RSS Twitter Facebook YouTube
Expand Menu

Ranking the 2013 Cleveland Indians' roster at the stretch run

Team still contending as we reach September

Ranking the 2013 Cleveland Indians' roster at the stretch run
September 1, 2013
Share via: Share: Facebook Share: Twitter Share: Google Share: Pinterest Share: Print Share: Email

With the calendar turning to September, Cleveland remains in playoff contention with a 71-64 record. Sure, the team has its issues, but anyone would have taken this before the season. It is September 1 and Cleveland could make the playoffs. That's amazing considering where the team was last August.

I previously ranked the roster before the season, at the 40-game mark, and at the All-Star break, so click on those links if you want to check them out. If not, here are the current roster ranks:

#43 Brett Myers, RHP (Previous Ranks: 18, 29, 40)

2013 Stats: 4 G (3 GS), 0-3 W-L, 5.06 SO/9, 2.11 BB/9, 8.02 ERA, 8.69 FIP, 4.90 xFIP, -0.6 fWAR, -0.6 rWAR in 21.1 IP

Cleveland released Myers Thursday instead of bringing him back in the bullpen. The move ends a forgettable year for Cleveland's $7 million man.

#42 Cord Phelps, INF (Previous Ranks: UR, 32, 39)

2013 Stats: 4 G, 0 HR, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 SB, .000/.000/.000 line, .000 wOBA (-100 wRC+), -0.4 fWAR, -0.3 rWAR in 9 PA

Phelps had a similarly disappointing year and did not play after July 2 due to a right wrist injury.

#41 Scott Barnes, LHP (Previous Ranks: UR, 31, 38)

2013 Stats: 6 G, 0-1 W-L, 1 SV, 10.38 SO/9, 3.12 BB/9, 7.27 ERA, 6.99 FIP, 3.96 xFIP, -0.2 fWAR, -0.1 rWAR in 8.2 IP

Just like Phelps, Barnes has not pitched since July 2 with a left wrist injury. There was an opening for left-handed relievers but Barnes was unable to fill it.

#40 C.C. Lee, RHP (Previous Ranks: UR, UR, UR)

2013 Stats: 3 G, 0-0 W-L, 4.50 SO/9, 13.50 BB/9, 0.00 ERA, 8.04 FIP, 10.11 xFIP, -0.1 fWAR, 0.1 rWAR in 2.0 IP

Ignore the ugly stats in a small sample: Lee has a big-time arm and deserves a long look out of the bullpen through the rest of 2013 and in 2014.

#39 David Huff, LHP (Previous Ranks: UR, 30, 37)

2013 Stats: 3 G, 0-0 W-L, 15.00 SO/9, 3.00 BB/9, 15.00 ERA, 0.74 FIP, 0.74 xFIP, 0.1 fWAR, -0.2 rWAR in 3.0 IP

Huff found limited success in the majors with the Yankees, but overall this is not a loss that will hurt the team for years to come.

#38 Matt Carson, OF (Previous Ranks: UR, UR, UR)

2013 Stats: 1 G, 0 HR, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 SB, .000/.000/.000 line, .000 wOBA (-100 wRC+), 0.0 fWAR, 0.0 rWAR in 1 PA

The callup of Carson was a weird one, though he should not get much (if any) playing time down the stretch.

#37 Omir Santos, C (Previous Ranks: UR, 34, 36)

2013 Stats: 1 G, 0 HR, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 SB, .000/.000/.000 line, .000 wOBA (-100 wRC+), 0.0 fWAR, 0.0 rWAR in 1 PA

Carson struck out in his only plate appearance on the year; at least Santos put the ball in play.

#36 Preston Guilmet, RHP (Previous Ranks: UR, UR, 35)

2013 Stats: 2 G, 0-0 W-L, 2.70 SO/9, 2.70 BB/9, 10.80 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 4.99 xFIP, 0.0 fWAR, -0.3 rWAR in 3.1 IP

Despite the poor results in his first 3.1 innings, Guilmet's 2.58 ERA, 2.71 FIP, and 0.998 WHIP in his 296.2 minor league innings are still deserving of another look. Guilmet's straight-over-the-top delivery might let his stuff play up in the major leagues too.

