Indians

Young and Dangerous: Between Innings

It is often difficult to see how a manager massages egos and keeps a clubhouse humming. Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona is often lauded as one of the masters of this art, but rarely are his methods as blatantly obvious as they were in the Thursday day game win to complete the sweep against the Los Angeles Angels, 4-1.

After winning the first two of the three-game set, Francona put together a getaway day lineup, which included sitting Yandy Diaz, Jose Ramirez, Austin Jackson, and Jason Kipnis for Erik Gonzalez, Giovanny Urshela, Greg Allen, and Abraham Almonte. Allen hit in the No. 2 spot, which is probably all that needed to be said.

The perfect day to run a bullpen game. Even though Danny Salazar was the stated starter, pulling him after 2.2 innings pitched and 54 pitches despite only giving up one run demonstrates Francona wanted him to get long relief work. He did so while also allowing Salazar to show up on the starter line of the scorecard. Well played.

Youthful Ignorance

All fans of the Indians know the Tribe is led by 23 year old superstar Francisco Lindor and 24 year old AL MVP candidate Jose Ramirez. However, many of the young faces expected to only be September call ups and other young position players are doing their best to force their names onto the postseason roster with some nice play.

24 year old Greg Allen

Allen is not at the MLB for his bat quite yet. He is still developing there, so it is not a long-term worry, but his .200/.273/.333 in 33 plate appearances are what you would expect when watching him at the plate. There is still plenty of value in Allen on the team though- whether or not he makes it onto the postseason roster. His speed is a weapon. On the basepaths and in center field, Allen has a tool that is needed with Bradley Zimmer on the DL. He also is an advanced fielder who has combined good routes with his speed to make a four-star and five-star catch in the series against the Angels. The craziest part is he made his four-star catch look easy.

25 year old Giovanny Urshela

Someone forgot to tell Urshela he is a defense-only player without much regard for his abilities with a bat in his hands. Through Wednesday, Urshela is hitting .313/.353/.438 in September (34 plate appearances). He has achieved this by having 19-for-29 batted ball events above 90 miles per hour this month with only four of those being ground balls. The lack of plate discipline (only two walks) is still an issue, and it will be difficult for him to sustain his success against better pitchers. Still, any added utility with his bat will be welcome because his defense is amazing.

25 year old Erik Gonzalez

Gonzalez has been a bit lost in the shuffle of the Tribe’s September youth movement. He has been on the team all summer, yet since his role has not expanded, gets ignored. His .316/.333/.632 batting line in September in just 21 plate appearances looks pretty on the surface though he- like Allen and Urshela- is not patient enough at the plate (only three walks in 110 plate appearances on the year). His defense is good- especially at second base- but not to the awe-inspiring level of Urshela or Allen. His bat is OK, which is better than those two, but not good enough to be a regular. He is just an all-around developing player who has good utility. Whether the front office values his overall portfolio more than the elite-or-bust profiles of Allen and Urshela for the postseason roster is intriguing.

26 year old Yandy Diaz

Unlike the others above, Diaz has a postseason roster spot all but assured. His bat has the potential to be special with 51% of his batted balls traveling at an exit velocity of over 95 miles per hour- that is fourth best in all of MLB. His barrels per batted ball event still lag though because he has struggled to elevate on contact. Since returning to the team in late August though, Diaz has been able to increase his launch angle on more pitches- especially when taking the pitch the opposite way. The result has been a .316/.432/.405. That line does not have nearly the power one would hope with a player such as Diaz, but it does show an incredible amount of patience (15 walks in just 95 plate appearances!) and continued maturation at the plate. Paired with an average defense at third base means that he still has the chance to develop into the next Indians-developed star. For the 2017 postseason, Diaz offers great utility especially when facing left-hand dominant pitching staffs like the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.

  • Chris

    The 2017 Indians look a lot like the MLB-version of the 2009-10 Blackhawks. Young studs, well established vets, and a big free agent signing following up a promising season with a championship. The Blackhawks were able to sustain for many years against financial restrictions because of the seemingly endless pipeline of young talent (not necessarily stars).

  • scripty

    Trevor Bauer is only a little older than Urshela, Gonzalez, Naquin and Diaz too. Younger than Cleavinger too.

  • Chris

    Also, both have a HOF coach/manager running the show.

    Young Studs: Kane / Toews / Keith – Lindor / Ramirez
    Vets: Sharp / Campbell – Miller / Kluber / Santana
    Big FA: Hossa – Encarnacion

    Young guys like Bauer, Clevinger, Zimmer, and the ones listed above will have to be effective and less expensive replacements for guys like Brantley, Santana, Bruce, etc. Guys like that are what have kept Chicago near the top of the league for a decade. Hopefully our young guys can keep the train going for another 4 or 5 seasons.

  • Bulldogs_3

    They remind me of the 16-17 Predators. Guys get hurt and the next one steps up (Johanson, Fiala). Defense is top in the game. They blow through their opponents when it counts (how many goals did those Blackhawks score at home in the postseason? hint – its the same number of wins they had). All in good fun.

