Indians fans wanted a big bat at the July trade deadline; someone to supply some power and pop to an outfield stung by the loss of Michael Brantley. Names like Carlos Beltran and Jay Bruce were spun around the rumor mill and linked to the Tribe. Fans got excited and expected big things, especially after the Jonathan Lucroy saga. When the trade for an outfielder was announced, it came with more rumblings than cheers. Brandon Guyer . . . who the heck is that?!?
Well, Guyer was actually a really solid addition to the Tribe and likely will play a sizable role with the club going forward. Let’s take a look at the 30-year-old outfielder.
Price was right
While Beltran or Bruce would have cost some top prospects, Guyer came much cheaper. The Tribe sent outfielder Nathan Lukes and pitcher Jhonleider Salinas to Tampa Bay for Guyer, and neither of them are extremely highly regarded prospects. Lukes is a 22-year-old outfielder who was decent in High-A in 2016, but many wonder if his ceiling is that of a AAAA-type guy. Salinas has an amazing first name but is a project-type pitcher with strikeout potential and lots of walks allowed so far in his young Minor League career.
Additionally, Guyer wasn’t just a rent-a-player. He is under team control through the 2018 season and likely won’t cost a ton through arbitration.
Mashes left-handed pitching
Guyer finished with a slash line of .266/.372/.423 over 345 plate appearances and a sparkling 122 wRC+. When you look closer, he really crushed lefties, slashing .333/.461./.553 over 152 plate appearances. Wowzer!! That adds up to a 181 wRC+ which is insanely good.
Last year wasn’t just an anomaly either, as he owns a career .859 OPS and 144 wRC+ against lefties. Combine those numbers with Lonnie Chisenhall, he of the struggles against left-handed pitching, and you have a fantastic right field platoon.
How many times have you been on the couch watching an at-bat and yelled at the batter on TV to “just lean into that one”? The unofficial count for my college roommate Eddy was about 1 zillion during the early 2000’s watching fan favorites such as Milton Bradley, Marty Cordova, and Ben Broussard.
Well I’m hear to tell you that getting hit isn’t super pleasurable. 95 mph to the elbow or ribs or wherever isn’t a bundle of joy. Guyer understands that pain well, but is obviously my buddies favorite player of all time because Guyer takes those bruises and keeps on leaning in.
Guyer led the league this year with an astounding 31 hit-by-pitches. Last year he was hit 24 times. 55 times in just over 700 plate appearances. Absurd! I love it though, just like I love having Guyer on the Indians.