Where We At? September 2012

This will be the last individual month power ranking for the Indians players, with just three games left in the season in October. The list has grown much this month, liberally using September call-ups, bringing the final total to 35 players instead of the usual 25. Because of this, there won’t be stats or explanations for the bottom 10 players on the list, most of whom haven’t played enough to really judge. Here is a link to last month’s rankings for comparison, although as always I will include the change in place from last month in parenthesis next to their current rank.

1. Shin-Soo Choo Even (0)

0 HR: Choo’s power seemed to disappear during the final month of the season as he had just 7 extra base hits, all of which were doubles. Of course the fact that he kept his batting average above .300 and his OBP above .400 make it easier to forgive his lowest slugging percent since his slow start in April. This could also be part of his changing role as he has been asked to become a lead-off hitter, instead of the middle of the order slugger he had been.

2. Carlos Santana Above (+3)

19 RBI: Santana lead all players in RBI in September and took over the season team lead as well. Santana has undoubtedly been the Indians best hitter since the All-Star break and continued strong through this last month.

3. Michael Brantley Even (+1)

.421 OBP: Brantley lead all hitters in OBP this month, hitting his way most of the way there with 20 hits in just a limited time due to injury. The one problem with Brantley this month is that almost all his hits were singles and he didn’t steal any bases. In fact, of the 32 times he reached base, he only got to second on his own twice. One interesting note is that teams started paying attention to Brantley finally and he walked intentionally 9 times of his 12 walks.

4. Jason Kipnis Even (-2)

5 Doubles: After starting the season out slow collecting two baggers, Kipnis has knocked 14 since July, bringing him back up to respectability. Kipnis doesn’t have amazing power, but he does have a line drive swing and good speed, so he should be a doubles machine.

5. Asdrubal Cabrera Above (-3)

.470 SLG: A grand slam on the last day of the month put a punctuation mark on a pretty good September for Cabrera. He played a lot more like the Asdrubal from 2011 than earlier in the season, raising his batting average to .274 with a .303 mark on the month.

6. Vinnie Pestano Even (0)

3.75 ERA: While this ERA might seem decent, it is absolutely unacceptable for Vinnie Pestano (his season ERA sits at 2.37). He ranked 8th this month among Indians relievers and has blown a save. Let’s all over react. While this hasn’t been his best month of the year, there is a reason he remains the top ranked pitcher on this list.

7. Zach McAllister Below (0)

.304 BAA: McAllister is another pitcher who has dropped off as of late, although his fall was much more significant than Pestanos. He had been the Indians most consistent pitcher prior to September, but seems to be showing signs of tiring from the longest workload of his career. This month he was the worst starter in the rotation not named Jeanmar.

8. Chris Perez Above (+1)

100% SV%: Perez is back on track and saved all six of his chances this month. This has put him among the top saves leaders in Indians history and he still has a chance to rise a little more up the list with three more games left.

9. Joe Smith Above (+1)

3 Runs Allowed: The Indians side-arming righty did it again, absolutely dominating out of the bullpen. He allowed those three runs in just under 12 innings while striking out 10.

10. Justin Masterson Below (0)

1 HRA: Masterson allowed just a single home run in the month of September, less than any pitcher with more than 11 innings pitched for the Tribe. This is just about the only good thing coming from his five starts in the month as he lost three games and was outpitched by three of the other four members of the rotation. Just because he didn’t give up home runs, doesn’t mean he didn’t give up hits or runs. He allowed 31 hits (in addition to 13 walks) in just 28 innings.

11. Esmil Rogers Above (+1)

11 GP: Rogers has been made a serious part of the Bullpen Mafia, behind only Pestano and Smith in relief appearances, and has excelled. Rogers maintained an ERA under three and a WHIP under 1.00, all while keeping control, his biggest problem when he played for Colorado. Rogers has only walked four this month.

12. Travis Hafner Below (New)

4 Times on base: Since Hafner’s return, he has only been on base four times. Twice after being hit by pitches, once on a walk and once he was safe on an error. He is hitless and homerless for the month, looking like a shell of his former self. It is disappointing to see his time with the Tribe end this way, but he does have approximately two more games left to try to get that elusive hit.

13. Casey Kotchman Below (-5)

0 Walks: In a month that saw the Indians have a game with 12 walks as a team and record over 100 total, Kotchman amazingly had none. With Kotchman certainly removed from the roster within the coming weeks, the biggest question here is why did he get to play in 24 games while Neal and LaPorta sat on the bench.

