runs in 0.2 innings. overall, Allen had a career high 4.70 ERA and a 4-6 record. he had a team high 27 saves in 32 save opportunities. he pitched 67.0 innings, which was his lowest number of innings since his rookie season in 2012, but he has pitched in at least 67.0 innings every year from 2013-present. Allen gave up 58 hits, allowed a career high 35 runs and career high 11 home runs. he hit a career high four batters, walked a career high 33 batters, and struck out 80, the least strikeouts since 2012. in addition, Allen totaled seven holds, three wild pitches, two stolen bases allowed, a 1.36 WHIP, and 10.75 K/9, also his lowest since 2012. in the American League Division Series, Allen pitched in Games 1 and 3 for a total of 1.0 innings. he gave up six runs on four hits and two home runs, walked two batters albeit intentionally, and struck out two. his playoff ERA was 54.00! he surrendered one homer in each game, and two runs in the first versus four runs in Game 3. he just wasn't sharp, but he was definitely not the main reason the Indians got eliminated. it would seem as though Allen's workload finally caught up to him this year, but i don't think this season will scare teams away from signing the free agent to a multi-year deal.🥇😀😕🙁
while Allen's the main closer, don't be surprised if you see Andrew Miller getting some save opportunities, too. then again, he could also be the stopper who comes into a game in the 6th or 7th inning if the team's in a tight spot. Miller battled the flu early on in camp and missed a couple workouts, but he was better by February 21. towards the end of Cactus League play, he told reporters that he felt good physically. he had one bad outing on March 22, when he gave up four runs and one home run in 0.2 innings, though he was supposedly merely working on his fastball and his velocity looked good. overall, he pitched 7 innings in seven games and concluded spring with a 7.71 ERA and 0-1 record. he gave up six runs on six hits, including two home runs. he also struck out 11 and walked just two; that's how i know he's okay.
Andrew Miller dealt with injuries for most of 2018 and that rendered him mostly ineffective, sadly. he left the game on April 25 early with left hamstring tightness after throwing two pitches. the following day, he went on the 10-Day DL with a low grade left hamstring strain. he was activated on May 11. then his back stiffened up on May 18 and he wasn't made available to pitch until May 22. the second serious injury was right knee inflammation for which he was placed on the 10-Day DL on May 26. the Indians said it was related to his injury earlier this season and has been an underlying issue the entire time. on May 29, they announced Dr. David Altcheck confirmed the inflammation and cleared him for a throwing program. Miller left the team on June 18 to go home to Florida to tend to a personal matter and returned on June 23, but would not do mound work for the next 10 days. Miller threw a bullpen session in Double A Akron on July 14 and then between July 17 and July 31, he pitched in seven rehab games between the RubberDucks and Triple A Columbus Clippers. meanwhile, he was transferred to the 60-Day DL on July 24. Miller was activated from the DL on August, then went back on the 10-Day DL with an external impingement in his left shoulder on August 29, retroactive to August 27. he received a cortisone shot for swelling in the bursa sac and was shut down for 5 days. on September 2, he played catch at 75 feet, then threw bullpen sessions on September 6 and 8 before being activated yet again on September 10. Miller began the year looking like he was going to absolutely dominate yet again. in his first 11 games in March/April, he didn't allow any runs allowed and had perfect 0.00 ERA. he also tallied 19 strikeouts, four holds, one save, and one win. then the injuries cropped up and changed the whole complexion of his season. in his final game of the regular season on September 29, Miller gave up five hits, four runs, and one home run in 0.2 innings, which raised his season ERA one whole point up to 4.24. that earned run average marked his worst in three years of pitching with Cleveland and worst since his 2011 campaign. in 34.0 innings pitched in 37 games, Miller had two saves in five opportunities, 10 holds, and a 2-4 record. he gave up 31 hits, which is the same amount of hits he gave up as last season, but in less games. Miller surrendered 16 runs, but only three homers. he walked 16 batters compared to striking out 45 and had an 11.91 K/9 and 1.38 WHIP. he also hit five batters, threw one wild pitch, and allowed one stolen base. in addition, Miller had one at bat this season when the Indians played the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 23 and he struck out looking on three pitches. in the postseason, Miller pitched in Games 2 & 3 for a combined total of 0.1 innings. altogether, he gave up one hit, but no runs and was the only Indians pitcher with a 0.00 ERA. he did throw one wild pitch and walked three batters, giving him a 12.00 WHIP, highest of all Tribe pitchers. he had one save opportunity and was charged with a blown save in Game 2 because he came in to relieve Carlos Carrasco and gave up two runs that were already on base. but he didn't give up any runs himself, so that's why he had the perfect ALDS ERA. it was such a weird year and all the health issues and time missed definitely caused Miller to not perform at his highest level.🤕😩🤕🤕😑
Zach McAllister got to make several multi-inning appearances this spring, including one 3-inning outing. it's pretty obvious he was being stretched out to possibly fill the Bryan Shaw vacancy after he was lost to free agency. with a 1.88 ERA in 14.1 innings pitched, his spring really only rivaled that of his bullpen companion, Allen. McAllister, who is routinely tough on righties, did well overall, allowing 13 hits in 10 games, but just three runs and zero homers. he also totaled 14 strikeouts and six walks. if his workload does pick up this season and he stays healthy all year, his $2.45 million deal will be a real bargain.
