For the third straight season, the Cleveland Indians are AL Central champions. Cleveland clinched the title on Saturday afternoon in dramatic fashion, beating division rival Detroit 15-0 at home.
The new middle infield combination has combined for 77 doubles, 73 homeruns, 187 RBI, 223 runs, and 630 total bases on the season. Lindor and Ramirez are batting .281 and .280, respectively. That is second and third on the team in terms of batters who are qualified for the batting title (3.1 plate appearances per game). Michael Brantley is first in batting average, hitting .304.
Cleveland is often overlooked when being talked about in representing the AL in the World Series. Boston, New York, and Houston are consistently the talk of the American League, and that is warranted by the seasons all three of those teams are having.
Cleveland is the underdog, no doubt, in the AL, after being the favorite last year, and many may be counting them out already. If it was not for the MVP type seasons that Frankie and Jose are having, Cleveland would be out of the playoff conversation already.
During his first few seasons at the big league level, Lindor really made a name for himself on the defensive side of things. The shortstop’s play at the plate needed some work, especially his power numbers.
His rookie year, Lindor played 99 games at hit 12 homeruns with a .482 slugging percentage. The next year he hit 15 HRs and his slugging percentage dropped to .435 in his first full season.
It then took off. .505 With 33 homers in 2017 and in 148 games this year, career highs in both categories: 35 home runs while slugging .521.
Lindor could always get on base with ease, but these power make him an all-around better player. And it makes the Indians a better team.
The three time all-star is heart and soul of this team. He is second on the team in WAR (7.4) and third in OBP (.354). He is an everyday player. He plays every pitch with such high intensity, whether that is in the field or at the plate, and is always smiling.
Lindor has scored the most runs in the MLB (121), is tied for eighth with hits (173), and is tied for seventh with doubles (41).
Maybe this postseason, Indians fans will be treated to more big plays from Lindor, like his grand slam in Game 2 of the ALDS last year.
Lindor is having an outstanding season. But that is not to be outdone by his teammate Jose Ramirez. When Lindor hits a double, Ramirez matches it with one of his own. When Lindor hits a home run, Ramirez matches it with one of his own. The two teammates make each other go. They challenge each other and are always trying to one up each other.
Ramirez is always hustling out of the box and runs hard; he never wants to stop running.
The all-star has 33 steals on the season while only being caught six times. He is the first Cleveland Indian to have a 30 homerun- 30 stolen base season since Grady Sizemore in 2008, and is only the third player in franchise history to accomplish that feat.
“JRam” is five doubles behind Lindor’s 41 with 36 of his own. The new second baseman is sitting in third in the majors in homeruns with 38. At one point, he was the sole leader in this category. He is in the triple digits in RBI with 101 and he strikes out very rarely, with 73 Ks in 540 plate appearances.
The Indians star is ahead of J.D. Martinez in runs created for his offense, with 128.6.
Ramirez really is a dual-threat player. He can hit for power (38 HRs, .572 SLG), but once he gets on base, he is no slouch, either. He can steal bags and is aggressive on the base paths when other hitters but the ball in play.
He was also shifted back to second base, which is his more natural position, for the second straight postseason and did not put up a fight about it. He wants to win as much as much as the next guy on the Indians, and he will do whatever he has to in order to win.
The city of Cleveland is in for a treat this fall watching two AL MVP contenders in the playoffs.
Neither Lindor nor Ramirez may win the award, but they deserve as much recognition as the other three contenders.
Perhaps more incredible plays between the two will be in store.