April 23, 2014

While We’re Waiting… More QB Talk, Nick Swisher’s Missing Power, and Alvaro Espinoza

While We’re Waiting is the daily morning link roundup that WFNY has been serving up for breakfast for the last several years. We hope you enjoy the following recent collection of yummy and nutritious Cleveland sports-related articles. Anything else to add? Email us at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Leading off, ’tis the season for Browns quarterback talk. Ryan Alton of DraftBrowns has a reflection on some of the conflicting comments made about Brandon Weeden, “Sure, it’s convenient to assume that King and LaCanfora used their connections to get an educated glimpse inside the minds of Banner/Lombardi and conclude that their comments about Weeden are more than just hunches. But that doesn’t account for Kirwan, who cited Banner when forming his opinion of Weeden. As I said on Twitter, the opinion of a former personnel man (Kirwan) who has worked in an NFL front office tends to carry a bit more weight with me than someone who spent their formative years pushing deadlines at a local paper.” [Alton/DraftBrowns]

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com thinks the Browns are headed in the right direction, and one of his five reasons is Rob Chudzinski, “However, when you step back to examine his résumé and talk with people who have coached with him, you realize what we all missed; the fact that he was saddled with relative anonymity was our fault, not his. Perhaps the most important move he made after landing the job was hiring the two most decorated and demonstrative coordinators out there: Norv Turner on offense and Ray Horton on defense. There was no insecurity on Chudzinski’s part that they’d overshadow him. He wasn’t nervous that the two veteran coaches might step on his toes. He simply went with the best available, proving he’s comfortable surrounding himself with power.” [Rapoport/NFL.com]

Joe Posnanski has been posting different opinions from writers about who their favorite athlete was, and a recent one was former Indian utility infielder Alvaro Espinoza, “Mattingly was the best player, Henderson was the best athlete, but Alvaro Espinoza was an artist. He chased down pop ups like a little boy catching bubbles, his back to the plate, weaving, unhurried, the ball seeming to float, waiting for him to meet it. I saw him nonchalantly take a lob in from the outfield on a routine single, and while the batter took his turn and put his head down for an instant to trot back to first, Alvaro pivoted and whipped a sidearm throw behind him to get the out. He would backhand a ball in the hole, his feet already planted and pointing toward first, and come over the top in a single motion – an economy of motion that allowed for no Jeter-like flying hop and turn.” [Posnanski]

Where has Nick Swisher’s power gone? Thom Tsang of Rant Sports examined his drastic drop in slugging percentage, “With a .247/.347/.399 triple-slash heading into play on Saturday, Swisher is currently suffering a power outage like he’s never seen in his career. His .746 OPS is only three points ahead of the one from his disastrous 2008 season where he only hit .219 for the year; and even then, he still posted a .410 slugging percentage with 24 homers. Yes, with just 11 homers to date, a .152 ISO and a sub-.400 SLG (for the first time in his career), Swish is on pace for career lows in … well, all of them really.” [Rant Sports]

Finally, is the Tribe’s rotation success sustainable? It’s a question that has been tackled by many recently, but Michael Hattery at IBI takes a stab at it as well, “Kluber is somewhat of an idol in SABR circles a pitcher who for most the season was not performing even close to what his peripherals expected. Unfortunately this look at Kluber will sound dreadfully similar to that of Masterson because there are an incredible amount of shared trends. The difference being that when you look at Kluber’s first level peripherals you expect him to actually improve which for Indians fans is a surprising thought. In terms of BABIP, LOB% and HR/FB one would expect them to either continue at their current rates or improve.” [Hattery/Indians Baseball Insider]