Back again for its second season, this is the weekly series where I plan take the top 9 Indians in terms of OPS and feed them into Dave Pinto's Lineup Analysis Tool to determine the theoretical ideal batting lineup.
This Week's Results
This Week's Ideal Lineup
Theoretical Runs Per Game
A whopping 6.524.
The Indians are currently scoring 5.368 runs per game, which is impressive in its own right. But the ideal lineup is an improvement of 1.156 runs per game, or 187 runs over the course of a season. That's an additional 18-19 runs.
This team isn't too bad defensively, except it lacks a third baseman. The best candidate appears to be Travis Hafner, who played 29 minor league games at the hot corner.
Defensively, there's the issue with third base. Offensively, the lineup is very believable outside of Grady Sizemore getting bumped down to sixth. You might not readily think of Asdrubal Cabrera as a leadoff hitter and Jhonny Peralta as a ninth-place hitter, but of late the former has been surging and the latter has been struggling.
This again is a good example of how the lineup tool is supposed to work. The best overall hitter - in this case, Victor Martinez - is batting second, and the next best overall hitter (Shin-Soo Choo) is fifth. The top OBP guy is hitting leadoff. Believe it or not, that's Asdrubal Cabrera, who was recently promoted to the number two spot in the lineup in real life.
Random Indians Thought of the Week
Don't judge Cliff Lee by his win total this season. He has more than a few things working against him. Not only is he due for some regression, but he also has people gunning for him as the reigning Cy Young Winner. Plus, he'll be facing other teams' aces this year, whereas last year he was facing other teams' fifth starters. That means last year's 5-2 wins are this year's 2-1 losses. Oh, and he got "lucky" by facing an inordinate number of bad teams last year.
If anyone for the Indians can repeat Cliff Lee's performance this year, it's Aaron Laffey. Not only is Laffey off to a hot start, but he's also "pulling a Cliff Lee" by facing fourth and fifth starters, and so far facing poorer teams. (Two of his three starts this year have been against the Royals.)