The 2020 Cleveland Indians

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ncinthenext3

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Indians Place Roberto Perez On IL
By Jeff Todd | July 29, 2020 at 2:24pm CDT

The Indians have placed catcher Roberto Perez on the injured list, skipper Terry Francona tells reporters including MLB.com’s Mandy Bell (via Twitter). Outfielder Daniel Johnson will take the open roster spot.
Perez is dealing with an injury to his right shoulder. There’s no indication as of yet as to the seriousness. For the time being, he’ll take at least a week off before determining the next steps.
The Indians had already brought in Beau Taylor to cover for Perez. Taylor will pair with Sandy Leon behind the plate. The Cleveland organization will surely at least consider adding another catcher to the 60-man pool.
The real concern here is that Perez could miss substantial time. That’d be a significant blow to the Indians. The 31-year-old is off to a rough start in 2020 but last year turned in 449 plate appearances of league-average hitting while delivering well-regarded glovework behind the dish.


Probably shopping for another catcher as we type...otherwise we are looking at you Mike Freeman.
Ahhh, well FRICK. I hope this isn't serious.
 

TFIR

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Meisel's take:

‘He’s going to be a Cy Young pitcher one day’: Has Shane Bieber’s day arrived?

By Zack Meisel 21m ago
He bloomed from college walk-on to fourth-round draft pick in a span of two years. Twenty-three months later, he broke into the big leagues. He morphed from No. 5 starter to All-Star Game MVP in a matter of 14 weeks.
A year later, 25-year-old Shane Bieber has not only ascended to the role of Indians staff ace, but early signs indicate he now ranks as one of the top pitchers in the sport.
So, at this Usain Bolt-endorsed pace, it’s safe to figure that by summer 2021, Bieber will have been elected president, solved world hunger and racked up another 600 strikeouts.
“He’s, I believe, going to be a Cy Young pitcher one day,” said James Karinchak, who placed the finishing touches on another Cleveland pitching masterpiece Thursday night, a 2-0 win over the Twins in Minneapolis.
Perhaps that day will arrive soon. No one knows whether this season will reach its conclusion or whether a blizzard of asterisks will obscure the record books. But those who have watched Bieber operate in his first two starts, when so many other starters are still ramping up and searching for a rhythm, will remember a front-line pitcher performing at the peak of his powers.
“He’s so nasty, commands everything,” Karinchak said, “just makes every hitter uncomfortable.”
Bieber has struck out 27 of the 50 batters brave enough to step foot in the batter’s box during his two starts this season. The 27 strikeouts are tied with Karl Spooner (1954) for the most in major-league history through a pitcher’s first two starts in a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Bieber eclipsed Nolan Ryan’s American League record for strikeouts (25) in a pitcher’s first two starts of the year, set in 1978.
“That’s amazing company to be in — even in the same sentence with,” Bieber said.
(He was referring to Ryan. No word on his thoughts about Spooner, who only made those two starts in 1954, the first two of his career, and then pitched for the final time in the majors in 1955 as injuries derailed his career.)
“I’ve never been that much of a punchout pitcher,” Bieber said, “especially coming up through the minors. The book on me was pitch to contact, this and that. I made some adjustments over the past couple years and started to see more swing-and-miss.”
As a group, Cleveland’s starters have posted a 1.53 ERA through seven games, with an otherworldly 67-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. (Go back and read the end of that sentence again to ensure it sinks in properly.) They have established a new franchise record by starting a season with seven consecutive starts of at least six innings and no more than two runs allowed. They’re the first team to accomplish that since the 1993 Atlanta Braves.
In 2017, his first full professional season, Bieber registered 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings as he split time between Single-A Lake County, High-A Lynchburg and Double-A Akron. In 2018, that number slightly increased to 8.7 K/9 in the minors, and 9.3 in his 20 major-league outings.
Last season, when Bieber finished fourth in the AL Cy Young balloting, he piled up 259 strikeouts (10.9 K/9), the 12th-most in a season in franchise history. Only Bob Feller, Sam McDowell, Corey Kluber, Luis Tiant and Herb Score have produced seasons with a higher strikeout total.
Through his first two starts of 2020, Bieber has struck out 17.4 batters per nine innings. He became the fourth pitcher in big-league history to tally 10 or more strikeouts without allowing a run in his first two starts of a season, joining Spooner, Ryan and Jacob deGrom (2019).
Which pitch was most effective for Bieber on Thursday, when he blanked the high-powered Twins for eight innings? Let’s ask his catcher.
“Every one,” Sandy León said.
He can strap on a blindfold and stick a mid-90s fastball in the exact spot his catcher requests.

He implemented a cutter during his quarantine to help keep right-handers from sitting on his fastball. It carries a bit more velocity than his slider, but it still breaks horizontally.
He has spent the last two winters refining his change-up, a pitch that tails away from lefties.

