May was about as good a month as is possible for a baseball team. While some of the offensive players tailed off a little from April, the pitching has been all around tremendous and the starting rotation in general is shooting up the rankings. The third rankings of the year see a new top player for the third time as well, with the Indians ace beating out the top hitters after a scorching month.
1. Justin Masterson Above (+1)
Masterson remains on fire through the second month of the season as he continues to destroy hitters across the league. He is not only the top pitcher on the Indians, but ranks first in the AL in wins and innings pitched and fifth in strike outs. He is just four wins away from a career high and is on pace for records in almost every other stat as well. He has one complete game shut out in each month so far this year.
2. Zach McAllister Above (+2)
McAllister has been the Indians most consistent pitcher this year, if not quite as dominant as Masterson at times. He has thrown at least five innings and allowed three or less runs in all ten starts and currently holds the lowest ERA among qualifying Indians at 3.08. It is interesting that his paltry K/9 of 6.6 is the lowest on the team, but it hasn't really affected his results. As a ground ball pitcher, he has depended on the Indians infield defense and they have not disappointed.
3. Mark Reynolds Below (0)
Reynolds has still shown signs of power this month, but his batting average has dipped to .254 after ending April over .300. While no one expected him to maintain that number all season, no one really thought it would drop off that dramatically either. Reynolds still ranks among the league leaders in home runs and RBI.
4. Carlos Santana Below (-3)
After batting almost .400 for April, Santana has entered into a month long slump. He has batted just above .200 for the whole month and ranks 8th on the team in RBI during that span. As a primary run producer it is integral to the Indians lineup for Santana to hit in the Indians lineup. He remains high in the rankings because his two months averaged together are still better than almost anyone else on the team.
5. Michael Brantley Above (+7)
Brantley has easily been the Indians most consistent hitter this year, despite being moved around the lineup on whatever whim Terry Francona has on any particular day. Brantley has played in every game but two going into June and is batting .299, the second highest average on the team. While he has had almost no extra-base power, he is doing a fantastic job as a table setter, batting in every place in the lineup except ninth.
6. Nick Swisher Even (-1)
After a disappointing April, Swisher improved on his consistency during April, but still was unable to become the run producer he is expected to be. He has had plenty of opportunities, but his batting average is 40 points lower during situations where there are runners in scoring position. Only Cabrera and Kipnis, who are table setters who rarely bat in that situation, have worse averages with RISP.
7. Jason Kipnis Above (+12)
Kipnis was expected to be a top performer, but under performed during the first month, leading him to be ranked among the worst players on the team. However, May has been very good to Kipnis and he has flew up the list. Among Indians he ranks first in May in runs scored, hits, home runs, RBI and triples, despite batting under .270.
8. Joe Smith Above (-1)
Smith has faced 34 right handed batters this season and just allowed 8 of them to reach base. None of those batters have knocked in a single run against him either. Of course, after a scoreless April, his two runs allowed in May make him look like a bum. His 1.00 ERA remains the best on the Indians irrelevant of innings pitched. The only reason he dropped in the rankings is because position players are generally more important to the team and Kipnis has started playing up to his name.
9. Asdrubal Cabrera Above (+9)
Like Kipnis, Cabrera had a very disappointing April, followed by a resurgence in May. After batting just .226 in the first month, Cabrera hit .288 in May and stole four bases (without getting caught) as well. He has even looked a little better defensively, actually making a few of the plays that he would generally almost make. Most impressively, Cabrera leads all Indians with 14 doubles in May (more than any other player has hit all year). He now leads the team in that category with 18 total.
10. Cody Allen Above (0)
Allen has started getting a few more opportunities in pressure situations and with the lead and he has yet to fail. Allen leads all relievers in games and strike outs and is one of four Indians to earn a save this year. Most impressively, he has done whatever was asked of him, whether it be pitch to a single batter or three innings. All this time he has still maintained a WHIP under 1.00 and an ERA of 2.16.
11. Ubaldo Jimenez Even (+14)
Ubaldo had one of his best months ever as an Indian this May and in turn he flew up the rankings after coming in dead last for April. His great month was marred by a single bad start against Detroit. He saved his best for last as he threw a season high seven innings against the Reds to end his starts in May. While it may not seem that great, he has lowered his ERA to 5.57 and more than ever before he is giving the Indians a chance to win every time he pitches.
12. Michael Bourn Even (New)
Bourn missed most of April with a laceration on his hand, but has been busy catching up with the rest of the team. He is still batting over .300 (just one of two Indians to hold that claim) and has been stealing bases left and right (or second and third) in an attempt to catch up to the team leader, Kipnis. Bourn provides a tremendous spark to the top of the lineup and completely changes the offensive look of the Tribe.
13. Bryan Shaw Below (-5)
Shaw definitely had a much better April than May, but still remains one of the go-to relievers in the Tribe pen. His 4.80 ERA during May brings his season ERA to a still respectable 3.20. He has been especially good against right handed batters, with a BAA 52 points lower.
