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2012 Tony Awards: Pitcher of the Year

2012 Tony Awards: Pitcher of the Year
October 11, 2012
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Today we continue the IPI’s year-end awards with the announcement of the Pitcher of the Year.

This award goes to the starting pitcher in the Indians organization that had the best year from a performance perspective, not necessarily from a prospect standing.

Here are the 2012 Tony Awards so far:

Rookie of the Year: Dorssys Paulino (SS)
Defensive Player of the Year: Giovanny Urshela (3B)
Biggest Disappointment: Dillon Howard (RHP)
Biggest Breakthrough: Cody Allen (RHP)
Reliever of the Year: Shawn Armstrong (RHP)
Comeback Player of the Year: Thomas Neal (OF)

Later this week the Offensive Player of the Year and All-Tony Team will be announced.  Again, these awards are simply for fun to hand out at the end of the year.  Also, the Cleveland Indians in no way whatsoever had any input in these awards.

Onto the nominees…

Pitcher of the Year Nominees

(in alphabetical order)

Joseph Colon (RHP – Lake County, Carolina)
9-10, 3.43 ERA, 22 GS, 126.0 IP, 121 H, 61 R (48 R), 9 HR, 39 BB, 83 K, .259 BAA

Colon built upon the good season he had at short season Single-A Mahoning Valley last year (4-4, 3.51 ERA) with another good season this year mostly at Low-A Lake County. In 19 starts at Lake County he went 8-8 with a 2.90 ERA and had he finished the year in Lake County he probably would have finished in the top ten of several Midwest league pitching categories. He was a groundball machine this season with a 1.90 GO/AO and finished 6th in the organization in ERA (3.43).

Luis DeJesus (RHP – Mahoning Valley, Lake County)
4-3, 2.73 ERA, 18 G (14 GS), 92.1 IP, 72 H, 35 R (28 ER), 7 HR, 23 BB, 64 K, .211 BAA

After a short stint at Low-A Lake County in early June where he struggled, DeJesus moved down to short season Single-A Mahoning Valley and had one of the most surprising performances this season. He dominated the NY-Penn League finishing 6th in the league in ERA (2.02), 5th in games started (14), 2nd in innings pitched (80.1 IP), 4th in WHIP (0.92), 5th in batting average against (.197), and 2nd in fewest baserunners per nine innings pitched (8.5). He also finished 2nd in the organization in ERA (2.73 ERA).

Paolo Espino (RHP – Akron, Columbus)
7-4, 3.29 ERA, 24 G (22 GS), 123.0 IP, 126 H, 50 R (45 ER), 9 HR, 38 BB, 111 K, .270 BAA

The Rodney Dangerfield of the Indians’ farm system just continues to “get no respect”, but he had another strong season statistically and continues to make his case for more opportunities at the Triple-A level or maybe even the big league level. He finished 5th in the Eastern League in ERA (3.09) and 11th in strikeouts (106), and also finished 4th in the organization in ERA (3.29) and 4th in strikeouts (111).

T.J. House (LHP – Carolina, Akron)
10-5, 3.56 ERA, 27 GS, 149.1 IP, 131 H, 68 R (59 ER), 8 HR, 50 BB, 116 K, .236 BAA

House had a forgettable 2011 campaign at High-A Kinston when he went 6-12 with a 5.19 ERA. He came back this season with one of his best seasons as a pro thanks to the work he did prior to the season by working out and coming into camp in great shape. He tasted success early on at High-A Carolina (2-0, 1.44 ERA, 4 GS) before he was moved up to Double-A Akron the rest of the season and pitched well going 8-5 with a 3.98 ERA.  He also finished 8th in the organization in ERA (3.56), 4th in wins (10), and 3rd in strikeouts (116).

Corey Kluber (RHP – Columbus, Cleveland)
Minors: 11-7, 3.59 ERA, 21 GS, 125.1 IP, 121 H, 62 R (50 ER), 9 HR, 49 BB, 128 K, .251 BAA
Majors: 2-5, 5.14 ERA, 12 GS, 63.0 IP, 76 H, 44 R (36 ER), 9 HR, 18 BB, 54 K, .295 BAA

Kluber really bounced back from a tough 2011 season and combined consistency with performance all season long. Even though he was in the big leagues for the last two months of the season he still finished 6th in the International League in strikeouts (128) and 8th in wins (11), and he also finished 2nd in the league among starters in K/9 (9.2) and 12th in ERA (3.59). He also finished 2nd in the organization in wins (11), 9th in ERA (3.59), and 1st in strikeouts (128).

