Indians hitting in the second half of 2013

Jason Miller

The Tribe had the second-best record in the AL after the All-Star break in 2013. What did the offense look like for those two and a half months?

The Indians went 41-26 after the All-Star break in 2013, the second-best record in the American League. The Tribe's six starting pitchers all pitched basically as well or better in the second half, led by Ubaldo Jimenez, who was the best pitcher in the league over that period. Among the 7 relief pitchers who three the most innings after the break, all but one had an ERA of 3.07 or better, with the exception being Chris Perez, who posted a 5.60 ERA and allowed more home runs by himself (7) than the rest of the bullpen combined (6).

Almost every arm on the team had a strong second half, but what about the bats?

Here are the eleven Indians who had 100+ plate appearances after the break:

Player PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
Nick Swisher 293 32 65 11 1 13 32 31 66 .250 .328 .450 .778 .284 103 118
Jason Kipnis 284 33 64 13 1 4 27 31 60 .261 .343 .371 .714 .326 76 103
Carlos Santana 281 34 61 16 0 9 31 40 46 .258 .370 .441 .811 .284 95 129
Michael Bourn 277 36 57 8 5 4 31 24 62 .232 .299 .354 .653 .290 93 85
Asdrubal Cabrera 262 25 54 15 0 7 30 14 45 .228 .279 .380 .659 .250 88 85
Michael Brantley 242 20 65 13 2 3 25 14 25 .291 .331 .408 .739 .315 103 108
Yan Gomes 182 25 52 12 0 5 18 11 40 .319 .385 .485 .869 .395 112 145
Drew Stubbs 168 22 30 5 0 3 10 23 48 .210 .321 .308 .629 .290 91 80
Mike Aviles 157 17 35 5 0 4 20 4 13 .241 .261 .359 .620 .237 90 74
Lonnie Chisenhall 128 15 25 6 0 5 11 7 21 .208 .252 .383 .635 .213 90 77
Ryan Raburn 103 15 26 7 0 6 27 8 23 .280 .340 .548 .888 .308 96 147

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com

Raburn, Gomes, and Santana led the charge. Raburn was especially impressive, with 6 home runs in 93 at bats (not shown), and 27 RBI, which shows he was taking advantage of the opportunities given to him, driving in runs with more than twice the frequency (per PA) of any of his teammates. Swisher had a strong second half too. His team-leading 13 home runs in those 67 games work out to 31 for a full season (no Indian has hit that many since Grady Sizemore in 2008).

Gomes had the best luck in balls in play. Even if you think his full-year BABIP of .342 is sustainable (I don't), certainly the .395 he put up in the second half isn't going to hold. Out of 315 MLB players with 100+ second-half PA, Gomes' BABIP ranks 8th. The only AL player with as many second-half PA as Gomes and a better BABIP was Mike Trout.

No other play seems to have benefitted from good luck, while Cabrera, Aviles, and especially Chisenhall appear to have suffered from bad luck (Chisenhall's .213 second-half BABIP was 14th-worst among those 315 players. Given regular playing time, Lonnie's overall numbers will almost certainly rise). Bourn belongs in this category too, since his .290 BABIP is more than 50 points below his career figure of .342.

The last two columns in the chart might be unfamiliar to you, but I think they're good for any learned baseball fan to know:

tOPS+ shows how a player's OPS for a particular split (in this case, the second half of the season) compares to their OPS for the full season. A tOPS+ of 100 means that player's OPS for the chosen split was the same as it was for the full season, while every point above 100 equates to the split being 1% better than the full season, and every point below 100 equates to the split being 1% worse.

Gomes was the only Indians hitter with a noticeably better line in the second half. Swisher, Brantley, Santana, and Raburn all had a second-half OPS roughly the same as their full-season rate, while the Tribe's other 6 hitters all saw a decline in the second half, especially Kipnis. I found that surprising, since the team's strong finish and excellent overall record in the second half would have led me to predict that most of the team's hitters saw an uptick, not a decline.

sOPS+ shows how a player's OPS for a particular split compares to the entire MLB's OPS in that same split. That is to say, sOPS+ is identical to regular, plain old OPS+, but for only that split. Looking at sOPS+ for a single team doesn't accomplish a great deal, because the park adjustments that make OPS+ so much better to look at than just OPS rarely cause real differences between teammates. It does still give you a sense of whether a player was above or below league average, of course.

The Indians won 53.7% of their games in the first half, with the run differential of a team that would be expected to win 52.6%. In the second half, they won 61.2% of their games, with the run differential of a team that would be expected to win 60.0%. That's a big, big improvement, but the offense was actually worse after the break, both in terms of the OPS figures for individual players as shown above, and from looking at run scoring, which dropped from 4.78 per game in the first half (5th in MLB) to 4.34 in the second half.

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