#35 John McDonald, INF (Previous Ranks: UR, UR, 34)

2013 Stats: 8 G, 0 HR, 2 R, 0 RBI, 0 SB, .000/.125/.000 line, .086 wOBA (-56 wRC+), -0.2 fWAR, -0.1 rWAR in 8 PA

After moving on to the Phillies (then being traded to the Red Sox), McDonald has played semi-regularly despite an OPS hanging around .350.

#34 Lou Marson, C (Previous Ranks: 20, 28, 33)

2013 Stats: 3 G, 0 HR, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 SB, .000/.400/.000 line, .275 wOBA (74 wRC+), 0.0 fWAR, 0.0 rWAR in 5 PA

Missing this much of the year with an injury plus Yan Gomes' development likely spell the end of Marson's tenure in Cleveland.

#33 Ezequiel Carrera, OF (Previous Ranks: UR, 33, 32)

2013 Stats: 2 G, 0 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 SB, .500/.500/.500 line, .442 wOBA (187 wRC+), 0.0 fWAR, 0.1 rWAR in 5 PA

Carrera has over 40 steals in Columbus, but as he is unable to parlay that speed into strong defensive ability, the outfielder just does not have a role with the major league team.

#32 Joe Martinez, RHP (Previous Ranks: UR, UR, 31)

2013 Stats: 2 G, 1-0 W-L, 5.40 SO/9, 0.00 BB/9, 1.80 ERA, 1.87 FIP, 3.85 xFIP, 0.1 fWAR, 0.1 rWAR in 5.0 IP

Martinez's major league numbers look nice, but his 5.44 ERA in Columbus is a much better indicator of how he pitched this season.

#31 Trevor Bauer, RHP (Previous Ranks: UR, 25, 29)

2013 Stats: 4 GS, 1-2 W-L, 5.82 SO/9, 8.47 BB/9, 5.29 ERA, 7.07 FIP, 6.69 xFIP, -0.3 fWAR, -0.1 rWAR in 17.0 IP

It is amazing that Bauer only has 17.0 major league innings to this point due to his ineffectiveness -- and that he is probably not going to join the club in September. Who would have thought that this spring?

#30 Matt Langwell, RHP (Previous Ranks: UR, UR, 28)

2013 Stats: 5 G, 1-0 W-L, 10.13 SO/9, 3.38 BB/9, 5.06 ERA, 4.38 FIP, 3.27 xFIP, 0.0 fWAR, 0.0 rWAR in 5.1 IP

Langwell continued to get the job done in Columbus (2.28 ERA, 2.88 FIP) while biding his time, waiting for another shot in the major leagues.

#29 Mark Reynolds, DH/1B/3B (Previous Ranks: 12, 5, 21)

2013 Stats: 99 G, 15 HR, 40 R, 48 RBI, 3 SB, .215/.307/.373 line, .303 wOBA (92 wRC+), -0.4 fWAR, -1.2 rWAR in 384 PA

Well, eventually bad Mark Reynolds showed up and overwhelmed any positives from the beginning of the season. As always, Reynolds was a liability in the field and, with a below-average bat, he was no longer worth a roster spot.

#28 Rich Hill, LHP (Previous Ranks: 25, 23, 26)

2013 Stats: 56 G, 1-2 W-L, 11.64 SO/9, 6.44 BB/9, 6.19 ERA, 3.83 FIP, 4.05 xFIP, 0.1 fWAR, -1.2 rWAR in 36.1 IP

Hill's peripherals keep pointing to someone who is much better than his nearly six-run ERA, but at some point, the left-hander needs to get outs. Especially if he is going to be counted on during a playoff run.

#27 Carlos Carrasco, RHP (Previous Ranks: UR, 35, 30)

2013 Stats: 11 G (7 GS), 1-4 W-L, 5.82 K/9, 3.53 BB/9, 6.85 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 4.32 xFIP, 0.2 fWAR, -0.9 rWAR in 43.1 IP

After struggling more out of the rotation and succeeding as a reliever, it looks like Carrasco might be one of those pitchers who works better airing it out over an inning or two than trying to pace himself over six. Starters obviously have more value, but if Carrasco cannot work that way, Cleveland will have to take what they can get.

