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Around the Farm: November 14, 2014

Around the Farm: November 14, 2014
Jesus Aguilar (Photo: Radio Nacional de Venezuela)
November 15, 2014
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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.


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.


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.


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.


I wanted to fit this in as an addendum to add some thoughts on Corey Kluber winning the Cy Young award on Wednesday.

Soon after hearing that Kluber had won the AL Cy Yound Award (oddly enough, by listening to a political talk show), I went to 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 articles between watching cat videos on YouTube? I think the answer is obvious.

User Comments

November 15, 2014 - 3:18 PM EST
If anyone really wants to read a couple good opinions on the Kluber topic, just head over to Fangraphs. One of the articles posted there had comments from actual voters on why they made the decision they did. Most of them stated Klubers fip (or xfip) being lower than Felix's, giving the edge to Kluber. Writers also mentioned Safeco being a big advantage for pitchers (though other studies on Fangraphs kind of debunk this theory). Another article posted before the award was given mentioned how voters couldn't possibly get ir right or wrong considering that both players really did deserve the award.

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.
November 15, 2014 - 3:00 PM EST
The only reason to read ESPN article comments is for a laugh. What was really funny were the comments for the AL MVP, multiple people saying Victor was robbed because he struck out so much less than Trout.
November 15, 2014 - 12:53 PM EST
The stats may be more or less equal but the Cy Young was awarded rightfully to guy the guy who showed up when the chips were down. The chips were down for the Indians as they battled for a playoff spot the month of September, and Kluber had his best month of the season. Felix struggled in September, perhaps because the Mariners were fading but it's no excuse. The Cy Young was still on the table for him, and he failed to pick it up. Perhaps he fell victim to the Robinson Cano doesn't give a f### mentality that pervaded the Mariners locker room in Sept. BTW did anyone see Cano on the MLB All-Stars v Japan Samurai tournament last night? He hits a ball high off the wall, stops and blows a bubble, walks to second base and gets thrown out by 15'. He disrespected Japan, he disrespected his teammates, and most importantly he disrespected the game. It was repulsive.
November 15, 2014 - 10:46 AM EST
Yeah, the wins stat for pitchers is so out of the pitchers control it is hard to use that as a measure to validate performance. And ERA is also not the greatest of measure to prove it either because defense is such a large part of it (errors, plays that are not errors but should be made, etc). It is why all of those rate stats like K/9, BB/9, K/BB, HR/9, etc are such good measures because they take everything out of the equation except for what the pitcher actually does. And some of those advanced metrics that so many dislike really provide a better but not totally clear picture of how good they were.
November 15, 2014 - 10:13 AM EST
Clay make the point that is huge in the comparisons that no one is talking about. Without that scoring change I think there is alot less for people to complain about.
November 15, 2014 - 10:09 AM EST
Hope people who bring up the ERA between Kluber & Felix remember something important. There was a scoring change in one of his final starts well after the fact that removed something like 6 or 7 earned runs off of Hernandez final total. Helped give him quite the cushion for the ERA title.

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.
November 15, 2014 - 8:37 AM EST
Ben, pi cher wins and losses mean nothing in baseball; especially the AL where the pitcher doesnt get to contribute on offense. You cant control what ur offense will do, how good the other pitcher is, and evening Clayton Kershaw gave up over two runs per game.

No pitcher throws a shut out everytime. Wins/losses are 100% meaningless stats when evluating pitchers.
November 15, 2014 - 7:47 AM EST
As far as I'm concerned Hernandez should never have won the award when he was 13-12.

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