The Indians enter the All-Star Break with a 51-44 record, 1.5 games back of the first place Detroit Tigers. The have been a streaky team, with numerous 5+ game win and loss streaks. There also have been a number of roadblocks that have stunted the Indians growth as this season. They’ve dealt with an extensive list of injuries, poor play from key veterans, and a fluctuating pitching staff throughout much of the first half. There have been surprises and disappointments among the players, and here I will evaluate the Indians ballclub 29 to 1.
*Excluded from this list are pitchers that have pitched less than less 10 innings or batters who have less than 10 at-bats with the team.
Notes on stats:
SO/BB = strikeout per base on balls. Elite is 3.50, average is 2.50, poor is 1.50.
WAR – wins above replacement. Anything above 0 is positive, anything below 0 is negative.
WHIP – walks/hits per inning. League average is 1.30.
K/9 – strikeouts per nine innings. League average is 8.0.
wOBA – weighted on-base average, assigns a weight to every event. League average is around .315.
All statistics are via baseball-reference.com or fangraphs.com. Graph is via Brooks Baseball.
29. Carlos Carrasco – 0-4 (6 starts), 9.10 ERA, 2.09 WHIP, 1.15 SO/BB, 6.1 SO/9.
Currently in Columbus, Carlos has been terrible in his six starts with the Indians this season, with his only positive start coming June 17 against the Royals. He was also suspended seven games by the MLB for purposefully hitting Kevin Youkilis in his April 9 start against the Yankees, his second suspension in the MLB. Carrasco Cat has lacked control and his stuff is not missing bats. Expect not to see Carlos again until September call-ups.
28. Brett Myers – 0-3 (3 starts, 4 games), 8.03 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 2.40 SO/BB, 5.1 K/9.
Myers was signed with the Indians in January and was expected to be our #3 starter. However, Myers has been sidelined since late April with elbow inflammation. In his four appearances, Myers had been brutal, ceding ten home runs in 21.1 innings, two more than he had allowed in his past two seasons combined. As reported by cleveland.com, when Myers returns he will be placed in the bullpen. Myers is currently rehabbing in AA.
27. Trevor Bauer – 1-2 (four starts), 5.29 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 0.69 SO/BB, 5.8 K/9.
Trevor Bauer had an opportunity to crack the Indians rotation but has not impressed in his four spot starts this season. Bauer’s delivery is in shambles and he is currently working in Columbus to fix it. His command has been extremely poor, as he is giving up 8.5 walks per 9 innings. Expect Bauer to compete in 2014 for a spot in the starting rotation.
26. Rich Hill – 6.08 ERA, 1.50 WHIP. 2.13 SO/BB, 11.5 K/9.
Hill has been the Indians’ situational left-handed reliever or “LOOGY” this season. In that role, he has pitched pretty poor, prompting the Indians to search for a left-handed reliever in the trade market. However, Hill has been effective recently by posting a 2.53 ERA in his past 16 appearances.
25. Nick Hagadone – 5.03 ERA, 1.34 WHIP. 1.44 SO/BB, 8.2 K/9.
The hard throwing left-hander has been not as bad as many believe this season. Due to his youth, Hagadone is currently in AAA as the Indians left-handed depth option. Hagadone is still young and from June 4 to July 2, he had a 2.61 ERA in 11 appearances.
24. Jason Giambi – (41 games) .200/.309/.409 with 6 HR, 23 RBI. -0.1 WAR, .316 wOBA.
Giambi is as good as one would expect a 42-year old DH to be at this point in his career, as he has provided a veteran presence in an otherwise youthful clubhouse. Since breaking his 0-23 slump on May 27, Giambi has posted a .906 OPS.
23. Mark Reynolds – .218/.307/.386 with 15 HR, 47 RBI. -0.6 WAR, .306 wOBA.
The team leader in home runs is our second worst position player thus far? 100% correct in my mind. Reynolds has had a career-worst season thus far, with his 15 home runs saving him from being DFA’ed. People see his 15 home runs as something tangible, but fail to look at his .386 SLG%, which is only .20 points behind Michael Bourn (far from a power hitter). As bad as Reynolds has been on offense, he has been even worse on defense. Reynolds has the 4th-worst defensive WAR value in the AL, only ahead of Adam Dunn, Alejandro De Aza and Mike Morse.
22. Mike Aviles – (72 games) .259/.295/.375 with 5 HR, 26 RBI, 0.7 WAR, .292 wOBA.
Aviles is a capable backup, but really nothing more. His stats across the board have been pedestrian, and he has been poor at hitting with RISP (.568 OPS). However, Aviles is very solid for a utility player.
21. Lonnie Chisenhall – .243/.289/.414 with 6 HR, 25 RBI, 0.9 WAR, .307 wOBA.
You could really swap Aviles and Chisenhall at these spots. Chisenhall has been disappointing in the fact that he was not productive throughout the first two months of the season. However, since returning June 18, Chisenhall has a .827 OPS and has been solid defensively.
