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2012 Tony Awards: Biggest Disappointment

2012 Tony Awards: Biggest Disappointment
October 4, 2012
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Today we continue the IPI postseason awards with the announcement of the Biggest Disappointment, the one year end award no one wants to win.  This award goes to the player who was a highly rated prospect coming into the season who performed poorly or suffered through an injury plagued season.

Here are the 2012 Tony Awards so far:

Rookie of the Year: Dorssys Paulino (SS)
Defensive Player of the Year: Giovanny Urshela (3B)

As with any season - no matter how good things go - there will always be a few players who fall short of expectations. The toughest thing to balance is considering who truly had a poor season since a lot of these players had their season’s affected by significant injuries, and in an evaluation process that is something that teams very much consider. Either way, the great thing is most of these players will get a chance next year to make the necessary corrections and could very well be next year’s Comeback Player of the Year.

Again, these awards are simply for fun to hand out at the end of the year, though this is one award that is not really “fun” to hand out.  Also, the Cleveland Indians in no way whatsoever had any input in these awards.

Onto the nominees…

Biggest Disappointment Nominees

Austin Adams (RHP)
Did not pitch

Adams came into the season ranked as the Indians #8 prospect by IPI. Just a few weeks into spring training he came down with right shoulder soreness that shut him down until early May. He started a throwing program in May but had a few setbacks before he consulted with doctors and it was determined that surgery on the right shoulder was needed. He had the surgery at the end of May and missed the rest of the season and never logged an inning in a game this season.

Clayton Cook (RHP – Carolina)
1-0, 2.31 ERA, 3 GS, 11.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R (3 ER), 0 HR, 7 BB, 8 K, .122 BAA

Cook came into the season ranked as the Indians #20 prospect by IPI. He was off to a solid start at High-A Carolina but a right elbow sprain at the end of April shut him down for six weeks. He worked his way through a throwing program and had some issues with it before having an MRI to see what was wrong. It was determined that no surgery was needed and that further rest and rehabilitation was needed, so he did not pitch the rest of the season.

Michael Goodnight (RHP – Carolina)
2-13, 4.64 ERA, 28 GS, 145.1 IP, 151 H, 89 R (75 ER), 8 HR, 76 BB, 101 K, .278 BAA

Goodnight came into the season ranked as the Indians #26 prospect by IPI. He was healthy all season and hauled a lot of innings, but his fastball command was lacking and did not have the life to it that it had last season at Low-A Lake County. Also, the Indians had always viewed him so highly because of his good delivery, but he had some delivery woes this season that contributed to his struggles.

Nick Hagadone (LHP – Columbus, Cleveland)
Columbus totals: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 G, 7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 HR, 1 BB, 7 K, .167 BAA
Cleveland totals: 1-0, 6.39 ERA, 27 G, 1 SV, 25.1 IP, 26 H, 18 R/ER, 4 HR, 15 BB, 26 K

Hagadone came into the season ranked as the Indians #4 prospect by IPI. He got off to an impressive start to his season at Triple-A Columbus and was quickly promoted to Cleveland and enjoyed success early on. With the Indians he had a 2.08 ERA in April and 2.25 ERA in May before the bottom fell out in June with a 14.73 ERA. In a fit of rage over his final outing on July 6th he broke his left hand. The Indians responded by optioning him to Columbus the next day and then placed him on the minor league disqualified list where he did not receive pay and did not pitch the rest of the season.

Dillon Howard (RHP – Arizona)
1-7, 7.90 ERA, 12 G (10 GS), 41.0 IP, 65 H, 53 R (36 ER), 3 HR, 18 BB, 35 K, .348 BAA

Howard came into the season ranked as the Indians #3 prospect by IPI. There was a lot of excitement over him because many felt he was a first round talent the Indians got in the second round of the 2011 Draft, but things never got off on the right foot for him this year. He did not come into camp in the best of shape, struggled with a knee injury in spring training that set him back, and then had a right elbow issue in extended spring that slowed him. All of that set him back and really affected his performance the entire time he was out in Arizona as the velocity and command were just not there on a consistent basis.