#26 Vinnie Pestano, RHP (Previous Ranks: 7, 18, 25)

2013 Stats: 34 G, 1-2 W-L, 6 SV, 9.18 SO/9, 5.13 BB/9, 4.05 ERA, 5.13 FIP, 4.49 xFIP, -0.5 fWAR, 0.0 rWAR in 33.1 IP

Pestano was the closer of the future entering this season, but now the right-hander is trying to pull himself back together in Columbus. Reason #5,673 you cannot ever trust relievers.

#25 Nick Hagadone, LHP (Previous Ranks: 19, 24, 24)

2013 Stats: 28 G, 0-1 W-L, 8.17 SO/9, 5.68 BB/9, 5.33 ERA, 4.69 FIP, 4.66 xFIP, -0.1 fWAR, -0.3 rWAR in 25.1 IP

It looks like the organization may be out on Hagadone as they have not given him a major league chance since July 2. I still like Hagadone's stuff, but not giving him another chance when the team desperately needed left-handed relief help is telling.

#24 Jason Giambi, DH (Previous Ranks: 26, 26, 22)

2013 Stats: 61 G, 8 HR, 19 R, 29 RBI, 0 SB, .187/.277/.380 line, .291 wOBA (84 wRC+), -0.5 fWAR, -0.5 rWAR in 191 PA

Giambi's bat surely is not anything special right now, though he does bring just enough power off the bench to be an intriguing pinch-hit option. His diminished bat speed forces him to cheat on fastballs in order to catch up to them, but when Giambi gets a hold of one, he can still knock it over the fence.

#23 Matt Albers, RHP (Previous Ranks: 22, 27, 19)

2013 Stats: 45 G, 3-1 W-L, 5.02 SO/9, 3.63 BB/9, 3.63 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 3.93 xFIP, 0.1 fWAR, 0.3 rWAR in 52.0 IP

Albers has found a way to get results despite that miniscule strikeout rate so far in 2013, though he is not someone I would trust anywhere near the end of the game. He may have a decent ERA, but there are quite a few names lower on this list (like C.C. Lee) that might have produced better results if they were given Albers' playing time.

#22 Marc Rzepczynski, LHP (Previous Ranks: UR, UR, UR)

2013 Stats: 13 G, 0-0 W-L, 7.71 SO/9, 3.09 BB/9, 0.00 ERA, 2.60 FIP, 3.67 xFIP, 0.2 fWAR, 0.5 rWAR in 11.2 IP

The front office did not make a big splash at the July 31 trading deadline, but general manager Chris Antonetti did add a strong piece to the bullpen in Rzepczynski. His ERA and FIP will both rise as his BABIP (.194) stabilizes, but even after that, Rzepczynski is a solid left-handed option and is a useful arm to have available late in games.

#21 Chris Perez, RHP (Previous Ranks: 9, 14, 23)

2013 Stats: 44 G, 5-2 W-L, 21 SV, 8.26 SO/9, 3.22 BB/9, 3.22 ERA, 4.51 FIP, 3.86 xFIP, -0.3 fWAR, 0.6 rWAR in 44.2 IP

For the most part, Perez goes out and gets saves when he is called upon. As I detailed in mid-August, Perez has actually continually changed the way he pitches in order to get by with a reduced fastball, relying more and more on his improving slider to get outs. Now, opposing hitters are clobbering his fastball, which leads to the middling results out of Perez in 2013. He is still getting plenty of saves, but in terms of his raw ability as a pitcher, Perez is trending downward.

#20 Asdrubal Cabrera, SS (Previous Ranks: 4, 7, 9)

2013 Stats: 109 G, 9 HR, 52 R, 47 RBI, 7 SB, .242/.297/.388 line, .302 wOBA (91 wRC+), 0.1 fWAR, 0.7 rWAR in 456 PA

Halfway through the season I refused to drop Cabrera out of the top 10 because he is better than this. Yet, by this point, the results tell the harsh truth. Cabrera's defense still rates out pretty poorly, he is having one of the worst seasons of his career at the plate, and, all put together, Cabrera is essentially hanging out at replacement level. There are no easy answers as to why Cabrera is so bad this year, but if Cleveland wants to make the playoffs, it just might come down to the shortstop. The lineup needs Cabrera playing like he is capable of in order to win, and if the shortstop continues to struggle, he and the rest of the team will probably have to stay home come October.

