June 2013 Player Power Rankings

Each month so far has seen a different player stand out as the best player for the month with Santana excelling in April and Masterson in May and June is no different with Kipnis destroying the competition. As has been with each case so far, the exemplary month was enough to put that player at number one in the rankings. Here's how the rest of the players fall after the Indians loveable dirtball. Remember, the "Above, Below or Even" ranking listed by the players name shows how they performed in June compared to their expectations while the + or – number is their change from the previous month.

1. Jason Kipnis Above (+6)

Kipnis was expected to be the top Indians player in our pre season Player Power Rankings and three months in, he has finally regained his spot at the top. A bad April saw him drop to 19th, but he has speedily climbed the rankings, gaining 18 spots in two months. He has hit 10 of his 11 home runs in the past two months and batted .419 in the month of June. It would be a surprise if he didn't win the AL Player of the Month for June.

2. Justin Masterson Below (-1)

A sub-par showing in May has dropped the Indians ace from the top overall spot on the Player Rankings. Masterson is at least slightly to blame for the Indians struggles during May as the Indians depended on him to be their stopper, but he didn't deliver. His start on the final day of the month looked like he may have turned things back around, however, as he threw a complete game shut out to beat the White Sox.

3. Carlos Santana Even (+1)

Santana used June to even out after an excellent April and terrible May. He is set as one of the most important parts of the Indians lineup and continues to be one of the best in the order, even if that is just because every one else is playing exceptionally bad. Only one hitter batted over .300 during June and two starters hit under .200, making Santana look golden with his .260 average.

4. Cody Allen Above (+6)

Allen has really improved upon his great start in 2012 with an even better 2013. Along with Joe Smith he has made up the most dependable and injury free part of the bullpen. At the half way point of the season, he still maintains an ERA of just 2.16 and has struck out 40 in 33.1 innings. He continues to be an asset whether being used in long relief or as a late inning set-up man, like he was while Perez was on the DL.

5. Corey Kluber Above (+9)

Kluber has really stepped things up since Zach McAllister hit the disabled list, posting a 3.90 ERA during June along with 27 strike outs and three wins. This has helped lower his season ERA to 4.16 and has cemented him as a long term starter in this year's rotation. He now ranks second on the team in wins (6) and third in innings pitched and strike outs.

6. Joe Smith Even (+2)

Smith has been nothing but spectacular all season, making his 3.65 ERA during June look absolutely dreadful. The fact is, he gave up five of his seven runs allowed during the past month and it has rocketed his season ERA up to an embarrassing 2.08. Smith leads the team with seven holds, but that number doesn't express how valuable he has been this season. In fact, all relief decision stats have been decreased compared to recent years by the Indians knack for playing in blowouts.

7. Mark Reynolds Below (-4) 

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. After hitting 13 home runs and knocking in 41 runs during the first two months of the season, Reynolds has become a major disappointment during June. He hit just two home runs in the month and knocked in only five, two of which were knocked in during the Indians incredible 28 run double header against the White Sox just a few days before the month ended. Reynolds was so good during the first two months that he still ranks as the Tribe's third best hitter, but he is certainly to blame for the Indians offense fallen off in the past month.

8. Ubaldo Jimenez Above (+3)

Like Kipnis, who has climbed 18 spots in the past two months, Jimenez is also a fast climber, jumping up 17 positions. He has finally become a dependable pitcher for the Indians and only had one start he would like to forget in June. He started the month off with a great 8 inning shut out on the 1st and pitched at least five innings in all but the one bad start. He still has some issues with control, going deep in too many at bats, forcing him to leave games an inning or two earlier than would be preferred. This fault has been rendered unimportant, however, by the Indians great bullpen and the ability of the other starters to pitch deep into games.

9. Michael Brantley Below (-4)

Like many hitters, June was the worst so far this year for Brantley. He had been playing very well, flirting with a .300 average before this past month, but hit just .222 in June and is now down to .275 on the year. He also has hit for almost no power this year, something that was hidden early in the season with Santana and Reynolds playing so well, but is more evident now that the team is struggling scoring runs. It is possible the constant shifting in roles has effected him as he has now batted in every spot in the lineup except ninth and has spent considerable time in the 4-6 holes, which are considered production, rather than on-base roles.

