September 2013 Player Power Rankings

Here are the Cleveland Indians Player Power Rankings for September and the end of the 2013 regular season. A tight race for first was derailed by Masterson's oblique injury as Kipnis coasted into the number one spot for the second year in a row. In 2012, all players on the active roster were included in the final rankings, but with 37 active players, that is more information than necessary. Instead, only the top 25 players on the active Indians roster will be featured.

1. Jason Kipnis Even (0)
Kipnis lead the Indians in runs, hits, doubles, RBI and steals, putting the Indians offense on his back for the second season in a row. Keep an eye out for the Burning River Awards coming out later this month, where we will dig deeper into Kipnis' team MVP season.

2. Carlos Santana Even (+2)
Santana deserves extra credit, especially for the end of the season where he was replaced at his primary position by a player who is essentially a rookie. Instead of playing in his comfort zone of catcher, he has spent most of September at first base or DH and he hasn't complained at all. This is a relief after the prima donnas on past teams like a center fielder who refused to bat anywhere but lead-off and a short stop who whined about moving to third after a superior defensive short stop was added to the team. Santana continued to get on base no matter where he played defensively, which is good as this move is likely to be permanent.

3. Michael Brantley Above (+1)
No one had a September like Brantley, when he batted .345, allowing him to take over the top average on the team. Where he has really been out of this world is with runners in scoring position and two outs. In these high leverage situations, Brantley has batted .364 while he hit .375 with runners in scoring position overall. Batting lower in the lineup than in the past, this has turned him into a pretty solid run producer, an unexpected result for a hitter with almost no power.

4. Justin Masterson Even (-2)
Masterson essentially missed all of September with an oblique injury, but was still the Indians top pitcher in 2013. He lead the team in wins (14), IP (193), strike outs (195) and BAA (.222). It was disappointing that the Indians ace was not able to participate in the play-off run that he helped create, but the rest of the staff really took off after his injury, picking up the slack.

5. Ubaldo Jimenez Above (+3)
Jimenez was definitely the player of the year for the second half of 2013, putting the team on his back, especially after Masterson went down with an injury. Without him, the Indians almost certainly would not have made the play-offs. During the month, Jimenez won four games and allowed just five runs overall in more than 40 innings. He also struck out 51 batters as he put up numbers comparable to the first half of his 2010 season with Colorado.

6. Corey Kluber Below (New)
Kluber has been a solid starter all season for the Tribe, ranking third among the many on this list, but struggled in September. This was expected, although disappointing, as this is the first time he has thrown more than 100 innings and he ended up throwing 147. In September, he had a team high 5.33 ERA (the next worst was McAllister's 3.51) and averaged just five innings per game. Even with the rough end, Kluber is definitely going to be a fixture in the 2014 rotation.

7. Nick Swisher Even (0)
Swisher deserves a little extra credit this season for being one of the few things interesting enough to incite Clevelanders to leave their houses and come down to the ballpark. The Indians competed for a play-off spot all season for the first time since 2007, yet attendance was atrocious. Of the few successful ventures in this department were Swisher's "Br-Ohio" section and his personally paid for fireworks night on the final home stand. Swisher even started hitting in September the way he was expected to all season, helping save an otherwise disappointing year.

8. Cody Allen Above (-3)

Allen advanced from a great rookie reliever in 2012 to being the Indians best reliever overall in 2013. He has been so good, that Terry Francona has made him his number one man for any situation. He has thrown multiple innings on multiple occasions, but has also been efficient when used against a single batter. He was used more than any pitcher in Indians history except for Bob Howry this year, yet still maintained a rediculous K/9 of 11.3. He is now the prime candidate to become the closer in 2014 after Perez is traded this off-season.

9. Joe Smith Above (-3)
Smith went a long way to becoming the Indians greatest relief pitcher of all time this year, including setting a new career record for holds. In fact, he has been just about as perfect as a relief pitcher can be giving up just two runs in the first two months and two runs in his last two months. Smith has been responsible for the eighth inning all season and only an amazing rookie campaign by Allen kept his year from standing out even more.

10. Asdrubal Cabrera Even (+4)
The whole of the Indians offense struggled during September (and August) and Cabrera was not immune, but he was one of the better performers towards the end of the year. He lead all Indians last month in RBI and came in second in home runs, more evidence that the rest of the lineup was powerless than that Cabrera was excelling. His power was more often in the form of gap doubles and he ended up coming in third on the team in doubles at the end of the year.

11. Michael Bourn Below (-2)
Bourn is a very exciting player, but struggled in the second half, batting just .224 after the break. Even on the bases, Bourn has had set-backs, getting caught in more than 30% of his steal attempts. He has been just as good as advertised on defense, however, catching almost every single fly ball hit to center this year. On those he didn't catch, Bourn had four assists (in addition to two double plays on balls he did catch), giving him more assists than any Indians center fieder since Milton Bradley in 2003.

12. Ryan Raburn Even (New)
No one knows how long it will last, but Raburn earned his entire contract extension with his play from this year. He finished out the year stronger than anyone would have thought, becoming a platoon right fielder with Stubbs against left handers. He had the fourth highest average during September and knocked in the third most runs despite playing in half as many games as the leaders.

