Continuing through my look at viable mini-stack options for different MLB teams, I thought it would be fun to look at a team that doesn’t have one player who is head and shoulders better than everyone else. The Cleveland Indians have several bats who I think a lot of us see a “very good,” but maybe not superstar level, and they also have a few players with reputations for being very splits-y. With that in mind, I’m expecting the Indians results to be kind of all over the place, but anxious to see if there are any mini-stacks that are significantly better than the others.
As a team in 2015, the Indians have been better overall against right-handed pitching. Since Kipnis, Brantley, and Moss are all left-handed, plus Santana who is a switch-hitter, this makes a lot of sense. Breaking down the results on a player level, here are the Indians player who are currently in the green in terms of Plus/Minus this year, first vs. lefties and then vs. righties:
Starting with lefties, none of their regular players added a point in Plus/Minus. This is going to make finding a mini-stack that actually adds value somewhat difficult, but let’s take a look. Over the last couple of weeks, here’s what the Indians have looked like vs lefties:
Looking over the Indians’ batting order and the Plus/Minus stats, there really are no viable mini-stacks for the Indians against lefties. If this surprises you after reading a previous article where I noted that the Indians were tied with the Twins for most runs against lefty pitching at the time, rest assured, that is based on volume of at-bats only:
Obviously, a big part of the decision to stack a team depends on the opposing pitcher and pricing, so I’m definitely not going to say avoid Indians vs lefties at all costs. The stack has been a very poor play over the first part of the season, however.
Against righties, here’s the Indians usual lineup(s):
Because of Lindor’s uneven play since getting called up, there are actually no mini-stacks including successive bats that have added value. Using their best three players regardless of spot in batting order produces a stack that adds a pretty significant 6.65 points and, I think, is still worth considering.
Another thing I like about this stack (Kipnis-Perez-Santana) is that it doesn’t use any outfielder positions, giving you a lot of flexibility moving forward. Once Lindor settles more into a rhythm, it will open up the door for several other combinations, including the top of the order combination of Kipnis-Lindor-Brantley. At this time, though, the Indians bats just are not adding enough value overall to be a very stackable team.