The Sports Report

A Statistical Take on Sports and Politics

Cleveland Indians Offensive Production Analysis

The Cleveland Indians last season finished exactly at 0.500 last year with their 81-81 record, which leaves the unit open to direct comparison to the MLB averages in many different regards. Today’s post will be the first in a series of articles I will write in comparing the Indians production in the 2008 season to registered MLB averages in 2008, and seeing what can change for the Tribe in 2009.

Interestingly, the Indians offensive production tailed down in 2008 for the second consecutive season, only averaging 4.97 runs per game, down from 5.01 in 2007, and 5.37 in 2006. The Indians ranked seventh in run production last season, and were eighth in 2007 and second in 2006. When looking at the run production breakdown for the Indians last season, it is not a surprise to see that we were above average in comparison to the entire league:

The average MLB team in 2008 scored 7+ runs in about 24.6% of their ball games, and had a winning percentage of 0.873 in those games. The Indians, in contrast, scored that many runs in 27.2% of their games but had a lower winning percentage at 0.841.

In 2008, the average scored between 4-6 runs right around the league average of 33.7% of the time. The Indians then made up a lot of ground in this category, having an impressive 0.630 winning percentage in these games compared to the league average of 0.596.

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April 6, 2009 Posted by | Cleveland Indians Future | , , , | Leave a comment

The Boots (March 4, 2009)

Boot Up: Here comes Joe Smith – After weeks upon weeks of rumors, it appears that forward Joe Smith is finally coming to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The 6-foot-10 former first round pick out of the University of Maryland signed with the Cavaliers Wednesday morning, and will be able to play in the big game in Boston on Friday night. While many different blogs and reporters across the Northeast Ohio area have praised the return of Smith, a steady 33-year-old veteran presence in the locker room, I warn them of thinking too much about the fourteen-year NBA pro.

Sure, the Cavaliers have had problems defending the paint against teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat this season, but they are still #7 in the NBA in points in the paint allowed per game. The Cavaliers are only #23 in the league in points scored in the paint per game, according to TeamRankings.com, but that sort of happens when you have two top perimeter guards starting every single game. An odd fact, however, is that the Cavaliers have the #13 best points in the paint differential at home, while they are #20 on the road. This relates to an article I wrote recently on how LeBron James tends to be more productive at home, as he usually looks to drive it to the basket more often than not.

Joe Smith will continue to be a decent player, as he has averaged at least 17.36 points and 9.65 rebounds per 48 minutes in every single season of his career. Last season, in which he spent his final 27 regular season games with the Cavaliers, was one of his finest of his career on a per-minute basis. He averaged 21.64 points and 11.15 rebounds per 48 minutes, and advanced past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in his career. He is not by any means a legitimate starting post presence for one of the best teams in the NBA, but he is a very good fit for the team for the remainder of this season. I will certainly cheer for him to do well in Cleveland, but I do not think this automatically makes us the favorites, nor does it make us a very different ball club.

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March 4, 2009 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Ramblings About Life

Indians Hitters on the 25-Man Roster (and more): The Indians have added a pair of solid Major League talents this off-season, which will only lead to more chaos as the front office looks to trim down the final roster to 25-men for the start of the season in April. Here is a breakdown of the most capable hitters within the entire system that will start the year, or will contend to start the year playing for the Tribe:

Catcher Victor Martinez (turned 30 in December)
Catcher Kelly Shoppach (turns 29 in April)
Designated Hitter Travis Hafner (turns 32 in June)
First Baseman Ryan Garko (turned 28 earlier this month)
Second Baseman Asdrubal Cabrera (turned 23 in November)
Shortstop Jhonny Peralta (turns 27 in May)
Third Baseman Mark DeRosa (turns 34 in February)
Utility Infielder Jamey Carroll (turns 35 in February)
Left Fielder Ben Francisco (turned 27 in October)
Left Fielder David Dellucci (turned 35 in October)
Center Fielder Grady Sizemore (turns 27 this coming August)
Right Fielder Shin Soo-Choo (turns 27 this coming July)

Do not expect these hitters below to have a spot on the team this April, but these are the top prospects and performers in the rest of the organization:

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January 27, 2009 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Boots (October 14, 2008)

Boot Up: Ohio State’s Upcoming Schedule – After back-to-back ugly victories, the Ohio State football team finds itself at 6-1 and as the #13 team in the nation. Are they deserving of such a high ranking this week from the Harris Poll after failing to produce an offensive touchdown against Purdue? That is debatable, but the important aspect of the Buckeyes so highly ranked is that they have two extremely important games in the next two weeks. This week, the Buckeyes take on #18 Michigan State, a team that is 6-1 thus far this season mostly because of the incredible talent of Dayton Chaminade-Julienne graduate Javon Ringer. Their star 5-9 senior running back already has 1,112 yards and 14 touchdowns in seven games this season, and could very well be the first running back selected in the NFL Draft next year. He ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns last week in the Spartans victory over previously unbeaten Northwestern, and had a ridiculous 282 yards in a game against Florida Atlantic earlier this season. This will not be a very easy road game at all for Ohio State, and they must be able to get their offense back on track if they are going to contend with Michigan State for a full 60 minutes. They will not be able to rely upon a “bailout” from Terrelle Pryor as they did in the game against Wisconsin.

