One may think offensive turnover could be to blame for the regression. However, the list is short with the most noteworthy names being Jason Kipnis and Yasiel Puig, who was a rental. Both combined for an offensive WAR of 2.4 2019, Cesar Hernandez had an oWAR of 2.1 in 2019.
Age regression does not solve for this offensive disappearance either, the club is younger than the league average (28ys vs. 28.1yrs old). Carlos Santana, Roberto Perez, and Sandy Leon are the only position players over 30 years old that receive regular playing time.
This is where the Front Office may hold the belief that the offense is underperforming more so than it is regressing.
Career worst years in batting average, OPS, and slugging all at once across several starters is not something anticipated on a year to year basis. The list of career worsts is stacked with names like Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, Roberto Perez, Oscar Mercado, and Jordan Luplow.
Santana and Perez are coming off of career-best years and are considered on the downside of their peak; thus, regression is anticipated to an extent. But these career-worst years are beyond expectations.
Then there is Mercado, who came into the season projected as the team’s only full-time outfielder. He lost his starting job and spent about two weeks at the Indians’ alternate site.
Lindor’s numbers aren’t far off career numbers, but the team isn’t seeing perennial MVP type numbers and improvement from the player that’s supposed to be their leader.
Jose Ramirez is hovering around his 2019 numbers across the board, which isn’t comforting in itself. After an ice-cold start to 2019, Ramirez looked like the 2017 and 2018 MVP front runner to end the season, helping salvage his slash line last season, but 2020 has not seen the offensive resurgence from Ramirez that many were expecting to see.
The lone bright spot for the offense has been Franmil Reyes. The young designated hitter has shown improvement in all areas at the plate anchoring the lineup’s cleanup spot. Reyes doesn’t hit free agency until 2025, the type of long term control and performance trading stud starting pitching aims to produce.
Outfield production continues being the Achilles heel of the team. The two players who have seen the most time in the outfield this season are not actively with the club, Bradley Zimmer and Domingo Santana have both been assigned to the taxi squad.
An offense where almost 50% of the starters are having career-worst years paired with an outfield without an identity is truly a recipe for an underperforming offense.