CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Brandon Guyer was as shocked as anyone when he was informed of his trade to Cleveland at the MLB Trade Deadline.
“When they called me in, I was pretty surprised,” Guyer said. “After that, it was, ‘All right, I’m going to pack up my bags, try to get my family packed up and to Cleveland as quickly as possible.’
“It was definitely a shock, but at the same time, it was pretty cool.”
Of course, the possibility of joining a first-place club helped that transition from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Indians. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Cleveland acquired the right-handed hitting outfielder to do exactly what he does well — crush left-handed pitching.
“That helps, but even if it’s more than that, I’ll be comfortable,” Guyer said. “The past three years, I’ve played a lot against righties and I’ve played all over the outfield. So, no matter what the situation, I’ll be comfortable. Right now, it’s play against lefties. Like I said, whatever it takes to help this team win. Whatever that is, I’m happy to do it.”
Even if Guyer doesn’t consider himself strictly a platoon player, his split advantage obviously favors the lefties.
This year, the 30-year-old is slashing .354/.485/.610 in 82 at-bats vs. southpaws, a drastic improvement over his stats against righties (.205/.288/.331). He also features the highest wRC+, an all-encompassing offensive statistic, among MLB players with at least 100 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers this season.
His mark of 202 indicates that he is creating runs against left-handed pitching at a 102-percent rate above the league average.
Guyer also owns an .861 OPS against southpaws in his career.
As for why he’s been a better hitter against left-handed pitching, the right-handed hitter isn’t too sure.
“If you look at my numbers against righties, the average and stuff is bad, but I feel like I’ve had some really good at-bats all year,” he said. “I’ve had some tough luck, but that’s baseball… Over the course of the season, you’d think it’d average out and even out. I really don’t know why it looks like I’m doing a lot better against lefties, because honestly, in my head, I feel great against all of them.”
Since joining the Indians following the Aug. 1 trade from Tampa, Guyer has fit in quite well with his new squad, going 9-for-21 with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored and six RBI entering Wednesday’s game. Providing immediate production is one of the easiest ways to avoid the pressure of being thrust into a pennant race without warning.
“It’s nice for guys to have a little success, so they can settle in, because it’s human nature that you try really hard,” manager Terry Francona said. “And then, when you try really hard, that first week turns into two weeks, and two weeks turns into three, and you’re like, ‘Whoa.’ It gets hard. So yeah, it is nice.”
As for dealing with that pressure, Guyer tries to channel any of those emotions into something positive.
“They’re in a playoff race,” he said. “So, you don’t want to do anything to mess anything up. But to take the pressure off, I just came in knowing I have a certain role. I’m not going to come in and try to do too much. They already had a great team, so it’s not like I’ve got to come in here and be a savior or anything. I’ve just got to try to do my part and let all the other players on the team do their part.”
Thus far, that attitude appears to be working quite well.