#19 Danny Salazar, RHP (Previous Ranks: UR, UR, 27)

2013 Stats: 5 GS, 1-2 W-L, 10.67 SO/9, 3.00 BB/9, 3.67 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 3.04 xFIP, 0.3 fWAR, 0.4 rWAR in 27.0 IP

While Salazar still has things to work on -- like keeping the ball in the park, there is so much to love about the right-hander. He gets easy velocity, his split-change is confounding legitimate major league hitters, and he is one of the few pitchers to strike out Miguel Cabrera three times in one game. He will be limited down the stretch due to his Tommy John inning count, but Salazar was a shot in the arm for this rotation and is dominant when called upon.

#18 Bryan Shaw, RHP (Previous Ranks: 23, 21, 20)

2013 Stats: 57 G, 2-3 W-L, 8.75 SO/9, 3.92 BB/9, 4.07 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 3.94 xFIP, 0.5 fWAR, -0.1 rWAR in 59.2 IP

Striking out nearly a batter an inning gives Shaw plenty of value, though he is more a middle-of-the-road reliever than one you look to build a bullpen around. Not that there is anything wrong with that. In order to field a strong bullpen a team needs decent pitchers like Shaw who tend to get the job done. If Cleveland had more pitchers like Shaw, the bullpen would not be in the bottom third of baseball.

#17 Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B (Previous Ranks: 15, 22, 15)

2013 Stats: 80 G, 8 HR, 24 R, 29 RBI, 1 SB, .218/.262/.369 line, .278 wOBA (75 wRC+), 0.4 fWAR, 1.0 rWAR in 268 PA

Depending on your choice in defensive metric, Chisenhall is either a well-above-average defender or an adequate one. Either way, Chisenhall's extreme issues with getting on base are beginning to make it harder and harder to keep running him out at third base on a daily basis. A heavily-decreased BABIP is partially to blame for Chisenhall's low on-base percentage, but as Michael Hattery points out, even an average BABIP would not turn Chisenhall into an above-average player. He is only 24 years old, but right now, Cleveland might need to look elsewhere for a third baseman.

#16 Mike Aviles, INF (Previous Ranks: 10, 10, 14)

2013 Stats: 102 G, 8 HR, 48 R, 35 RBI, 8 SB, .262/.286/.381 line, .290 wOBA (83 wRC+), 0.4 fWAR, 0.5 rWAR in 326 PA

A big problem for Cleveland right now is that the entire left side of the infield -- Cabrera, Chisenhall, and Aviles -- is playing pretty badly. Combined those three are only worth approximately 1.5 WAR and none can really be trusted to fix the problem. It is easy to say Aviles should start over Chisenhall at third or over Cabrera at shortstop, but while Aviles is slightly better, he is not so much better that it would make a big difference.

#15 Drew Stubbs, OF (Previous Ranks: 17, 19, 11)

2013 Stats: 126 G, 9 HR, 51 R, 41 RBI, 15 SB, .238/.308/.370 line, .301 wOBA (91 wRC+), 1.1 fWAR, 0.7 rWAR in 421 PA

I still like Stubbs more than the average fan but it is getting harder to see him as a full-time starter. His defense in right field is rated out as average to below-average so far which is dragging down his value. Stubbs is not a big power hitter, so if he is going to succeed in a corner outfield spot, he needs to play great defense. Everyone knows defensive metrics are fluky, but they also can be capturing someone having a bad defensive season. Stubbs is a decent player who can hit left-handed pitching (114 wRC+ against them), but the organization should look for an upgrade before next year.

#14 Joe Smith, RHP (Previous Ranks: 11, 12, 16)

2013 Stats: 57 G, 5-2 W-L, 2 SV, 7.49 SO/9, 3.31 BB/9, 2.61 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 3.82 xFIP, 0.3 fWAR, 1.2 rWAR in 51.2 IP

Smith continues to be a solid mainstay at the back-end of the bullpen. He is not a big name who stands out in the national media but everyone in Cleveland recognizes his value. This is his third-straight season with a sub-three ERA and, as he has always exceeded his peripherals, Smith is someone better measured by his rWAR or his RA9-WAR (both 1.3).

