Due to inflammation in his right knee, Cleveland Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner has landed on the 15-day DL, retroactive to the 24th of May. The left-handed hitter has a 127 wRC+ this season and has offset his .250 BABIP and .242 batting average to post a .380 OBP by drawing a walk 15.7% of the time. The last time Hafner had a wRC+ above 125 was in 2006 when he had a 176 wRC+ and was worth an outstanding 6 WAR.
The power-hitter is ailing from an irritated meniscus, tricky stuff, and “Pronk” received a cortisone shot last week. Hafner was able to run in the outfield, but the Indians are wisely proceeding forward with caution and will give the 1.6 WAR DH some needed time off.
Travis Hafner has not been worth 2 WAR since 2007, back when he was worth 2.2 WAR in the year that Cleveland made an ALCS run before blowing the series to the Boston Red Sox. In 2004, Hafner broke out with a 4.8 WAR season in his first year with at least 100 games played. A year later, Hafner would hit 33 homers and end up being worth 5.4 WAR
After a move to the DH spot, Pronk’s value declined, and he never reached his insane peak as a hitter from 2004-2006, with that three-year offensive peak being one of the more memorable peaks of the decade. In fact, Hafner had a .350 ISO in 2006 and showed some great wrist power.
He has been off to a good start this season and was on pace for his first 2 WAR year since 2007, and the career .508 slugger will get his rest and should be back on a steady offensive pace once he gets back.
Update: Bad news. Hafner will likely have knee surgery and miss 4-6 weeks, which will have a huge negative effect on the Indians offense.