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I mentioned before that the Indians receive offensive production from both ends of their lineup, but what I did not allude to was that this team wide talent distribution would not be possible without the efforts of particular players who have stepped their game up in order to fill the gap made by Grady Sizemore's absense
Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner have especially done this.
Cabrera, who hit only three HRs and 29 RBI, with six SBs through 97 games last season, has doubled his HR total from last year, and has recorded 26 RBI with five SBs through only 37 games this season. On top of this massive improvement in power production and baserunning, Cabrera has also recorded higher numbers in BA, OBP and SLG than last season.
After a strong start in 2010 from Carlos Santana (.260 .401 .467 with six HRs and 22 RBI through 46 games), he suffered a broken leg in a collision at home plate that had many wondering whether we would ever see that kind of performance from him again. With the sophomore slump on a lot of peoples' minds, it was hard to say what Carlos Santana would bring to the table in 2011.
Through 35 games this season, Santana has allowed all of us holding our breath to exhale as he has shown very similar numbers from last year. He has five HRs with 18 RBI, and although his numbers in BA, OBP and SLG have fallen slightly, they are starting to improve.
The bottom line is that Santana has clearly avoided the sophomore slump to this point in the season, and has shown great poise and consistence on a team that could have been in a world of trouble had they let the loss of Sizemore change their game plan. This is exactly the kind of play that we want to see from a 25-year-old sophomore.
Travis Hafner's production may be the most important to the Indians' offense, as he is performing well above his career numbers in just about every batting category. He currently boasts an eye popping line of .339/.407/.532, and is on pace to nearly double his HR total from last season with five HRs through 31 games. I should also mention that he is doing this at the age of 33. I say that his performance is arguably the most important to the team because with such a young core of players, it is crucial that a veteran with the experience of Hafner steps up and takes a leadership role on the team.
Like I said before, the entire Indians lineup is to be thanked for their success to this point in the season, but it is because of players like these, who have been able to improve their game or continue where they left off after an abrupt end to last season, that the Cleveland Indians have been able to secure the top spot in the division, as well as the majors in 2011.