The Cleveland Indians have enjoyed an amazing first year under manager Terry Francona. They finished the year with a record of 92-70 and surprised many by grabbing the top Wild Card spot. They will face the winner of the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays to see who will advance to take on the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS.
The Indians come in hot, having won 10 straight games. They had big years from Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana, and free agents Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher have blended in with the team nicely. They have also have seen a resurgence from Ubaldo Jimenez to near his ace status. They have even be able to overcome the struggles of closer Chris Perez, and they look like a dangerous team heading into the postseason.
By taking a look at sabermetrics, the Indians have a couple of numbers that stand out and that teams should be aware of. Starting with pitching, the Indians are second in all of baseball with a 22.3 percent strikeout percentage. Jimenez and Justin Masterson led the way in this department, both netting nearly 200 strikeouts this season.
The Indians are also tied for second in the league in stolen base runs saved (rSB). This measure the ability of the pitchers and catchers to control the running game. The Indians pitchers do a good job of holding runners on and Yan Gomes has succeeded in throwing runners out if they do try to take off.
The Indians are fundamentally sound and they are a fun team to watch. Sabermetrics show they have a chance to make a run this postseason, and Francona is going to do everything in his power to try and bring them there.