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2021 Series #10 | Indians @ Royals | May 3-6, 2021

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Wham with the Right Hand

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After taking two of three from the White Sox in Chicago the Indians move on to KC to take on the division leading Royals. At 16-10 the Royals surprisingly have the best winning percentage in baseball. However, they have lost three of their last five and have given up 31 runs in their last four games.

I think that 16-10 record is a bit of a mirage. The Royals' run differential is -3, which is crazy for a 16-10 team. They've been winning the close ones and losing big. The White Sox, by contrast, are a +28 at 15-12. According to FanGraphs the Royals are 8th in the A.L. in WAR which corresponds perfectly to their neutral run differential. They look like an average team that has gotten lucky.

Offensively the Royals are 5th in the A.L. in runs per game. They're 9th in OBP, 9th in ISO, 13th in home runs, and 10th in wRC+. However, they are 1st in speed so it seems they get more out of their hits than other teams due to speed on the bases.

Their team ERA ranks 11th in the A.L., xFIP is 13th, SIERA is 13th. Their starters are 7th in xFIP while their bullpen is 14th.

The numbers suggest they're an average hitting team that squeezes out a few more runs due to speed and a below average pitching team. Defense is a little above average. It's hard to figure out how they are 16-10. They should be more like 13-13 with those numbers.

Carlos Santana is leading their offense with a wRC+ of 147 with Salvador Perez right behind at 136. Where was this fast start when Santana played in Cleveland? He was a notoriously slow starter. Carlos has a line of .258/.880. I don't know if he can keep that up.

Benintendi is at 117 and otherwise nobody is above average. Whit Merrifield, who always seems to hit the Indians well, is at .273/.729 for a wRC+ of 101. It seems the Royals get most of their production from Santana and Perez so if the Indians can pitch around them it might be worth it.

On to the pitching matchups.

Tonight it's 24-year-old lefty Daniel Lynch making his major league debut against Aaron Civale. Lynch was the Royals #1 pick in 2018. Too bad he's not starting tomorrow so we could have the battle of 6'6" lefty rookies making their first major league starts with Lynch vs. Hentges. Lynch has not pitched above high A and started 2019 in rookie ball so he's skipping three levels. He got lit up in spring training, allowing 10 runs in 11.1 innings. Civale is 10-0 when he gets three runs or more of support.

Tuesday it's Mike Minor vs. Sam Hentges. Hentges is also 24 so it will be interesting to compare him with Lynch. Minor is 33 and did not face the Indians in their first series. He is 2-1, 5.26 so far this year. In five starts he's pitched 25.1 innings so they just want to get five decent innings out of him. Lifetime he is 73-67, 4.01.

Wednesday we get Bieber vs. Brady Singer (1-3, 3.09). I was extremely impressed with Singer when he faced the Indians last September and held them to 1 hit and 0 runs in 8 innings. He was untouchable. He's off to a good start this season. In his last start he left after two innings when he got hit in the foot by a line drive but he didn't miss any time. We missed him in the first series, too.

The finale is McKenzie against Danny Duffy, a 32-year-old lefty. Duffy has figured something out because he is 4-1 with an ERA of 0.60. He has allowed two earned runs in 30 innings, both coming on solo home runs. He's been with the Royals for 11 years, which you never see anymore. His lifetime record is 68-66, 3.93. Last year his ERA was 4.95.

Duffy is off to an incredible start. His FanGraphs xFIP is 3.66 so it appears he's been somewhat lucky. His BABIP is .247 which is about 40 points below average. He faced the Indians on April 5 and held them to 2 hits over 6 innings. They had no clue. Hopefully they'll watch the video and have a better approach this time around.

Tristan McKenzie needs a better approach as he only lasted two innings his last start. He was great except for the four walks and one bad pitch to Tim Anderson.

The Indians are due for some luck. According to Statcast their expected team batting average is .249. Their actual avarage is .205. They are first in the majors in hard hit rate and 3rd in barrel rate. Time for some of those hard hit balls to start dropping and those barrelled balls to carry over the fence instead of dying on the warning track.

Jordan Luplow has 15 RBI's in 60 AB's despite a batting average of .183. If he gets 600 at-bats he could end up as the first sub-.200 hitter to get 150 RBI's in a season. Just kidding.

With the bases empty Luplow is hitting .105. With runners on it's .318/1.355. With runners in scoring position it's .357/1.613 and with RISP and two out he's 3-for-5 with two home runs and 8 RBI's. He's kind of a reverse Francisco Lindor.