  • mgbode

    I have zero NHL knowledge but enjoy the parallels being put into this thread (I now have slightly more than zero knowledge). Thanks guys.

  • mgbode

    Yes, this was position-player only focused.

  • jpftribe

    Francona drives me nuts with some of his in game management, but this team oozes excellent management. Has he been ejected from a game yet?

    Teams throwing at our star players, catchers talking smack in the batters box, opposing managers talking smack, Sale arguing with Farrell. You see none of that here. Has any team faced as many injury problems as the Indians? There is a litany of excuses this team could use. WS hangover, WBC, injuries to staff, all stars, starters. Two outfields have been on the DL this year. Rookies that aren’t ready starting.

    And yet they are demolishing teams and having a great time in the process. Every word coming out of the clubhouse is the exact right thing to say to the press. Vets openly admitting they have to find a place to play. It really is incredible.

    Anything can happen in a short playoff series, but the second half of this season is a clinic in how to run a baseball franchise. Years of sound process based decisions are paying off right now.

  • jpftribe

    It’s a great piece Bode. The symbiosis of this team is truly impressive though. Defense makes the pitching better, offense affords the defensive focus, pitching takes the strain off of the offense and back around the circle we go.

  • Steve

    There are some leaps in logic with the symbiosis. We’re probably just really good at all aspects of the game, period.

  • Chris

    Hopefully the Indians end the season a bit better than the Preds (and a hell of a lot better than the Hawks).

  • Chris

    With the Jackets making a presence as a legitimate team for a change, any chance we get some WFNY coverage this year? It can even be more outrageous hockey shenanigans than X’s and O’s… I’d read it.

  • mgbode

    Ah, but are you offering to write it πŸ™‚

  • mgbode

    There are other teams who have been hit by the injury bug just as bad (see: Mets) but none of the other contenders have been hit quite as bad this season, I don’t think.

    It should be noted that winning cures a lot of ills on the other things too.

    But, yes.

  • Chris

    I don’t know English too good. What would you want me for?

  • mgbode
  • Bulldogs_3

    I think a lot of people would read about hockey shenanigans

  • Chris

    We could start with Sean Avery’s new book and his… uhh… rave reviews of current BJ’s coach John Tortorella

    β€œWe used to laugh at [Tortorella] all the time. There was always someone in the dressing room who wanted to take their skate and decapitate him or take their stick and whack him over the head with it.”

    “He can’t skate and stickhandle a puck at the same time, and he doesn’t realize we don’t take him seriously because of that… The funny thing is that Tortorella can skate just about as well as some of our beat writers.”

  • Bulldogs_3

    Classic Shenanigans. You don’t need to know X’s and O’s to be entertained by that

  • Chris

    Could have a weekly fashion piece on Brent Burns.

  • JM85

    So basically the kids are allright?

  • mgbode

    Yeah, but Scott just used that as a headline, so I felt I should use something else:
    http://waitingfornextyear.com/2017/08/cleveland-browns-preseason-kizer-garrett/

  • Bulldogs_3

    That would be cool, maybe a weekly missing tooth report

  • IsabelRPowell

    Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    !dw243d:
    ➽➽
    ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleDailyConsumerMaxJournalsJobsReport1/easy/jobs β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«:::::!dw243l..,.

  • Matt Shadrake

    Issue with Gonzalez and Ursh is that they’re both out of options after this year. So they go into next spring training either having to make the team or (likely) be DFA’d. Unless they’re really dead set on moving Kipnis to CF and putting Zimmer in Columbus next year, it looks like there’s really only one spot for a backup IF with Encarnacion, Kipnis, JRam and Lindor being the starters. And there’s a good argument that Yandy should probably have that spot.

    What seems likely is that one of them will be traded or DFA’d in the offseason (personal opinion this should be Urshela, who would absolutely be claimed by the White Sox, and I think could maybe get *something* in a trade). The other would be carried until spring training, where their roster spot would essentially be competed for among veteran non-roster spring training invitee types (you know, Michael Martinez and Jack Hannahan types).

    This is also an issue with the bullpen (Armstrong, Crockett, Olson are all out of options after this year, and nobody aside from Goody in the current pen has options) and with Ryan Merritt (who will almost certainly not be opening in the rotation next year and doesn’t have the wipeout pitches for relief, so….?).

    It’s actually quite the problem for the Indians next year. Usually your 40 man roster has at least close to 15 people who you can send to the minors as needed. Right now, they have 8: Mejia, Baker, Colon, Morimando, Anderson, Plutko, Diaz, Naquin (this is assuming Zimmer, Clevinger and Goody have relatively assured major league roles).

  • LorettaJHedrick

    Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    !dw116:
    ➽➽
    ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleOnlineEasySimpleTechJobsOpportunities/easy/jobs β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«:::::!dw116l..,..

  • BetseyJPacheco

    Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    !dw260d:
    ➽➽
    ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleCashDreamCareerPartTimeJobs/get/hourly β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…βœ«:::::!dw260l..,..