#13 Scott Kazmir, LHP (Previous Ranks: 21, 16, 18)

2013 Stats: 24 GS, 7-7 W-L, 8.24 SO/9, 2.98 BB/9, 4.36 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 3.73 xFIP, 1.3 fWAR, 0.5 rWAR in 130.0 IP

This offseason when Cleveland signs a bunch of players to minor league contracts and likely strikes out on any sexy, big-name free agents, remember how the Kazmir signing turned out. A small market team like Cleveland is much better off taking chances on guys like Kazmir than signing expensive long-term contracts because of the team's inherent small margin of error. If they do not work out (like Daisuke Matsuzaka), then it costs next to nothing. If it does work out, it can lead to a legitimate starting option like Kazmir.

#12 Cody Allen, RHP (Previous Ranks: 13, 13, 13)

2013 Stats: 61 G, 5-1 W-L, 2 SV, 11.42 SO/9, 3.70 BB/9, 2.47 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 3.27 xFIP, 0.9 fWAR, 1.1 rWAR in 58.1 IP

We do not know yet if Allen is one of those players able to pitch better than his peripherals. If he is, then he has a chance to be one of the best relievers in the majors. If not, he is still a very valuable reliever. Either way, Cleveland has a dominant arm to call upon and a closer of the future (assuming he does not fade like so many relievers do).

#11 Zach McAllister, RHP (Previous Ranks: 14, 8, 12)

2013 Stats: 19 GS, 7-8 W-L, 6.79 SO/9, 3.31 BB/9, 3.81 ERA, 3.81 FIP, 4.55 xFIP, 1.5 fWAR, 0.6 rWAR in 108.2 IP

McAllister pitched pretty well since coming back from his finger injury, though he is still the owner of a fairly mediocre line on the season. That still has value, but it points more toward a middle-of-the-rotation role for McAllister than #2 starter. The development of Danny Salazar or Corey Kluber could make this all moot -- it is conceivable that McAllister could be the #4 in next year's rotation, a role for which he is overqualified -- but in 2013 I am not sure that McAllister and the rotation can continue to surpass expectations and lead this team into the playoffs.

#10 Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP (Previous Ranks: 16, 15, 17)

2013 Stats: 26 GS, 9-9 W-L, 9.11 SO/9, 4.65 BB/9, 3.95 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 4.03 xFIP, 1.4 fWAR 1.2 rWAR in 141.1 IP

Speaking of surpassing expectations. I never thought that Jimenez would find a way back into the top 10, yet here we are. The strikeouts are back and they are doing just enough to negate his wildness and walks. This is still not what Jimenez was supposed to be after coming over from Colorado, but right now, Jimenez is one of the players keeping Cleveland's playoff hopes alive. Raise your hand if you had that before the season.

#9 Michael Brantley, OF (Previous Ranks: 6, 9, 4)

2013 Stats: 129 G, 8 HR, 58 R, 59 RBI, 14 SB, .273/.327/.383 line, .313 wOBA (99 wRC+), 1.3 fWAR, 2.3 rWAR in 522 PA

In a reoccurring theme, one defensive metric views Brantley as below-average while another indicates that he is above-average. His errorless streak -- while a cool piece of trivia -- does not mean much in evaluating his defense outside of observing that Brantley makes the routine plays. His range may not be great, but Brantley is reliable in the field. That, combined with his solid bat, adds up to a decent outfielder who would help stabilize any team.

#8 Michael Bourn, OF (Previous Ranks: 2, 6, 6)

2013 Stats: 106 G, 5 HR, 61 R, 39 RBI, 20 SB, .267/.320/.353 line, .300 wOBA (90 wRC+), 1.9 fWAR, 1.9 rWAR in 473 PA

If you expected Bourn to continue playing at the same level as his career-year 2012, then you are likely very disappointed in the center fielder this year. If you expected him to produce more like he did from 2009 through 2011, then you will be more satisfied with Bourn's 2013 season. Yes, even accounting for the time he missed earlier this year with a fluky injury, Bourn is having his worst season since 2008, but he is still an above-average player. It is easy to get disappointed with Bourn after how well he did last year, but realistically, 2013 has not been that bad.

