Where We Were: Final 2012 Rankings 16 – The End

Continued from yesterday’s 1-15:

16. Justin Masterson (2) Below

Masterson would win the award for most disappointing player if there was such a thing. He was so good in 2011 there were Cy Youngs talks going on about him during the All-Star break. This year, he fell off in every part of his game, ending with an ERA of 4.93 and a WHIP of 1.45. He was better than Jimenez in every facet of the game, but he was better last year too, and should have been this year. The biggest problem this season was inconsistency. Masterson would go out and dominate one or two games, then get destroyed the next two. He ended the season 11-15, a very fair record of his actual performance during the y.

17. Russ Canzler (17) Above

If any player made the most of his September call-up, it was Canzler. He had 25 hits in just 26 games, while playing on a fairly consistent basis over the last month of the season. Most of the hits were singles, but 3 were home runs and he did knock in 11 runs. Not only did he play first, but he also did a decent job in left field. The Indians signed Canzler with the possibility of him being the starting first baseman for the entire season, but signed Kotchman shortly after, ending that thought. He ended up spending almost all season wrecking AAA pitching, until he finally got his shot. If the Indians don’t make any moves in the off season, Canzler is their best option at first base in 2013.

18. Frank Herrmann (18) Above

Herrmann only pitched about 20 innings in the season, but was absolutely fantastic. He looked like a completely different pitcher, throwing a spiked curveball for the first time and confounding hitters. He allowed just 5 runs and 16 base runners while striking out 14. His rate stats were better than any other pitcher on the team, but they would certainly have come a little closer to normal as he pitched more innings. Either way, he has deserved some more consideration for the 2013 team as he has obviously matured as a pitcher.

19. Lou Marson (19) Below

Marson is a great back-up catcher as he puts absolutely no pressure on Santana for the starting job. Here are a couple of impressive stats about Marson’s season. He grounded into the same amount of double plays (10) as he hit extra base hits. He had more steals (4) than home runs (0) and the most important stat of all, he played in 70 games. A .226 hitter played in 70 games.

20. Jason Donald (17) Below

Donald was one of the few hitters to make Marson look good. As a contact hitter, he struck out 40 times and walked just five while batting .202. As a defensive back-up he made seven errors (.926 F%). The most impressive part of his game was his seamless change to extra outfielder late in the season with Lillibridge taking most of the extra infield at bats. While teams always need a versatile player who can help out with off days and baserunning/late inning defense, the Indians do not need Donald.

21. Cody Allen (16) Above

Allen was just drafted in 2011 and blew through the minors this year, finding himself at the top level fairly early in the season. He was amazing at first, not giving up a run in his first month, but regressed some after that, ending with a 3.72 ERA. Allen is another pitcher talked about that may have closer stuff, so he should definitely be returning to the pen in 2013. With the glut of pitchers the Indians already have available for relief duty, they should be able to avoid signing another useless Chad Durbin or Dan Wheeler this off season.

22. Brent Lillibridge (19) Below

Lillibridge is a little bit of an enigma. He was traded twice in the season, coming to the Indians when they certainly weren’t looking for another utility player. After coming to the Tribe he looked a lot better than with Chicago or Boston, hitting three home runs in 43 games after having none with either prior team. Overall he was atrocious offensively (.216 AVG), but he was also poor defensively. While playing infield there were multiple times where he fielded an extremely easy grounder and proceeded to launch the ball over the first baseman’s head. This seemed to be from more of a lack of concentration than lack of ability, which makes it even less forgivable. There are very few players in baseball that can just relax and nonchalantly play the game, even less that stick around if they try to do that. Lillibridge is not one of those. The worse you are at baseball, the harder you have to try. Players who are trying hard don’t lightly toss a ball ten feet over the first baseman’s head from around second base.

23. David Huff (23) Above

Huff is a tricky pitcher. He will come out and pitch great his first few times out every year, then start to get worse and worse until you wonder how he could even be the same person. He started this year coming in for Gomez in relief twice and was so good, he was moved to the rotation. There he also pitched well until his last couple of starts. He didn’t log enough innings to get to the point where he became a whipping boy, but he appeared to be close, pitching 10.2 innings in his last two starts and allowing 10 runs (4 unearned). Huff is not to be trusted and should not be part of the team next season.

24. Tony Sipp (16) Below

Sipp started the season very poorly. Before the All-Star break he had an ERA of 5.65 in almost 29 innings, this coming down from a 7.71 ERA in April. Part of this was likely improper pitching management as he was almost unhittable (.209 BAA, 1.01 WHIP) against left handed hitters all season, but was not nearly effective (.250, 1.58 WHIP) against right handers. In the past, Sipp has been available for use against multiple batters, such as when there are two lefties sandwiched around a righty, but that is obviously no longer the case. Sipp is now the traditional left handed match-up guy, although there is still value in that.

24. Chris Seddon (22) Above

See McAllister.

26. Matt LaPorta (26) Below

Do a search on the site for LaPorta. This topic has been covered past nausea.

27. Scott Barnes (24) Even

Barnes joined the team in late May as one of the teams most touted pitching prospects. He was terrible during that stint with the Tribe, but was recalled again after Hagadone punched himself out of the league and again as a September call-up. Barnes finished strong, giving him some of the most divergent split stats you will ever see. At home he threw 9 innings, allowing no runs, but on the road he threw 10 innings and allowed 9 runs. His day/night splits are almost the same, giving up a single run during 9.2 innings at night with everything else happening during the day. He allowed all 9 runs in June and July, going perfect as a call-up in September, despite pitching the same amount of innings as the other two months combined.

28. Cord Phelps (27) Below

There was a time when Phelps was considered a rival for the future second base job with Kipnis. That time is long passed. This year he didn’t play enough to judge, although he did play well in the minors. The same could be said for Neal and Rottino, so all three can be covered here. When September call-ups were made it was announced that the primary player to look at was Canzler and that these three hitters would only get the few scraps of playing time left over. Combined they had only 84 at bats, hitting two home runs and walking twice as well. Young players tend to press, so the lack of walks is not completely surprising, but if they would think before swinging, they would realize that management values good knowledge of the strike zone rather than a couple of lucky singles. None of the three players was able to make a good impression with their short time with the team, which must be disappointing for them considering that they are all getting pretty old for minor leaguers.

29. Thomas Neal (28) Below

See Phelps.

30. Vinny Rottino (30) Below

See Neal.

31. Corey Kluber (21) Even

See McAllister.

32. Ubaldo Jimenez (8) Below

If Masterson had one to two bad games for every good, Jimenez had three to four. Not only was he ineffective in those games, but things usually got out of hand quickly. When he pitched well (which happened in about 10 games of his 31), he was incredible, throwing a curve ball that dropped from the top of the strike zone to the hitters ankles and mixing in his fastball which still has a little pop. On most days, however, he struggled with control and patient hitters forced him to throw bad pitches just to avoid walks. It is not that Jimenez avoided walks, he allowed more than one every two innings, it is just that he gave up a lot more hits. He will certainly be back next year, despite his 5.40 ERA and 1.61 WHIP, as his price and potential are too good to give up.

33. Jeanmar Gomez (4) Below

Gomez is kind of the opposite of the McAllister group as he actually had expectations coming into the season. Gomez was the strongest pitcher coming out of Spring Training and made the team simply on the merits of that month. He pitched fine enough early on, but as the season went on his problems became more apparant. Shortly after the All-Star break he was removed from the rotation and wasn’t reinstated until September, when he was pulled again after just a couple games. One bright point for Gomez is that he pitches very well when used in relief and has the stamina to be a long reliever. 

34. Scott Maine (34) Below

Maine pitched a total of 6 innings in 9 games, a red flag if there ever was one. Three of those games, he gave up 2 runs in an inning or less, including one where he didn’t record a single out. This lead to an ERA of over 10.50, a WHIP over 2.60 and a pitcher who should not even be thought of in 2013.

35. Roberto Hernandez (24) Below

Hernandez (the pitcher formally known as Fausto Carmona) was the epitome of disappointment in 2012. He missed over half the season with legal issues, then struggled in his three starts. Hernandez lost all three starts and absolutely deserved to. In his final start he was removed early from the game due to a sprained ankle and never returned to the team. The fact that the Indians didn’t push to get him back in the rotation or at least the bullpen shows that they don’t expect him to return in 2013.

Still here, just hurt:

Josh Tomlin Below

Tomlin pitched poorly (6.36 ERA) over 21 games before blowing out his elbow and getting Tommy John surgery. Because the injury occured so late in the year, he will be out for the entirety of 2013.

