The 2014 IBI Awards: Least Valuable Pitcher
Masterson's rough season ends with a runaway win in the LVP voting
Welcome to the third annual edition of the IBI Awards!
At the end of every year, we here at IBI vote on various categories relating to Cleveland baseball as we continue looking back on 2014 ahead of our 2015 offseason coverage.
Today is the fourth installment of the IBI Awards, the Least Valuable Pitcher.
Previous awards for this season include:
Once again, there was a clear runaway winner in this category, though that did not stop me from somehow not siding with the majority. Ever the contrarian I guess.
Though most people went with Masterson (whom I had second), I had Axford at the top of my ballot. It was a tight race for me, but Axford’s problems with walks and home runs gave him the “edge” in this category for me.
Beyond Axford and Masterson, a trio of disappointing relievers in Outman, Lee, and Pestano rounded out my ballot.
Here is what the rest of IBI had to say:
This was a tough one to vote for since many of my candidates are no longer with the team or had limited roles, so I expect the opinions to vary greatly on this. Considering his status as staff ace going into the season I put Masterson at the top of my list because of the poor season he had that not only had a significant effect on the Indians postseason chances, but ruined his chances to cash in big in free agency this offseason. Tomlin and McAllister struggled in the limited chances they had in the rotation, though McAllister looked better late in the season when he returned from Triple-A Columbus. Axford and Outman were offseason acquisitions who disappointed in the pen, had their roles reduced and were later traded.
Just as was the case with the Most Valuable Hitter and Most Valuable Pitcher, the Least Valuable Pitcher race was won long ago. Justin Masterson -- the purported ace of this Indians staff heading into the 2014 season- was far and away the least valuable arm on this staff, so much so that the Indians couldn’t stand to keep him for the entirety of this season. Masterson was a disaster from the beginning, with little to no command on his oft-moving offerings, and made the Indians look like geniuses for avoiding a massive contract-extension for Masterson in the offseason.
This one was tough. I really wanted to write in the Indians defense, but I think that’d be missing the point. Masterson is a slam dunk here. His issues really hurt the team in the first half. It’s hard to forget how much of a mess the rotation was early on, and the amount of wins it cost the team. Masterson’s performance was the biggest issue in that ordeal. Zach McAllister and Josh Tomlin were others. It wasn’t until all three of those pitchers were taken out of the rotation that the team started pitching well. Still, it does bear mention the huge discrepancies between McAllister and Tomlin’s ERA and FIP. They weren’t good, but they weren’t as bad as the numbers would have you believe. Axford was a bust as closer, and wasn’t much better as a middle reliever. He’s an easy entry on this list. To me, C.C. Lee was a big disappointment in the second half. I had hoped he would come forward and cement a bullpen job for next season but he wasn’t able to do that. I think he still has a decent future with the team, but he missed a big opportunity over the last couple of months.
The fact that I could only come up with three pitchers for this list just shows how big a step forward the pitching staff took this season. Unfortunately, the team’s top pitcher a year ago tops this list this year as Justin Masterson just could not figure things out as he battled injury and mechanical issues. His free agent value has all but dissolved and his future as a starter may even be in question.
Masterson’s season was one of the most disappointing in years, but outside of him and Axford, the pitching staff was outstanding.
Masterson and the Indians came into the season with the expectation that Masterson would become the ace of the staff. Unfortunately, he struggled mightily throughout the year and the Indians unloaded him at the trade deadline.
If you would have told me at the beginning the Tribe’s season this year that Justin Masterson would top this list, I would have called you crazy. But it’s happened. The top prospect return for Victor Martinez looked like a top-two guy in the rotation a couple of years ago, but this year he looked the worst that he’s ever been in the major leagues. Whether it was off-the-field distractions with the once-talked about contract extension or a change in mechanics, the Tribe dealt him to St. Louis at the trade deadline where he’s looked just as lost, if not worse than he was in Cleveland.
If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.
