As unbelievable as it sounds, Austin Kearns leads the team in batting at .373, with two homers and 11 RBI. You know, the same Austin Kearns that some thought would be out of baseball, and was signed onto this club via a minor league contract, and was competing for an extra outfield job. Shin-Soo Choo continues to excel as well, and may ultimately be the team's best overall offensive player. He currently leads the team with four homers and 15 RBI. Asdrubal Cabrera continues to bat over .300 as well, and is slowly becoming this team's leader.
As for the rest of the team, the next highest average after Cabrera's .300 is Russell "Bad Back" Branyan, who's hitting at a .250 clip. The only free agent signing of any consequence for the Tribe for his abundance of power currently has a goose-egg for home runs, and a powerhouse two RBI. Jhonny Peralta has gone eight of his last 18, to bring his average up 81 points. Before you get too excited by that, we're talking a jump from .143 to .224. Matt LaPorta, the supposed juggernaut received by the Tribe in the CC Sabathia deal is hitting a whopping .217, with zero homers and a whole RBI. Pronk is at .208, with two homers and seven RBI. Grady's at .205, with zero homers and nine RBI. Lou Marson has gone 4-7 over the past two games, to raise his average nearly 100 points, and still below the Mendoza line.
Sure, it's too early to hammer (probably the wrong term here) the lack of offense. The bats will likely warm up to some extent as the season progresses. I can't imagine Sizemore to remain close to the Mendoza line, with no power and a low OBP. Matt LaPorta certainly isn't a guy that's going to lack power, or shouldn't. Combine that with Carlos Santana, Wes Hodges, Jason Donald and Michael Brantley mashing in Columbus, there are some bats that could be breathing life into this lifeless offense soon.
While the Tribe pitchers have held it together over the past month, there are signs of trouble on the horizon. Mitch Talbot is currently the only starter with a sub-4.00 ERA, and while I'm happy that the hot stove pick-up is playing well, I'm not exactly sure we can count on a season of Talbot domination. Fausto Carmona isn't quite there yet, although he's close. Past Carmona, Justin Masterson is proving to just about everyone that he's most likely going to end up in the Tribe bullpen. Jake Westbrook's best days seem far behind him, and David Huff is still trying to find consistency.
How successful this team ultimately is lies directly with the offense. Will the bats warm up with the summer weather and carry this team to a surprise ending, or will they continue to struggle in a lost season? Count on some balance as the year progresses, with the potential for the offense to become dangerous. If it doesn't, a long year could become a forgotten year.