The Cleveland Indians have struggled on offense to begin the season, only six times (in 23 games through April 26) scoring as many as five runs, the third-fewest such instances in the majors, but things could be looking up for their bats entering Week 5.
That’s great news for Jose Ramirez, a .320/.363/.560 hitter against lefties since the beginning of last season, Francisco Lindor, .298/.356/.512 in the same split, and Edwin Encarnacion, .228/.382/.426. For those seeking a weekly plug-in — especially those going with the streaming-catchers strategy in ESPN standard leagues — Yan Gomes (96.6 percent available) is well worth adding considering his .248/.333/.504 slash line against lefties since last season.
The then-36-year-old offensive coordinator hugged his Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Tim Tebow, one last time and left for Starkville, Mississippi, where he’d settle in for the long haul of rebuilding a floundering Mississippi State program that had averaged less than four wins in its previous eight seasons. Its facilities were widely regarded as among the worst in the SEC, and the roster was in need of a significant upgrade, having failed to sniff a top-25 finish in any of its previous three recruiting classes. And if all that wasn’t daunting enough, Mullen’s wife, Megan, was due to give birth to their first child in a matter of weeks.
He has a special live-dribble package, and his ability to go get his midrange jumper at will, along with his positional size, have allowed him to remain a scoring threat in the half court despite playing almost exclusively inside the arc.
He maintains fairly sound mechanics when he’s in his comfort zone — in or just outside the paint with the ability to use his dribble to generate rhythm and confidence. While his release point is still different than when he shot 41.3 percent from 3 with Washington, his progress is noticeable, and the results should continue to improve as his career progresses.
The limited range is hurting Fultz more off the ball. He rarely spots up beyond the 3-point line, either diving to the rim or finding a body to screen. His body language doesn’t exactly suggest that J.J. Redick should fire a quick swing, even though he’s wide open:
Where Mississippi State was a slow build that allowed Mullen to lie in the weeds of the SEC and compete at a high level once every two or three years, Florida is the opposite. It isn’t a “developmental program,” as he described his previous job. With an abundance of resources, history and expectations, he had to hit the ground running in his return to Gainesville.