20. Vinnie Pestano – 4.45 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 1.94 SO/BB, 9.2 K/9. 6-9 in save situations.
Vinnie has pitched very poorly this season, and it is essential that he comes to form if the Indians want to have a run at playoff contention this season. His fastball and sinker are missing fewer bats and have dropped about .5 mph each. Since returning from the DL on May 17, Vinnie has posted a 5.24 ERA.
19. Matt Albers – 3.21 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 1.28 SO/BB, 6.1 K/9.
ERA can sometimes be a deceiving stat. Despite have an ERA a full point lower than Bryan Shaw, Albers has a higher WHIP and less strikeouts per walk. Albers has been helped by the fact that he does not give up many extra-base hits. Albers is a solid back of the bullpen mop-up guy, and you cannot ask much more from him at this point. However, one could expect a regression of his stats back to a higher ERA.
18. Bryan Shaw – 4.32 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 2.06 SO/BB, 8.0 K/9.
Shaw had a great April (0.86 ERA) and has been very solid against righties this season (.229 BA). However, I have suggested his demotion due to his post-April ERA of 5.36 ERA and the fact that he has an option left.
17. Ubaldo Jimenez – 7-4 (19 starts), 4.56 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 1.77 SO/BB, 8.6 K/9.
There are two Ubaldos. There is good Ubaldo and bad Ubaldo. The Walking Enigma has been just that this season, with a 5.57 ERA in April/May and 3.45 ERA in June/July. You really have no idea what you will get out of Ubaldo Jimenez on a start-to-start basis. His inability to consistently pitch beyond the fifth inning has made him, in some regards, hard to send out every fifth day. Recently, however, Ubaldo has been Uballin. His 7-2, 3.42 ERA line in his past 15 starts make you wonder if there really is a consistently good Ubaldo Jimenez out there, somewhere.
16. Scott Kazmir – 5-4 (16 starts), 4.60 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 2.67 SO/BB, 8.4 K/9.
The two-time former All-Star has been a pleasant surprise for the Indians since signing as a Spring Training invitee. He has shown flashes of dominance against the Orioles, Twins and Reds, but has also showed the 2010 version of himself against the Astros, Mariners and Nationals. You can see how his pitches have increased in velocity throughout the season, surely a positive sign for Kaz’s future.
15. Drew Stubbs – .244/.296/.387 with 7 HR, 35 RBI, 10-10 stolen bases, 0.9 WAR, .299 wOBA.
Stubbs has been a real asset for the Indians this season as their number 9 hitter, one of the best nine hitters in baseball. His speed has been absolutely unbelievable. Stubbs steals bases at will and makes it from first to third almost every time. While he might not get on base enough, his speed on the basepaths and in the field make him enough of an asset in itself.
14. Yan Gomes – (39 games) .262/.293/.477 with 6 HR, 20 RBI, 1.2 WAR, .327 wOBA.
Yan Gomes is Lou Marson with a power bat. Gomes has been spectacular in his 39 games this season behind the plate, posting a 0.6 defensive WAR. Those are Yadier Molina numbers behind the plate (extrapolated to 162 games). Gomes has also been a solid power hitter for the Indians, his .477 SLG% ranks third on the team. Gomes has slowed down in June/July (.202 BA), but during the second half of the season I would like to see a lot more Yan Gomes at catcher. The Indians are 24-15 when he plays.
13. Zach McAllister – 4-5 (11 starts) 3.43 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 2.05 SO/BB, 6.2 K/9.
If Zach McAllister had been in the rotation the entire first half of the season, I would imagine the Indians would be in first place. When people talk about how the Indians need starting pitching help, they forget that McAllister will be coming off the DL sometime before the All-Star Break. McAllister has developed into a very solid number 3 or 4 starter and in my opinion has the potential to be a solid number two starter for years to come as an Indian. In his 11 starts, McAllister had allowed three runs or less in all but his final start. Had McAllister been healthy, he would most definitely a top-10 player for the Indians in the first half.
12. Asdrubal Cabrera – .255/.315/.421 with 7 HR, 34 RBI. 5-7 steals and 1.0 WAR, .321 wOBA.
Whenever you think of Asdrubal Cabrera, you have certain yearning for something more. When looking at the raw stats, Cabrera does not look too far off from his 2011 All-Star/Silver Slugger campaign (.273/.332/.460). Nevertheless, I think the .260/15 HR/70 RBI Asdrubal Cabrera is what we should come to expect, not the outlier that was 2011 (25 HR, 92 RBI).
11. Chris Perez – 3.04 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 2.00 SO/BB, 8.8 K/9, 13-15 save situations.
If you eliminate CP’s May 18 through May 26 appearances (the three games before he hit the DL), he has a 0.75 ERA and is 13-14 in save situations. Chris Perez is still a very good closer. However, since he is available for arbitration this season and with his off-the-field issues, I doubt the Indians will keep him past this season. However for what he is right now, Perez is a very effective closer that will be a key part of the Indians’ second-half run.