Zach McAllister did stay healthy, but did not pitch well and didn't last the whole season with the Indians. he was designated for assignment on August 3 after Miller was activated and then he was released after clearing waivers on August 7. the Detroit Tigers signed him to a deal on August 10. McAllister's first 12 games in March/April were just awful; in 9.2 innings, he gave up four home runs and allowed 13 runs to give him a 10.24 ERA. he made one throwing error on April 24 as well. that's not how you want to start. McAllister was used in multiple innings several times this year. while with the Tribe, he pitched at least 2.0 innings six times and 2.1 innings three times. overall, in 41 total games and 41.2 innings, he compiled a 1-2 record, 4.97 ERA, and 1.37 WHIP. McAllister gave up 47 hits, 25 runs, and seven home runs. he hit one batter, threw two wild pitches, and allowed six steals. he struck out 34 and walked 10. lastly, McAllister had four holds, one save opportunity, and one blown save. he pitched with the Indians since 2011, so it was sad to see him get released. normally, when a player who's been in the organization for a significant amount of time leaves or gets traded or is released, i'll write a goodbye blog to him with some nice words. i never did that this year for Zach so let me just now say thank you for all your hard work and dedication throughout the years. i only got McAllister's autograph a couple of times, because he's not easily accessible, and don't have any interesting stories to share. good luck in your future!🙁👋
Dan Otero won't be designated to any particular inning, per se, but could be used to bridge the gap to the likes of Miller and Allen. Otero, who received $1.3 million in arbitration this year, is one of the best ground ball out pitchers in the league and i don't foresee that changing any time soon. he had one particularly poor outing very early in spring, but Francona remarked the ball was coming out of his hand fine. in 10 games, Otero went 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in 9.1 innings of work. he walked three, struck out four, and allowed 14 hits, one home run, and eight runs. as unpleasant as they are, i'm not bothered by his final Cactus League results.
Dan Otero remained healthy in 2018, but he struggled more than we're used to seeing, particularly in the first couple of months and overall had a mediocre season. he appeared in the 61 games, one less than his career best and the second most behind Allen this year. Otero pitched 58.2 innings and had a 5.22 ERA and 2-1 record. he had one hold and three save opportunities, earning one save and being charged with two blown saves. he allowed a career high 36 runs and 12 home runs and hit a career high three batters as well. he gave up 69 hits, walked five, struck out 43, and committed one balk. he had a 6.60 K/9 and 1.26 WHIP. Otero made the ALDS roster, but only pitched in Game 1, allowing two hits and one run in 1.0 inning for a 9.00 ERA. he's now going to play exhibition games in Japan. i don't quite know what Otero's issue was this year. must have been mechanical if a ground ball pitcher gives up so many homers. it was definitely his least productive performance since he's been with us in the last three seasons.😔😒👎
Nick Goody will be coming out of the pen to mostly face right-handed hitters, which is what keeps him so effective. he had one really bad game on March 15, allowing five runs in 0.1 innings, which completely wrecked his total spring stats. he made 10 appearances altogether, pitching 11 innings and allowing 10 runs on 14 hits. while compiling a horrid 8.18 ERA, he only gave up one long ball, and he struck out nine while walking three. i think once he gets back into more normal ballpark environments, we'll see the Goody we knew from a year ago.
