Happy New Year! As we add another tally onto the years without an Indians championship, let’s take a moment to look back at the biggest story-lines of 2017 brought to you by the writing staff at Burning River Baseball.com
Early in 2017, the biggest story was the signing of Edwin Encarnacion. My reaction to that story was one that has proven true recently as Carlos Santana left the Tribe for a $60M deal with Philadelphia. Back on January 17th, I wrote how signing Encarnacion would cost the Indians Santana in the long run, but how having the two together for a full season would be worth it.
A common topic over the past few seasons has been pace of play. On February 15th, Michael Melaragno delved deep into this topic, offering a few solutions to how Major League Baseball could decrease the length of games through a few extreme, in game measures.
There were quite a few Burning River affiliated podcasts in 2017 with the return of Burning River Radio featuring myself and Justin Lada, Caitlin Boron starring on CLE Baseball & Brews, Tribe Time Now and short lived show “Greetings From Goodyear” with myself and Jeff Rich. If you listen to just one, however, make it the Do You Wahoo? championship game featuring former Burning River Baseball and Basketball writer Danny Cunningham as host with Brad Wojdela, Vince Guerreri and our own Mike competing for the title of Do You Wahoo? Champion.
After the Indians suffered a sweep from the Diamondbacks early in the season, I attempted to insert a little humor into the situation with a list of why the Indians should be angry at every team they would go on to face in the 2017 season.
One of the primary goals of Burning River is to detail why commonly held opinions may be misinformed and trying to correct the lack of information. One of those early in the season was fighting off those who “don’t trust” Cody Allen by showing indisputably how he is already the greatest closer in Indians history.
Continuing on with that idea, one argument that permeated baseball this year was the importance of aspects like launch angle and exit velocity. Since there is much ignorance surrounding these topics, even in the professional ranks, I wrote about the differences between stats and measurements in an article that will probably be worth reposting for years to come. One final article focusing on ignorant opinions was my take on hitting with runners in scoring position and whether or not it is an actual skill.
There were many options to chose from when looking at the worst Indians first round picks ever, but I managed to knock the list down to ten in one of the most popular articles of the year. I also graded every single Indians draft ever in a much more extensive piece.
While Francisco Mejia and Bradley Zimmer grabbed most of the prospect headlines for the Tribe in 2017, Gavin looked into Eric Stamets incredible increase in power production back on June 21st and Caitlin Boron delved deep into one of the lesser known catchers, Logan Ice on June 29th.
One of the coolest opportunities for our staff was when Gavin was able to attend the 2017 SABR seminar. He wrote about his experiences in August. Another great piece from Gavin focused on the split in Indians management between the old school and the new.
Towards the end of the season, our focus was on the post-season, but a few subjects that were covered are even more important heading into 2018. I wrote about Tyler Olson and his potential as the Indians primary LOOGY while Gavin covered Jason Kipnis playing in the outfield.
Finally, what better way to end one year and bring in the next than looking at the best of the best. In October, I highlighted the Indians top 10 offensive and defensive plays of the 2017 regular season.