14. Corey Kluber Below (-8)
Rain ruined Kluber's last start of the month, but he has still been a solid starter for the Tribe, especially in his last few outings. Really, only one bad game has marred his season to this point, when he allowed 8 runs to Detroit earlier this month. Kluber has been a more than acceptable replacement for Brett Myers in the rotation and has allowed the Indians to keep Trevor Bauer in the minors for more development. At this point, even when Myers returns, Kluber is probably a strong bet to remain in the rotation.
15. Mike Aviles Even (-3)
Despite one amazing week by Raburn, Aviles leads all bench players in runs, RBI and steals. He has been especially proficient defensively and this month has been forced to play the outfield for the first time this month. He has been pushed into more of a starting role with Chisenhall absent and he remains consistent, batting .275 and slugging over .425.
16. Matt Albers Even (+6)
Despite the carousel in the bullpen, Albers is still being used mostly in losing efforts. He has only thrown 8 innings this month and holds an ERA just under 4.00. A bullpen always needs a pitcher like Albers who can throw multiple innings when you don't want to waste the rest of the relief corps and Albers is nowhere near as bad as he could be (i.e. Chad Durbin).
17. Ryan Raburn Even (+4)
If there has been a single surprise of the past off-season's signings, it has been Raburn. He has exceeded expectations in his power, average and defense. With the way the rest of the roster has worked out, he has been needed mostly in right field, probably his least proficient position, but he has excelled, making some fantastic catches and strong throws from that position. He has also been a reliable batter despite seeing rare at bats.
18. Yan Gomes Above (+2)
Gomes has performed exactly as some of us expected, but apparently not the Indians front office as he didn't make the team out of Spring Training. He has come through almost every time the Indians needed him including hitting five home runs. In addition to the obvious power, he has hit a team leading two triples and three doubles. Gomes has also played the most athletic catcher that the Indians have seen this year and looks to be a solid fit at that position whenever needed.
19. Scott Barnes Above (New)
Barnes is in his second stint with the Tribe this year and has performed well, albeit in low difficulty situations. He has thrown less than eight innings (three of which came in a three inning save). In limited action, Barnes leads all Indians pitchers in WHIP and BAA and against left handed hitters he is even better, holding hitters to a .083 average (although his one home run allowed did come against a lefty).
20. Drew Stubbs Below (-4)
As much as the Bourn signing has helped Brantley on defense, it has helped the Indians on offense by allowing Stubbs to bat ninth. He has been by far the weakest member of the lineup, including Chisenhall, who was sent back to AAA for his failures. Most of the offense has been clicking, including three bench players, but Stubbs is yet to find any consistency. Luckily for the Indians, he had been playing very well in right field and the rest of the offense has been potent enough that anything Stubbs produces is a bonus.
21. Scott Kazmir Below (+3)
Kazmir finished out the month on a good note, but was still the worst starter on the staff with an ERA of 4.22 and a WHIP of 1.44. While he has shown signs of brilliance (like his 10 strike out performance on 5/9), but he has issues going deep into games. This season he has only pitched six innings and allowed three or less runs three times in his eight starts.
22. Vinnie Pestano Below (-11)
Pestano saw a huge drop in the player rankings as he hit the lowest point since they were created. During May Pestano had to deal with his own elbow injury, then upon return was thrown into the closers role when Chris Perez hurt his shoulder. His season ERA has ballooned to above 5.00 after a few poor outings following the return from his injury.
23. Rich Hill Below (-6)
The Indians are currently carrying three left handed relievers, largely because of the inconsistency of Hill. Against lefties, Hill holds a 4.91 ERA this year after allowing two home runs and five walks to similar handed hitters. While he has just one blown save and no losses, this has more to do with the late inning comebacks and the proficiency of the rest of the bullpen than his own successes.
24. Nick Hagadone Below (-10)
Hagadone spent much of May in AAA as a crew of relievers took his place on the roster including Barnes and Huff. He returned to the team after the injury to Perez and looked like he forgot something in Columbus. Hagadone has pitched just three innings in May and given up eight runs while opponents are batting over .450 against him. With his recent inconsistencies and Hill's inability to throw strikes, Barnes is now the Indians top left handed match-up man.
25. Jason Giambi Below (-2)
Giambi has taken an incredibly low batting average and made it even lower this month as he has been little more than an automatic out with a one in twenty chance of hitting a home run. It would seem that he has no chance of remaining with the team for the entire season as he is useless in the field and has done little at the plate. There is no question that Lonnie Chisenhall would be a better fit in every way and chances are Giambi's time with the Indians is limited.
No Longer With Us
15 Day DL
Chris Perez Below
Trevor Bauer Above
Lonnie Chisenhall Below
Ezequiel Carrera Above
Cord Phelps Even
New York Yankees
David Huff Even
The Ace is King in this month's Player Power Rankings