Karablog: Will Cleveland's ice-cold bats heat up this weekend?
Eric Karabell
ESPN INSIDER

The Cleveland Indians enter Friday with a composite .217 batting average, worst in the sport, and are 26th in runs scored and OPS, but better days are surely ahead. The Seattle Mariners send three starting pitchers to the hill this weekend with ERAs of 9.64, 6.59 and 5.56. The Saturday starter, right-hander Mike Leake, gave up 12 hits and eight earned runs a few days ago to the Chicago White Sox, a team that has scored only two more runs than the Indians. In other words, it's April, and some teams and players do not get off to great starts, but it really doesn't mean much.

Three Indians batsmen were top-50 selections in ESPN average live drafts, so it seems a bit premature to worry about accomplished infielders Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor and Edwin Encarnacion. After all, Ramirez has hit seven home runs and does boast more walks than strikeouts. Lindor has stolen five bases. Encarnacion has five home runs. It could be worse; Jason Kipnis has nary a home run nor a stolen base.

The thing is, we have been here before with several of these players, most notably Kipnis, a notoriously slow starter. Kipnis is a career .222 hitter in April with a .629 OPS. Remember 2013, when he hit .200 with a .555 OPS in the first month and went on to finish with a .284 mark, 17 home runs and 30 stolen bases? Kipnis is currently on the most-dropped list. Encarnacion might soon join him, since he is hitting .176. Encarnacion hit .200 last April with four home runs; he hit .268 the final five months with 34 home runs. Ramirez and Lindor do not have the same history of slow starts, but I do think I have found one common denominator with the current plight.

Batting average on balls in play is hardly the ultimate statistic, but the Indians currently have a .253 BABIP, easily the worst in the league. Hitters generally cannot control BABIP, of course, so we blame it on -- or credit it to -- luck. The Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics boast BABIPs of .326 and .323, respectively. Good luck on sustaining those marks! Last season no team finished with a BABIP better than Miami's .323 mark except the Colorado Rockies, and they can thank Coors Field for that. No team was worse than Toronto's .276 mark. These highs and lows are largely consistent from year to year, though if there is going to be an aberration it comes on the high end. Teams can be fortunate with BABIP, but the worst finishing mark this decade is .269 by the 2010 Blue Jays.

The Indians are going to hit, and it is likely to start this weekend against bad Mariners pitching and continue into next week, when the Texas Rangers send the trio of Cole Hamels, Matt Moore and Doug Fister to the hill. I cannot fathom that many Ramirez and Lindor fantasy managers are panicking and looking to sell, but I have seen Encarnacion investors doing so. First base is deep, he is not particularly young, and power is everywhere; those are the normal excuses. Hey, trade him my way. Kipnis is not the same guy we used to count on, but we know he can be a top-10 second baseman, for example.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, Indians hitters Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso and Ramirez feature three of the 12 lowest BABIPs in the sport among qualifiers, and Kipnis and Lindor are close. Sometimes there are not great explanations for BABIP. Poor weather can play a role. The Indians have played in some poor weather. Some hitters just struggle in April. The pitchers, of course, have noticed. The Indians are fourth in baseball with a 2.92 ERA. That does not mean I am trading Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, though! I do think Indians hitters are about to get going, so fantasy managers should as well.