Nick Goody had a lost year. after pitching in only 12 games, he left Game 1 of a doubleheader on May 3 with a right elbow injury, which ended up landing him on the 10-Day DL before Game 2 and turned out to be inflammation. on May 4, the Indians reported he had swelling in the back of his elbow, which was structurally sound, and would be shut down for seven days. he still had some swelling after a week and wouldn't throw for another 7-10 days. on May 25, they said Goody wasn't throwing yet and still felt symptoms and was transferred to the 60-Day DL on May 31. more bad news came on June 15 when the Indians announced Goody felt soreness when throwing at 100 feet, so he got a second opinion on June 13 and was told he had elbow hyperextension and posterior elbow inflammation. he then received a PRP injection and would be shut down again for a minimum of three weeks. on June 30, he announced that his wife gave birth to baby Braxton Gunnar. fast forward to August 3 and Goody threw a bullpen in Cleveland and reported to Goodyear, Arizona, a week later for the next step in his rehab. on August 21, he had discomfort flare in his elbow and was headed to meet Dr. Keith Meister with Dr. James Andrew consulting on August 23. they said his UCL was intact, but he was scheduled to have a scope done in Dallas on August 31 to address the bone spurs in his right elbow. Meister performed the season-ending right elbow arthroscopic debridement and also removed a small bone spur. the last update we got came on October 10 when they said Goody was still a few weeks away from picking up a baseball. now let's get into his numbers. Goody started out so well, not giving up any runs in his first four outings, but it was downhill from there. in total, his 2018 consisted of 11.2 innings, 15 hits, nine runs, four home runs, five walks, 12 strikeouts, one hit batter, and one wild pitch. the four home runs and eight runs came in his last three games, which were likely a result of his elbow issue. Goody also had a 6.94 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, and 9.26 K/9. he had one save opportunity, one blown save, two holds, and an 0-2 record. assuming his surgery was a success, he should do better in 2019.👶😷🏥⚾
Tyler Olson, who's by and large a lefty specialist, will now apparently be used against both lefties and righties, especially early in the season, according to Tito. while we saw absolute perfection from him in 2017, you can't count on a repeat of that this year. he gave up a run in his first spring outing on February 24, but i specifically remember that Tyler Naquin made a bad play on the ball in left field, and had there been a different official scorer for the game, that might have ended up as an unearned run... Olson's camp consisted of 11 innings pitched in 13 games--the most of any reliever--and he finished with a 3.27 ERA. he allowed four runs on nine hits and didn't give up any home runs. he also walked two while striking out 14 and earned one save. i trust he'll be fine.
Tyler Olson probably should have only been used against lefties after all because i think that contributed to some of his early season struggles. in his first appearance on April 1, he gave up a single and home run and was charged with two runs. so his bid for another perfect season ended pretty quick. he was placed on the Paternity List on May 11 when his wife gave birth to their first child, son Maddox, and activated the following day. on June 17, after two consecutive appearance of giving up two runs, Olson was placed on the 10-Day DL with a left latissimus dorsi strain. he started rehabbing in Columbus in July and was activated on July 11. he was optioned to Triple A on July 20 when Brad Hand and Adam Cimber were added to the roster. he wasn't recalled again until August 14 when Trevor Bauer went on the DL with a stress fracture in his right fibula, then was sent down on August 18, and brought up for the final time on August 29 when Miller went on the disabled list with a left shoulder impingement. also of note, he didn't allow a run in his last 9.2 innings in 14 outings between July 14 and September 27 while also striking out 16 and only allowing five total hits. so it was an up and down year for Olson, which was very different from his previous season. all-in-all, he had a 2-1 record and 4.94 ERA with the Tribe, setting career highs with 43 games, 27.1 innings, 26 hits, 16 runs allowed, four home runs allowed, 12 walks, 40 strikeouts, and 13.17 K/9, which was second best on the team behind Hand. Olson additionally had a 1.39 WHIP and five holds, he allowed one stolen base, and threw one wild pitch--the first of his career. if he'd been used strictly against lefties and wasn't "forced" to pitch against righties out of necessity, his stats would look better, but i still feel he had a good year, especially after he came back from his lat strain.👶🙂👌
Matt Belisle was told he made the team on March 24. his worst Cactus League appearance materialized on March 21 when he pitched a measly 0.1 innings and allowed five runs on six hits. for his whole spring, he pitched 11.1 innings--second most for all relievers behind McAllister--in 11 total games, going 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA. he did give up 22 hits and eight runs, but he didn't allow any home runs and he only walked one batter versus striking out eight. there's potential here, but right now, he seems to be the weakest link by default.