#7 Corey Kluber, RHP (Previous Ranks: UR, 17, 7)

2013 Stats: 21 G (19 GS), 7-5 W-L, 8.56 SO/9, 1.92 BB/9, 3.54 ERA, 3.15 FIP, 2.96 xFIP, 2.4 fWAR, 1.6 rWAR in 122.0 IP

Anytime someone goes from a fringe-starter to a potential four-win player (that is the pace Kluber is on), it is important to wait for more information before declaring the change an absolute fact. How does the league adjust to Kluber? Can he sustain this for more than half of a season? Is this just Kluber playing at his absolute ceiling for a short amount of time? Time will answer these questions, but for now, Cleveland has a major league pitcher in Kluber. If you had said that before the season, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.

#6 Nick Swisher, 1B/OF (Previous Ranks: 5, 3, 5)

2013 Stats: 119 G, 15 HR, 59 R, 46 RBI, 0 SB, .242/.338/.402 line, .328 wOBA (109 wRC+), 1.9 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR in 518 PA

Eno Sarris of Fangraphs spoke with Swisher recently and broke down how Swisher's shoulder injury has changed his swing, with interesting results. Swisher is hitting more line drives -- a hit type that falls in for hits frequently -- yet Swisher's BABIP has dropped. It is very possible that Swisher has been quite unlucky this year and should see his offense improve. Even with the struggles, Swisher is an above-average hitter who is helping the offense, even if his power has dipped.

#5 Ryan Raburn, INF/OF (Previous Ranks: 24, 11, 8)

2013 Stats: 70 G, 15 HR, 33 R, 41 RBI, 0 SB, .272/.366/.574 line, .405 wOBA (162 wRC+), 2.7 fWAR, 2.3 rWAR in 224 PA

The front office recognized how great Raburn has been in 2013 by rewarding him with a two-year contract extension in early August. Normally I am not a fan of guaranteeing money to bench options, but considering the level Raburn is playing at and how he is more a pseudo-regular than a straight bench player, I think it fits. Raburn could also see more playing time depending on how well Stubbs/Chisenhall/others do down the stretch.

#4 Yan Gomes, C (Previous Ranks: UR, 20, 10)

2013 Stats: 64 G, 9 HR, 29 R, 29 RBI, 2 SB, .288/.336/.491 line, .357 wOBA (130 wRC+), 2.6 fWAR, 2.7 rWAR in 232 PA

This feels way too high for Gomes, yet I just cannot ignore him anymore. His offensive stats are so good that, even after some regression, he should stay above-average at worst. His defense grades out positively on Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference, plus players and coaches seem to agree. Being able to handle the catching position while hitting is rare and, so far in 2013, Gomes is pulling it off. We obviously need to see it for more than 64 games before calling him a sure thing, but right now, Gomes is a key player and should be in the lineup most if not all days.

#3 Carlos Santana, C (Previous Ranks: 1, 2, 3)

2013 Stats: 127 G, 17 HR, 59 R, 60 RBI, 2 SB, .267/.373/.458 line, .363 wOBA (134 wRC+), 2.7 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR in 525 PA

But despite Gomes' success, Santana is still above him in my view. As much as Santana's defense angers fans and grades out poorly, his power-patience combination makes his bat extremely valuable. A lot of Santana's value would be lost if he moved to first base full-time, but if he keeps hitting like he has in 2013 -- with that nice high on-base percentage and a decent complement of home runs -- it would not be the worst thing. Some sort of catching/first base/designated hitter timeshare with Gomes and Swisher in 2014 might be the best way to go.

#2 Justin Masterson, RHP (Previous Ranks: 8, 1, 2)

2013 Stats: 28 GS, 14-9 W-L, 8.98 SO/9, 3.54 BB/9, 3.49 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 3.34 xFIP, 3.4 fWAR, 3.3 rWAR in 188.1 IP

There is not a lot of change at the top of these rankings because the best three players on the team just continued to take care of business. If you are looking for someone to blame for Cleveland's recent fade, it is not Masterson. For the season, Masterson ranks 21st in fWAR amongst pitchers, ranking him as a pretty clear #1 starter overall. He may not be an absolute ace like Clayton Kershaw, but there is nothing wrong with having Masterson at the top of the rotation.

