Category Archives: ZL. January 2014

Analyzing Mike Aviles’ plate discipline and what it means (1.14.14)

If you want to find one of the key reasons for Cleveland’s big turnaround from 2012 to 2013, just look at the upgrades on the bench — like the addition of Mike Aviles. It is very easy to just look at a starting nine or the five-man rotation, but over a long 162-game season, depth really comes into play.

During the 2012 season, Cleveland’s key bench members consisted of players like Shelley DuncanLou Marson, and Jose Lopez. Last season was a different story, however, as key contributions from the likes of Ryan RaburnYan Gomes, and Aviles helped put Cleveland over the top.

The funny thing about Aviles, though, is that even though he was an upgrade over the 2012 bench, his 2013 season was not all that impressive. Depending on which version of WAR you care for, Aviles was either worth 0.3 fWAR or 0.6 rWAR in 2013. Either way, despite playing in 124 games and logging 394 plate appearances, Aviles was well below-average last season.

How did that happen following Aviles’ rather stellar 2012 campaign? The infielder dropped from 1.5 to 0.3 fWAR despite his offense staying rather stagnant (.250/.282/.381 line in 2012, .252/.282/.368 line in 2013). Well, Aviles saw a regression in his defense. The metrics have never really loved Aviles at third base, yet that is where he spent almost half of his time in 2013.

Basically, Aviles plays a good shortstop (7.2 career UZR/150), but not a good third base (-18.2 career UZR/150; though that sample is fairly limited, the fact that the stats are that bad are a pretty good indication of Aviles’ defensive ability at the hot corner and they would only regress so far).

His defensive positioning-induced fluctuating WAR totals aside, the real interesting thing about Aviles in 2013 are the underlying statistics behind his poor offensive line. A mere look at his slash lines above indicate that he was the same hitter in 2012 and 2013, but Aviles actually made some significant changes in his approach. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, January 14, 2014

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Posted by on March 1, 2014 in ZL. January 2014


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History’s warning signs for Trevor Bauer’s future (1.6.14)

When general manager Chris Antonetti acquired Trevor Bauer in last offseason’s Shin-Soo Choo trade, some — including me — heralded the right-hander as the present and future ace of the Cleveland rotation.

Clearly that did not go according to plan.

Bauer struggled from the get-go as he underwent a change to his pitching mechanics and brought the phrase “neuromuscular programming” into our lexicon. The right-hander pitched poorly during his brief callups in 2013, posting a 5.29 ERA, a 7.05 FIP, and 11:16 SO:BB in 17.0 innings. The results in the minors — a 4.15 ERA, a 5.08 FIP, and 106:73 SO:BB in 121.1 innings — did not inspire confidence either.

Considering that Bauer turns 23 years old later this month, I still think the right-hander has a very high upside. After all, he was a consensus top-10 prospect in all of baseball per Baseball America before 2012 and a consensus top-15 prospect in all of baseball per Baseball America before 2013. Bauer was IBI’s #2 prospect before 2013 — only behind Francisco Lindor — due to his three above-average pitches (fastball, curveball, and slider) and his proximity to the majors.

But that does not take away from how poorly Bauer pitched in 2013.

Last Saturday I wrote about Danny Salazar’s historic season. Bauer also had a historic season, though more in the infamous sense. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, January 6, 2014

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Posted by on January 6, 2014 in ZL. January 2014


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Get Lucky: The 2013 Cleveland Indians year-in-review (1.1.14)

What Cleveland fan is not happy about the way 2013 turned out? Going from a 68-win mess in 2012 to a playoff-bound 92-win team in 2013 was nothing short of amazing. A series of great moves in the offseason spurred the turnaround, but with any change that big, a little luck comes into play.

Last year, I used Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon to recap 2012. This year, we’re going more modern with Rolling Stone‘s #1 single of the year, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”

It takes some luck to win 92 games. It never feels like it in Cleveland (paging the Three Stooges), but in 2013, the baseball side of things got lucky. So sit back, enjoy, and Happy New Year! Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, January 1, 2014

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Posted by on January 6, 2014 in ZL. January 2014


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