I look up stats all of the time jack ass. I just dont focus on every fricking stat there is. I dont have my sabermetrics calculator spewing out every "advanced stat." Bottom line is that I think Bauer isn't all that, and you can copy and paste all of these bullshit stats about Bauer, really dont give a fuck.
Bauer has pitched in the majors in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
His WHIP and ERA have come down, way down. His K:BB ration has improved enormously. His HR per 9 and BB/9 are way, way down.
His pitch velocity on all six of his pitches is up.
I could go on, but you get the point. Look up some stats now and then....you might like it.
Masterson is the runaway. It was really sad to see it happen to such a good guy. I think his demeanor in the clubhouse will be missed more than anything.
Masterson is clearly at the top (and yes, he should have been traded the minute he declined the extension, that was a bonehead non-move that CA barely salvaged with the acquisition of Ramsey..) along with McAllister (...who cares if he had a good last three weeks coming out of the pen, he was ticketed to be a MOR starter and start 30+ games!).
The others are all in a different category of disappointment for me, as I already had pretty low expectations for Axford, Pestano and Salazar. (that's not saying I didn't have high hopes...)
It's so obvious that Tomlin doesn't belong anywhere near this list as there were really no expectations to speak of (and of course, there still aren't...). And Carrasco should definitely not be on this list, and should be near or at the top of the "most improved player" list.
Don't know what the heck VV is talking about. Bauer had an uneven, but very successful year imo, and yes, the future looks bright for him. I guess some people just get distracted by all the extra stuff...
What are the signs that prove to improvement next season with Bauer??
4.18 ERA 5-8 record is not impressive at all. I wouldnt want Masterson or Bauer, i think they are both BUMS.
Choo is a bum too, did you see his season? Straight robbing the Rangers for money. I dont think comparing Kluber to finding himself at 27-28 and turning himself into a Cy Young candidate is a fair comparison with Bauer. Bauer has a lot of false hope and "hype" since he was drafted high. Kluber wasn't drafted high, Antonetti got lucky with a trade and he turned out to be a stud pitcher.
Ever since that game last season where Bauer pitched out of the stretch from the start and got shelled by the White Sox, i was done with him forever.
With all respect, you're losing your mind. The numbers say that Trevor Bauer does not suck.
Which pitcher would you rather have? Bauer, who spends a year in AAA rebuilding his mechanics to the point that he can pitch well enough in the majors to have a 4.00 +/- 0.2 ERA......with all signs showing improvement in 2015?
Or Justin Masterson.....who after every crappy start professed not to know what happened, never invested in correcting his flaws, and ultimately is going to earn a much earlier departure from professional baseball than he envisioned not so long ago.
We have a guy who at 23 has had some success at the major league level. We have a Cy Young candidate who found himself at circa 27/28.
It is like the Kipnis/JRam debate. We have a 21/22 year old competing with a player who at that age was just graduating from college.
Obtaining Bauer for Choo was IMO brilliant. And just think - we also got Shaw in that trade - plus a good year out of Albers.
If he had been traded then, I believe he would have fetched far more than he did, though what the Tribe got seems pretty good. Also, he would have spared Tribe fans the agony of watching his consistently miserable and losing outings.
Carrasco shouldn't get within 2 city blocks of this list.
All that being said, I love the discussion.
If you can understand Carrasco being on the list because he didn't meet expectations, then certainly you can understand Salazar being #5 on mine for the same reason and Tomlin being omitted because he exceeded many people's expectations. Tomlin served as a pretty crucial piece when Masterson, Carrasco, Salazar, and McAllister - 4/5s of the opening day rotation - performed well below expectations, and he was the 2nd best starter on the team for 2 months. To me, that was actually extremely valuable because he had his best starts when it looked like Cleveland only had one good starter, and he gave the Indians good starts while guys like Salazar and Carrasco could "get right.
Essentially what I'm saying is that Tomlin was the 2nd best starter for May and June, and to me that's more valuable than Salazar being (arguably) the 3rd/4th best starter in August and September.
I am glad Carlos turned his season around. To be honest, I thought after April that he couldn't be trusted with a lead. I'm glad that I was wrong.