Looking Back at What Was: Left Field

August 19, 2010: Cleveland Indians center fielder Trevor Crowe rounds third base on his way to a run against the Kansas City Royals Thursday at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The Indians won the game, 7-3.
Source: Yardbarker.com

This is the tenth in a series of posts looking back at the realities of the Indians 2010 season. We’ll look at what was hoped for, what actually happened, and what the expectations are going forward at the position in 2011

The Indians trotted out three main guys as their left fielders in 2010. Trevor Crowe and Michael Brantley weren’t very productive (although Brantley did turn it on once he took over full time in center field) and the one guy who was semi-productive, Austin Kearns, was traded to the Yankees in July.

Yes, left field continues to be a problem area for the Indians, as it has been since Coco Crisp left an Andy Marte-sized hole in the outfield.

The Indians started the season with Brantley in left, and Kearns on the bench. Kearns had a hot April (.429 OBP, 1.056 OPS!) and had played his way into a starting role, coupled with Brantley’s struggles. This was all fine and dandy until July 30, when the Indians flipped Kearns to New York for a player to be named later, who turned out to be Zach McAllister.

And manager Manny Acta was never quite sure what to do after that.

Sure, Shelley Duncan got some face time in left, and actually showed some power, hitting 8 home runs in 125 ABs in left field. Unfortunately he didn’t show much else in terms of production, although he was a good clubhouse leader. Still, that doesn’t win games, so Acta turned to a former first round pick in Trevor Crowe to anchor the left side of the outfield.

Suffice to say, it didn’t work out too well. In 442 ABs, Crowe hit 2 home runs with a .302 OBP (.634 OPS). That’s basically replacement-level player production, which works because Crowe is a replacement-level player. Really, I don’t know why the Indians drafted him, let alone taking him in the first round. He doesn’t hit, his fielding makes for an adventurous evening, and really the only thing endearing about him is is caveman-like hair, which he says he is cutting. The Indians should do everyone a favor and just cut Crowe.

As for long-term options at left, there aren’t too many attractive ones outside the potential of Nick Weglarz, who strangely didn’t get a September call-up even though he’s on the 40-man roster. So Manny Acta will probably again turn in-house, and either stick Brantley back in left or slide Grady Sizemore over there if Acta determines that Sizemore isn’t ready to go in center field.

Whatever Acta decides to do, the Indians need more production from left field if they are going to become contenders again.

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Tags: Andy Marte Austin Kearns Coco Crisp Grady Sizemore Manny Acta Michael Brantley Nick Weglarz Shelley Duncan Trevor Crowe Zach McAllister

  • Eric

    Weglarz dislocated his thumb and didn’t play the last couple weeks of the season, and wasn’t healthy to play in September. I’m thinking there’s a possibility that we see Kipnis, Chisenhall, Weglarz, and White all around June next season to really get a nice influx of talent.

    • Ed Carroll

      Thanks for the input. I think that’s a bit optimistic that we see all four of them in June, but to think all four will be up in Cleveland at some point in the season isn’t at all out of the question.

      Thanks for reading.

  • Mike Kaiser

    Ed… seems to me Michael Brantley did a pretty nice job in CF last year with the absence of Sizemore. What are the chances of Sizemore accepting an assignment in LF with Brantley moving over to occupy CF full time (regardless of Grady’s health)? This is basically two lost seasons for Sizemore now, and moving to LF should take some of the wear and tear off his aging body, as well as provide a little more pop from the LF position. Thanks for your thoughts. TribeTimePDX

    • Ed Carroll

      Mike -

      Grady in left is a distinct possibility, but if Sizemore is healthy I have to think he gets the centerfield job again. I think it’s going to come down to how much Sizemore has recovered by the time Spring Training ends. If he’s close to 100%, I have to think the Indians let him play center again. But if he isn’t there yet, I don’t think Acta would hesitate to put Sizemore in left to help with the wear and tear, and he might keep him there.

      A healthy Grady in left would certainly solve that position. It will be a key storyline of spring training, trust me.

      Thanks for reading.

  • VictoriaNicole23

    This is basically two lost seasons for Sizemore now, and moving to LF should take some of the wear and tear off his aging body, as well as provide a little more pop from the LF position.

  • VictoriaNicole23

    This is mainly two missing period for Sizemore now and affecting to LF ought to take several of the bear and rip rotten his mature body, as well as gives a small added burst starting the LF place. Thanks for your belief.

  • http://www.veloxtelco.com.au/ Joanna Wilson

    This is essentially two mislaid phase intended for Sizemore currently and upsetting to LF should to seize several of the stand and shred moldy his full-grown corpse, as fine as offer a tiny added rip open starting the LF set. Thank you for your certainty.