Myth #1: The Offense Will Not Produce
This myth stands out above all the rest.
Coming into the 2016 campaign, everybody was talking about how lethal Cleveland’s starting rotation was going to be, but many questions were raised regarding the team’s offensive output. While the rotation would be able to keep the team in games, nobody thought that the offense would be able to score enough runs to win enough games.
With the low-key additions of Napoli and Davis before the season, the Indians were able to maximize their investments and get two difference making players. Napoli, who connected for 34 home runs and 101 RBIs, and Davis, who lead the league with 41 stolen bases, quickly became two major factors in the Tribe’s offense. Along with these two, Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, and Lonnie Chisenhall all had career years.
The move of Santana to the top of the lineup proved to be wise of manager Terry Francona. Santana’s batting average (.259) increased by over 25 points from 2015, and he slugged a career-high 34 home runs.
Meanwhile, Kipnis saw a drop-off in batting average, but an increase in production. His 23 home runs were also a career-high. While playing on a part-time basis for much of the season, Chisenhall made the most of his opportunities, batting a respectable .286 with 57 runs batted in.
Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez had breakout seasons as well. Lindor has become more of an offensive weapon than any scout had ever predicted, and Ramirez became one of the best clutch hitters in baseball.
What keyed the offensive success the most, though, was the team’s base running. Not only did they lead the AL in stolen bases, but they were also one of the best when it came to going from first to third base on base hits.