It’s the end of April and the start to a new month. The first full month of the season is over and 28 games in the books, but there are still five months to go and a lot of baseball to go. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to take away from the season so far. The Indians are currently sitting at second place in the AL Central with a 16-12 record. To compare to the rest of the league, they have the sixth best record in the AL and the ninth best record in the MLB. It may not seem like they’re starting off well to many fans, but they’re doing well, getting wins whenever they can. However, you feel about them, there are still somethings that can be taken away from this first month. Remember, it’s early on so all of this could change.
1. Hitting is Our Biggest Issue
I think it is safe to say that anyone that has paid any attention to the Indians so far this season can agree that our hitting has been an issue. If you look at the stats, the Indians are at the bottom in almost all hitting categories in the MLB. They’re 29th in batting average with .213, 26th in runs with 102, and last in total bases with only 186 (Seattle has almost triple that). I think it’s safe to say, it’s not going well for the Indians’ offense. Even with a stellar pitching rotation, which they have, there isn’t much that can be done with no offense to back it up. Of course, it’s early and you can only hope that things will pick up, but I know I am still worried. On the bright side, Francisco Lindor hasn’t back for long, so he has a chance to help turn this around. Also, they are still finding ways to win with poor offense, so an improvement in the offense can be huge.
2. Jose Ramirez Needs to Step-Up
The Indians’ MVP candidate for the past two years has been absent so far in 2019. Currently, he owns one of the worst batting averages on the Indians’ starting roster with only .188. and a low .284 on-base percentage. Last year, he was one of the leaders in home runs, but now he only has two, which Lindor has passed in a third of the games played. Normally, great players don’t just fall off, so it is safe to say this is just a slump and Ramirez will get out of it, but it’s still reasonable to be worried. The Indians could really use his help on offense, so I hope he can break this slump sooner than later.
3. Trevor Bauer is an Early Cy Young Candidate
The Indians starting pitcher rotation is one of the best in the league and for many years now has been led by Corey Kluber. However, this season Trevor Bauer has taken over that title, especially with Kluber having a rough start. Bauer was an early Cy Young candidate last year but lost his bid due to injury. This year he wants to redeem himself and starting off well at doing so. He is currently leading the rotation with the most strikeouts, wins, and innings pitched and the lowest ERA. Among the AL, he is fourth in ERA with 1.99, tied for ninth with 3 wins, the fifth most strikeouts with 45 and the 10th lowest WHIP with 1.03. He might not be leading in every category, but he also is a key to the Indians’ success with a 1.8 WAR, which leads the team and is the seventh highest among all players. This a big boost for his Cy Young bid, which should be alive the rest of the season.
4. The Outfield is Still a Problem
Going into the season, the biggest need for the Indians was to fix the outfield. The front office not doing much at all. They acquired Jake Bauers, but he doesn’t make up for the loss of Michael Brantley. They signed Carlos Gonzalez, but he is nowhere near the player he used to be and must play DH most of the time since Hanley Ramirez is already gone. Greg Allen hasn’t blossomed into a consistent starter yet. The only consistent outfielder has been Leonys Martin, but he doesn’t compare to other teams’ leaders in the outfield. This season, there have been six different players in the outfield with Martin, Allen, and Tyler Naquin playing the most games. Bauers has played more games in general than Allen, but he’s played first base and DH as well. Between the three outfield leaders, their average is a low .213. That isn’t terrible, but it is a part of the reason the team’s average is so low.