Obviously all of these numbers will revert to some kind of mean, but one thing that has made it possible for the Indians to be 13-13 despite a major lack of offense has been Luplow coming up big in his most important at-bats.
 
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Excuse for asking this, but I took the off-season off:

WHY was it that we didn’t pick up Santana’s option? I know he hit .199, but he walked a bunch. Was it the money, in a COVID world, or did they genuinely think he wasn’t worth his salary? I guess, he is making less with the Royals than he would have with us, right?

Thanks in advance,

KT
 
Excuse for asking this, but I took the off-season off:

WHY was it that we didn’t pick up Santana’s option? I know he hit .199, but he walked a bunch. Was it the money, in a COVID world, or did they genuinely think he wasn’t worth his salary? I guess, he is making less with the Royals than he would have with us, right?

Thanks in advance,

KT
His option was for 17.5 million. He looked terrible in 2020 and not picking up his option made sense, especially for a team that was going to cut payroll no matter what.

To put it in perspective, his 2 year deal with KC will pay him 17.5 over 2 years, so we would have overpaid substantially had we picked up the option instead of the 500,000 buyout.

We were ready to move on, or so I thought. Seemed like we had some internal options to try and figured a cheaper 1B target was considered in the offseason, instead we went with Eddie Rosario.

 
Excuse for asking this, but I took the off-season off:

WHY was it that we didn’t pick up Santana’s option? I know he hit .199, but he walked a bunch. Was it the money, in a COVID world, or did they genuinely think he wasn’t worth his salary? I guess, he is making less with the Royals than he would have with us, right?

Thanks in advance,

KT
If it was anything more than a money move, our FO blew it
 
If it was anything more than a money move, our FO blew it
It’s a little premature to say Santana is back to his 2015-2018 form. The dreaded small Sample size is back into play..
 
Over our last seven games, our hard hit balls have begun to fall.

Against some very good starting pitching, we've averaged 4.68 runs per game.

Lets hope it continues, along with Eddie's bat waking up.
 
Well, the only sample size of him being ineffective is also small. So, I'll defer to the career numbers.
Unless you believe Carlos to be ageless (not 35+) or another Nelson Cruz, I defer to Father Time.
 
Unless you believe Carlos to be ageless (not 35+) or another Nelson Cruz, I defer to Father Time.
I've seen nothing that leads me to believe father time has caught up with Carlos
 
I don’t think it would have been smart for any team to spend $17.5M for Santana this year, but I definitely would have been more than fine if the Indians signed him to his current two year deal, especially since there is no obvious 1B on the major league team or alternate site.

Edit: Santana always hit well in KC, even though it’s a pitchers park and it’s carrying over to this year. It would be nice if E Rosario would also carry over his previous success at Progressive Field!
 
I don’t think it would have been smart for any team to spend $17.5M for Santana this year, but I definitely would have been more than fine if the Indians signed him to his current two year deal, especially since there is no obvious 1B on the major league team or alternate site.

Edit: Santana always hit well in KC, even though it’s a pitchers park and it’s carrying over to this year. It would be nice if E Rosario would also carry over his previous success at Progressive Field!
Was never high on the Rosario signing, Twins wasn't concerned one bit by letting him walk.
 
Was never high on the Rosario signing, Twins wasn't concerned one bit by letting him walk.
I didn’t expect much (would be very happy with a 2 WAR) because he isn’t really good at anything besides putting the bat on the ball with some pop, but I am very high on not having to watch the 2020 Indians outfield :eek:
 
I didn’t expect much (would be very happy with a 2 WAR) because he isn’t really good at anything besides putting the bat on the ball with some pop, but I am very high on not having to watch the 2020 Indians outfield :eek:
The OF has been a disgrace for some time. Zimmer was suppose to provide hope in the Indians brass that they can find a really good OF prospect.

I only know of, shit I don't know. Indians didn't draft Grady or Brantley, they came through trade. That's our last 2 successful OFs. Naquin, Zimmer, and Frazier was supposed to be a stud OF.

1991. Manny Ramirez. Last good OF drafted by Cleveland.
 
The OF has been a disgrace for some time. Zimmer was suppose to provide hope in the Indians brass that they can find a really good OF prospect.

I only know of, shit I don't know. Indians didn't draft Grady or Brantley, they came through trade. That's our last 2 successful OFs. Naquin, Zimmer, and Frazier was supposed to be a stud OF.

1991. Manny Ramirez. Last good OF drafted by Cleveland.
Or Brian Giles.
 

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