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 11:18 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 06:47 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 03:49 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 07:56 AM | 24 comment(s)
Thursday, December 19, 2013
for his generous support.
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