2017 Positional Previews, Indians, Podcast

2017 Cleveland Indians Positional Previews: Third Base

Jim Pete and Mike Hattery return to continue the 2017 Positional Previews. This week, Mike and Jim get to take their victory lap, as Jose Ramirez, their muse, broke out with a team-MVP worthy season. The EHC Podcast looks at Ramirez, his 2016 season and how it projects heading into 2017.

Will Jose Ramirez be the full-time third baseman, or will Yandy Diaz or Giovanny Urshela take over third base duties in part, to allow #JRam to move around the field, as he did during the first half of last season?

Catch up on the positional previews:

First Base
Second Base

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2:18–Mike’s Great Lakes Brewing Company protest continues: Conway’s Irish Ale should be a year-round beer.

2:30–Is Great Lakes Brewing Company a craft brewery, when Jim can find it in a local beer store in Raleigh, NC?

5:15–The case for #JRam regression, and who actually trusts Ramirez, and who doesn’t

6:33–#JRam and Great Expectations

9:00–The case for #JRam’s continued excellence

10:00–Contact Rules All

12:00–JRam is settled at third, right?

12:50–Is #JRam’s value more as a third baseman, or is it as an uber-utility player?

15:25–The fallacy of the prototypical third baseman

17:06–Ramirez vs. Altuve, are there actual similarities, disregarding the fact that one plays third, and the other plays second?

19:55–Ranting with Jim

22:14–Yandy Diaz, and where he plays in 2017

22:50–Will Diaz break camp with the Indians?

22:51–To hell with Michael Martinez

26:54–Service time for a 25-year old?

28:20–Giovanny Urshela’s one second of podcast time…alright…maybe two.

29:30–Michael Brantley’s role, and how it could impact Ramirez and Diaz

30:00–The plugs of the week

***Special thanks to Mike’s brother-in-law, Jonathan Becker, who put together our new intro music!

  • Chris

    I’m really enjoying all of the details in these. I haven’t been this excited for a baseball season since my mom was constantly re-dialing the box office on the land-line, my dad was doing the same on his car-phone, and I kept hitting refresh on our dial-up connection until I could actually get the overloaded ticket website to load.

    I would argue that “craft beer” isn’t even a thing anymore. While the principles and style of “craft beer” are certainly thriving, it is no longer the niche market of independent brewers from the 90’s and 00’s. There are now over 3,000 breweries in the US and the big-boys of AB and Miller-Coors are constantly jockeying to get a piece of the action. Breweries like Sierra Nevada and Great Lakes have completely transformed the industry to the point I no longer consider it “craft”… it’s the new norm. That shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing. The success of these breweries fostered the consumer market that now supports thousands of new breweries across the country, each creating their own tastes and styles. In that sense, it should be a point of pride that I don’t consider their industry “craft” anymore.

    Also, if some plaid-clad dweeb won’t buy Great Lakes because they’ve grown too large, that hipster putz was never interested in the beer in the first place.

  • I will never stop drinking Great Lakes…that said…there are still really solid craft breweries out there. A friend owns a small craft brewery in North Carolina. They don’t mass produce, and only sell to a 100 mile radius. They don’t bottle, only can, and they sell out of everything. There are levels of craft, I think…with the key being what happens to the ingredients during travel time…but that’s for the craft pod…;) thanks for the comments my friend.

  • Chris

    There are tons of breweries like your friend’s that are inventive and local. Breweries like that certainly qualify under the traditional “craft” label… that wasn’t my point. I’m saying that so many of these breweries have been successful and are so abundant that the US beer market as a whole has outgrown the “craft” label.

    Germany and Belgium are loaded with small local breweries making high-quality and wide-ranging product. Are those considered “craft” markets? I’d say no. They’re considered outstanding beer markets with high standards. Because of the growth and success of the craft revolution, we can just drop that label altogether and tout our overall diverse and thriving beer market.

  • The term ‘craft’ for those outside brewing probably isn’t a big deal. You talk to a brewmaster, especially one that follows the “Craft” guidelines, and they’ll make it a big deal…especially when compared to the multiple commercial beers that call mass produced beer “craft,” when it’s not. Personally? I just care if it tastes good I have types I like, some on tap, some in cans, some in bottles…some fresh…some over the counter. I’ll drink just about anything…so I more or less agree with you, that the term, to me, doesn’t mean a thing. But when you start talking to independent or small craft breweries about travel time and storage of their ingredients once they come out of the barrel…they can get tight. I totally understand it…on both sides. So while WE can drop the label…THEY (the small to middle independent breweries) likely want it more defined. Problem is…craft has more or less been turned into a word like tissue vs. kleenex…

    Me? Give me a bottle of anything…and a glazed doughnut…to go…

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  • jpftribe

    Great stuff guys.

