"Why keep a massive statistical database of every player in Indians history if you're not going to use it?", is what some people might say and I agree. Keeping track of many stats increases the probability of modern players hitting on one of them and such was the case this season. You may have heard during the regular season, milestones such as Danny Salazar struck out more batters in his first two games than any Indians pitcher since Herb Score or that Jason Giambi set the record for oldest player to hit a walk-off home run. Those type of records are not going to be considered here. Instead the focus is on the top ten Indians records for single season and career.
Starting with the least valued stat first, quite a lot of movement happened in the holds rankings this year. Joe Smith became the Indians leader while Vinnie Pestano moved into fifth all time. In addition, Rich Hill (13), Cody Allen (12) and Bryan Shaw (12) moved into the top 20 on the strength of just a single season. Joe Smith's 25 holds this year was also good enough for fifth all time in a single season, surpassing Tony Sipp's 2011 campaign.
While it isn't a stat that directly shows talent, being used often out of the building shows a certain reliability and Cody Allen was nothing if not reliable. His 77 games played surpassed Sid Monge as the second most used pitcher in a single season in Indians history. Bob Howry set the team record with 79 in 2005 with a very similar season to Allen in 2013.
Rounding out the relief stats, Chris Perez surpassed Jose Mesa early in the season in career saves, moving into third place all time. There is a very good chance this top ten list will not have to be updated for a least a few years, despite the small distance between the leaders as Perez appears to be on his way out.
The Indians history in catchers is simply pathetic. Yes, they have had great catchers ever since 1990, but prior to that, it was a primarily defensive position with almost no offensive stand outs. Because of this, Carlos Santana has been destroying positional records, although he has cheated some by playing first base on his off days. This may be the final year he is eligible for these considerations as a move to first seems immanent.
This year, Santana grabbed top ten spots for three single season catcher stats, games played, runs scored and doubles. Again, this includes all stats for players whose primary position was catcher, not just while actually playing that position. His 154 games played was second only to his own 2011 season when he played in 155. In more impressive stats, he placed sixth all time in runs scored among catchers with 75, falling between Johnny Romano's 1961 season (76) and Victor Martinez in 2005 (73). Santana already had the top spot in this stat as well from his 2011 season (84).
Finally, Santana came one double away from the team catcher record for doubles in a year with 39. Only Victor Martinez (40 in 2007) had more. He is still signed for the next few years and will continue to move up the career charts whether it is as a catcher, first baseman or DH.
Jason Kipnis has been a very effective base runner, both because of his speed and his intelligence/instincts. This was his second season of 30 or more steals, giving him his second spot in the top five for single season steals by an Indians second baseman.
|Single Season SB as 2B|
This is a pretty boring top five and the top ten is likely to be almost completely Alomar and Kipnis by the time Kipnis becomes a free agent.
In addition to the single season prowess, Kipnis surpassed the 50 attempt mark this year, qualifying him for the career stolen base top ten. He has a precarious spot at second all time right now, behind (surprise) Roberto Alomar. Alomar was successful in 86.9% of his steal attempts, while Kipnis has been safe in 82.5%. This places him just slightly ahead of Kenny Lofton (81.3%) who, of course had the disadvantage of stealing almost 400 more games than Kipnis to this point. His qualifying this year also allowed him to jump straight to 26th all-time in Major League history, passing two of his teammates, Drew Stubbs and Michael Bourn who were both ranked in the top 20 prior to this season, but fell off.
The Indians most impressive improvement as a team was the pitching staffs ability to strike people out. Not only did an Indians pitcher have the first 190 strike out season since C.C. Sabathia's Cy Young year, but two pitchers did it, Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson. In addition, all five regular starters struck out at least 100 batters, something that hasn't happened since 2005. These, however, aren't the records we're looking for.
Starting with least significant, the Indians had two pitchers join the top five pitchers in single season K/9 with a minimum of 50 IP. This generally means relievers and starters who didn't throw the whole season and there was one of each.
|SS K/9 At Least 50IP|
Most impressively, Danny Salazar bumped off the first season of a different young Indians flamethrower, Bob Feller.
|SS K/9 Qualified|
Increasing the innings limit to 162, we can consider just starters who qualified for the ERA title. Jimenez used his fantastic finish to move into fifth all time, while Justin Masterson came in 12th with a 9.1 K/9. The rest of the top five features some the two greatest strike out pitchers in Indians history (not Colon) and Jimenez even beat one out, knocking back Score's 1956 (9.5) season.
Saving the most significant for last, considering the careers among pitchers with at least 300 IP, Jimenez has jumped from being one of the worst pitchers in Indians history to being someone of importance. He now ranks seventh all-time in the Indians 113 year history, beating out famous strike out pitchers like Bob Feller, C.C. Sabathia and Luis Tiant. In all of Major League baseball, Jimenez now ranks 33rd, while fellow Indians starter Scott Kazmir now ranks 15th.
Following this, Justin Masterson bumped his strike outs up this year, pushing him to 15th all time in K/9. Of course the most exciting pitcher is one who doesn't qualify. Danny Salazar's 11.3 K/9 through 52 innings is the best all time for an Indians pitcher with more than 20 innings thrown. While this will certainly drop as his career progresses, he is already set up to be the Indians best strike out pitcher since Herb Score. Most impressively, he does it with swing and misses, confounding hitters with a 99 MPH fastball and unfair curve. Let's just hope that no one hits a ball into his eye this time.