Nick Hagadone Below

Hagadone’s biggest issue this year was his temper. Through May he was fantastic, used as a left-hander out of the bullpen and keeping an ERA near 2.00. When it started to fall apart for Hagadone, he couldn’t take it, despite the fact (or maybe because of it) that everyone else on the team was going through the same thing. His ERA ballooned over 6.00 and he blew his final game of the year, giving up two runs in 0.2 innings. After that, he blew up his hand by punching something in the dugout, successfully ending his season and his paycheck. He deserves a second chance because he has a lot of talent, but he needs to keep his emotions in check if he is going to be successful in the future. 

Rafael Perez Below

Perez pitched the second least amount of innings on the team, despite being a good pitcher. He injured his elbow early in the season and despite repeated attempts to comeback, missed the entire season. 

Still here, but back in the minors:

Luke Carlin Even

Carlin played 4 games for the Tribe this year and he might as well not have. A throw in from the Cliff Lee trade, Carlin missed all of 2011 because of Manny Acta’s infatuation with Marson and was unable to fairly compete for job this year as well. He wasn’t even brought up in September with the Indians using Rottino as a third catcher when necessary instead. The fact is that Carlin can’t possibly be worse than Marson, so he should have been given a chance each of the last three years and should next year as well.

Juan Diaz Above

Diaz played in five games in the middle of the year, straight up from AA, when Cabrera was day-to-day with a small injury. The Indians decided to go with Diaz rather than Phelps most likely because they knew it was a short term stint with the team and didn’t want to interrupt the work he was doing in AAA. I guarantee Phelps would rather have been on the Indians for those five games.

Still here, because no one else would take them:

Aaron Cunningham Below

With a .175 batting average, Cunningham was by far the worst hitter on a very bad offensive team. There should be some kind of award for not only what he did this year, but what the Indians let him do. It’s not like Cunningham was an electric outfielder that was so amazing he made up for his shortcomings on defense (like Carrera is). He is just not good at baseball. In fact, he was one of five players released near the end of the season that were so bad, no other team in the league would touch them.

Shelley Duncan Below

If giving 97 at bats to Cunningham was a shame, giving 232 to Duncan was a travesty. Even the one thing Duncan is supposed to be there for, he didn’t do very well. Here are a few Indians hitters with less at bats than Duncan who beat his .388 Slugging Percent: Carrera (3.95), Chisenhall (4.30) and Canzler (.398). With all three of these players in the minors and capable of outplaying Duncan at his position (either left field or DH), it makes no sense that he was allowed to flounder in the big leagues for as long as he did.

Dan Wheeler Below

Wheeler only pitched 12 games for the Tribe this year and held an ERA around 9.00 before being relegated back to Columbus. He then spent the entire season in AAA, despite his opportunity to leave and seek Major League employment elsewhere.

Gone nowhere:

Jeremy Accardo Even

Accardo was the best of all the terrible relief pitchers signed prior to this season, but he still wasn’t very good. Once the Indians realized the players they already had a home were better than anything that could be found elsewhere, they released the trash, including Accardo. 

Johnny Damon Below

Damon should not have been signed, then should not have been played and finally should have been released far earlier than he was. Somehow, the Indians front office thought that Damon would be a better replacement outfielder for Grady Sizemore than Carrera would be and wasted a considerable amount of time and wins in a meaningless experiment. The fact that no one signed Damon before the season started or after he was released proves that he has nothing left.

Gone somewhere:

Jairo Asencio Below

Signing Asencio during late March was possibly the stupidest decision made all year. He cost a player a roster spot on the 40 man and kept a much more talented reliever, like Hagadone or McAllister from making the team to start the season. He was out of options so Tribe management felt they have no choice but to play him and he made them pay. Asencio pitched 18 games and allowed 17 runs before being released and joining the Cubs.

Derek Lowe Even

Lowe was the only member 2012 Indians to make the playoffs this year, even though when he pitched for the Tribe he was almost guaranteed not to make it through the fourth. The Yankees moved Lowe into long relief, something the Indians should have done about two months before he was actually released.

Jose Lopez Even

Lopez signed with the White Sox after a surprisingly decent time with the Indians. Lopez mostly played third base while the Indians were burying Chisenhall in AAA. During a short time he was so good, he was used almost daily in the lineup, sometimes as designated hitter. Lopez did knock in 28 runs this year, not that bad for a utility who only played a short time with the team.

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