    Diaz – A couple of things. I think hitting is the issue. Barring injury he’s going to have to prove he can hit at this level to stay. And while I agree service time is not an issue, he has options and the Indians like to use them in the early part of the year and hang on to guys without options. I really want to see Diaz on this team in April, but I think he has to rip the cover off the ball in Az. Service time is the issue for Zimmer.

  • scripty

    Yes, I believe Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada are both still craft despite their scale. They also still pay dues to craft associations that have done a ton of legwork for the craft industry, allowing the craft industry to accelerate in growth.

  • Steve

    Diaz is probably the guy called up for whenever Brantley is on the DL. I’m actually much more interested in seeing if they continue to test him in CF this spring than what he does with the bat. The bat seems pretty advanced, but there’s not much room for him to get any real roster time if Brantley is healthy, considering Francona’s love of extra relievers and a guy who can play mediocre defense at every position and can’t hit. The clearest path is Naquin platoon partner.

  • jpftribe

    I’m not convinced MM is going to make it out of Goodyear. While I’m hoping he doesn’t the rational side of me says he won’t as well. If Diaz can hit he is a clear upgrade over MM. As the guys pointed out in the PC, JRam can play short for 10 games a year.

  • Harv

    Good stuff.

    But man, you guys are more obsessed with Michael Martinez than anyone but his mom. It’s not his fault that he was the last guy on the roster and last position player standing in the 11th inning of the seventh game of a world series. Is he a sick joke compared to other teams’ last guy? If we must demonize someone, how about maybe someone who choked. How about in the eminently winnable Game 5, Kip, 0-4, 2 SO, 2 LOB. Or wait, JRam! (that’s right, using His name in vain): 1-4, 2 SO, 2 LOB. The Cubs were reeling, Wrigley was sad trombone, Tribe ducks were on the pond. And those who were capable didn’t sweep the leg. If Rajai doesn’t hit that improbable 7th game jack, we don’t even remember Martinez was there that night.

  • Mike Hattery

    Thanks for listening Harv. Perhaps the Martinez bit is thin, I have no disdain for Martinez but rather am disappointed in him having one of the most important plate appearances in franchise history. The Indians were handled brilliantly in 2016 by both Francona and Antonetti but the decisions that led to that PA were mediocre. The Indians should have broken in Gonzalez, Rodriguez or even Diaz instead of Martinez. It is not hyperbole to say that Martinez is historically bad offensively, So I will totally lay off when I am certain he will never have a PA with the Indians again because any PA he has is system failure.

  • jpftribe

    Couldn’t agree with this more. I would add Urshela to the list of AAAA guys I would rather see in that spot over MM.

  • Harv

    the chances of him getting that PA were remote, the chances of the completely green rookies you mentioned getting a different result no much different IN THE EXTREMIS OF THE TENSEST GAME IN HISTORY. [All caps to fight off your expected minor league stats retort]. The Martinez bit has been chuckle worthy but you guys sound half serious here. Eternal teeth gnashing over the last roster spot gumby defensive replacement? They didn’t lose because of Martinez was on the roster.

  • Mike Hattery

    I don’t mean to suggest Martinez is the reason the World Series was lost, in fact I would never assert that. But the following is true: since 2011, 540 players have had at least 450 plate appearances. Michael Martinez ranks 532nd in fWAR (-1.9). He has a career wRC+ of 35 which means he is 65% below league average offensively, lets not call him just another 25th guy. Finally, Martinez was deployed in four different World Series games and had three at bats, not sure with Francona’s usage of him the odds were that remote. No minor league stats forthcoming. 🙂

  • Steve

    If they use the roster spot on a guy worthy of 300 ABs, that guy isn’t seen as the last guy on the roster.

    And yes, Martinez is a god-awful hitter, even by utility infielder standards.

  • Steve

    They asked for an extra option on Gonzalez, they’ve moved Diaz to the OF, they haven’t invited any other real middle infield options to Goodyear. MM is nearing dead girl, live boy territory.