Surprising Offenses

My sophomore year in college, I transferred to a new school and was placed in a dorm with a senior. He was a decent enough guy, I guess. I do recall he was very keen on keeping a clean gun. Yeah, gun. He was an avid hunter and kept a pistol (in a locked box) under his bed. And surprisingly, I was fine with that.

What I wasn’t fine with was the bottles of dip spit that he’d leave all over the room. Usually the plastic bottles were easy (and disgusting) enough to avoid. The problem came when he used a half drunk root beer can from my desk. Imagine my surprise. I was pissed.

I don’t know if Washington Nationals fans are drinking a lot of dip spit or if they’re just pissed at the offensive production from their team. The Nats averaged¬†4.51 runs/game last year as they had the best record in the majors. This year, they’re averaging 3.45 runs per game which is 27th in the major leagues.

You only need to look out to the keystone to see where their issues start. Danny Espinosa has been terrible this season. He recently missed 9 games with a bone chip in his wrist. He’s hitting a¬†paltry .158/.193/.272 through 158 ABs. Last year he only hit .247/.315/.402 with 189 Ks, but he did hit 17 bombs. The biggest problem is his terrible on base percentage. Over the past 2 full seasons, he’s gotten on base at a 31.9% clip, and this season only 19.3% of the time. Espinosa has batted in 5 different spots in the lineup, usually in the 7 hole. His OPS+ is an embarassing 28, by far the worst of the Nationals starters. Espinosa was placed on the DL on June 3 to heal from the wrist injury he suffered in April.

Espinosa isn’t the only Nationals regular who has spent time on the DL this season. Currently Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and starter Ross Detwiler are all on the DL. Jayson Werth has spent 32 days on the DL this season. He came off the DL on June 4th and went 1/4 with a single. Werth has a career OPS+ of 117 so the Nationals hope that his return will spark their offense. When Harper comes off the shelf and their offense is playing at full strength I think the Nationals will start to climb in the team offense standings.

If you would have told me at the beginning of the season the Cleveland Indians would be a top 5 offense at the beginning of June, I wouldn’t have believed you. Last season their 4.12 runs per game was in the bottom third of the league. Yes, they added Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds and Drew Stubbs, but that’s a pretty big jump even with those bats. Their offense has been clicking all season. Drew Stubbs is the Indians only regular starter that has an OPS+ under 100 (Stubbs OPS+ is 85). Stubbs is sharing time at both corner outfield positions with Michael Brantley (107 OPS+) and Ryan Rayburn (147 OPS+).

The injury bug has recently bit the Indians too. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera just went on the DL with a quad injury. Mike Aviles will step in at short with Cabrera on the shelf. Aviles has a .282/.308/.418 slash line in 110 at bats this season. Last season, when Aviles got regular playing time in Boston his slash line was .250/.282/.381 with 13 homers and 14 steals.

I don’t see any reason for the Indians production to fall off. If they keep hitting they’ll give the Tigers a run for their money all summer long.

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