10. Michael Bourn Even (+2)

This will be the first time a player not on the 25 man roster at the end of the month was included in the rankings. Bourn is currently on the paternity list, but should be returning after missing just two games. He is included because he had more at bats than anyone else in June and was one of the better hitters during the past month. Bourn hit almost .300 again during June, but like Brantley, has shown no extra base power. This wouldn't be a big deal as the lead-off hitter, but he has not stolen anywhere near as many bases as he was expected to. In fact, Kipnis stole 6 more bases than Bourn during June.

11. Matt Albers Above (+5)

Another climber, Albers was one of three pitchers to go through the month of June without allowing a run. This has not earned him any extra responsibilities as Smith, Pestano and Perez maintain the most important roles in the bullpen, but it has really helped the Indians maintain the ability to come back in games they are losing early. Albers only threw 9 innings in the month, but 2.1 of those came starting in the first inning against the White Sox when Trevor Bauer gave up five runs while recording two outs. Albers saved the bullpen as much as he could that day and gave the Indians a chance to come back, which they did, earning Albers his only win of the month.

12. Asdrubal Cabrera Above (-3)

Cabrera missed almost all of June when he popped his quad on the fourth of the month. He had been nursing the injury for some time and playing much less than 100%, so it may have been a good thing when he finally hit the DL. In his five games since returning he has scored six runs and hit a home run and a double. While Aviles was a steadfast replacement, he cannot compare to Asdrubal when at full strength. Now that he is back in the regular lineup, he should have no problem breaking the top ten again by the end of July.

13. Bryan Shaw Below (0)

Overall, June was a banner month for the Indians bullpen as they got back on track after a poor May. Five relievers had ERAs under 2.20 and even Hagadone started to come around. This has made Shaw's 4.63 ERA during the month look even worse and he has been relegated to the mop up squad. Shaw actually didn't pitch that poorly, posting a .200 BAA for the month, but a couple bad games have really skewed his stats to the worst. Most notably, Shaw came in to pitch on 6/17 with a one run lead and was only able to retire one batter while giving up two doubles and a walk to blow the save and take the loss.

14. Mike Aviles Even (+1)

If Aviles was a regular starter, his month would be considered below average, but he was never meant to have to play short stop every day. Cabrera's injury thrust him into a starting role and he played every single game while Asdrubal was out and in fact has played in every single game since May 30th. Aviles should get a break soon as both Cabrera and Swisher have returned to the lineup and he will likely see his average go back up as he will be removed from the top of the lineup and only used in favorable match-ups.

15. Nick Swisher Below (-9)

Swisher has fallen the most during the past month as a lingering shoulder injury forced him to miss a weeks worth of games and caused a general slump. He has played better since his return from injury and finally hit his first home run in over a month in the second game of the White Sox double header. In fact, he had RBI in all three of the games he played in against Chicago, two of which were game winning RBI.

16. Ryan Raburn Below (+1)

Raburn continues to surprise the Indians with his power as he lead the team with four home runs during June and knocked in 10, mostly as the starting right fielder during Swisher's absence. Of course some of his old issues are coming back to haunt him as he struck out 16 times in 43 at bats and batted .186 through the month. Like Aviles, a return to the bench should aid him in bringing that average up, but his powerful bat will make sure he gets regular at bats as the season progresses.

17. Yan Gomes Below (+1)

Overall, Gomes had a poor month, batting just .244, but in his last two games he hit four singles and two doubles, knocking in two and scoring twice as well, showing a bit of a resurgence. On any day he is a far superior defensive catcher to Santana, making him a good fit for when Swisher or Reynolds need a day off. The Indians were wrong to leave him off the roster at the beginning of the season and would be even more wrong now if they ever tried to bring "He who should not be named" back.

