2010 in Review: Left Field

Posts in this series:

Team Offense Team Pitching
Team Defense
Catcher First Base Second Base
Shortstop Third Base Designated Hitter
Left Field Center Field Right Field
Starting Pitching Relief Pitching

 

Part I: Review

Michael Brantley started the season as the left fielder, didn't hit, and was eventually replaced by Austin Kearns. Kearns, who was probably a bad season away from ending his career, stayed healthy and anchored the lineup for a time. The Indians dealt him at the deadline, and playing time at the position was shared by Trevor Crowe and Shelley Duncan since Brantley had replaced an injured Grady Sizemore in center.

Defense

 

Name Pos Inn ARM DPR RngR ErrR UZR UZR/150
Austin Kearns LF 558 -0.8 -1.3 -0.3 -2.4 -5.7
Trevor Crowe LF 374 0.8 3.6 0.3 4.7 16.2
Shelley Duncan LF 309 5.2 -0.8 0.5 4.9 17.7
Michael Brantley LF 63 1.1 -2 0.1 -0.8 -45.1
Jordan Brown LF 57 1 -0.4 0.1 0.7 10.3
Matt LaPorta LF 53 0.2 -1.9 0.1 -1.7 -66
Jayson Nix LF 14 0 -0.6 0 -0.5 -82.3
Chris Gimenez LF 2 0 0 0 3
Anderson Hernandez LF 2
Luis Valbuena LF 1 -0.1 0 -0.1 0

 

UZR absolutely adored Kearns as a right fielder, even as recently as 2007 with Washington. But he hadn't played much since that 2007 season, and perhaps age and injuries are catching up with his defense. Or perhaps playing a new position affected his fielding. 

Shelley Duncan's positive marks are due mainly to his arm; he had six assists as a left fielder.

Offense

This went a lot better than it looked like it would. Even if Michael Brantley was successful as a hitter, he was going to struggle to slug .400. It turned out the Brantley would play more center field than left field, allowing the Indians to run out left fielders who would hit the ball out the park. And, what do you know? They somehow finished in the top half of the league.

 

Rk 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
1 TEX 48 3 37 62 103 .336 .393 .595 .988 .353 158 154
2 DET 44 2 24 58 123 .305 .366 .491 .858 .346 128 122
3 TBR 33 14 20 56 117 .298 .354 .482 .837 .335 126 117
4 MIN 49 1 24 35 95 .289 .328 .485 .813 .304 111 110
5 LAA 37 0 24 59 107 .268 .337 .451 .788 .290 124 104
6 CLE 35 2 16 60 152 .273 .344 .418 .762 .339 117 99
7 NYY 22 7 7 76 130 .278 .374 .381 .755 .349 94 99
8 TOR 42 5 20 54 164 .249 .312 .421 .733 .301 93 90
9 KCR 22 6 12 55 121 .281 .336 .391 .727 .326 100 90
10 OAK 29 3 14 54 112 .257 .325 .394 .719 .295 104 88
11 BOS 34 3 18 51 158 .230 .303 .396 .698 .286 77 82
12 SEA 24 3 18 78 167 .218 .318 .375 .693 .280 117 81
13 CHW 19 3 7 51 53 .266 .338 .337 .675 .281 82 78
14 BAL 31 4 13 34 136 .256 .294 .379 .672 .305 91 75
TOT 469 56 254 783 1738 .273 .338 .430 .768 .314 109 100
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/10/2010.





Here's how the at-bats were distributed:

Rk G PA ▾ AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
1 Austin Kearns 66 273 240 65 16 1 7 29 65 .271 .352 .433 .785 .341 110 105
2 Trevor Crowe 47 166 155 46 9 1 1 8 29 .297 .335 .387 .722 .360 127 89
3 Shelley Duncan 38 146 125 33 6 0 8 17 39 .264 .363 .504 .867 .316 135 124
4 Jordan Brown 7 27 26 10 3 0 0 0 2 .385 .407 .500 .907 .417 211 136
5 Michael Brantley 7 26 22 4 1 0 0 3 8 .182 .280 .227 .507 .286 64 36
6 Matt LaPorta 7 23 20 4 0 0 0 3 6 .200 .304 .200 .504 .286 55 36
7 Jayson Nix 2 8 8 1 0 0 0 0 1 .125 .125 .125 .250 .143 -24 -34
8 Chris Gimenez 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 -100 -100
9 Anderson Hernandez 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 -100 -100
Team Total 162 671 598 163 35 2 16 60 152 .273 .344 .418 .762 .339 117 99
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/10/2010.

 

A little less Trevor Crowe and a little more Shelley Duncan, and the Indians would have looked even better here. Kearns held down the offensive fort in the first half of the year, and Duncan provided a nice boost in limited action down the stretch. A .500 slugging percentage was a rare thing in 2010, no matter how small the sample size.

 

Part II: Looking Towards 2011

Not Coming Back

Austin Kearns (Traded, 7-30-2010)

Both the Indians and Kearns benefited from their time together. The Indians got a stretch of fine outfield play for a bargain price and a marginal prospect, and Kearns rejuvenated his major-league career. He'll get a major-league contract from someone, and a lot more money than the $750,000 the Indians and Yankees paid him in 2010.

Anderson Hernandez (Claimed off Waivers, 7-21-2010)

Coming Back

Shelley Duncan (Pre-Arbitraion) - No Arbitration Years Remaining

Duncan was also a nice minor-league signing, perhaps better than the Kearns deal, since he'll be affordable through at least the 2011 season. He finished just two home runs out of second place on the team, and while you wouldn't want to run him out there every day, he'll be a fine complement to Michael Brantley and a nice option to have available off the bench.

Trevor Crowe (Pre-Arbitration) - 1 Option Year Remaining

Sure, he was good defensively, but he only managed a 79 OPS+, barely acceptable for a fourth outfielder, never mind a corner outfielder. He has an option left, and the Indians should use it; he should be injury insurance only.

Jordan Brown (Pre-Arbitration) - 2 Option Years Remaining

Brown had a decent season in Columbus, but with his age (26) and place on the defensive spectrum (LF/1B), he needs to be obliterating minor-league pitching to open eyes. Brown could find his way on the roster as a backup first baseman and fifth outfielder, but it's more likely he goes back to Columbus again.

Michael Brantley (Pre-Arbitration) - 2 Option Years Remaining

With Grady Sizemore theoretically the center fielder next year, Brantley will slide over to left. He hit .284/.335/.371 in the second half, hitting for power but not taking as many walks. If he can manage to push the OBP up to the .360 range with a 80% steal rate, I think the Indians could live with him in left. All this assumes that Grady Sizemore is healthy and can play center field, two things that aren't givens any more.

Matt LaPorta (Pre-Arbitration) - 1 Option Year Remaining

I think LaPorta's played his last game in the outfield, as his glove is a much better fit at first base. Now we'll have to see if his bat is a fit in a major-league lineup.

Jayson Nix (Pre-Arbitration) - No Option Years Remaining

Up in the Air

Chris Gimenez (Pre-Arbitration) - 1 Option Year Remaining (Off 40-Man Roster)

I think Chris will be the backup catcher if the Indians keep him in the organization. He can play the corner infield and outfield spots, which gives your roster a bit more flexibility. Or if the Indians decide to have Marson be Santana's backup, he'll start for Columbus and serve as insurance.

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