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Spokane Indians

Good, bad and ugly: A look at the Spokane Indians’ Northwest League first-half title

{span class=”db”}Spokane Indians infielder Kyle Karros is drenched with water by his teammates after hitting a game-winning three-run homer against the Vancouver Canadians on May 18, 2024 at Avista Stadium. {/span}  (James Snook/Spokane Indians)

The first half of the Northwest League season saw more ups than downs for the Spokane Indians, and it resulted in a first-place finish and postseason reservation. They’re already off to a 3-0 start in the second half, but let’s take a look back at the good, bad and ugly from the successful first half.


Good: The Indians finished 12 games above .500 at 38-26, 3.5 games ahead of Hillsboro and 5.5 games up on Eugene. They were 21-16 at home and 17-10 on the road. They owned Vancouver, beating the Canadians 16 out of 19 games in the first half.

Bad: The 11-16 record against teams better than .500 was suspect, but the club took advantage of the teams they had to beat.

Ugly: It’s a good thing they didn’t have to play Hillsboro a lot in the first half . They were a lousy 4-8 against the second-place Hops.

Team batting

Good: Overall, the Indians had a plus-39 run differential, which led the league by a significant margin. In fact, Eugene was the only other team to have a differential higher than plus-10. They lead the league in stolen bases and triples, which helped them to a league-high slugging percentage despite being third in homers and next-to-last in doubles. They struck out the fewest times in the league.

Bad: Despite leading the league in base hits (609) and the high number of triples (25), the Indians managed just 89 doubles. The offense was a lot of singles, stolen bases and station-to-station baseball with the occasional triple and homer thrown in.

Ugly: The Indians were last in the league by far in walks with 198, trailing fifth-place Tri-City by 23.

Team pitching

Good: The staff earned -run average of 3.58 was good for second in the league. They walked the second fewest in the league.

Bad: Despite having two of the top starters in the league, the Indians were just fourth in total strikeouts.

Ugly: The team allowed 53 home runs, second worst in the league. Only Spokane and Everett gave up 50-plus homers in the first half.

Individual offense

Good: The team had four of the top seven hitters in the league over the first half, with Kyle Karros, Dyan Jorge, Cole Carrigg and Juan Guerrero all hitting .290 or better. Braiden Ward batted .340 with a .426 on-base percentage before his promotion on May 20. Carrigg leads the league with 26 stolen bases, and Jorge isn’t far behind with 20. Karros leads the league in RBIs with 42, while Guerrero and Robby Martin Jr are both in the top five.

Bad: Jorge is hitting .304 with a .381 on-base percentage, so this is nitpicking here. But despite being third in the league in hits, he has just nine extra base hits (six doubles, three triples). A lot of contact, yes. But just no power to speak of.

Ugly: First base production. The Indians don’t have a traditional slugging first baseman on the roster, shuffling catchers or outfielders at the position depending on the day of the week or matchup. Two guys who logged innings there earlier in the season, Parker Kelly and Trevor Boone, are no longer with the team.

Individual pitching

Good: Starting pitching has far and away been the strength of the team. All six starters have a sub-4.00 ERA and four are below 3.00. Colorado Rockies 2023 first-round pick Chase Dollander leads the circuit in strikeouts with 84, while lefty Sean Sullivan is fourth with 76. Closer Zach Agnos has been nearly untouchable (0.73 ERA, 0.69 WHIP) and is near the top of the league in saves. Dollander and Sullivan may run into a season-inning limit in the second half.

Bad: Unfortunately, just about the entirety of the bullpen. Outside of Agnos and lefty Carson Skipper, no one else in the rest of the pen has an ERA below 4.00. There are six relievers with eight or more appearances with an ERA higher than 5.00.

Ugly: Tyler Ahearn is having a rough go of it this season. He has only logged 13 innings in 13 appearances and has been used very sporadically since mid-May. The 25-year-old has surrendered 17 earned runs in those 13 innings (11.77 ERA).


Good: Outside of first base, the infield defense has been good to very good – with one caveat. Karros has been very good at third with a very strong arm at the hot corner and Jorge at short is capable of the spectacular, though he is also prone to a nonchalant throw on a routine play on occasion. Carrigg – before he was sent back to the complex league last week for non-game -related work – was capable in center or at shortstop.

Bad: As one might suspect with a rotation of catchers and outfielders manning first base, the nightly defense has been a question mark. Some are better than others, and most of the routine plays get made. But don’t expect too many scoops rescuing bad throws.

Ugly: We’ll give Juan Guerrero his props : The guy is a good hitter and base runner. But just about every fly ball to left is an adventure. During the summer left field is the “sun field” and during the early innings playing out there can be hazardous to one’s health looking straight into the sun. But his circuitous routes often make routine outs interesting.