The second half of the season started Friday night with a 1-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays ending a four-day stretch without the Indians playing. It gave us some time to examine some numbers for the Tribe.
Some of the numbers will surprise you and others will back up the need for improvements for the balance of the 2012 season.
With all of the fans complaining about 2B Jason Kipnis not making the All Star game, it was certainly a little odd to see to the great variance in the OPS for Kipnis and his double play partner Asdrubal Cabrera, because the two-time all-star has an 821 OPS compared to the second baseman’s 764.
Kipnis’ style of play has won over the paying customers, but his on base percentage and slugging average are both less than Cabrera’s, mostly because the latter has 10 more extra base hits.
That’s surprising because Kipnis has led the Tribe in home runs for much of the season, but now is tied with Cabrera for the club lead, one ahead of Shin-Soo Choo.
In fact, Kipnis ranks just fourth on the club in extra base hits behind the other two, and also behind Michael Brantley.
Kipnis is having a fine season and will be an all-star soon, perhaps next year, but there is no question here that Cabrera deserved the honor more in 2012.
Most everyone would agree that Shelley Duncan is having a mostly disappointing season with a .222 batting average, 8 HR and 21 RBI, correct? But did you know he has the same number of long balls and just four fewer runs batted in than Travis Hafner in just seven more at bats?
It’s another reminder that Hafner is not the same player he was up to 2007, but the management of the Indians treat him like a panacea for what is troubling the offense. He can still contribute, but is no longer a presence in the middle of the order.
Another player that takes a lot of criticism is Carlos Santana. Fans are understandably frustrated with him after he hit 27 homers last year, and the internet commentators want him traded, which is ridiculous. He’s having a down year.
Still, the catcher has as many extra base hits as Casey Kotchman, and a higher OPS than crowd favorite Jack Hannahan.
Other numbers to note:
- Brantley is having a fine season, but his OPS (755) is over 100 points less than Choo’s (866). Choo has a higher on base percentage and a better slugging percentage. He’s given the Indians the best leadoff man since Grady Sizemore’s heyday.
- Since the end of April, Hannahan has gone 20 for 97, with just 2 HR and 6 RBI, and since returning from his back and leg problems, he’s just 9 for 54 (.167).
- Jose Lopez has 27 RBI in 161 at bats. He has more ribbies than Hafner, Duncan, Hannahan, and Johnny Damon.
- It has been said a good starting pitcher allows fewer hits than innings pitched and strikes out twice as many as they walk. The Indians have one such pitcher: Justin Masterson. They also have one that does neither, and surprisingly it’s Derek Lowe.
Most of these stats talk about offense, but the most meaningful team number is 13. That’s the Indians’ rank in ERA in the American League. Unless they improve in that area, by getting a starter and another reliever, it will be tough to keep pace with the White Sox and Tigers in the AL Central.