Fun stats, trends show 2014 was better than some think
The Indians did something this past season they haven't done in 13 years: have back-to-back plus-.500 seasons. Also, everyone knows all about the AL Cy Young award that Corey Kluber won, or the 3rd place AL MVP finish that Michael Brantley netted.
However, I'm here to dig a little deeper and show you just how special the 2014 season was for the Indians.
In my first piece here at the IBI, I decided to look through the history of the Indians organization and research stats you'd never think to look up yourself (you'll see a recurring theme with both of those from me in future pieces).
Without further ado, I present to you the 43 things (roughly half of the Tribe's 85 wins) you may not have known about the Indians 2014 season. We'll start with the most complicated one:
1.) There have been 103 seasons in which the Tribe has not won the division. In 15 of those seasons, they have finished five games or less out of first place. 2014 marks just the third time it's happened in back to back years.
2.) The first time was in 1918-1919. In 1920 the Indians went to (and won) the World Series. The second time they managed to accomplish this feat was in 1951-1952. In 1954 they again went on to the World Series, though this time lost.
Obviously, a big reason for the success of the team is Terry Francona. If we take a closer look at the skip's tenure thus far, we'll see that...
3.) Tito has accumulated 177 wins in his first two full seasons as Tribe manager. The only Indians skippers who had more wins after two full seasons are Charlie Manuel (181), Al Lopez (186), and Tris Speaker (192).
I think we all expected Tito to turn things around, but this quickly?
4.) This is just the sixth time in Indians history they've followed a sub-.500 season with back to back winning seasons (six different managers have all done it once - Bill Armour, Nap Lajoie, Roger Peckinpaugh, Lou Boudreau, Mike Hargrove are the others).
5.) Of those six instances, Tito & Armour are the only two who have done it in their first two full seasons with the club (Armour did it in the Indians second and third years of existence).
Now, I'd like to look at the most impressive part of the Tribe season, the pitching staff…
6.) 2014 was the second consecutive season they've allowed less than 4.1 runs per game, the first time they've allowed so few runs in back to back seasons since 1967-68.
7.) To be exact, they allowed 653 runs in 2014, which is the sixth fewest they've allowed in a 162-game season and the second lowest since the 60's (1965, '66, '67, '68, 2005).
8.) The team ERA of 3.56 was the team's best since 1976.
The strikeout was a huge reason why the pitching staff was so dominant in '14 and man, could these Indian hurlers miss some bats.
9.) First, the Indians had seven different pitchers rack up 90+ strikeouts, the most in franchise history.
10.) Second, their 1450 strikeouts and 8.89 K/9 are both single-season bests in Tribe history.
11.) Third, the Tribe rotation had three different pitchers finish with a K/9 ratio that was good enough to get on the Indians' Top 10 single-season list (Corey Kluber - 10.3 - 3rd; Salazar - 9.9 - 5th; Carlos Carrasco - 9.4 - 10th).
12.) Finally, the pitching staff had three guys post K/BB ratios that were good enough to crack the Top 10 (actually, top six) of the Indians' all-time single season best (Josh Tomlin 6.71 - 1st; Kluber 5.28 - 4th; Carrasco 4.83 - 6th).
Let's stick with the strikeout theme for now, but go in a different direction:
13.) There are 45 pitchers with at least 450 career strikeouts in Tribe history. Of those 45, Corey Kluber has the least amount of walks issuing just 105. The next lowest? Paul Shuey with 202.
Speaking of Klubot, let's take a closer look at his incredible Cy Young season:
14.) Over his last 13 starts, he had a 1.70 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP, and allowed just 92 base runners (74 H, 18 BB) in 95 1/3 IP, striking out 117.
15.) He's 9-1 over his last two Septembers. The Indians are 10-1 in those 11 starts and he's allowed two or fewer earned runs in eight of them.
16.) He produced the lowest ERA by a Tribe starting pitcher (min 20 GS) since Gaylord Perry's 1.92 ERA in his Cy Young season of 1972.
17.) Kluber became just the 8th different pitcher in MLB history to post an ERA under 2.50, throw more than 225 innings, strikeout 250 hitters and have a K/9 ratio of 10.0+ (Sam McDowell, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Tim Lincecum).
18.) Speaking of that 10.3 K/9, Kluber became just the third Tribe starter to average more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings pitched (Sam McDowell (twice), Bartolo Colon).
There was one other starting pitcher who stood out brightly, Carlos Carrasco:
19.) He finished 2014 with a 0.985 WHIP, the 10th best single-season WHIP in Indians history and 4th best since 1910.
20.) His 4.83 K/BB ratio was good enough for 6th best on the Tribe's all-time single season list.
21.) His last 31 games: 8-4, 1.49 ERA, 102.2 IP, 69 H, 18 BB, 110 K, 0.85 WHIP.
22.) His last six home starts: 1.07 ERA, 42 IP, 30 H, 7 BB, 50 K, 0.88 WHIP.
23.) From when he re-joined the rotation to the end of the season, Carrasco allowed less than three runs in nine of his 10 starts and less than two runs in eight of them (1.30 ERA, 0.81 WHIP), yet the Tribe went just 5-5 in those starts.
And, not to clump everyone else into one, but the best of the rest:
24.) The Indians won 13 of the last 16 games T.J House started, including all of his last seven starts.
25.) Cody Allen had a two month stretch (6/24-8/30) where he allowed just one run. During that span of 28 games, the Indians closer tossed 26.2 innings and posted a 0.34 ERA with 38 strikeouts.
26.) Allen also had a three month span (5/30-8/30) in which he allowed three runs. That run consisted of 38 games, 37.2 innings pitched with 52 strikeouts and a 0.72 ERA (0.82 WHIP).
27.) Out of the 25 reliever with 25+ career saves in Tribe history, Cody Allen is the only one with an ERA of 2.50 or better and one of just eight that has at least a 2:1 K/BB ratio.
28.) From 8/1-9/11, Bryan Shaw threw 20.2 innings giving up one earned run on 11 hits, walking one and striking out 17.
29.) Shaw actually gave up more hits and just as many home runs to seven, eight and nine hitters (23 hits, 1 homer) as he did to three, four and five hitters (18 hits, 1 homer).
30.) Mark Rzepczynski's last earned run allowed came on July 24 at Kansas City. His last earned run allowed at home was June 20 vs. Detroit.
31.) Scrabble also allowed just one home run all season: June 6th at Texas. His numbers since joining the Tribe in July 2013: 100 G; 66.1 IP; 53 H; 25 BB; 66 K; 2.17 ERA.
32.) Of the 124 pitchers who have appeared in 100 or more games in Indians history, Allen and Rzepczynski are two of the seven who have an ERA of 2.50 or less.
Let's switch gears towards the hitting side. While it certainly wasn't as impactful as the pitching staff, the hitting did some great things in '14 as well:
33.) Carlos Santana became just the fourth player in Tribe history to have a season of 25 doubles, 25 home runs and 100 BB, joining Jim Thome (5x), Travis Hafner (2x) and Andre Thornton (1x).
34.) Yan Gomes became the fourth catcher in Indians history to hit .275 with 20 homers, 70 RBI and 25 doubles in a season (John Romano, Sandy Alomar, Victor Martinez [3x]).
35.) The Tribe was 30-13 when Gomes delivered an extra base hit in a game.
36.) Lonnie Chisenhall drove in the most runs by a Tribe third baseman (59) since Jhonny Peralta's 83 RBI in 2009; had the highest batting average for an Indian third baseman (.280) since Casey Blake's .283 in 2008; and belted the most bombs by a Tribesman on the hot corner (13) since Blake's 18 in 2007.
We'll move on to the magical season of Michael Brantley:
37.) Dr. Smooth became the first player in Tribe history to have 200 hits, 20 home runs, 40 doubles and 20 stolen bases in a single season.
38.) The Tribe went 19-4 when he drove in more than one run in a game.
39.) Yes, he was the first Tribesman to get to 200 hits in a season since Kenny Lofton in 1996, but Brantley's 200 hit campaign is just the fifth time an Indian has accomplished it since 1953 (Carlos Baerga (2x), Lofton, and Joe Carter)
40.) He's hit .384 over the past two Septembers and hit .368 vs. the AL Central in '14.
41.) He amazingly hit better behind in the count (.357 with a .371 BABIP) than he did ahead in the count (.314 with a .314 BABIP).
To close, we bid farewell to two longtime Tribesmen who left via trade in July:
42.) Asdrubal Cabrera leaves as one of four players in Tribe history to hit .270 with 75 home runs, 60 stolen bases and 200 doubles (Albert Belle, Lofton, Earl Averill).
43.) Justin Masterson leaves as one of five pitchers in Tribe history to start 150 games, strikeout 750 hitters, allow less than hit per inning pitched and post at least a 2:1 K:BB ratio (McDowell, C.C Sabathia, Luis Tiant, Colon, Addie Joss).
And as an extra bonus, here's a couple to look forward to next season:
44.) With two home runs, Carlos Santana will become the seventh player in Tribe history with 100 home runs, 400 walks, 15 stolen bases and .360 on-base percentage (Thome, Manny Ramirez, Averill, Hal Trosky, Larry Doby, Al Rosen).
45.) With two stolen bases, Jason Kipnis will become the seventh player in Indians history with 80 stolen bases, 40 homers and 200 walks (Lofton, Omar Vizquel, Tris Speaker, Julio Franco, Grady Sizemore, Robbie Alomar).
So, there you have it, 43 (+2) things you probably didn't know about your 2014 Cleveland Indians.
So what does this all mean? Just that even though the Indians missed the playoffs in 2014 it was still a memorable season. There's no doubt this organization is as talented as it's been in a long time and is headed in the right direction. Enjoy the ride, Tribe fans!
Wow. 4th best WHIP in the last 114 years. Nobody saw that coming when Carrasco lost his starting job in April and got demoted to the bullpen.
We need to sign Mickey Callaway to a lifetime contract. After seeing how he turned around or rescued the careers of Kazmir, Ubaldo, Carrasco, and Kluber, I'm sold on this guy. Masterson had an All-Star season for Callaway in 2013. Too bad he got hurt.
The one that surprised me the most was that the Tribe won 13 of the last 16 games T.J. House started. I thought he was a mediocre career AAA pitcher, but he pitched much better than I thought he was capable of. Maybe Calllaway deserves some credit for him, too.
Little bit of news, Royals nabbed Kris Medlan
The Allen/Shaw/Scrabble facts might be the most interesting. Hopefully their arms don't fall off this year.