The Indians Have Three Players Who Can Win MVP and Here’s Why:
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With the signing of Edwin Encarnacion, the Indians now have three perennial players on their roster that can win the MVP. With that said, here’s a list of the three players that can win the MVP award.
Most of us knew this guy would be on the list. After finishing 9th in MVP voting last season and winning the gold glove award at shortstop, Lindor should be primed for a serious MVP run. After his first full year in the majors, he quickly established himself as one the game’s youngest stars.
Coming off a year in which he hit .301 and drove in 78 runs in the regular season, he also got his first taste of the postseason where he carved up opposing pitchers. Lindor hit .368 in the ALCS, .296 in the World Series and overall .310 in the postseason. He hit two homeruns and drove in six runs. One key thing that Lindor did last year that went unnoticed was the ability to get the job done with runners in scoring position. He led the MLB in sacrifice flies with 15.
In addition to his skills at the plate, Lindor is a great defensive player. Coming off a year in which he won a Gold Glove, Lindor committed just 12 errors in 674 chances at shortstop with a fielding percentage of .982. He shows great range in the field and has an extremely strong arm.
Lindor has a deep understanding of the game and this shows he can get the job done when called on. With the addition of Edwin Encarnacion, we should see a rise in his stats and in return, boost his MVP candidacy.
This guy surprised a lot of people last year in more ways than one. Ramirez finished 17th in the MVP voting. He hit .312 and cemented his role as the third basemen for the Indians. At the dish, Ramirez was one of the best in the game last year. He drove in 76 runs and hit 11 homeruns. Where he shined the most was with runners on and more specifically when they were in scoring position. With runners on, Ramirez hit .346 and drove in 69 runs. With runners in scoring position he hit .355 and drove in 62 runs. Where he did the most damage though was with two outs and runners in scoring position. He hit .366 and drove in 31 runs. Ramirez’s ability to hit in the clutch is unmatched by anybody in baseball. With Edwin Encarnacion joining the lineup, Ramirez should see a rise in his batting average and runs batted in as teams will have to choose to pitch to him or Encarnacion.
In the field, Ramirez originally started out playing in the outfield but when given the opportunity at 3rd base, he took over the job and became a reliable everyday player. He played 117 games at the hot corner last season posting a .979 fielding percentage and only making five errors in 233 chances. As the year goes on this year, I would look for Ramirez to try and cement his place as one of the best defensive 3rd basemen this game has to offer.
Batting behind Encarnacion will help Ramirez relax at the plate and not feel pressured to do what he did last year. However, I see him creating even better numbers because of Encarnacion in front of him.
Yes, Michael Brantley has been out since last season and one could pretty much say he’s been out since 2015 because he only played 11 games last year. Let’s not forget what he did while he was healthy, though.
In 2014, Brantley hit .327 and quickly centered himself as one of the best hitters in baseball. He drove in 97 runs, hit 45 doubles, two triples and stole 23 bases only getting caught once. That season he finished 3rd in MVP voting in the AL. In 2015 he hit .310, hit 45 doubles and drove in 84 runs before going down with an injury.
Brantley is not just a good hitter either. He has one of the best arms from left field this game has to offer. In 2014 and 2015 made just a combined three errors in two seasons and has 20 assists from the outfield.
With last years rookie sensation Tyler Naquin taking over the starting position in the center field and the addition of Edwin Encarnacion in the lineup, Brantley should feel a load off his shoulders as someone who has to carry the team and can now just relax and play baseball.
Follow the author: @baratwurst41
Stats via baseball reference and espn
Image via southsideshowdown.com