Matt Belisle had his contract officially purchased on Opening Day, March 29, but he didn't last long with the Tribe. he was designated for assignment on May 2 and elected free agency on May 8. nobody else wanted him apparently and on May 16, Belisle re-signed a minor league deal with the Indians and was assigned to the Columbus Clippers. things changed a month later, as Belisle was released to pursue another big league opportunity on June 11; he signed with the Minnesota Twins on June 12. in his time in Cleveland, Belisle pitched 10.2 innings in just eight games. his first three games/4.0 innings were flawless, but after that the trouble began, accounting for his 5.06 total ERA. overall, he allowed six runs on nine hits, hit two batters, and threw one wild pitch. he let one runner steal a base while he was on the mound, gave up one home run, walked four, and struck out four. his 0.94 WHIP looks excellent, but when you take into account he didn't pitch much, it's really not that impressive. Belisle also tallied one save opportunity, but no save, and he suffered one blown save on April 18 after giving up a run in the 14th inning against the Twins oddly enough. i didn't think he should have made our bullpen in the first place, so i wasn't sad to see him go. for the record, his ERA during his stint with the Twins was over 9.00.😶👎
Jeff Beliveau was signed as a minor league free agent with a big league camp invite on November 22, 2017. he was made aware that he was going to the minors on March 22, but stayed with the Indians until their spring was over. he pitched in 10 total games with the Tribe and ended camp with a 4.15 ERA. he allowed eight hits and eight runs, but only gave up one homer in 8.2 innings. he walked 10 and struck out 11, too. i'm not convinced that this guy would be better than the two southpaws we already have in our pen, so he can stay in Columbus for a while.
Jeff Beliveau was the first reliever to come up to Cleveland on April 26 when his contract was purchased from Columbus after Miller went on the DL. he was designated for assignment on May 4, but outrighted to Columbus on May 8. the Indians selected his contract again on May 29 and DFA'd on June 2 when they signed Oliver Perez. Beliveau accepted his outright to Triple A on June 8 and that's where he remained for the rest of 2018. while with Cleveland he only pitched in nine games for a total of 4.2 innings. he finished with six runs allowed on seven hits, two home runs given up, and one hit batter. he also walked five and struck out two. his ERA was 11.57 and he earned one save. Beliveau definitely was not our best bullpen option this year.👎
Ben Taylor. the Indians claimed this right-hander off waivers from the Boston Red Sox on February 25. he appeared in five Cactus League games with the Tribe, pitched 4 innings, gave up four hits and one run, and struck out three. he was optioned to Columbus on March 22 and will be pitching multi-innings in order for him to work on his development. i'm not sure if/when we'll see him in Cleveland.
**March 29 edit: Taylor was designated for assignment. if he doesn't clear waivers, then he'll no longer be part of our organization.
Ben Taylor was outrighted to Columbus on April 2 and his contract was selected a month later on May 2 when Belisle was designated. on May 6, Taylor was optioned back to Triple A. he was recalled again on May 26 and sent back down on May 31. as an Indian, he compiled a 6.00 ERA in six games and 6.0 innings. he gave up six hits, four runs, and two home runs. he only walked one and struck out eight batters, and his 12.00 K/9 was pretty good. Taylor didn't allow any hits, then gave up one run in each of his last four games with the Tribe. i don't think he got a fair enough shot here and had he pitched for longer, he possibly could have been a reliable piece of the pen.🤔🤷
Evan Marshall was signed to a minor league deal with spring invite on November 30, 2017. the righty, like Beliveau, was notified he'd be going to the minors on March 22, but also finished his spring in big league camp. he compiled a 1-2 record overall with a 4.35 ERA in 10 games. he pitched 10.1 innings, allowed 14 hits, four home runs, and nine runs, walked two, and struck out six. he also got one save in two opportunities. he's another reliever who could end up doing more harm than good if he gets called up...
Evan Marshall had his contract selected on May 3, just in time for Game 2 of the Tribe's doubleheader because Nick Goody injured his elbow in Game 1 and went on the DL right after. Marshall was optioned on May 20, recalled on May 26 when Miller went on the disabled list with right knee inflammation, optioned on June 11, and brought back up on June 17 when Olson was DL'd with a left latissimus dorsi strain. unfortunately, Marshall left the game on June 18 with right elbow soreness and was placed on the 10-Day DL with right elbow inflammation the following day. on June 22, it came out that he had ulnaritis in his right elbow and would be shut down for 7-10 days. the issue turned out to be quite serious and he didn't start his rehab assignment with Columbus until August 3. he was activated from the disabled list on August 8, but told to stay in Triple A because he'd been optioned. Marshall was DFA'd on September 1 and outrighted to C-bus on September 5. the next month, on October 2, he elected free agency. so, not a great year for Marsh. he pitched a grand total of 10 games with the Indians. in 7.0 innings, he allowed 12 hits and six runs for a 7.71 ERA. he had four walks compared to nine strikeouts, hit one batter, and threw one wild pitch as well. Marshall was also charged with one blown save and credited with three holds. looking back at his outings, he only gave up runs in three. it's a small sample size and i don't know if i can make any real assumptions on how he would have pitched had he not gotten hurt. tough luck for this guy.😕🤕
Alexi Ogando was signed to a minor league deal with a non-roster spring invite back on December 12, 2017 (official on December 21). he pitched in Cactus League games as a reliever, but he'd prefer to start. so when the Indians informed him he was reassigned to Triple A on March 22, they also told him they want to stretch him out as a starter. Ogando has an out clause in his contract in June, so he may not last with us the whole season. i didn't know much about this guy, but he did quite well in spring, pitching 10 innings and striking out 13. actually, he struck out at least one batter in eight of his nine total appearances. he also walked five and gave up eight hits, but only allowed two runs to give him a 1.80 ERA. he could have been the favorite to fill out the bullpen if not for his penchant to start.