#1 Jason Kipnis, 2B (Previous Ranks: 3, 4, 1)

2013 Stats: 123 G, 16 HR, 68 R, 75 RBI, 24 SB, .283/.366/.464 line, .360 wOBA (132 wRC+), 4.3 fWAR, 5.3 rWAR in 547 PA

Kipnis once again takes the top spot and it still is not close. If you prefer Fangraphs' version of WAR, Kipnis ranks as the 24th best position player in baseball, one spot below Buster Posey. If you prefer Baseball-Reference's version, then Kipnis jumps up to 17th, just below Joey Votto. Sure, Kipnis is once again posting worse stats in the second half (149 wRC+ in the first half, 92 wRC+ in the second half), though most of that seems to be regression to the mean on his BABIP and home runs per fly ball. Even with that, Kipnis is far and away the best player on the team and someone to build around as a cornerstone in the lineup.

If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.

User Comments

September 2, 2013 - 7:54 PM EDT
a few years back texas wanted a japaneze reliefer to balance their bullpen and had tommy hanson available and an obscure first baseman who was blocked by Moreland in texas so they added chris davis to the deal and look at what he has done in two years 80 homers and a month to add to that total he was an obscure first baseman a virtual throw in. after the trade with toronto getting mike and yan for obscure power pitcher anything can happen. love to be lucky enough to find a power hitter as a throw in as an addition in obscure low profile trade. it has happened before many times maybe not this profound but batista was a throw in in more than one trade over the years.
September 2, 2013 - 10:18 AM EDT
I am with you all the way Jim even if I do not necessarily agree with your player placement/comments. The team is not that good which you have shown. Cleveland should be ecstatic with the performance of its Indians and their manager. They simply do not have the talent of other teams. Not void of talent but not a Detroit/Boston either.

They are not quite as good as the other have-nots like the As and Rays but considering their attendance and lack of fan enthusiasm in what Shy calls "the mistake on the lake", that is not a big surprise. And there is not a lot of hope of improvement since the mistake on the lake is unlikely to be more successful as a ML city.
Jim Piascik
September 2, 2013 - 9:54 AM EDT
And that Jim is me. Forgot to put the name in. :)
September 2, 2013 - 9:53 AM EDT
Fangraphs' glossary does a better job than I could. Everything you need to know here:

As for Cleveland contending, the team is 3.5 games back with an easy schedule ahead. The teams they are facing only have a .452 winning percentage. Five of the eight teams they are facing have losing records. If they take care of business and win every series from here on out, they will have 91 wins.

You can't assume they'll do that, but with an easy schedule, that is their task. They've struggled against good teams all year -- so it's not a shock Detroit and Atlanta beat up on them -- but now they're facing worse team. Take care of business, win each series, let the chips fall where they may.

As for the baserunning, they are tied for fourth in stolen base percentage and Fangraphs has them fifth-best in baseball (,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=19,d).
September 2, 2013 - 7:26 AM EDT
If IBI is going to foster sabremetrics it would be nice to have a section of this website devoted to a summary explanation of all that jazz.

Still only 3.5 off the wildcard pace with 26 games to go so September will be interesting... Long time since tribe fans could say that.
September 1, 2013 - 7:08 PM EDT
I have to be the adult in the room here and say we are not contending anymore. We were contending maybe when we went into Atlanta, but are not coming out of Detroit. It's important as always to play good baseball EVERYDAY regardless of the standings and we are not...The hitting in general and the situational hitting in particular except for Aviles hit today has been abysmal, the baserunning has been awful- if there is a team with more runners picked off and thrown out stealing than the Indians I'd like someone to name it. At some point you have to blame the coaches for this. The Indians coaches are old and obviously none of them are capable of coaching baserunning so the inmates are running the asylum- Francona is not exculpable in this. And the relief pitching has proven pretty worthless in trying to keep close games close. The closing- there you go again today w C Perez( the C stands for Clown) giving up 3 hits and escaping another meltdown on a freak play at third with a line shot hitting the runner. This is mistake on the lake baseball, not Cleveland coming of age and contending baseball.
September 1, 2013 - 4:34 PM EDT
Does the high rank for gomes say more good about him or more bad about all the players we expected much from below him? At this point the latter. As too many guys having bad yrs at the plate.

But somehow we are not dead yet.

Your Name:
Leave a Comment:
Security Code: