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Cleveland Indians outfielders weren't good, even with an MVP candidate

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And now we take a look at the outfield as a whole, rather than by each position. And I don’t think it will look as pretty as the infield.

The main Tribe outfield in 2014
The main Tribe outfield in 2014
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, we reviewed the Tribe infield as a whole as they compared to the rest of the AL Central. Next up for review: the outfield and DH grouped together.

Among the AL Central teams had the best outfield/DH combination? My initial feeling is that the Tribe outfield would finish at the bottom due to the poor right field showing, the below average year in center, and the mostly poor DH position.

Like before, I also am doing a quick and dirty summation. That is, I did not total the actual OPS by adding all the plate appearances and dividing out. As each position comes out with roughly the same amount of appearances, I just added the totals and divided by the four positions to get the approximate average.

First, we'll look at the more traditional stat, OPS.

OPS

Avg Rank

Tigers

813

4.5

Twins

726

3.25

Indians

718

2.75

White Sox

715

2.75

Royals

701

1.75

The Tigers by far had the best hitting outfield via OPS, mainly because of the Martinez's, Victor and J.D. The Royals landed at the bottom again, with the Tribe sitting in third. And honestly, there isn't much separation between the Twins, Indians and White Sox. The second column is the average rank, where each team was ranked 1 through 5 for each of the five positions. The Tigers dominate again, with all four positions either first or second.  The Tribe could have fared better but was last in right and second to last in center.

Next up wRC+, which has a much better reputation among the SABR crowd. Again, all I did was take the total of all four positions and divided by 4:

wRC+

Avg Rank

Tigers

163

4.5

White Sox

120

2.0

Twins

116

3.5

Indians

106

2.75

Royals

82

2.25

Unlike the infield, the outfield looks worse with wRC+. And the Tigers reach even higher than their separation in OPS. The oddball stat here is that the White Sox had the second best wRC+ but dead last in rankings. And the Royals alos look worse as compared with OPS.

Last but not least, adding the dreaded defensive component and seeing its effect using FanGraphs' WAR.

fWAR

Avg Rank

Royals

13.6

4.0

Tigers

11.1

3.5

Twins

4.6

3.25

Indians

4.2

2.125

White Sox

2.3

2.125

Again, I just added the total WAR for each position. And not surprisingly, the Royals jump to the front of the pack due their excellent defense in the outfield and their speed on the basepaths. The Indians as expected finished poorly. They grade out better in WAR due to Brantley, but in reality, they and the White Sox really struggled overall.

The Indians' outfield/DH numbers theoretically should improve in 2015 as they were pretty bad overall in 2014. The main reason for hope is that Moss, health permitting, is a definite upgrade over Murphy/Raburn. Brantley will likely slide down some, but I don't believe it will be as bad as the projections are calling for. Again, health permitting, both Bourn and Swisher theoretically should be better. But even with some positive regression (aggression?) I doubt they catch the Royals due to their significant defensive ratings. They might catch the Tigers as I believe Victor is the only real true known quantity in 2015.