Wednesday, February 19, 2014
You call that love in Cleveland, but it’s just Frenchy!
Last year the Giants released Jeff Francoeur with five weeks left in the season. He was done with baseball.
“Mentally, I had checked out,” he said.
Teams called Francoeur’s agent to see if he wanted to join them for the September stretch run. He said no. His agent warned him that answer would cost him a big-league job in 2014. Francoeur said he didn’t care, because he needed to get away.
“To put it mildly, I think I was depressed at the end of last year,” said Francoeur, in camp with the Indians on a minor-league deal. “My wife, Catie, and my family came up to see me in Washington when I was with San Francisco. I weighed 201 pounds. I weigh 220 now. I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t taking care of myself.”
...“The last year and half to two years I haven’t had that much fun. I kind of missed the joy of coming to the yard. Hopefully, there is an opportunity here for me to contribute.”
Francoeur sounds a lot like Ryan Raburn when he came to camp last year on a spring-training contract. Raburn was coming off a terrible year with Detroit, but had a big spring and turned it into a two-year contract extension after hitting .272 with 16 homers and a .901 OPS in just 243 at-bats.
“I talked to Raburn about it,” said Francoeur. “The one thing Tito can do is instill some confidence. I’ve had some great years in the big leagues. Two years ago, I had my career year. So its not that you totally lost it, it’s that you lost confidence in yourself.”
If Francoeur can rediscover that confidence in the next six weeks, he just might be able to help the Tribe.
Posted: February 19, 2014 at 10:18 PM | 61 comment(s)
Saturday, January 25, 2014
By using WPA! (Wally Post Archive ~ .000/.273/.000 with Cleveland in 1964)
One reason the Indians offense was able to score so many runs was their ability to hit in the clutch. Most offensive statistics weigh or count things that happened during a game. What most stats do not do, is take into consideration the game situation. Most people intuitively know that a home run in the ninth inning that ties a game is more important that a home run in the sixth inning when your team is down by 10 runs. In the stats, a home run is just a home run. There is, however, a stat that takes those game situations into account. It is called Win Probability Added, or WPA.
For an example of how WPA works, imagine the Indians are playing a game against the White Sox. Michael Brantley step up to the plate with a runner on second base in the fifth inning of a tie game. The chances of the Indians winning the game at that point are 55%. Brantley hits a double that scores a run and increases the Indians chances of winning to 70%. He increases the Indians win probability by 15% or .15. That .15 is WPA.
As a team, the Indians were one of the most clutch in all of baseball, finishing sixth in MLB with a 7.13 WPA. Break that down by league, and they were third in the AL behind the Red Sox and Athletics. In individual terms, the Indians had three players in the top 30 in WPA. Brantley was 27th in the league with a good WPA of 1.54. Jason Kipnis was 8th with a very good WPA of 3.58, and Carlos Santana finished 6th in the league with a fantastic WPA of 4.22.
...Yes, the Indians had a very good pitching staff in 2013. They were the heart and strength of the Indians team, but the offense is vastly underrated. They scored runs better than nearly every other team in baseball and they proved to be one of the best teams in the clutch. The idea that the offense was poor and feeble is false. Both the pitching staff and offense helped propel the Tribe into the playoffs last season and fans should look forward to more wins and exciting times to come.
Posted: January 25, 2014 at 05:47 PM | 11 comment(s)
The statue honoring Jim Thome, the Indians all-time home run hitter, will be unveiled on Aug. 2 at Progressive Field.
Thome, talking Saturday at Tribe Fest, said he’s overwhelmed by it.
“All I can tell you it’s going to be pretty awesome,” said Thome, who works as a special assistant for the White Sox. “ “How do you ever imagine, when you play this game, getting an opportunity to have an organization put a statute up of you? I’m a little lost for words.
“As a player, I don’t even want to say you dream of that. When it happens, when the opportunity comes about, it’s humbling. It’s just a wonderful thing. My family is just ecstatic about it.”
Lakewood sculptor Dave Deming made the statue. It shows Thome pointing the bat toward the mound.
“I started pointing the bat when I was in the minors,” said Thome. “We were playing in Scranton, but I don’t remember the year.”
Charlie Manuel, a minor league hitting coach for the Indians at the time, suggested it to Thome after watching Robert Redford do it in the movie “The Natural.”
“Charlie had seen a clip of Roy Hobbs (the character Redford played in the movie) pointing the bat,” said Thome. “See, when I got in the box, I was tense, everything was tight. He wanted to create that relaxing feeling in the box for me and pointing the bat did that.
“It got my trigger ready to hit.”
Thanks to Butch.
Posted: January 25, 2014 at 02:49 PM | 42 comment(s)
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Diamond Challenge Roto breaks out eraser.
It appears that the Indians third base job will be an open competition beginning next month in spring training. The man in the middle of that competition could very well be former catcher Carlos Santana.
