Indians Mega-Season Preview
8. Who Fills the Lost Players Holes
Who fills in for these players:
Carlos Santana: For the past eight seasons, the Indians could pencil in Santana’s name in the lineup and expect a high walk rate and an above-average source of power. Now Santana is in Philadelphia and in to replace him is Yonder Alonso. He was a better hitter than Santana last season and over the past three seasons, the two hitters have a very similar OPS+, with Santana at 113, while Alonso is at 110. Alonso has played his entire career in pitcher-friendly parks and while Progressive Field is no bandbox, it should be a better hitting environment than what Alonso has seen in the past. The Indians will be losing out on Santana’s defense and it’s possible that Encarnacion will see more time at first, which severely hurts the Indians in the field.
Jay Bruce: If you look at it a certain way, you’ll realize that Bruce was really Brantley’s replacement. And as great as he fit in the lineup, if you take a look at his underlying statistics, you’ll find the real story. Bruce was actually an average player for the Tribe. He produced just 0.2 WAR in his 43 games played (about 0.7 WAR over a full season). Brantley meanwhile produced 2.1 WAR in his limited action.
Bryan Shaw: No one can truly replace what Shaw brought to the Indians. No one will ever be able to give up key hits, runs, and home runs quite like Shaw did. Okay, I’m only sort of joking there. No reliever over the last five year was as consistent as Shaw when it came to appearing in games (378 overall, or about 75 per season). The Indians will use some combination of Zach McAllister, Nick Goody and Dan Otero to replace what Shaw was able to produce. It says something about a guy when you have three guys try and replace what he did. Danny Salazar is a wild card with the Indians and it will be interesting to see how they use him.
Joe Smith: Smith is what you call a luxury. Guys like him are also readily available come the trade deadline. All the guys mentioned for Bryan Shaw also fall in this category, but it’s most likely the Smith replacement isn’t even on the roster yet.
Michael Martinez: Just kidding.