The Cleveland Indians were approaching the MLB All-Star break in dire need of some wins, and got three straight against the Kansas City Royals.
Without those wins, fans would be sitting at home stewing right now.
Instead, the team was able to bounce back from a nine-game skid and enter the break with a record of 45-42.
An MLB season is nearly an everyday affair, meaning it is hard to sit back and really offer up some analysis that lasts more than a day or two.
But given the time off, let’s look at three big surprises so far from the 2021 Indians.
3. Cesar Hernandez Second On Team In Home Runs
Did anyone expect Cesar Hernandez to battle with Jose Ramirez for the team lead in home runs?
Cesar Hernandez with home run #15 on the year.
That ties his career high in 2018 with Philadelphia. He had 708 plate appearances that season.
He's had just 369 PAs this season.#OurCLE pic.twitter.com/2W3Zj5IfcO
— Inside Edge (@IE_MLB) July 10, 2021
Ramirez leads the way with 19, but Hernandez is right there with 15 of his own.
This ties the second baseman’s career-high for any season and we are only at the break.
What this hot start does do is raise his trade value if the Indians want to go that route.
Hernandez could be sent away and the Indians could promote a prospect to fill the void.
Perhaps Ramirez could shift over to second and Nolan Jones could take the spot at third base.
That may be a long-shot, but anything is possible with this front office calling the shots.
For now, fans can be happy that Hernandez has flashed some power in a year when other big bats have either been injured or have simply underperformed.
2. James Karinchak Tied For Third In Strikeouts
James Karinchak, Dirty 83mph Curveball…and Sword. ⚔️
And then loses his mind. ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/JsDcMPUf0s
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 10, 2021
James Karinchak is an absolute force out of the bullpen, even if Emmanuel Clase tends to get most of the attention.
The surprising stat here is the fact Karinchak is tied for third on the roster in strikeouts, with 68.
That puts him behind only Aaron Civale and Shane Bieber.
The point of note here is that the reliever has put up that total in only 39.1 innings of work.
His 15.6 K/9 is off the charts and his ranking on the team shows just how much the bullpen has had to step up this year to help the rotation.
1. Eddie Rosario’s Entire Offensive Output
Oh, how we hate to pile on Eddie Rosario.
He showed up as the supposed sidekick to Ramirez in the lineup.
Instead, he is currently on the injured list with a .685 OPS and only seven home runs on the year.
We should point out that Rosario is second on the Indians in RBI with 46.
Yet the power numbers have not been there like fans have hoped and he is not even getting on-base at a .300 clip.
The current power trio in the lineup appears to be Ramirez, Reyes, and Bobby Bradley.
So what are the Indians to do with Rosario?
He remains a likely trade option, but the team may just hold onto him if the return is next to nothing.
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