Weekly Wroundtable: The Biggest Surprises of the Cleveland Indians’ Season So Far

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Indians’ Surprises: The Rise of Murphburn

Jun 8, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; The bats of Cleveland Indians right fielder David Murphy (7) and hitter Ryan Raburn (9) in the bat rack during the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Cleveland beat Texas 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Heise: The biggest surprise to me has been the performance of the Indians’ right field platoon, David Murphy and Ryan Raburn. I was skeptical as to whether or not the Indians could make due with Raburn and Murphy after last year’s disappointment and so far so good in 2015. In 90 plate appearances, as of Thursday, Raburn has compiled a slash line of .309/.367/.568 in addition to a wRC+ of 158. In 116 plate appearances for Murphy, he has slashed .318/.357/.449 with a wRC+ of 130. Together, they’ve hit six homers and driven in 29 runs while scoring 17 themselves. Both have benefited substantially from higher than normal BABIP figures, .355 for Raburn and .323 for Murphy, so regression is certainly a possibility as the season continues to play out. Although, other factors may continue to play in their favor, such as Raburn’s 48 percent hard-hit rate, and Murphy’s eight percent strikeout rate. If the Indians continue to get a substantial amount of production from Murphburn (Yes, that is how I plan on referring to them from here on out) there is reason to be optimistic for this team and their playoff aspirations.

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Katrina PutnamBrian has already kindly provided the numbers, so I’ll just say I wholeheartedly agree with him. Raburn’s sudden reemergence is something I wasn’t expecting this season. Murphy was not as bad as people seemed to think — the suggestions to designate him for assignment to make room for Tyler Holt were an extreme overreaction to one season of struggles. Both players are relatively average guys who have never had superstar capabilities, but what they’ve done this year is maximize their playing time, and forced the Tribe to reduce Michael Bourn‘s at-bats. I’m also a little surprised by Bourn’s .258/.331/.321 line. I thought he’d be slightly better than he was last season, and didn’t forsee his drop to the bottom of the lineup. With Raburn and Murphy there to pick up the pieces, Bourn’s struggles haven’t had a big of an impact as they might have last season.

Next: The Middle Infield.

Next: Indians' Surprises: The Middle Infield