Originally posted on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 5/8/13
As it currently stands, the Cleveland Indians’ .101 increase in OPS is the largest year-over-year increase from last season in Major League Baseball. Most of that increase is naturally from the team’s massive improvement in slugging percentage. So I set out to investigate: What are the largest year-over-year increases in slugging percentage in MLB history? The Indians are at .089 over last year in SLG alone. I figured that that has to be some type of record. In fact, it is. As of right now, that would be tied for the second-largest increase in MLB history dating back to 1903. Only four times has there ever been an increase of .080+. The best ever: .095 by the 1977 Chicago White Sox. Second-best: .089 exactly by the 1911 White Sox. This obviously shows the historical significance of the Indians’ early-season slugging numbers, especially as it compares to the anemic 2012 Cleveland offense. But it also seems discouraging: This slugging probably won’t keep up at this leve 1 . It just hardly ever happens so suddenly. The best-ever slugging increase in the last decade: the 2004 Detroit Tigers at .074. Only five teams since 2003 have had an year-over-year slugging percentage increase of .05+. The best-ever slugging increase in Indians history: the 1994 team at .075. Of course, that was the strike-shortened season, but it also was the start of the successful streak of the mid ’90s. [Related: Mark Reynolds and His Missing Strikeouts] ___________________________________ The Indians are currently owners of the fourth-highest home run-per-fly ball rate in baseball with 14.3 percent. In 2012, they were 26th with 9.4 percent. A different line-up, sure, but these numbers, if sustained, would be Yankee-like. Mark Reynolds and Carlos Sanatana, for instance, are both hitting HRs at a higher clip than their career averages.
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