Alexi Ogando had his contract selected from Columbus on May 4 after Beliveau was DFA'd. he was optioned on May 8, designated for assignment on May 20 to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Melky Cabrera, and outrighted/accepted his assignment to the Clippers on May 26. Ogando only pitched on the day he was first brought up and came into the game for the 8th inning. in 1.0 inning, he allowed two hits and two runs, walked three, and struck out one. Ogando threw 31 pitches and faced eight batters in his outing. he came into the game when it was tied, then walked in the go-ahead run and ended up getting charged with the loss. his Indians ERA was 18.00. 'nuff said. Ogando elected free agency on November 8. bye.👋💩
Oliver Drake was acquired by the Tribe on May 5 from the Milwaukee Brewers for cash. the Indians were desperate and looking everywhere for some new relievers at this point to help their troubled bullpen. they added Drake to the 25-man roster on May 8, but DFA'd him on May 26. his time with Cleveland was done when he was claimed by the Los Angeles Angels on May 31. after that, he got claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays and later the Minnesota Twins, so he really bounced around this year. while an Indian, he pitched in four games for 4.1 innings. Drake allowed six runs on seven hits, gave up one walk, struck out four, and hit one batter. his 12.46 ERA was not at all impressive, but the six runs the righty was charged with all came in his fourth and final game with the Tribe. maybe he would have improved had he pitched more and had more time here.😣👎
Neil Ramirez had some real positives and some real negatives. he got into nine Cactus League games prior to being sent to minor league camp on March 19 and tallied two saves in two opportunities. he gave up nine hits, including five home runs, and six runs total in 8 innings to finish spring with a 6.75 ERA. on the bright side, he struck out nine and only walked two.
Neil Ramirez had his contract selected on May 15 when a roster spot opened up when Bradley Zimmer went on the disabled list with a left rib contusion. this was also the time when the team was trying out new relievers left and right because they needed major help. aside from one bad game early on, Ramirez was one of the few reliable pitchers Tito had in the pen, so he remained with the big league club. he stayed relatively healthy until he was placed on the 10-Day DL on August 23 with lower back spasms. he didn't miss much time though, getting activated on September 2. this year, Ramirez pitched in 47 games, the most since his debut 2014 season. in 41.2 innings, he compiled an 0-3 record with a 4.54 ERA. he gave up 36 hits and nine home runs, both career highs. he allowed 21 runs to score, hit a career high three batters, walked 18, and struck out 51 to give him an 11.02 K/9. regarding baserunners, he let 12 steal a base off him and only one was caught. he also had one save opportunity (but didn't get a save), 1 blown save, and 13 holds. i know the numbers don't look great, but judging by his 13 holds, he really was quite effective in numerous games. Ramirez was left off the 25-man ALDS roster, which now seems like a mistake.😀👏💪
Oliver Perez came to the Tribe when he signed a deal on June 2 after being released by the New York Yankees a day earlier and he proved to be a godsend. the left-handed reliever, who turned 37 in August, had a fantastic start, not giving up a run until his 7th outing. in his first 22 games, he pitched 14.1 innings and only allowed one run. overall, Perez appeared in 51 games, third most on the team. he amassed a 1-1 record with 15 holds and 1.39 ERA in 32.1 innings. he surrendered 17 hits, allowed just six runs, gave up one home run, hit two batters, and threw one wild pitch. in addition, he struck out 43 while walking only seven and had an 11.97 K/9 and 0.74 WHIP. while on the mound, three runners stole a base off him and two were caught. he also picked off one runner as well. Perez was on the postseason roster, but Francona did not use him in any of the three games which, in hindsight, seems pretty stupid. he was probably the Tribe's most reliable reliever this year and it sucks he's a free agent now.👏😀👍
George Kontos was signed to a minor league deal and assigned to the Clippers on June 3, and when Marshall landed on the DL on June 19, Kontos' contract was selected. he didn't last long though, because upon Carlos Carrasco's activation from the DL, Kontos was designated on July 6. he cleared waivers on July 10 and accepted his outright assignment to Columbus. but then, on August 4, the Indians announced Kontos has been traded to the New York Yankees for cash considerations. the righty pitched 5.1 total innings in 6 games with the Indians to the tune of a 3.38 ERA. he gave up three hits, two runs, and one home run, while walking two and striking out four batters. Kontos also threw one wild pitch and let one baserunner steal a base off him. during his very first appearance with the Tribe on June 20, he totaled three strikeouts, but walked two in 1.0 inning of work. i didn't think he was anything special. then again, he just wasn't here long enough for me to get a real good look at him to form an educated opinion.😐