10. Michael Bourn – .290/.331/.366 with 2 HR, 19 RBI. 13-19 stolen bases, 1.4 WAR, .309 wOBA.
The Bourn Identity has not been quite as sensational as many speculated when we signed him, but he is still a very solid table-setter at the top of the Indians lineup. His base-stealing abilities seem to have been slightly neutralized in the AL, but Bourn credits that to having to get used to the pitchers. He also has not been Golden Glove level in center field this season, and many times I have to remind myself that we no longer have Grady Sizemore or Kenny Lofton out there in center field. However, speed kills in the outfield, and Bourn has cut off his fair share of would-be extra base hits this season.
9. Ryan Raburn – (55 games) .267/.368/.540 with 10 HR, 28 RBI. 1.5 WAR, .392 wOBA.
I am still trying to figure out why the team leader in SLG% and wOBA only started three of 13 games for the Indians in the month of July. Raburn has been a potent slugger for the Indians, and if he had started every game, Raburn would be around 17 HR right now. His bat has been amazing, and his 3-game stretch where he hit 11-13 with 4 HR and 9 RBI will never be forgotten.
8. Joe Smith – 2.75 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 2.14 SO/BB, 7.5 K/9.
Despite his recent struggles, Smith has been the Indians’ second-best reliever so far this season. He has worked through mechanical issues lately, and I admittedly have been too harsh on Smith. He should remain in his 7th inning role, as long as his problems iron out.
7. Nick Swisher – .242/.352/.398 with 9 HR, 31 RBI. 2.3 WAR, .332 wOBA.
Nick Swisher has not been what the media thought he would be when he came here. Everyone was expecting the numbers above to all be about .20 higher, and for him to be around 12 HR and 50 RBI at this point in the season. That just has not been the Nick Swisher we have been getting this season, but he still has been effective. He consistently gets on base and has been an above-average first baseman. We all hope to see more production out of him in the second half, though.
6. Cody Allen – 2.27 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 4.00 SO/BB, 11.8 K/9.
Cody Allen may go down as one of the best arbitrage signings in baseball history. Few 23rd rounders ever pan out, and even fewer draft picks in general make their debut 13 months after signing. Cody Allen should be the Indians’ eighth inning man until he loses the job. He has been a lights-out strikeout machine and he throws serious heat. I expect Allen to fill the closer role left by Chris Perez in 2014.
5. Corey Kluber – 7-5 (15 starts), 3.88 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 4.27 SO/BB, 8.9 K/9.
Corey Kluber has really saved the Indians rotation thus far this season. Jake Dungan of Indians Baseball Insider has been a Kluber supporter since Day One, and here is what he had to say about Kluber’s first half performance:
“Well, I always knew he had the right mentality to be successful. [Kluber] never was intimidated and never backed down. But his stuff hadn’t come around until this year at the big league level. Now he’s found the right approach and pitch mixture. [Kluber] throws all his pitches [for] strikes, use his cutter sparingly and works both sides of the plate to both left and right-handed hitters. That and the fact that he’s now throwing in the mid-90s consistently is what’s made him successful this year, in my opinion.”
4. Michael Brantley – .279/.333/.387 with 7 HR, 48 RBI. 10-12 stolen bases, 2.2 WAR, .316 wOBA.
Dr. Smooth has one of the smoothest swings in baseball. Brantley is continuing to develop as an upper-echelon outfielder in the MLB, and has been a great run producer for the Indians. Brantley is batting .366 with 39 RBI with RISP this season, and is among the league leaders in assists. Do you doubt Brantley’s defensive prowess? Watch this:
3. Carlos Santana .275/.382/.466 with 11 HR, 43 RBI. 2.5 WAR (3.5 offensive WAR), .367 wOBA.
I think Carlos Santana was seriously snubbed from the All-Star Game, seeing as how he is currently tied for eighth in AL in offensive WAR. Santana has been an offensive beast, and I really question Terry Francona batting Santana low in the order when all he does is get on base and create runs. However, I would like to see Santana much more at first base or as a designated hitter, because he is probably the worst defensive catcher in the MLB.
2. Justin Masterson – 10-7 (20 starts), 3.72 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 2.54 SO/BB, 9.1 K/9.
Nasty Masty consistently pitches into the seventh inning and has been the Indians most consistent starter. He has been susceptible to the big inning, but every time Masterson is on the mound, the Indians have an increased chance of winning. His average of 6.2 innings per start is among the top in the majors. If Masterson can get some better run support and bullpen help in the second half, he could approach close to 20 wins.
1. Jason Kipnis – .301/.383/.514 with 13 HR, 57 RBI. 21-26 stolen bases. 4.2 WAR, .385 wOBA.
What more can be said about Jason Kipnis? He is an absolute beast, and is developing into a five-tool player right in front of our eyes. Kipnis’ June will go down as one of the best in Indians history. Kipnis is the personification of this Indians’ team. His scrappy play makes him a fan favorite in Cleveland. Kipnis is a streaky player, and we hope that the All-Star keeps up the current streak he is riding.
You can reach David on Twitter at @DavyWhite.