Santana recently told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.com that if the regular season began tomorrow, he would expect to be the Tribe’s starting third baseman. Santana has been the team’s opening day catcher for the last three seasons.
“Right now, I see myself preparing to play third base, no other position,” Santana was quoted as saying. (All Santana’s quotes were translated from the Spanish version of the ESPN story).
GM Chris Antonetti doesn’t believe in handing out starting positions in January unless your last name is Masterson, Swisher or Kipnis. But he certainly didn’t act as if Santana was out of line for saying what he did after losing the starting catcher’s job to Yan Gomes in the second half of last season.
“We have not made a decision at third base,” said Antonetti. “That’s what spring training is for. But Carlos has gotten a tremendous head start due to the work he’s put in this offseason.
“It started with him working at our complex in the Dominican Republic with our coaches. And it transitioned into winter ball.”
Santana, playing for Leones del Escogido, made three errors in his first five games at third base. In his next 18 games, he made five. No doubt, that’s a lot of E5s and looks a lot his experience at the hot corner in 2006 in the minors with the Dodgers.
Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:56 AM | 24 comment(s)
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Thursday, October 03, 2013
We wouldn’t accept it if these guys showed up at a party in blackface. We wouldn’t cite “tradition” or “enthusiasm” and act as if it wasn’t racist for them to do so. If they wore blackface at a ballpark I am pretty confident that security would have them removed, for their safety among other reasons.
But to pull Indian redface in Cleveland? Hey, no worries. Go Tribe.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
“Perez Sabermetric”...It’s about time the Neifi Index got some pub!
Anyone out there want to be Chris Perez’s buddy? Give him a hug, pat him on the back, assure him that you’re in his corner?
Didn’t think so.
Perez is finished with the Indians.
...But even in this, his most frustrating season as the Tribe’s closer, Perez has been more proficient than most of his thousands of critics would admit. Bad ERA (4.43 ERA) to be sure, but he saved 25 games in 30 chances, 83 percent, a number that is unassailable in terms of competency.
Since he returned from the disabled list in late June, a visit precipitated by a shoulder injury, he has succeeded in 19 of 22 save situations.
Perez certainly has not the best closer in baseball, but his numbers are beyond satisfactory, far above mediocrity and light years better than, “Get him out of here before I puke,” which is the new Perez Sabermetric as expressed by Northeast Ohio fans.
So it doesn’t matter what the numbers say, Perez must go. It is time and for a number of reasons.
...If you think the fans suck, don’t be surprised when they reciprocate your feelings. If you blow a save, own it. Don’t force teammates to explain your bad outing because you are nowhere to be found.
But maybe Perez knows all of this. Maybe he courted disaster intentionally, not because he wanted to fail, but because he wanted out. It’s not official yet, but surely if that is his wish, it’s about to come true.
Posted: September 28, 2013 at 09:38 AM | 23 comment(s)
Sunday, September 15, 2013
As a friend of mine once said…“Pitchers like Jason Knapp are hard to find!” And he still is.
‘The fans have no faith’
The Indians’ average attendance of 19,435, as of last Friday, Sept. 13, ranked 28th in Major League Baseball. That was one spot below the Houston Astros, who entered last weekend with 50 wins in 146 games.
The reasons given for the poor showings are many, but there seems to be a common theme among the Tribe’s followers — bitterness that goes back years.
“There are many layers to it,” said Tony Rizzo, a longtime Cleveland television sportscaster and current host of “The Really Big Show” on WKNR-AM, 850. “But my answer is Tribe fans are holding a grudge. Quite frankly, I don’t think it’s fair.”
Mr. Rizzo, who has bought Indians season tickets the last three years, finds the club’s failure to draw even decent crowds during a postseason race “baffling.” He dedicated two hours of a recent morning show on WKNR — “We could’ve done it for six,” Mr. Rizzo said — to the Tribe’s attendance problem.
The common complaints all were grudges from days gone by, including the trades in consecutive years of Cy Young Award winners CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee, the Dolan family that owns the team not spending money, the second-half collapses of the previous two seasons and the lack of a winning season since 2007.
Adam “the Bull” Gerstenhaber, an afternoon drive host on WKRK-FM, 92.3, concurs with his sports talk competitor.
“When it comes to the Indians, the fans have no faith,” Mr. Gerstenhaber said. “They traded two Cy Young winners, Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia. The fans haven’t gotten over that. Both of those trades were disasters.”
...“I think the largest driver of our attendance numbers are tied to our market size,” Mr. Shapiro said. “The second factor is we need to get a greater number of season tickets or advanced purchases in a city where so few people live and work downtown.
“We need to have people committed to coming downtown,” Mr. Shapiro said. “If they’re making the decision last-minute in a world where the home entertainment option is such a positive one and there is some barrier to driving downtown, then our attendance is going to suffer through that.”
Posted: September 15, 2013 at 09:38 AM | 47 comment(s)
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