Where We At? August 2012

With the worst months in Indians history over there wasn’t much movement up or down the power rankings. Most of the movement that did occur happened because seven new players were added to the 25 man roster. 

1. Shin-Soo Choo Even (+1)

30 SO: This is the first time for Choo in the number one spot after being held by Hafner for a month, then Kipnis for the rest of the year. The move was mostly made due to Kipnis’ slump, as Choo has been very consistant all season. If he had one problem, it’s that he lead the team in strike outs, six more than the next worse batter. Chances are he has been pressing with the rest of the team struggling and swinging at more bad pitches than normal as of late, leading to the increased strike out count.

2. Asdrubal Cabrera Even (+2)

7 2B: Cabrera lead the team in doubles in August and has 30 on the season as well. While the Indians don’t have a true power hitter, having three players with 30 or more doubles can make up for a lot of that. Even in a month as poorly played as this one, 7 Indians had at least four doubles, which would project out to 25 or so on the year. 

3. Jason Kipnis Below (-2)

.180 AVG: If Choo is pressing, Kipnis is already flat. He basically went from being the Indians best hitter, to their worse over the course of two months. He still hit two home runs and stole five bases, enough to keep him in third place along with his prior achievements, but things did not look good for Kipnis last month.

4. Michael Brantley Even (-1)

3 CS: For a speed outfielder, you never want to see a caught stealing ratio of 3 caught to every one good steal, but that is what Brantley put out last month. Ideally a manager is looking for a stolen base percentage of above 75% to have it actually help the team. Brantley obviously has the speed, but needs to work on finding the best situations to steal and improving his timing.

5. Carlos Santana Above (0)

16 RBI: While his batting average remains low, Santana’s production numbers really jumped in the last month, hitting four home runs and knocking in a team high 16. While on a normal team this wouldn’t be anything to get excited about, on the Indians it’s off the charts fantastic.

6. Vinnie Pestano Below (0)

3 IR Scored: This month, Pestano has been a little worse than his stats will show. Prior to this month, Pestano had been almost perfect, stranding every single inherited runner on base except for one.  This month, he allowed 3 to score. He certainly has not been his usual perfect self, but he is still the best reliever and possibly the best overall pitcher on the team.

7. Zach McAllister Even (+1)

8 Unearned Runs: The Indians defense failed one of their best pitchers this month allowing 7 unearned runs in a single game and 8 overall. On the season he has allowed 18 unearned runs, almost a third of his total runs allowed. This disproportionate number is not all to blame on the Indians defense as he tended to give up a lot everytime the team made an error behind him that extended an inning. This could possibly be a mental block when thinks an inning should be over, but it isn’t and he kind of gives up.

8. Casey Kotchman Below (-1)

4 Walks: There is a huge split in talent level that occurs between the first five position players and the sixth, Kotchman. While he is still a starter and has played as many games as anyone else, he comes in last for the month among starters in runs, doubles, triples, RBI and walks. A positive note for him is that he is also last in strike outs. Kotchman is here as a defensive firstbaseman, but with an offense this bad, the Indians can’t afford the luxery of a player at a power position who can’t hit.

9. Chris Perez Below (+1)

2 Losses: Every single starting pitcher lost three games this month, but Perez lead all relievers with two losses. This has to be one of Pure Rage’s worst months ever as he blew two saves and held an ERA of 6.75 as well.

10. Joe Smith Below (+1)

1.61 WHIP: What happened to Joe Smith? Although he only gave up four runs this month, he walked seven and allowed eight hits in just 9.1 innings. This is nothing like the Smith we are used to who garners his success by keeping runners off base.

11. Justin Masterson Below (+2)

16 Walks: Masterson lead the team in walks during August, leading to a team high 1.77 WHIP. When he was good, he was the best pitcher of the month, winning three of the Indians five games won, but when he was terrible, he was bad enough to net an ERA of 6.75 for the month and record three losses.

12. Esmil Rogers Above (+9)

2.04 ERA: Rogers continues to impress as he again lead all relievers in appearances and this time strike outs as well. He also walked just two batters, best on the team by any pitcher with more than 2 innings pitched. If Rogers can keep his command, he could be a big part of the Bullpen Mafia for the next few seasons.

13. Jeanmar Gomez Even (New)

1 IP: Gomez threw just one inning in relief this month, but it was a perfect inning with a strike out. He will get another chance in the starting rotation in September as he is scheduled to start on the first.

