Cleveland Indians' Troubles Start at the Top

Conor WhiteContributor IMay 18, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 19:  Grady Sizemore #24 of the Cleveland Indians dives for a ball hit by Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on April 19, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

In Cleveland, it is a common theme to point the finger and blame someone for a team problem. This has been shown through numerous coaches, general managers, and big players being traded throughout the years.

While I have tried to avoid this at several costs, I find a core problem on the 2009 Cleveland Indians. This problem is the leadoff hitter with multiple tools, Grady Sizemore. Sizemore has been touted to have the complete package for baseball, the power, speed, intelligence, range, and arm. With this complimented to Sizemore he has had trouble performing on the field.

Sizemore has shown two of the five attributes throughout just under a quarter of a season. Those two have been power and range. His homerun total is tied for tops on the team with seven and a slugging percentage of .403. His range is showed by his zero errors and a couple of top 10 plays on SportsCenter. The arm is kind of a selective option not able to be shown unless certain situations arise; however, he has not had a single putout from centerfield. The speed which is intertwined with range has been extremely weak with six stolen bases and six times caught stealing. However, these attributes are not what has been holding Grady back.

The main problem with Sizemore’s game in his intelligence. Sizemore has not taken his role as a leadoff hitter well since he has been in it for the Indians. The leadoff hitter prototype has an ability to make things happen. Grady has struggled in doing this for the Indians. The OBP is .302, worst on the team for every regular-day player.  This is because of a huge lack of discipline at the plate.

He has 178 plate appearances he has managed only 19 walks, and compiled 41 strikeouts. The 41 strikeouts are good enough for sixth-most in the MLB. Sizemore’s lack of ability to get on the bases doesn’t show in the amount of runs he has scored, 21, mostly because of solid play from Victor Martinez. Martinez has suffered most from Sizemore’s inability to produce while he is batting .406 , first in the league, he is 35th in RBI’s, which doesn’t make sense for a number three hitter.

Sizemore has also showed his trouble in intelligent play with fielding errors not recorded as an E. He has run into his fellow outfielder on more than one occasion in the outfield.

Grady Sizemore is a great talent and has proved to be in the past. However, I believe his superstardom has gotten into his head. Grady doesn’t play within the game and let it come to him as he has in the past.

With a runner on second, down a run, and a 1-1 count in the bottom of the 10th against the Red Sox on April 29, Grady tried to call timeout and was not given time Papelbon promptly threw a strike to make the count 1-2. Grady whined about it to the umpire, and the camera shot to manager Eric Wedge who yelled if I read lips well “shut up and get in the box.”  If context clues tell me right he was yelling at Grady not the umpire.

I believe this is a step for Grady into maturity, but Cleveland’s impatience would like to see Grady take this step quicker. Grady needs to find his old self and let the game come to him in order help the Indians and their offense immensely.