It’s possible that Jason Castro isn’t Joey Votto now and that Ervin Santana’s ERA will creep above 1.00 at some point
The Cavaliers struggled heavily in stretches during the second half of the season, and their problems were directly related to bad defense. Last season, Cleveland’s defense was No. 10 in the league, and it obviously was good enough for them to win the NBA finals even after falling down 3-1. We know their defense with this personnel has been good in the past, but whether it can get back to championship level, we aren’t sure. On Saturday, it certainly wasn’t.
Cleveland nearly pulled away in the second half, taking an eight point lead into the fourth quarter, but Stephenson wouldn’t let it happen. He ended up with 16 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including some classic Lance shots. Since joining the team late in the season, it feels like Stephenson has returned so quickly to being a decent basketball player, something he wasn’t able to accomplish anywhere outside of Indiana. Who knows what it is, but it happens.
It’s possible that Jason Castro isn’t Joey Votto now and that Ervin Santana’s ERA will creep above 1.00 at some point, so I’m not sure if they’re likely to keep contending in 2017. If that’s the case, they’ll need both Sano and Buxton to help them feel good about the future. More than almost any other pair of young players on a rebuilding team, the two have the potential to make their team feel great about the future. They just need to play well. Simple!
The situations are different, of course. We already know Sano can demolish baseballs, and that he’s capable of being a perennial All-Star, if not a 500-homer threat. The question is if he can hit enough to allow the Twins to ignore his defensive shortcomings. When Miguel Cabrera gets into the Hall of Fame, you’re not going to hear a lot of “Yeah, but his defense” grumbling. It’s unfair to compare anyone to Cabrera, but that gives you a pretty good idea of Sano’s potential, as well as what he’ll need to come close to if his lack of a true position is never resolved.