T.J. McFarland (LHP – Akron, Columbus)
16-8, 4.03 ERA, 27 GS, 163.0 IP, 173 H, 73 R/ER, 10 HR, 45 BB, 96 K, .277 BAA

McFarland got off to a great start at Double-A Akron and went 8-2 with a 2.69 ERA in 10 starts before he was promoted to Triple-A Columbus in late May. He did not dominate statistically and his performance was up and down throughout his three months at Columbus, but he piled up groundball outs at a good rate with a 1.86 GO/AO on the season. He did not factor into any league leader categories since he was not at one place long enough, but he did rack up the most wins in the organization this season. Amazingly, for a guy that pitches to contact and gets a lot of groundballs, he did not give up on unearned run this season.

Mason Radeke (RHP – Lake County, Akron)
8-7, 3.28 ERA, 31 G (13 GS), 115.1 IP, 96 H, 53 R (42 ER), 13 HR, 26 BB, 119 K, .220 BAA

Radeke had a solid pro debut at short season Single-A Mahoning Valley in 2011 (2-0, 4.53 ERA, 9 GS), but found himself pitching in a swing role in the early going this season. He showed some good stuff and really performed well early in the season, so the Indians made some room for him in the Low-A Lake County rotation and he really came on. He finished 8th in the Midwest League in strikeouts (117), and was 3rd in the organization in ERA (3.28) and 2nd in strikeouts (119).

Danny Salazar (RHP – Carolina, Akron)
5-2, 2.36 ERA, 22 GS, 87.2 IP, 71 H, 25 R (23 ER), 4 HR, 27 BB, 76 K, .224 BAA

Salazar pitched through five innings just once in his 16 starts for High-A Carolina, with the one time coming in his last start with Carolina before being promoted to Double-A Akron. In the early going he routinely pitched under four innings an outing, but after going to Akron the Indians allowed him to let it loose and went 5.0 innings or more in all but his first start with Akron. He did not pitch enough innings, so he did not factor into any league leaders, but his season was still a success nonetheless.

And the Tony Award goes to…Corey Kluber

This was a tough award to hand out because there was no clear cut stand out performance. Remember, this award is performance based and not prospect based. Of all the pitchers the three which stood out the most were Kluber, House, Salazar, and DeJesus.

DeJesus’ showing earned him accolades both because of his performance but also because he really made strides as a pitching prospect. House was one of the best stories of the year with the way he bounced back from his struggles in 2011. Salazar took significant steps to the Indians big league rotation as soon as next year.

But out of them all, Kluber was the most impressive.  He had a very good season at Triple-A Columbus and for the first time as an Indian he put together all of his talent and was consistent start to start. His good showing at Columbus was enough to get him called up to the big leagues with two months left in the season and while he was up and down with his performance he showed flashes of promise and the potential to be an innings eating quality starting pitcher for a long time. 

Combining his time between Columbus and Cleveland, Kluber made 33 starts, won 13 games, pitched in almost 190 innings, and had over 180 strikeouts. That’s not bad for a pitcher getting his first extended look in the big leagues.  He has the arsenal, body, strength, and durability to be a starter for a long time in the big leagues. With his promising showing this season he should enter the 2013 season as one of the Indians’ top candidates to win the fifth spot in the rotation coming out of spring training.

Up Next: Offensive Player of the Year

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 12, 2012 - 11:22 PM EDT
Soto was actually on there....but I removed him as I did a few others as I cut the listing down. Just guys that had better years "statistically" than Soto, so why he was not listed. If this were a top starting pitcher prospect listing, he'd be one of the top 2-3 guys.
October 12, 2012 - 11:57 AM EDT
October 11, 2012 - 7:02 PM EDT
I'm surprised Giovanni Soto didn't get a finalist slot for this award.
October 11, 2012 - 6:55 PM EDT
I totally agree with the first comment...

While Kluber's numbers were good, it does say a lot that he was the best choice for this award.

Since Tony's not looking at the prospect aspect of this, you immediately have to take out Salazar, because he didn't start pitching complete games until August...

But he's clearly the next good starter.

I'll be honest though...the names on that list are not impressive.

The best starters in this system not names Salazar are several years away...

Kluber deserves it, but it doesn't say much for the system...
October 11, 2012 - 3:59 PM EDT
Yes, the Indians clearly had some issues with the overall performance of their starting pitchers from High-A and up. Few really good years statistically. Some of that was due to injuries (Packer, Adams, Huff, etc). Some due to inconsistency (Goodnight, McFarland, Gomez, Rayl, etc). And some due to youth and inexperience in the lower levels. There are some good arms, but it was certainly not a banner year in the upper levels for the starting pitching prospects. That all said, Kluber had a pretty good year. It's nothing to scoff at.
matt underwood
October 11, 2012 - 11:06 AM EDT
The fact that Corey Kluber wins this award speaks volumes to the talent black hole the tribe has with SP.

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