Marc Rzepczynski returned to the Indians' organization after signing a minor league deal on June 18. he started out in Triple A, but knew full well that the Tribe would be bringing him up to their roster at some point because they needed another southpaw in the bullpen. on July 1, his contract was selected and Scrabble was back in Cleveland. when lefty Olson was activated from the disabled list on July 11, Zep became a casualty and DFA'd. he cleared waivers and elected free agency on July 19 and later signed with the Seattle Mariners on July 30. with the Tribe, he pitched in only 5 games here for a total of 2.2 innings. small sample size, but he gave up three hits, didn't allow any runs--hence the 0.00 ERA, walked one, struck out one, allowed one stolen base, and was credited with two holds. i mean, that seems like a guy you would wanna keep in your bullpen, right? especially when compared to some of the other relievers the Indians had this year.👏👍
Brad Hand came to the Indians on July 19 when the San Diego Padres traded him and Adam Cimber in exchange for Francisco Mejia. because the Tribe's closer situation was in jeopardy with both Allen and Miller free agents, it was great to bring in someone who could be a replacement for 2019, as the Indians have three more years of control on the southpaw now. he was added to the roster on July 20 and got into his first Tribe game that night and was credited with a hold. in 28 total Tribe games, Hand pitched 27.2 innings and had an 0-1 record and 2.28 ERA. he allowed seven runs on 19 hits, gave up three home runs, hit two batters, and threw one wild pitch. he also had 13 walks versus 41 strikeouts and 13.34 K/9, which was tops on the club. some of his other stats include eight saves, 10 save opportunities, one blown save, and seven holds. in the postseason, Hand made appearances in Game 2 and 3, pitching 1.2 innings total. he gave up three hits, two runs, and one home run while striking out four and walking two. he allowed one stolen base as well. all the damage took place in Game 3, however, in 0.2 innings to give him a 10.80 ERA. for the most part, i think Hand was pretty successful and he'll probably do even better next year when he's with us for a full season.✋👊
Adam Cimber was the other part of the deal that brought Hand to Cleveland and shipped Mejia to San Diego on July 19. since being added to the Tribe's roster on July 20, the right-handed sidewinder pitched in 28 games and had seven holds. he compiled an 0-3 record and 4.05 ERA in 20.0 innings. he surrendered 26 hits, nine runs, and three home runs. he also totaled seven walks and seven strikeouts, hit four batters, threw one wild pitch, and allowed one stolen base. i wasn't sure Cimber was ready for the Major Leagues, as this was his first season pitching in the majors after debuting with the Padres, and thought he probably would have been better off in Triple A. Cimber made the postseason roster, which i didn't necessarily agree with either. he pitched 1.0 inning in both Game 1 and 3 and while his first inning was a clean one, his second was not. he allowed two hits and one run and finished his first ALDS with a 4.50 ERA. right now he seems to be a lock to make the Opening Day 2019 roster, so hopefully between now and then he can fine tune some stuff and get better.😑
Jon Edwards signed a minor league contract with the Indians back on March 22. he pitched with both the Double A Akron RubberDucks and Clippers before getting his contract selected on September 1. this marked the first time the right-hander has pitched in majors since 2015. while an Indian, he pitched in nine games, allowing six hits, four runs, and two home runs in 8.2 innings to give him a 3.12 ERA. he also struck out 10 and walked four batters. that said, in his last six games, he pitched 5.1 scoreless innings, gave up just one hit, walked two, and struck out six. it would have been interesting to see him get a chance in Cleveland earlier than he did, particularly when the bullpen was struggling.👊👌
James Hoyt was acquired by the Tribe on July 6 from the Houston Astros for RHP Tommy DeJuneas from the Lake County Captains and assigned to the Triple A Columbus Clippers. however, the right-hander went on the minor league disabled list on July 22 with right knee soreness. he didn't pitch for Columbus again after that, but the Indians selected his contract on September 4 and he was transferred to their 60-Day DL. if i recall correctly, Terry Francona considered his call up as like a reward and thought it would be good for him to be around the major league club even though he wouldn't be playing with the Tribe.🤷
i hope that's everyone. i think it is. if i forgot a player, please let me know and i'll add him in! also, if i neglected to mention some major occurrence this year by any individual player or the team as a whole, put it in the comments below! you can leave your favorite or worst memories, too, and feel free to give your own analyzations and grades to the players or assign emojis to them if you like!💭💻
i think the Indians had several most valuable players on the team this season.
