Around the Farm: November 14, 2014
Around the Farm (ATF) takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. This is a special fall and winter ball version of ATF that recaps all the offseason action by Indians players in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) and the Caribbean Leagues. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.
VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE (LVBP)
Jesus Aguilar (Leones del Caracas, 1B) - 2-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB (intentional), 1 K - Aguilar's third homer of the winter, a solo shot to lead off the fourth inning, capped off a decidedly RBI Machine-like night. This dominance was not lost on Navegantes del Magallanes reliever Jose Mijares, who walked Jesus intentionally in the seventh.
Giovanny Urshela (Aguilas del Zulia, 3B) - 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB - While not up to the standard of most of Gio's performances this winter season, that's just being picky because a 1-for-3 night with a walk is still a nice night at the dish for a player making a strong push to make the major league roster sometine in the coming season. When you rake to the tune of a mutli-hit night almost every night, you almost begin to expect it.
Carlos Moncrief (Aguilas del Zulia, starting DH) - 0-2 - Carlos has a rough night at the plate before being pinch hit for by Yankees farmhand Ali Castillo in the bottom of the seventh. Carlos has struggled as of late, going only 1-for-10 with 1 BB and 2 Ks along with 1 RBI in his last four games.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE (LBPRC)
Alexis Pantoja (Senadores de San Juan, backup SS) - Pantoja continues to see little playing time in the LBPRC as he makes his second defensive-only appearance of the season as a ninth-inning substitution. He has made one plate appearance (a ninth inning groundout on Monday,) which, amazingly not only came in a game he also entered as a defensive sub in the top of the ninth inning, but against the same opponent (Cangerjeros de Santurce).
Roberto Perez (Indios de Mayaguez, C) - 1-4, 1 K - While not as impressive as Thursday night's offensive explosion, Roberto does get a hit for a second straight night, which is a welcomed sight after a four-game hitless streak.
AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE (ABL)
Ryan Battaglia (Brisbane Bandits, backup 3B) - 0-1, 1 K - Battaglia struck out looking to end the bottom of the eighth in his only plate appearance of the ballgame after entering as a defensive sub for starter C.J. Beatty in the top of the 7th.
MY THOUGHTS ON THE KLUBER HATERS
Soon after hearing that Kluber had won the AL Cy Yound Award (oddly enough, by listening to a political talk show), I went to ESPN.com to read what they had to say. The article was fine, but the comments really got me upset. Here's a summary of what I read:
- Mariners fans angry their guy didn't win (hardly an objective viewpoint)
- Claims of East Coast bias (Maybe Oil Can Boyd was right about Municipal Stadium being built "too close to the Ocean." All this time, I thought that body of water north of Downtown was Lake Erie.)
- "King Felix was robbed."
It is this last point I wish to address. First, just because you haven't heard of the winner doesn't mean the guy you have heard of was slighted in any way. The relative unknown may just be better. Second, none of their arguments are particularly compelling when looked at more closely.
The argument that most non-Kluber supporters point to is that Felix Hernandez had a superior ERA (2.14 compared to Corey's 2.44) and WHIP (0.92 compared 1.09). However, the stat argument can also be used to support Kluber, as he bested Hernandez in strikeouts (269 to 248) in almost exactly the same number of innings (Kluber actually pitched 0.1 IP less). The stat argument is a circular one. No one in the AL had the kind of dominant Clayton Kershaw-type of season that leaves you wondering if he is actually the robot pitcher from The Twilight Zone.
Some will say "the Cy Young shouldn't be won in September." Why Not? That's when most pennants are won. While both the Tribe and M's playoff runs fell short, the role played by Kluber and Hernandez in their team's respective stretch runs could not be any more different. In his final 10 starts (as anyone who has read my "Around the Farm" columns can attest, "last 10" is one of my favorite stat splits), Kluber went 6-3 with a 2.19 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 92:16 K:BB ratio. If not for a rough stretch of three starts ending on Labor Day (which accounted for all three losses, 11 of 17 ER, and 8 of 16 BB in this period), the numbers would be even better.
Felix, by contrast, only went 3-3 with a 2.59 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 62:14 K:BB ratio. While these numbers are not terrible, they do indicate a pitcher not exactly on his "A" game when the games matter the most. Also, the baseball wirters are human. Recent performance is going to have a disproportionate impact on their decision making when they cast their Cy Young ballots.
Speaking of the baseball writers, they are themselves the best argument against those who look upon Kluber as an usurper to "King Felix's" throne. Who has a better idea of who was the AL's best pitcher, guys who watched baseball and wrote about the sport all season for a living or people who write angry comments under ESPN.com articles between watching cat videos on YouTube? I think the answer is obvious.
As far as East Coast bias goes, I'm not surprised people are making the argument. It could actually have some truth to it in my opinion. This came down to really just a couple first place votes, and if you look at how each writer voted, Kluber definitely won the AL east representatives votes (along with Houston's). I think we would be naive to assume that there wasn't just a little bias considering how close Cleveland is to the Atlantic.
So Mariners fans (or any fan really) who is actually using "East coast bias" regarding an Indians player can go put out a campfire with their face.
No pitcher throws a shut out everytime. Wins/losses are 100% meaningless stats when evluating pitchers.