And then there’s the curveball, the pitch that might jolt Josh Donaldson awake in the middle of the night, rocking back and forth in a cold sweat.
Bieber tossed it in the strike zone when he wanted. Other times, he buried it in the dirt. Either way, hitters helplessly lunged at it, and they came up empty.
“He’s got some deception with the breaking ball,” Donaldson said. “If I could rate it, it’s probably one of the top breaking balls in the league.”
In his only Houdini act on Thursday, with two runners aboard and one out in the sixth, Bieber offered Donaldson a 3-2 curveball. Donaldson fouled it off. That’s a risky endeavor: If Donaldson doesn’t swing, he draws a walk and the bases are loaded for the middle of the Twins’ potent lineup.
But Bieber then threw another curveball, which plunged into the dirt in front of home plate. Donaldson couldn’t resist, and Bieber notched a critical strikeout. It was the third time in three at-bats in which Donaldson succumbed to a strike-three curveball.
“That was one of those pitches where I wasn’t trying to bury it as much as I did,” Bieber said, “but fortunately we had him set up and maybe had him guessing a little bit. I got him to fish a little bit. That was huge. … I definitely feel confident with all my pitches right now, and being able to throw them where I want to throw them and getting the right action on them.”

Bieber can command each of his pitches, and he clearly isn’t afraid to throw any of them in any particular count. Francisco Lindor squared off against Bieber during spring training 2.0, and he hinted that there’s a secret formula for solving the rapidly rising pitcher.
“I won’t help other teams,” Lindor said, smiling. “Yeah, there’s a way. Good luck. It wasn’t fun hitting him in summer camp.”
Instead, Lindor stood at shortstop Thursday — without much to do, admittedly, as Bieber piled up strikeout after strikeout. He envisioned standing in against Bieber and pondered how he would approach each at-bat.
“I’m like, ‘OK, if he throws this pitch right here, I’ll take it,’” Lindor said, “and then he throws a completely different pitch, and it’s like, ‘Boom!’ It’s fun to watch.”
(Photo: Jason Miller / Getty Images)
 

macbdog

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Instead, Lindor stood at shortstop Thursday — without much to do, admittedly, as Bieber piled up strikeout after strikeout. He envisioned standing in against Bieber and pondered how he would approach each at-bat.
He's already planning his exit... :(
 

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How long until we see DeShields in action? Mercado is struggling (I know it is early) and with DeShields, Zimmer, Johnson, and Allen as potential options, how long of a leash do we give our fringy regulars??
 

Derek

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How long until we see DeShields in action? Mercado is struggling (I know it is early) and with DeShields, Zimmer, Johnson, and Allen as potential options, how long of a leash do we give our fringy regulars??
Zimmer is already playing most days, so I wouldn't anticipate Mercado losing any PT until Naquin gets healthy (if/when)
 

DCTribefan

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How long until we see DeShields in action? Mercado is struggling (I know it is early) and with DeShields, Zimmer, Johnson, and Allen as potential options, how long of a leash do we give our fringy regulars??
I’d say a real short leash given the short season and threat of COVID postponements.
 

LL3

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Seems to me that Tito is viewing Allen as the superior defender over DJ...maybe better batter in the moment, too. "Experience" probably a factor for him, too.
 

LL3

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With our team/pitching staff, I do not believe we are going to send out an inferior defender in Center too many times. Zimmer needs to get more comfortable in CF ( and I hope he does) to steal many at bats from Mercado in the near term . DeShields has a glove, so he could be a factor when he returns, but it is a long shot.
 

DCTribefan

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With our team/pitching staff, I do not believe we are going to send out an inferior defender in Center too many times. Zimmer needs to get more comfortable in CF ( and I hope he does) to steal many at bats from Mercado in the near term . DeShields has a glove, so he could be a factor when he returns, but it is a long shot.
Agree on Zimmer although he has shown an affinity for making close contact with the CF wall.
 

sportscoach

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When has Zimmers defense ever been in question? Also it is way too early to say if Mercado shouldn't be in the lineup at the end of the day.
 

Derek

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When has Zimmers defense ever been in question? Also it is way too early to say if Mercado shouldn't be in the lineup at the end of the day.
I feel like it's been a while since we got an "at the end of the day" out of you :chuckle:

I agree though. I said as much in the preseason. A bad week shouldn't impact your role on the team. However, given Zimmer's improved play, he was likely in line for some sort of role regardless, which would probably mean Mercado could lose some at-bats if/when Naquin returns. That has nothing to do with his performance though.

I also think that Zimmer is probably our best defensive option at all three OF spots, CF included.
 
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It's very early but the Indians currently rank 28th out of 30 in runs per game at 3.43.

The good news is they're 5-2 despite not hitting anywhere near the level they should be at by the end of the "season". Last year they were 15th and they should be better this year.
 

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