After that game this week in East Lansing, the Buckeyes have the extreme pleasure of hosting the #3 Penn State Nittany Lions. Joe Paterno’s crew is standing tall at 7-0 this season, and they look like the most logical team to stop Ohio State in their path to the Rose Bowl in 2008. I know it is not wise to overlook the road game this week against Michigan State, but this one should not be a walk in the park at all either. Senior Derrick Williams was one of the top recruits in the nation coming into Penn State four years ago, but has only just started to blossom for the team this season. In addition, it looks like this team utilized addition by subtraction through the graduation of Anthony Morelli, who had a less than stellar two full years as the starting quarterback. This game will make or break the Ohio State season, as a win in this game could easily propel them back on the national championship radar, along with putting them in line to win the Big Ten. Continue reading

October 14, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Boots (September 2, 2008)

Boot Up: Cleveland Indians recent play – The Cleveland Indians recent ten-game winning streak is a certain sign that things are sure to improve n 2009 for this very young team. Despite this past weekend’s three-game sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners, the Indians have played above average baseball throughout the second half of the season. When the Indians traded C.C. Sabathia just after their game on Sunday, July 6th, they had just lost to the Minnesota Twins and fallen to a record of 37-51 in the days before the All-Star break. Since that time, and despite the fact C.C. Sabathia may be a possible Cy Young candidate in the National League (which could include a no-hitter, pending an MLB report on whether or not a lousy infield single is ruled an error from Saturday’s game) the Indians have been 29-19. The Milwaukee Brewers, on the other hand, were 49-39 before the trade, and have been 31-18 since. This shows that since losing their best pitcher, the Indians have played right on track with one of the best teams in the National League: a team that currently has a 94.6% chance of making the playoffs according to Baseball Prospectus.

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September 2, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cleveland Indians Future: Hitters

The Cleveland Indians are currently aiming towards competing in the 2009 season. As an organization, they have many of their most important pieces already in line for Opening Day next year, but there are still many more options necessary in the long-term. With their current position players, the Indians may have very well have a chance of winning the Central Division next year, and competing in the American League. Unfortunately, their current alternatives do not look very good, as illustrated by a weak team in Buffalo filled with old stopgaps. All of the following statistics are as of the games on Sunday, July 20, so please bear with me. The following is a breakdown of all of the positions on the Major League team, and the line of succession for the future:

Catcher – Victor Martinez is set to begin baseball-related activities as early as by the end of this week, and could be on his way to a rehab assignment in Akron by the end of this month. For the time being, however, Kelly Shoppach is filling an absolute need by playing an average all-around game as the Major League catcher. Shoppach’s ceiling appears to be fading fast, and the options in both Triple-A, and Double-A are having difficulties in making the extra leap in their progression. Wyatt Toregas started the year as the catcher in Buffalo, but his line of .219/.292/.310 brought him back down to Akron in late June. Chris Gimenez had a stellar .479 on-base percentage in his time in Akron before getting the call up to replace Toregas. Gimenez has done very little to show that he is higher than Toregas on the organizational depth chart, while Toregas has hit 9 home runs in 81 at bats back in Double-A.

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July 24, 2008 Posted by | Cleveland Indians Future | , , | 2 Comments

The Boots (July 23, 2008)

Boot Up: 2008 Beijing Olympics – The Beijing Summer Olympics start up on August 8th, and the sports media in the United States will be focused on the USA basketball team, looking to win the gold after a disappointing bronze finish in 2004. This year’s USA team is much more organized, experienced, and talented than the team that played in Greece in 2004, and is the clear-cut favorites as of right now. Four teams from each group will advance from the first round to the knockout quarterfinals. Here are the teams, with my picks to make the quarterfinals underlined.

Group A

A1 Argentina – One of the deepest teams in the tournament, led by NBA players Manu Ginobili (San Antonio), Luis Scola (Houston), Fabricio Oberto (San Antonio), Andres Nocioni (Chicago), and former NBA player Carlos Delfino.

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July 23, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment