August was a poor month for the Indians in general as can be seen by the many players who played below their expected values for the month. While the pitching staff maintained their level of excellence. As players have fallen into their niches this deep into the season, there has been very little movement, most of which was due to Corey Kluber being absent from this month's rankings.
1. Jason Kipnis Even (0)
In a month of inexistent offense, Kipnis was still the top performer, leading the Indians in hits and coming in second in doubles, RBI and runs scored in August. Kipnis has been so far ahead of every other offensive player, it is hard to imagine him not taking this top spot next month.
2. Justin Masterson Even (0)
The starting rotation has been one of the biggest assets of the Indians team this year and Masterson is right at the head of things. He still leads the team in wins (14), innings (188), strike outs (188) and BAA (.224). He will start between fix and six more games this year and the Indians couldn't be happier than if he just keeps pitching the way he has all season. Masterson and Kipnis will be competing over the final month for team MVP, now a two player race.
3. Michael Brantley Below (+1)
Brantley has been the Indians second most consistent hitter all season, but he has done something really special this past month. In over 100 at bats, Brantley has only struck out eight times. On the season, his 53 strike outs in 470 at bats is impressive, but he has really stepped things up in August. While his hits aren't falling in at a great rate (he has a three year low .289 BABIP), he is making contact and things will eventually turn around for him.
4. Carlos Santana Below (+3)
What is said about Santana is going to sound like a broken record by the time this list is through. He under-performed just like every one else (every single starting batter aside from Kipnis played below their expectations). Santana, however, unlike almost everyone else, actually had a couple positives this month. He seems to have found the strike zone again and started walking a lot, leading to his team high .354 OBP in August and has shown a little power by leading the team with five home runs.
5. Cody Allen Above (0)
Allen added a great August (1.88 ERA in 14 innings) to an already great season, making him a lock as the Indians top reliever in 2013 as long as he doesn't completely fall apart in September. As always, one of Allen's biggest strengths is his strike out ability and last month didn't change anything and he currently leads all relievers with 73 strike outs in 58 innings.
6. Joe Smith Above (+6)
Smith has been the second most used reliever and has been just slightly behind Allen as far as results are concerned. He still has a very low ERA and seems to have gotten back to the norm after his mid-seasons struggle. This month has been one of Smith's best, allowing just a single run in 13 games while striking out 13. Most impressively, Smith has seven holds after starting the season off very slowly with just 12 over the first four months.
7. Nick Swisher Below (+7)
It is hard to say that Swisher had a bad month in August when he was the most productive hitter (4 HR and 13 RBI), but the fact is, the Indians are expecting better than a .242/.338/.402 line out of their number two hitter. On the season he is still lagging behind expectations as well. If the Indians had thought that he would be less productive than Kipnis, Brantley, Santana and Cabrera (which he has been), they should have taken the money they gave him and used it to sign one of those four to a longer deal.
8. Ubaldo Jimenez Above (+3)
Jimenez was the Indians most consistent starter in August, putting five nice starts together and giving the Indians a chance to win every night. It wasn't his fault he received no run support and went 1-5 despite a 3.10 ERA and more than twice as many strike outs (37) than walks.
9. Michael Bourn Below (+6)
Table-setter he was not, Bourn only reached base 31 times in August, although it is questionable whether someone would have been able to knock him in had he reached more often. Once he did reach he was possibly guilty of being a little too aggressive as he was caught out on the base paths on more than one occasion. Despite sitting lower on the rankings, he still seems a better signing than Swisher as he is doing a better job doing what he was signed to do. Like Swisher, however, there are players that were already on the team, who aren't being paid as much, that are doing a far better job than he is.
10. Zach McAllister Even (+3)
McAllister ended the month on a poor note, but has generally done a good job getting back into the swing of things after his long stint on the disabled list. Since returning, he has continued to walk batters at a low rate (1.29 WHIP in August) and has increased his strike outs to almost one per inning. He will be an important member of the rotation throughout the rest of the season as both Kazmir and Salazar are nearing innings limits.
11. Chris Perez Below (-5)
Perez has had an up and down season, coming off the DL on fire, then dropping right back to where he was before. He was limited to just eight save chances in August (six of which he converted). His 5.73 ERA is the worst among relievers not named after a large bump in the ground and his .273 BAA is almost as disappointing. This is likely Perez's last season with the Indians so it would be best for his own monetary situation and the team if he could get things together just for one final month.
12. Asdrubal Cabrera Below (-3)
Cabrera was one of the Indians worst performers and has seen a drop in the lineup (and the rankings) because of it. This has been a time of desparation for the Indians offense and any player that could snap out of it and give the Indians more than a runner on first once every four at bats would be cherished, but Cabrera wasn't that guy. His .221 average was third worst among starters and it dropped his season average to .242.
