So once again I have found myself neglecting my duties to my blog, life can be crazy you know… But I’m not gonna complain about that stuff now, back to business. The Indians are in first place, almost at the All Star break now which gets more incredible every day. The surprising Indians keep on rolling, despite injuries and adversity. This post will more or less be a mid-year hitlist. Biggest surprise, biggest dissapointment, team mvp and lvp, and all those sorts of things. Lets get to it.
Biggest Surprise: Asdrubal Cabrera’s breakout. To me this is the biggest surprise for the Tribe this year. His defensive wizardry was well known coming into this season, but his offense had yet to live up to his potential. Well, his potential has turned into awesome… Pure Awesome. Gold glove level defense and MVP caliber production has pushed him to his first all star appearance, where he should be starting over Derek Jeter. The runners up to biggest surprise is Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin.
Biggest Letdown: Grady Sizemore. The way he came back off the disabled list at the start of the year was phenomenal. He looked like the guy who was one of the best in the league just 5 years ago. Since then though he has had another DL stint and struggled to make contact, striking out at alarming rates. Now I could care less about a lot of strikeouts if he was at least hitting well and getting on base, but he just isn’t hitting at all. That makes him my biggest dissapointment in the first half.
Team MVP: there certainly is an argument for Asdrubal Cabrera, but while his season has been amazing, Travis Hafner is this teams MVP. Pronk is not quite the Pronk of old, but his walkoff grandslam the other night shows his value to the club. When he has been in the lineup, the team has won. During his DL stint with an oblique issue the team struggled mightily and things turned up when his bat returned to the middle of the lineup. Now if only his production was contagious.
Best Pitcher: easily, this award goes to Justin Masterson, with Josh Tomlin a distant 2nd followed by the entire bullpen not named Chad Durbin. Masterson has emerged as the team’s ace, ending losing streaks and pitching with nasty effectiveness night in and night out. Without him the team would not be where they are at.
Biggest strength moving forward: The bullpen anchored by Pure Rage Chris Perez and the rest of the so called bullpen mafia. The Tribe’s bullpen has been downright filthy all year long and it will continue to be the teams strength moving forward.
Biggest weakness moving forward: The offense. The offensive production has been very poor and inconsistent all year. J-Mast might not have lost a game all season if it wasn’t for horrible run support. Sure, the team has been getting some big, timely hits, but the lack of consistent production could spell doom in the 2nd half.
Who emerges as the 2nd half star? My bet is Carlos Santana. I think he gets it going in the 2nd half and shows the consistency he lacked in the first part of the year. His batting average will start creeping back towards .300.
Who losses their job in the 2nd half? That, my friends, will be Matt Laporta. I said way back in January this year was make or break for the righty. He still has not found consistency and continues to not live up to expectations. I think the Indians see more value in Santana at first in the long run and start phasing out the Gator.
My bold, well not really that bold prediction… The Indians win the division. The bullpen and starting pitching wins it for the Tribe, who will beat the Tigers by 2 games when it is all said and done. Lets go Tribe, bring on the second half.