Chen-Chang Lee (RHP – Columbus)
2-0, 2.57 ERA, 5 G, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 8 K, .208 BAA

Lee came into the season ranked as the Indians #6 prospect by IPI. He was off to a good start at Triple-A Columbus and was set to be the first or second impact relief arm the Indians would call up when a need arose for the bullpen. Unfortunately, in his last outing on April 17th he had to leave the game because of tightness in his right forearm. He was shut down for several weeks, but when he tried to come back the issue still lingered and he underwent Tommy John surgery in June.

Jake Lowery (C – Lake County, Carolina)
.232 AVG (79-for-340), 98 G, 45 R, 25 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 53 RBI, 52 BB, 110 K, 1 SB, .730 OPS

Lowery entered the season ranked as the Indians #25 prospect by IPI. He got off to a great start at High-A Carolina and hit .304 with a .805 OPS in April before seeing his performance nosedive in May (.195 AVG, .567 OPS) and June (.115 AVG, .504 OPS). The Indians reassigned him to Low-A Lake County in early July and he struggled there hitting .196 with a .650 OPS before having a monster August (.260 AVG, .977 OPS).

Jake Sisco (RHP – Mahoning Valley)
1-6, 5.03 ERA, 15 GS, 77.0 IP, 81 H, 49 R (43 ER), 6 HR, 30 BB, 45 K, .273 BAA

Sisco entered the season ranked as the Indians #18 prospect by IPI. His year was filled with inconsistency, and it started right at the beginning in spring training. He surprisingly did not open the season in the Low-A Lake County rotation, and when he eventually made it to short season Single-A Mahoning Valley when their season started in June it was evident as to why. The command was noticeably off, he had some delivery issues he was working through, and the fastball did not have the life it had in 2011 when he was coming out of the draft.

Felix Sterling (RHP – Arizona, Lake County)
7-8, 5.65 ERA, 30 G (18 GS), 3 SV, 114.2 IP, 118 H, 95 R (72 ER), 15 HR, 47 BB, 102 K, .262 BAA

Sterling came into the season ranked as the Indians #12 prospect by IPI. He went back and forth from Lake County to Arizona twice as the Indians tried to work through some delivery issues and get his fastball command back on track. It was not walk-related as his walk rate actually went down this season; it was the quality of his stuff and his mental approach as once he started getting hit things quickly unraveled.

LeVon Washington (OF – Arizona, Lake County, Carolina)
.333 AVG (16-for-48), 13 G, 13 R, 1 2B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 8 BB, 13 K, 1 SB, .793 OPS

Washington came into the season ranked as the Indians #2 prospect by IPI. It was a bold placement to have him ranked so highly coming off his subpar 2011 campaign, but the talent and tools were there and it was believed it would all come together this season. Early on that was the case as he had a great showing in spring training and the first week at Lake County when he hit .440 with a 1.043 OPS in 6 games, but a hip injury sidelined him for most of the rest of the season until he got into a few games at rookie Arizona and High-A Carolina the last three weeks of the season.

And the Tony Award goes to…Dillon Howard

I could have gone in any direction with this, but I refrained from actually handing out this award to a player that got injured through no fault of his own. While I list players that got hurt as nominees, I focused it more on the players that performed poorly or got hurt because of their own carelessness.

It is easy to see one of the big reasons the Indians struggled this season was the injuries to the pitching in the upper levels of their farm system. The loss of Hagadone, Adams, and Lee hurt their depth as all three of those guys were expected to be Major League options this year and had impact ability. Also, aside from Goodnight, Lowery, Sisco, Sterling and Howard, no player really “disappointed” from a performance and development perspective with respect to their prospect value. That is a good sign.

For me this came down to Howard and Hagadone.

Hagadone certainly had a disappointing year, but it was actually a very good year for the first two and a half months, it was just the last three weeks that were his undoing. He breezed through Columbus and up until his June 13th outing in Cincinnati he had a 2.75 ERA in 20 appearances with the Indians.  His troubles stemmed from his final seven appearances from June 13th to July 6th where he allowed 12 runs (all earned), 14 hits, and 8 walks in 5.2 innings. The big no-no was how he responded to those troubles as he suffered a self-inflicted broken hand when he lost his temper in that last outing, something the Indians were obviously hot about because they placed him on the disqualified list.