14. Lonnie Chisenhall Below (New)

2 HR: Lonnie surprised everyone by making it back to the big leagues at all this year after breaking his arm, but he has made an even bigger splash, hitting a couple home runs and knocking in seven in limited time.

15. Jack Hannahan Above (-1)

.447 OBP: Somehow Hannahan lead all Indians hitters in OBP. He has started to be phased out with Chisenhall getting the majority of the at bats at third, but has put together his best month of the year offensively. This may go to show what I have been saying all along, that Hannahan should be used in a limited reserve role and as a late inning defensive replacement.

16. Cody Allen Below (+1)

2.04 WHIP: This is the first time Allen has stumbled since being drafted last season. He has been horrendous this month (7 ER in 8.1 IP), but it shouldn’t be anything to worry about. It is unlikely that Allen will make the team out of Spring Training next year anyway and this set back should only help motivate him as he moves on with his young career.

17. Ubaldo Jimenez Even (+1)

11 Walks: Jimenez’s month was actually not that bad as he was hurt in his record (0-3) by seven unearned runs. He finally dropped his batting average against below .250 and his WHIP below 1.50, but control is still an issue. If he can get his walks under control, there is still a pretty good pitcher there under that wildness.

18. Jeanmar Gomez Below (-5)

18 Runs Allowed: Gomez gave up more runs than any other pitcher this month, which was quite a feat considering he pitched 12 less innings than Masterson (who also gave up 18). Gomez’s season implosion is now complete as he has made his last start of the season. Jeanmar went from Spring Training surprise success to mediocre to the worst starter on the team in the span of a season. With the way he was unable to sustain as his innings pitched piled up, he seems to be a better fit as a long reliever than a starter at this point in his career.

19. Russ Canzler Above (New)

25 Hits: Canzler has been very consistant since his rise to the Majors, hitting in all but seven of the games he has played in. He has been given the most opportunity of the September call-ups and has jumped at his chance. He now sits as a favorite to make the team in 2013, possibly as a starting first baseman or left fielder depending on what other moves the Indians make.

20. Ezequiel Carrera Below (-4)

4 SB: Carrera has really shown his speed this month, going a perfect 4-4 in steal attempts. On the season he is now 8-9 when trying to steal. Carrera is the prototypical lead-off hitter/centerfielder and could possibly be used that way if the Indians keep the roster the way it is going into next year.

21. Tony Sipp Below (-5)

0 Holds: With a few young pitchers taking more prominent spots in the bullpen, especially Herrmann, Barnes and Rogers, Sipp has seen his innings drop, especially in pivotal situations. Sipp was only given a single chance at a hold this month and he blew the save.

22. Chris Seddon Above (+1)

7 Relief Appearances: Seddon has taken well to his unpredictable position of spot starter/long reliever and allowed just three runs this month in ten innings pitched, all in relief. Seddon has been asked to come in early in games when a starter has struggled and late in more normal relief appearances and has looked pretty good all around.

23. Brent Lillibridge Below (-4)

16 SO: Lillibridge struck out more often than any other Indians hitter at about once every 2.5 at bats. This could be a huge problem as he is not a high production hitter who can mask his strike outs with home runs. As an infrequently used utility player, Lilly time has to make the most out of every single at bat or his services will no longer be needed.

24. Frank Herrmann Above (New)

1.38 ERA: A regular in the great 2011 bullpen, Harvard Herrmann is back with a vengeance. His two runs allowed were the second fewest of any pitcher on the team (Barnes threw 7.2 innings allowing no runs) and he lead all pitchers in WHIP (0.62) and BAA (.156).

25. David Huff Above (New)

.250 BAA: Since his return to the Indians Huff has been nothing less than spectacular. He first pitched 2 games in relief, bailing out Gomez a couple times before ultimately taking his place in the rotation. He currently sits at 3-0 in five games with an ERA of 2.86 and 17 strike outs in 22 innings. Huff has one more start to make before the Indians decide if he is worth resigning for another attempt next year.

26. Lou Marson Below (-6)

27. Corey Kluber Below (-6)

28. Matt LaPorta Above (-3)

29. Jason Donald Below (-7)

30. Scott Barnes Above (New)

31. Cord Phelps Below (New)

32. Roberto Hernandez DNP (-8)

33. Vinny Rottino Below (New)

34. Thomas Neal Below (New)

35. Scott Maine Below (New)

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