18. Vinnie Pestano Above (+4)

The yo-yo award goes to Pestano who has bounced back with a great June after a terrible May. Pestano was forced into the closers role when Perez had some shoulder issues and was amazing, earning almost as many saves over the span of 12 games (6) as Perez has all season (7). He is now back in his set-up role and he should thrive there as well. Pestano was the biggest part of the bullpen stumbling in May and has been one of the biggest parts of it's comeback in June.

19. Chris Perez Above (New)

This is almost certainly the lowest that both Perez and Pestano have ever been together in the rankings, but they are likely to stay down here long. Perez only pitched two games after his return this month, but didn't allow a base runner and earned the save in his second game back. The extra rehab appearance appears to have done him well as his velocity was back up to normal and he had no issues facing Major League hitters (if the White Sox count as Major League).

20. Scott Kazmir Below (+1)

Kazmir is the current enigma in the Indians rotation as he strikes out a ton of batters and doesn't give up very many hits, but when he does, they go very far. He lead the team in home runs allowed in June (6) and was third in runs allowed (14). Of course he made one less start and pitched 14 less innings than one of the pitchers who allowed more runs. He will remain in the rotation for now as the Indians are still dealing with an injury (McAllister) in the rotation, but could be on his way out if the Indians decide to make a deadline deal to bolster their pitching staff.

21. Drew Stubbs Below (-1)

Stubbs is rated poorly on this team because his offensive production has been worse than anyone else on the roster, including almost the entire bench (wait your turn Giambi), but that isn't the whole story. Stubbs has been a huge plus defensively, especially when compared to the Indians other options in right field (Swisher and Raburn). His arm has been great as well, keeping many runners from even attempting to take an extra base on balls hit to right field. As the number nine hitter, his defense and the occasional infield hit more than make up for any flaws in his swing (like his team leading 85 strike outs).

22. Nick Hagadone Even (+2)

Hagadone came in just under the wire this month as he was reactivated for the final game of June. A good month in the pen saw him lower his ERA to a much more respectable 5.40 and an even better 4.60 against left handers (.200 BAA). Most importantly, he is astronomically better than the Indians other options to fill the left handed match-up role in the pen, most notably Hill (5.73 ERA, .244 BAA vs LHH) and Scott Barnes (13.50 ERA, 3 HRA vs LHH).

23. Lonnie Chisenhall Even (New)

After more than a month in AAA, the Chiz Kid is back and better than ever. Since his return he has batted .270 with a home run and six RBI in 11 games, a far cry from the beginning of the season when he batted near .200. He is also a defensive upgrade over Reynolds and looks to be back in the lineup for good this time. A simple lack of Major League at bats keeps him in the bottom five in the rankings. If he is this low next month, his review will not be anywhere near as positive. 

24. Rich Hill Below (-1)

I have very few complaints about the Indians roster this year, but the biggest I do have is that Hill is still on it. He is the one bad veteran reliever that the Indians need to sign every year. Hopefully he will be gone before much longer as Matt Langwell, Joe Martinez and Brett Myers all deserve spots on the team more than he does. For those who haven't seen the numbers, he currently holds a 6.75 ERA and has walked 14 batters in 21 innings while allowing batters to hit .289 against him. The Indians have a great bullpen and dozens of fantastic young pitching prospects ready to make it to the Majors. There is no reason for this piece of human trash to exist at the Major League level.

25. Jason Giambi Even (0)

There is no where to go but up for Giambi who spends his second month in a row as the Indians most useless player. At least Hill has been able to eat up some innings for the Indians, but Giambi has forced his way into 36 games and batted a team low .198. For those arguing that he could hit a home run in any at bat, this is true, but he has averaged more at bats between home runs than Raburn. Even though he does hit home runs more often than some of the Indians power hitters, this doesn't make up for the fact that he gets out in almost every single at bat between the home runs. Giambi may be a great presence in the locker room, but he is a terrible presence in the lineup.

Not Included: Joe Martinez Above

No Longer With Us
DL
Zach McAllister Below

AAA
Matt Langwell Above
Carlos Carrasco Below
Trevor Bauer Below
Scott Barnes DNP
Juan Diaz DNP
T.J. House DNP

Philadelphia Phillies
John McDonald Below

Joseph Coblitz

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona the Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians.

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