But Howard was the bigger disappointment because of his lofty draft and prospect status and for how poorly he performed this year in what was truly a lost season for him. He simply struggled from day one in spring training all the way through the end of the season, some due to health issues, some because he was not in great shape, and some because he flat out did not pitch well.

Howard needs to bust his tail this offseason to come into spring training next year in the best shape of his life, stay healthy, and be ready to compete and earn a spot in the Low-A Lake County rotation next year. He can ill afford another season like this past season because seven figure signing bonus or not, he will quickly lose priority status as other players pass him by.

Up Next: Biggest Breakthrough

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

October 5, 2012 - 8:41 AM EDT
The front office absolutely was a disappointment and deserves a ton of blame this year. However, the front office, managers, coaches, etc are not up for these.....and they are minor league oriented. It is specifically minor league players only and does not include any big league players (except the minor leaguers who played in the big leagues this year).
October 5, 2012 - 8:32 AM EDT
Chengy, are you smoking crack? To not blame the front office is garbage,,,period. The ownership itself is one of the three worst in baseball.....Shapiro has destroyed this franchise from the ground up and refuses to assume any responsibility...Take a look at the upper levels of the Indians minor league system to see how badly the draft has been bungled over the Shapiro years.......Don't even get me started on all of the bad trades that have occurred under Shapiros reign.....I have been a life long Indians fan and the current vrsion of the Indians reminds me of the days of the late 70's and early 80's when we had a bad front office, poor ownership, barren minor league system and were forced to root on players such as Miguel Dilone, Jorge Orta and Rick Waits, while we unloaded our best players and hoped and prayed that the prospects like Julio Franco and Von Hayes would lead us out of our consistent 90 loss seasons. As an Indians fan, I have lost hope with the franchise and see no light at the end of the tunnel! The greatest thing that could happen to this team would be for Dolan to sell and the new owner to come in and clean out the whole front office.
October 5, 2012 - 8:13 AM EDT
Matt I completely agree the Tribe threw that cash away, they would have been better served paying fans to attend.

I completely disagree however, that other teams simply passed on Howard and Washington bc they knew better than the Tribe. That's quite deceptive wen Howard had a hard commitment to Arkansas. Howard isn't a lost cause and he was better than the numbers, but what the Tribe got was an immature 19 yo kid. Next season is vital going forward.

Washington is an entirely another case. Were the Rays stupid for drafting Washington a round earlier the yr before??? The Rays are considered one of the better org. at drafting and developing talent and were disappointed not to sign Washington. The point is injury can occur to anyone, LeVon had had the shldr injury prior but the hip was entirely new injury that he had recovered from, it was a matter of time before he had to have corrective surgery with that injury and he and the Tribe took the safe route deferring to have the 'major' surgery when it was necessary.

My point is its premature to say they wasted or even blew it with these pks. Both were and are considered high upside guys and that's part of upside talent some will fall by the wayside to injury, lack of development and for various reasons. I get it there is legit concern with both guys but reserve judgment... And see what these guys do this offseason and into next yr.
October 4, 2012 - 10:32 PM EDT
There is no way to get every draft pick correct, you are basically hoping that 2-3 players from every draft make it to the majors period.

The other GMs didn't all pass over on Washington he was drafted by the Rays the year before. Unless you are going to somehow sit there and argue that the Rays don't have good talent evaluation in the draft.

Realize the young guys we have seen the last few years: Strasburg, Trout, and Harper are generational talents. Expecting success like that fro every team is unbelievably near sighted. If he wasn't taken by the Indians, Howard would have been picked up shortly after. People all over baseball scouts, writers, and coaches were raving about the guy. Also, it's been one freaking year. He's all of 19 years old. Yeah we all had some crazy high expectations from him, but in light of this year let's take a step back re-evaluate our expectation of him, then see how he does.

When talking about how teams draft results are really only a small portion of the way it should be done. It's about how they draft. The Indians had a huge problem when all they did was draft low ceiling college players. The last few years they have been getting much more aggressive taking more risks. Risks will inevitably payoff, though we won't be able to really make any judgement for 5-6-7 years.

