Meet the modern king of the HBP. After leading the AL by getting plunked 24 times in 128 games in 2015, Brandon Guyer upped the ante last season with a major-league leading 31 hit-by-pitches despite playing in just 108 contests split between the Rays and Indians. And there's the rub: his drillings may have contributed nine points to Guyer's OBP, but his frequent trips to the disabled list reflect the cost inherent in taking the Happy Gilmore approach to Major League pitchers. Entering his age-31 season, the late bloomer is still under team control for two more seasons, and he is in the right organization to maximize his platoon-specific capabilities: for his career, Guyer has a robust slash of .289/.391/.470 against southpaws but a modest line of .236/.307/.377 when facing right-handers in eight fewer plate appearances. The Indians will funnel his at-bats appropriately, which likely means a lot of games with fewer than three plate appearances.
Guyer (illness) is back in the lineup Monday leading off and serving as DH. Guyer hasn't played much this spring due to a hamstring ailment and this illness, but it finally appears the 31-year-old is healthy and ready to claim his spot in the outfield. He's currently battling it out for an everyday role in the Indians' outfield, and Guyer's in line to start Opening Day in left field with Michael Brantley more than likely sidelined for the beginning of the season.
Guyer was scratched from Saturday's Cactus League lineup with flu-like symptoms, Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com reports. Abraham Almonte got the start in left field instead. Guyer has only appeared in three games this spring as he competes for an everyday role in the Cleveland outfield.
Guyer dealt with a hamstring issue last week but is back to being a full participant in workouts and should get into games by the weekend, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports. He will open the year on the short side of a right field platoon, but has the versatility to see action in all three outfield spots, particularly when a left-hander is on the mound for the opposition. Guyer has a career .288/390/.469 slash line against lefties but has slashed just .236/.308/.338 against same-handed pitching.
Guyer, who is slated to open the season in a right-field platoon with Lonnie Chisenhall, will take reps in center and left field this spring, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. Guyer's best chance to start on Opening Day is actually in left field, and that would only happen if Michael Brantley (shoulder) isn't ready to go. Outside of that, Guyer will compete with Chisenhall, Tyler Naquin and Abraham Almonte for playing time, the latter two of which will start the season in a center-field platoon. None of the Indians' outfielders are locked into full-time role at this point, meaning Guyer will have more than a fair chance to surpass his career high of 332 at-bats (with Tampa Bay in 2015) if he can separate himself from the field.
Guyer and the Indians agreed to a two-year extension Wednesday, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. The contract reportedly also includes a team option for the 2019 season. Guyer appeared in 38 games for the Indians after coming over from Tampa Bay in August and hit .333 with 14 RBI and two home runs across 96 plate appearances. In the postseason, Guyer notched six hits in 18 at-bats, to go with four walks and three RBI. Expect Guyer to platoon with Lonnie Chisenhall in right field this season, seeing the bulk of his at-bats against lefties. Guyer is a career .289 hitter versus southpaws, compared to just .236 against right-handers.