14. Jack Hannahan Below (+2)

1 RBI: Jack must have been really excited when he knocked in that run this month. I know it looks like he has moved up the rankings because he is two places higher than last month, but he has actually moved down. Three players ranked above him last month are no longer on the list and the one directly below has been removed as well. This means he actually fell one place.

15. Ezequiel Carrera Above (New)

11 Runs: Even though he didn’t start every game, and was in fact used as a late inning defensive replacement when first called up, Carrera has still managed to score the second most runs on the team in August. If there was a Indians Heart and Hustle award for each half of the season (and I believe there is), Kipnis deserved it in the first half and Carrera deserves it for the second.

16. Tony Sipp Above (+7)

11 Base Runners Allowed: Sipp pitched just 11.1 innings this month, meaning he allowed less than a single base runner an inning. This is superb and is an outstanding effort for any pitcher not named Addie Joss.

17. Cody Allen Above (+7)

12 Games: While Allen did give up his first runs of his career (it was bound to happen at some point), he proved that he is not a fluke by throwing in 12 games this month and maintaining an ERA at 2.51. The 2011 draft pick has truly been a surprise and one of the few good ones the Indians have had this year.

18. Ubaldo Jimenez Below (-3)

37 K’s: Ubaldo certainly has found his curveball, using it and his other breaking pitches to lead the team in strike outs. All he has to do now is allow less than 27 runs in about 30 innings and he could be a superstar again. The “stuff” is definitely there, he just needs to work on his command and his knowledge of American League hitters and he really could be something special.

19. Brent Lillibridge Even (+6)

3 Home runs: After not hitting a single home run for either of his two previous teams, Lillbridge has come to Cleveland and pounded out three in a month. Of course he batting .200 and only knocked in 6, so let’s not get too excited.

20. Lou Marson Below (0)

15 Games Played: Why did Lou Marson play 15 games this month? That’s more than half the total games played by the Tribe. He could very literally be the worst offensive (and possibly defensive) player on the team. Keep him on the bench unless Carlos gets his knee taken out again.

21. Corey Kluber Below (New)

2.89 K/BB Ratio: Although Kluber has not been quite as good as the Indians would have liked, but one aspect he has impressed in is striking batters out. This month he has the best K/9 ratio outside of Jimenez on the strength of 26 total strike outs. As soon as he can put those strike outs closer together with less hits in between he will be all set.

22. Jason Donald Below (New)

2 Extra Base Hits: Surprisingly, both of Donald’s extra base hits this month were home runs. Not surprisingly, he has had an OBP of .255 for the month. If the Indians were going to improve their offense by adding another bat, a way to make it even better would be to keep the player that the new hitter would replace and use him in the utility role while releasing Donald.

23. Chris Seddon Even (New)

6 Relief Appearances: Seddon is hard to judge this month as he pitched mostly in long relief, instead of starting as he had all year for Columbus. Even when he had a chance to join the starting rotation again with Hernandez’s injury, Manny Acta has decided to go with Gomez, who struggled during his recent stint in AAA.

24. Roberto Hernandez Below (New)

4 Home Runs Allowed: Sadly, neither Hernandez’s 7.53 ERA nor his .304 BAA are the worst on the team for the month, but his four home runs in 14.1 innings pitched is by far the worst. In his last start Roberto was removed due to a sprained ankle early in the game, yet he still managed to allow a homer in that start as well. 

25. Matt LaPorta Below (New)

1 Hit: LaPorta is not doing a very good job of taking advantage of what should be his final Indians try out. So far he has had 12 at bats and he has a single hit along with five strike outs. If he keeps this up for about another week, the Indians can end this experiment before the year is out and give his playing time to Russ Canzler.



No longer with us (July ranking in parenthesis):

Johnny Damon Below (17)

Jeremy Accardo Below (22)

Vinny Rottino Below (DNP)

Jose Lopez Even (12)

Travis Hafner Above (9)

Josh Tomlin Below (19)

Frank Herrmann Even (DNP)

Shelley Duncan Below (14)

Joseph Coblitz

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since its inception in 2011. He also writes for The Outside Corner and the Comeback and hosts the Tribe Time Now podcast. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona the Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians. Follow on twitter @BurningRiverBB