To your point Matt, if the Indians had drafted well 6-7-8 years ago those players would be in their prime right now and the the team would be better. Not saying Shapiro is right, but it takes 6-7-8 years for you to really see the fruits of a draft.

We get it you are angry and disappointed with the Indians. Complaining and making broad generalized judgments based on association through your tenuous grasp on the baseball draft and development systems is not helpful, interesting, or really worthwhile.

This article is about prospects and how they performed. The FO should not be thrown into the conversation. Once a players is in an organization they are their prospect whether or not you feel it was a good choice.

I for one am an intrigued by seeing what Howard does next year. I'm getting off my high horse now.
October 4, 2012 - 9:09 PM EDT
For my money the front office was the biggest disappointment. I watched the shapiro interview on sto and it got me fired up. Shapiro blames the indians struggles on drafts from 6, 7, 8 yrs ago when the new regime has either drafted/signed poorly or traded away their only valuable drafted assets for magic beans. He also implies that ownership cost restraints were an issue, but Antonelli spent around $16M guaranteed this offseason on lowe, sizemore, damon, kotchman & slowey. That money would have better spent by flushing it down the toilet and letting the young guys get a shot. Who drafted and paid howard and washington after every other gm in mlb saw something to scare them off?
October 4, 2012 - 9:04 PM EDT
Brad Grant, John Mirabelli, the results are the same, These stupid bastards have no clue on talent evaluation. They come from the family tree of Mark Shapiro This is all we need to know. The Dolan family loves these people. The Tribe is currently at a Stepien level . I would not be suprised if MLB steps in and suggests that the Dolans either sell or move the franchise to another city .
October 4, 2012 - 3:04 PM EDT
Well said Adam. And I actually really considered Hagadone but he really pitched well for two and a half months....and just a half of a month things went really bad. The injury he sustained is what is most disappointing. And Washington had a great spring and first week before that injury bug showed itself again. With Howard, it was just a lot of inconsistency from start to finish with few good stretches. That having been said, the big thing for Howard is that he is young and talented, and hopefully this season got got his attention going forward.
October 4, 2012 - 2:55 PM EDT
Tony, I certainly cannot argue with your choice of Howard, though a very good case could be made for Hagadone and Washington as well, as both had really high hopes heading into 2012.

2013 is a huge, huge year for a lot of these guys. If they have more disappointing seasons, suddenly the idea that the Indians have drafted well over the last few years starts to go out the window. 2012 was not a bad developmental year for a lot of players in the system, but we need 2013 to be a huge developmental year for a lot of those guys you listed above. Howard, Sisco, and Sterling are incredibly important to the future of this franchise.

I will say this...while those three had disappointing seasons overall, there is hope that they will rebound and take some steps forward in 2013. Howard in particular had a much better FIP than ERA, and Sterling is still by far the youngest of the three.

As I said, 2013 is going to be a very telling year for this organization as a whole, and with all the talk of our lower levels being "loaded" with major league talent, we need to see these guys take some big strides.

October 4, 2012 - 2:22 PM EDT
That was a typo Kenneth....I meant his right shoulder.
October 4, 2012 - 2:01 PM EDT
Adams had surgery on his left shoulder, not his right? That gives me hope that he'll be all the way back next spring.
October 4, 2012 - 12:54 PM EDT
Tony, I have to agree with your choice of Howard. From spring training, into extended & then throughout the Az rookie league, Dillon seemed to have a hard time finding the strike zone & when he did, got hit hard. Hopefully this was just a blip in his career & not what we can expect of him.
October 4, 2012 - 11:28 AM EDT
I disagree Dennis. Were you not disappointed by the injuries to Lee, Washington, Adams and others this year? It was disappointing because they lost a year of development, and in all honesty, their prospect stock took hits. This award has been around since the inception of the awards back in 2007....and while it is the only "negative" award of them all, it has merit to showcase the players that did not live up to expectations this season be it their own undoing or something that they had no control over.
October 4, 2012 - 11:17 AM EDT
Having guys on the "most disappointed" list who experienced significant loss of playing due to injury makes this "award" hollow or a sham, self inflicted or otherwise. This award smacks of the Cleveland dot com posters mentality..

October 4, 2012 - 11:01 AM EDT

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