Cleveland Indians: A Position-by-Position Breakdown of the ALCS
Indians: Jason Kipnis, Mike Napoli, Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Michael Martinez
Blue Jays: Josh Donaldson, Darwin Barney, Devon Travis, Troy Tulowitzki, Justin Smoak
Both Toronto and Cleveland have electric infields. The Indians are led by shortstop Francisco Lindor, who is young, but is also arguably one of the best players in baseball. Lindor had a great sophomore campaign, slashing .301/.358/.435 with 15 home runs and 71 RBIs. The 22-year old is batting just .250 for far this postseason, but he set the tone early in game one with his home run. Oh, and he’s a wizard in the field.
The Blue Jays counter with Josh Donaldson, who might be the best third baseman in all of baseball. Donaldson won the AL MVP last year, and he’s made a case to repeat this year, with a .284/.404/.549 slash line, 37 homers, and 99 RBIs. He hasn’t stopped hitting in the postseason, either, going 7-for-13 (.538) in the ALDS.
Jose Ramirez‘s breakout season is spilling into the postseason, as he’s been a force in the batters box (.500 average,) on the base-paths (four runs scored,) and in the field.
Toronto shortstop Troy Tulowitzki finally looks to be comfortable in Toronto, and his production has gone up because of it. Tulo is batting .353 with five RBIs this postseason, and his bat helped kickstart a number of Toronto rallies against Texas. The same can be said for Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, who has three RBIs this postseason, and has been a leader for the club all year.
The rest of the Toronto infield really has yet to find their footing so far this postseason. Toronto second baseman Devon Travis has only one hit this postseason and has appeared in just two games as he battles a knee injury, while both first baseman Justin Smoak and utility player Darwin Barney are still searching for their first hit.
Cleveland has had struggles at the plate of its own, mainly in the form of first baseman Mike Napoli, who was just 2-for-12 (.167) against Boston, but has the opportunity to start a party every time he steps up to the plate (he also has the only postseason stolen base for the Indians).