13. Scott Kazmir Below (-3)
More than anyone else on the team, Kazmir is obviously out of gas. He is not getting the swings and misses he was early in the year and had has issues with his command. If he were to be relegated to the bullpen for the rest of the season, he may still be some value to the Indians, but in the starters role he is an injury waiting to happen. He was the Indians worst pitcher in August with an ERA of over 5.00 and a BAA of almost .300.
14. Drew Stubbs Below (+3)
Stubbs continues to disappoint the Indians, who thought they were getting a center fielder and lead-off hitter in addition to Trevor Bauer in the Shin-Soo Choo trade. While Stubbs has been good on the base paths, his struggles at the plate have been magnified by the rest of the team's failures, forcing the Indians to depend on Stubbs much more than they would like. With the Indians placing a bigger value on offense, Stubbs will likely see less time in the field as the season goes on with bigger bats taking his place in the lineup.
15. Mike Aviles Even (+4)
With Ryan Raburn injured and Chisenhall struggling, Aviles has essentially been a starter for awhile now. The only problem is that he is still producing like a reserve. His .246 OBP in August is embarrassing and the worst among starters not named Lonnie. Due to a quirk in limited at bats, Aviles actually has an OBP that is worse than his batting average.
16. Yan Gomes Even (+6)
Gomes has been a solid back-up all season, but has been the primary beneficiary of the Reynolds release, getting into 19 games in August after just 45 games during his first four months. This has lead to a couple issues in lineup construction, most notably, that if he plays there is no back-up catcher available. With Santana at DH, they could not even just bring in another player to replace Santana if Gomes was hurt. There is a good reason that most teams will not use both their catchers in the same game and the Indians will need to add a third catcher if Gomes' role is going to increase.
17. Matt Albers Below (-9)
Albers has been a strong member of the bullpen all season and remains one of the more versatile members with the ability to pitch anywhere from three innings or to just a single batter. His ERA of 3.63 is currently the fourth best in the bullpen (among season long members), despite a poor month of August. Since he is primarily used in non-vital situations, a failure every once in awhile is not a pivotal set-back in the Indians season.
18. Bryan Shaw Even (+3)
With how bad the offense has struggled, the pitching staff has picked up the slack, with almost everybody playing at least a little better than usual. Shaw is no exception as he was the second most used reliever last month and finally got his strike out numbers to where they should be. Shaw is now the go to reliever in losing situations a role that has allowed him to take over the lead in relief innings pitched.
19. Danny Salazar Above (New)
Salazar is certainly something special and should make Indians fans feel safe with the rotation for years to come. In just five starts he has struck out 32 (the best to start a career since Herb Score) and has the lowest BAA (.188) and WHIP (1.00) on the team among pitchers with at least 15 innings pitched.
20. Lonnie Chisenhall Below (0)
The most disappointing player of the year is a no contest after Chisenhall put together another dismal month in August. He batted just .145 last month and has been even worse against LHP this season with just three hits in 34 at bats (.086). While his upbringing has been mishandled, he could have turned everything around this season with a great offensive performance. Instead, Indians fans have to wait to see if he is just going to be the next big flop.
21. Marc Rzepczynski Above (New)
This is one deadline trade that is starting to look extremely good, except for the fact that Zip didn't take the place of Hill on the roster. In just a month, he has already surpassed the yearly efforts of two pitchers by pitching in 13 games and not giving up a single earned run. He has only allowed four hits over that time, leading to a BAA of .150 and a WHIP of .086. He is the perfect left handed reliever in that (unlike the next player listed), he rarely walks people and always gets the job done.
22. Rich Hill Below (+2)
Hill may have improved slightly from his season averages, but he still hasn't earned the respect that he has received from Terry Francona. It was largely to keep Hill that Vinnie Pestano was sent to AAA and that young stars like C.C. Lee and Preston Guilmet have been kept of the roster. Hill still has an ERA of almost six and has walked more batters than any other reliever, leading to a team high WHIP.
23. Jason Giambi Below (+2)
Giambi has not only had the pleasure of providing almost nothing positive to the Indians offense this year (his "clutch" at bats are outweighed by his sheer inefficiency in the other 80% of his at bats), but Terry Francona has made it known that he would like the aging veteran to return for another season. It is possible Francona is used to a 24 man roster as he has been wasting a spot all season, he has to know the added benefit in versatility of having a 25th man that can actually play in the field and bat above .200.
24. Jason Kubel DNP (New)
Kubel was acquired from the Diamondbacks a few days before the month ended, but was unable to play in any games.
25. Matt Carson Even (New)
Matt Carson pinch hit once during August and struck out.
No Longer With Us
Preston Guilmet Below
Matt Langwell DNP
Vinnie Pestano DNP
Carlos Carrasco Above
Ryan Raburn Even
Corey Kluber Above
Mark Reynolds Even