Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – As a child of the 1980′s, there was a popular magazine called “Mad” that my brother collected. The magazine’s top character was named Alfred E. Newman, and it seemed in each and every issue he had a saying that became very popular during the 80′s.
“What me worry?”
As the Indians embark on a season that has drawn more excitement than in recent memory, there’s a concern among naysayers about a glaring statistic that could easily derail what could be a successful season.
This offseason the Indians added a number of big names to the roster, but all of them seem to have one thing in common. They all seem to strikeout quite a bit.
Here’s the numbers when it comes to K’s in 2012 for the new Indians – Nick Swisher (141), Michael Bourn (155), Mark Reynolds (159), and Drew Stubbs (166).
That’s a lot of strikeouts, a combined 621 for four new players that are expected to bring the Indians offense to the next level.
The players they replace (Shin-Soo Choo, Johnny Damon, Shelley Duncan and Casey Kotchman) combined to K 285 times last season.
That’s 336 more K’s for the new Indians, an average of two full strikeouts per game for the 2013 Tribe.
The Indians batting order as it stands today, struck out 1013 times in 2012, an average of 6.1 strikeouts per game. Last season the Indians most used batting order struck out an average of 4.4 times per game.
The number that the Indians brass seem more focused on, and it’s one worth noting, is that the Indians scored an average of 4.0 runs per game. After the All-Star break in their collapse the runs per game stat went in the other direction.
The team scored just 282 runs, an average of 3.5 runs per game in the second half. That half run may not seem like much, but once the pitching also went south, the team was destined for an awful finish.
The new look Indians are going to strikeout a lot, but the goal of the Dolans in going out and spending the money they did on the players they did was to score more runs, and at least on paper and based on their track record, that mission was accomplished.
The four new players brought aboard combined for 259 RBI last season, a number the front office and fans hope will translate into turning that four runs per game average into closer to 4.5 to five.
Consider the numbers of the teams that wound up playing for the sports biggest prize in October.
The World Series champion Giants scored 4.3 runs per game, while the AL Champion Tigers averaged 4.4 runs per game. San Francisco as a team struck out 6.6 times per game, while the Tigers struck out 6.7 times per game.
Yes, there will be nights the Indians reach double digits as a team in strikeouts. With the players they have acquired and are already in the lineup, it’s destined to happen.
But, before people start to ring their hands and fret about the amount of strikeouts this 2013 version of the Tribe is going to accumulate, remember it’s the American League, where small ball for the most part is thrown out the window.
This team needs to score runs, and while innings will be lost due to strikeouts, there’s also going to be a lot more chances to put runs on the board with big boppers and better hitters than last seasons much weaker hitting offense.
Just take the Alfred E. Newman approach when it comes to strikeouts and worrying about how many this new Indians team is going to have in the upcoming season.
“What me worry?”