Kluber mostly pitched like a Cy Young yet again despite a minor knee issue and a few ugly starts. he got a career high 20 wins and totaled over 200 innings and 200 strikeouts for the fifth straight season. he also pitched a Maddux, complete game shutout on 98 pitches.
Carrasco got hit with a line drive in the forearm, but didn't let that stop him from dominating this year. he pitched two complete games and struck out over 200 for the third time in his career. he was right behind Kluber as far as effectiveness goes and he'll be getting some Cy Young votes for sure again this year.
yes, Bauer got hit with a ball in the ankle and that caused him to end the year on a bit of a sour note. but prior to that, he was outstanding, striking out a career best 221, and would have been a top 3 Cy Young candidate otherwise.
Clevinger met his goal of pitching 200.0 innings this season and we needed every inning he had because while some of the other starters went down with injuries, he remained healthy and kept pitching like a rock. he also racked up over 200 strikeouts in 2018.
Lindor, Brantley, and Ramirez were all deserved All Stars this year and really helped drag the team out of early season mediocrity after they got to bat one right after the other in the lineup. they all put up fantastic stats in their own right, with Lindor and Ramirez setting new careers in home runs and RBI totals even with some slumps mixed in. and Brantley had a remarkable comeback season with a co-team high two grand slams and two-walk off hits. maybe the best part of his year was he dealt with absolutely no major injury issues!!!
Encarnacion also got his usual 30+ HR and 100+ RBI for the season. it was just another year at the office for him.
straight up, without these 8 guys, the team would have been dead and buried. (next year will be interesting without Brant, cause idk who's gonna make up for that .300 yearly BA and consistence with getting on base.)
honorable mention: Shane Bieber came up here and got his first taste of the big leagues and pitched like a boss. he wasn't perfect and didn't have the best stats when compared to the rest of the starters, but you can tell this kid is gonna be something special in the very near future.
when talking about the postseason, the MVPs aren't so plentiful. i can really only name Lindor, Gomes, Carrasco, and Clevinger here. Lindor had four hits in 11 AB and hit two home runs. Gomes had two hits, two runs, and one walk, which was better than most of the team. Cookie went 5.1 innings in his start, giving up six hits two runs, and one walk while striking out three. and he took the loss because the Indians couldn't score. but Clev was the real star, allowing three hits and just one run, and totaling nine strikeouts in 5.0 innings. (oh and despite his 0.00 ERA, i'm not including Miller because he allowed three walks in 0.1 innings.)
honorable mention: Brantley, simply because he's the only other Indian with multiple hits in the series (two) and he hit a go-ahead sac fly in Game 3. he also drew one walk. not an MVP performance, but he didn't totally suck like others.
Kipnis was healthy this year, but he really didn't start to hit until the end of August. what good is that when there are six months in a season?
Chisenhall, for the second straight season, dealt with injuries for over four and a half months and had a lost year.
Zimmer, who opened the year with the Indians for the first time, sure didn't last long here either. aside from getting demoted to Columbus because he needed to work on hitting more for contact and power, he also hurt himself in Triple A and had labrum surgery. now he'll be lucky to be back by August 2019. will he ever stay healthy enough to make an impact here?
i'm so sad to say Tomlin had a disappointing final year with the Tribe. he tried to get himself righted, but it never worked out for him.
Miller spent too much of the year injured and on the disabled list for my liking and the lack of his presence was definitely felt.
Goody got hurt in early May, eventually had surgery, and never returned to the Tribe.
where do i start? any Indian who couldn't get at least one hit in the playoffs is going here.
Ramirez didn't get one hit. he did get one RBI on a groundout, but that's not we expect from a guy who's an MVP candidate.
Donaldson had one hit and four strikeouts.
Alonso had no hits and four strikeouts in two games.
Kipnis had six strikeouts in three games. you can't win a series with all that going on in your lineup. you also can't win with poor pitching.
Kluber allowed four runs and three homers in 4.2 innings.
Bauer was used out of the bullpen in every game, a decision i somewhat disagree with, pitched 4.0 innings and allowed four runs. and he committed two critical throwing errors in Game 3.
Hand gave up a home run and allowed two runs and one walk in 1.2 innings.
Allen gave up two homers, allowed six runs, and walked two in 1.0 innings over two games.
the ERAs of the above four were 7.71, 6.75, 10.80, and 54.00. yikes. it's no wonder we had no shot in the ALDS, whether or not the Astros cheated.
is there anyone else you think should have been an MVP or LVP that i didn't mention? leave your picks in a comment below.
Terry Francona & Co.
lastly, i want to talk about the job Tito did this year. there's no denying he is an outstanding manager, but he has his faults. he definitely has a tendency to remain loyal to his vets when they are going through tough times and it's not always the smartest move. i don't know many fans who were happy with Josh Tomlin's performance this season, particularly in the early going, and they believed Tomlin should have been pulled from the rotation sooner than he was. i see their point, but really all that would have gained for us is a couple more wins, which still wouldn't have had any effect on our postseason whereabouts.
what i'm going to complain about was the refusal to move Jason Kipnis down in the lineup until Game #37. Kip had a permanent seat on the struggle bus and was not getting off. he should have been dropped from the 2 hole sooner than May 11. but Tito kept his loyalty to Kip and claimed you don't just make moves to make them and it needed to make sense. i think he was just nervous to tell his vet that he needed to GTFO of the 2 spot.
the proof was in the move because the lineup improved so much once the Francisco Lindor-Michael Brantley-Jose Ramirez trio opened every game. from May 11 to the end of the regular season, they had a combined 288 runs and 12.1% K rate, both tops in MLB, as well as a .867 OPS (ranked 3rd in MLB), according to Jordan Bastian. and i might be a little or a lot biased, but i hated the idea of Brantley batting 5th in some games. my god he should never have been that low. but anyway, at least Tito gained his nerve and made the change eventually.
there's also the question of why sometimes Francona isn't more vocal when the team is going through a losing streak or a lull. he's not the kind of guy to get angry and throw shit around in the locker room to let his players know he's upset and they're underperforming. he feels that's not necessary because the team knows when it's not getting the job done. Tito always says that if they players want to call their own meetings, they can, but he doesn't like to do that very often. perhaps adjusting that train of thought a bit could help in certain situations.
moving to October, i didn't agree with some of the moves Tito make in the American League Division Series. granted, there wasn't much offense happening, but you know, a good team should be able to find a way to win a 1-0, 2-1 game sometimes. still, i would have preferred to have a natural outfielder manning center field--i wanted Greg Allen out there instead of Jason Kipnis. i thought Carlos Carrasco should have stayed in the game a little longer in Game 2. same with Mike Clevinger in Game 3. i was not a fan of Trevor Bauer pitching out of the bullpen in all three games. the guy was barely recovered from his broken fibula and he just didn't have his usual stuff. i don't know why Francona felt he could rely on Bauer so heavily like that. and how come lefty specialist Oliver Perez never so much as pitched 1.0 inning in any games? stuff like this can be very frustrating.
now if you want to get into the coaching staff, let's do it. did the loss of pitching coach Mickey Callaway cause any of the pitching struggles early on this year? that's hard to say, but i think it's definitely possible that it took time to get over the void that was left by him. i'm also not sure that the firing of former bullpen coach Jason Bere was the best move either. in case you forgot, the Indians basically had to let Bere go in order to retain Scott Atchison because other teams were after Atch, so they promoted him to Bere's job to keep him in the organization. did that have a negative effect? you be the judge.
was the lack of hitting in the playoffs, and some of the players' struggles during the regular season because the hitting coaches weren't doing their jobs? should Ty Van Burkleo and his assistant, Victor Rodriguez, be held responsible? and did Rodriguez replacing Matt Quatraro, who left to be the 3rd base coach for the Tampa Bay Rays, leave the Tribe batters in the lurch? i'll certainly give the Houston Astros' pitchers credit, but some of the at bats our boys put up were so bad they were hard to watch. that can't be argued. and it's the second straight postseason that the offense took a nosedive, so that's concerning. i don't know how to fix it though, that's not my job.🤷
have i left anything out about Francona and his coaching staff that you think needs to be addressed? drop it in the comments!
alright, that concludes my 2018 review. thank you so much for reading! and if you read through every section, then you get a gold star!⭐
good luck to the Tribe in 2019! something tells me you're going to need it. only 135 days left until Opening Day!
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