CATCHERSSandy AlomarStats: .324, 21 HRs, 83 RBIsScouting...

October 08, 1997|By Peter Schmuck, Joe Strauss

CATCHERS

Sandy Alomar

Stats: .324, 21 HRs, 83 RBIs

Scouting report: Alomar came into his own at the plate this year, ranking among the league leaders in batting average for most of the season. He put together a 30-game hitting streak during the first half and was the hero of the All-Star Game.

Hot or cold: His dream season continued in the Division Series, when he hit a game-tying homer in the eighth inning of Game 4 and hit .316.

EDGE

Chris Hoiles, Lenny Webster

Stats: Hoiles -- .259, 12 HRs, 49 RBIs; Webster -- .255, 7 HRs, 37 RBIs

Scouting report: Webster is still dealing with a sore right elbow and Hoiles (left) with a sore leg. Hoiles also was crowned by Joey Cora's bat in Game 1 of the Division Series but appears past any side effects. The Indians ran freely against them during the season.

Hot or cold: Both labored during the Division Series, going a combined 2-for-13 with two RBIs.

FIRST BASEMEN

Jim Thome

Stats: .286, 40 HRs, 102 RBIs

Scouting report: Thome faced greater offensive responsibility this year after the departure of Albert Belle and Kenny Lofton, and he responded with a career-high in home runs. He moved to first base voluntarily to make room for newly acquired Matt Williams last spring and didn't miss a beat.

Hot or cold: He did not homer in the last 15 games of the regular season or in the Division Series.

EDGE

Rafael Palmeiro

Stats: .254, 38 HRs, 110 RBIs

Scouting report: Palmeiro doubled twice and hit .250 for the series, but he and platoon-mate Jerome Walton were the only position players without an RBI. He won't be sitting this series. Along with B.J. Surhoff, Roberto Alomar and Brady Anderson, he will be responsible for punishing a staff thin on left-handed pitching.

Hot or cold: Palmeiro hit 22 second-half home runs.

SECOND BASEMEN

Tony Fernandez, Bip Roberts

Stats: Fernandez -- .286, 11 HRs, 44 RBIs; Roberts -- .302, 4 HRs, 44 RBIs

Scouting report: Fernandez (right), who hit .407 against left-handers this year, is a playoff-hardened veteran, but he is past his prime. He platooned with newcomer Roberts during the final month of the regular season but probably will play a lot this series.

Hot or cold: Roberts hit .316 in the Division Series. Fernandez batted .182.

Roberto Alomar

Stats: .333, 14 HRs, 60 RBIs

Scouting report: Alomar is a premier player in big games, batting .339 during the postseason. His range has improved, but the remnants of a groin pull still make it difficult for him to throw going away from first base.

Hot or cold: He was platooned during the Division Series but still contributed a key double while hitting .300. He has 19 RBIs in his last 23 games.

EDGE

SHORTSTOPS

Omar Vizquel

Stats: .280, 5 HRs, 49 RBIs

Scouting report: A four-time defending Gold Glove winner, Vizquel also has a way of coming through in the clutch at the plate. But he batted just .237 against the Orioles this season.

Hot or cold: Vizquel was a hero of the Division Series, batting .500 with four stolen bases and three runs scored - but without any extra-base hits.

EDGE

Mike Bordick

Stats: .236, 7 HRs, 46 RBIs

Scouting report: For those who at season's end were still questioning his acquisition, the Division Series should have removed all doubts. He has remarkable range to go with a hair-trigger release.

Hot or cold: Bordick is no longer an offensive pushover. Including the Division Series, he is hitting .343 (34-for-99) in his past 31 games. Only Cal Ripken hit for a higher average last week.

THIRD BASEMEN

Matt Williams

Stats: .263, 32 HRs, 105 RBIs

Scouting report: A big-time power hitter who can carry a team if he gets hot, Williams was acquired last winter as insurance against the pending departure of free agent Albert Belle. Against the Orioles, he batted just .229 with no homers and three RBIs.

Hot or cold: He hit 20 of his homers in the first half of the season. When his power dropped off, his batting average soared. He hit .309 in August and September.

EDGE

Cal Ripken

Stats: .270, 17 HRs, 84 RBIs

Scouting report: Ripken, a .333 lifetime postseason hitter, led the Division Series with seven hits after managing only 15 in September. He's still waiting for his first home run since Sept.7. Back problems that followed him into last month have apparently eased.

Hot or cold: Ripken consistently went to the opposite field against Seattle. He had his first three-hit game since August.

LEFT FIELDERS

Bip Roberts, Brian Giles

Stats: Roberts -- .302, 4 HRs, 44 RBIs; Giles -- .268, 17 HRs, 61 RBIs

Scouting report: Roberts (right), who batted .337 with runners on base, was acquired from the Kansas City Royals to add zip to the lineup. Giles is a promising outfielder with power and decent speed. When Giles plays left, Roberts usually moves to second base.

Hot or cold: Roberts hit .316 in the Division Series, but Giles was just 1-for-7 (.143).

B. J. Surhoff

Stats: .284, 18 HRs, 88 RBIs

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