13. Mike Aviles Below (+2)
Aviles represents the biggest drop off in the rankings, with all players above being regular starting players who have performed well during the year while all from Aviles down are either players who haven't played much or have struggled when they did. Aviles is an average of those two as he hasn't played enough games or well enough in the games he has played to be considered a regular.

14. Danny Salazar Above (+6)
If Salazar surprised anyone, it was only because of the hoards of top Indians prospects that didn't pan out (remember Adam Miller? no one does). Salazar has been moving quickly through the minors as the next big thing. He proved this year that there was more than talk as he held an ERA of 3.12 through 52 innings. Most impressively, he currently ranks as the greatest strike outpitcher in Indians history over the short term, holding a record 11.3 K/9 among all pitchers with at least 20 innings thrown.

15. Yan Gomes Above (+1)
Less surprising than Raburn, but more important to the team, Gomes has made the transformation from once a week back-up to starting catcher, moving Santana to first and DH. Gomes is the best defensive catcher the Indians have had in years (possibly since Sandy Alomar) and has been solid offensively as well. He hit more than 30 extra base hits in limited time and batted almost .300, something no Indian accomplished this year.

16. Bryan Shaw Above (+2)
Shaw won the vulture award for 2013, leading all relievers in wins, despite almost never being used late in games or in close matches. While reliever wins don't mean a whole lot, they do show that Shaw would never make the situation worse. 

17. Zach McAllister Below (-7)
The fact that McAllister was the worst starter in the Indians rotation was a testament to the overall greatness among Cleveland's starters. McAllister finished the year with an ERA of 3.75 in 134.1 innings. If there was a big problem with McAllister it was his command, as he was prone to leaving balls up in the strike zone. Because of this, the usually solid ground ball pitcher got more outs in the air than on the ground and ranked last among Indians starters in ground ball rate.

18. Matt Albers Above (-1)
Albers and Shaw came to the Tribe in the same trade and have been almost identical seasons, with Shaw just being slightly more efficient. In reality, there are probably 30 other anonymous right handed relievers that could be plugged in to Albers position and do the exact same thing. He deserves credit for keeping a decent ERA for this year, but the Indians don't need to get to excited about bringing him back for next year.

19. Scott Kazmir Above (-6)
Apparently the rumors (we started) of Kazmir's demise were slightly premature. He was one of three starters to maintain an ERA of below 3.00 during September and he struck out 43 batters in just 28 innings. This is almost mind blowing after a 5.40 ERA in August with just one strike out per inning. He will make a team with a lot of money very happy in 2014.

20. Chris Perez Below (-9)
September was so bad for Perez that he was removed from the closers role for the first time as an Indian. His attitude, contract situation and lack of effectiveness this year make it seem obvious that he will not be returning for his final year with the Indians. If this was his last season with the team it won't leave much to remember him by, a far cry from the first year of the 'Bullpen Mafia' and 'Pure Rage' Perez.

21. Drew Stubbs Below (-7)
Stubbs is the perfect example of why a position player can still be helpful to the team, while a poor pitcher is always a detriment. Stubbs has been a major disappointment offensively, batting just .233, but has still scored 59 runs and stole 17 bases. He has also helped the Indians by giving them one of the fastest outfields in all of baseball. Pitchers like Hill and Carrasco, however, have provided almost nothing positive when they have played well and have cost the Indians games when they played poorly. This is why they are ranked after players with only a few at bats or a couple innings pitched.

22. Marc Rzepczynski Above (-1)
Zip has been all anyone could ever want in a trade deadline pick-up. With the giant bullpen available in September, he didn't pitch very often, but overall since being acquired he has been fantastic. He ended the year with an ERA of just 0.89 and a WHIP of 0.84 in 27 games after posting a 7.84 ERA through 11 games with St. Louis. 

23. Lonnie Chisenhall Above (-4)
A year further in development than Kipnis, many people though this would be a break-out year for Chisenhall, but it never really happened. He was removed from the starting lineup during the play-off hunt and that seemed to help him, as he hit three home runs in limited action.

24. Vinnie Pestano Below (New)
Pestano is the only September call-up to break the top 25, which isn't really fair as he should never have been sent down in the first place. That being said, he wasn't a very good call-up, giving up five hits in the three games he was allowed to pitch in. Pestano started the year off wrong by pitching through elbow tendonitis and has never really been able to get his velocity back. He should be fine next year after the off-season, but his dreams of being closer are thoroughly decimated. 

25. Jason Giambi Below (-2)
Giambi has been almost magic this year, somehow coming up with a large percent of the Indians big hits in 2013, despite batting .185 overall. A lot of this has been his use in high pressure situations. As a pinch hitter, all of Giambi's three hits were home runs, two being walk-offs against the White Sox with the third a game tying shot against Cincinnati. He now holds the Indians record for most pinch-hit home runs and the MLB record for oldest player to hit a walk-off home run. 

Extended Roster
26. Matt Carson Above (-1)
27. Jose Ramirez Above (New)
28. Clay Rapada Above (New)
29. Josh Tomlin Above (New)
30. Blake Wood Above (New)
31. Jason Kubel Below (-7)
32. C.C. Lee Below (New)
33. Nick Hagadone Below (New)
34. Kelly Shoppach Below (New)
35. Rich Hill Below (-13)
36. Carlos Carrasco Below (New)
37. Preston Guilmet Below (New)

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.

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