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The 2014 IBI Awards: Most Valuable Hitter

Brantley unsurprisingly runs away with the voting

The 2014 IBI Awards: Most Valuable Hitter
Michael Brantley (Photo: MLB Scouting Reports)
October 6, 2014
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Welcome to the third installment 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 first installment of the IBI Awards, the Most Valuable Hitter. Unsurprisingly, one name stood above the rest:

Rank Name Points
1 Michael Brantley 60
2 Yan Gomes 41
3 Carlos Santana 33
4 Lonnie Chisenhall 20
5 David Murphy 7
6 Jose Ramirez 4
T-7 Jason Kipnis 1
T-7 Asdrubal Cabrera 1
T-7 Michael Bourn 1
T-7 Mike Aviles 1
T-7 Slider 1

Brantley took the top spot in each ballot submitted, which does not come as a shock based on the fact the outfielder is a legitimate candidate for the American League Most Valuable Player award.

Beyond Brantley, the rest of the votes broke down similarly. My personal ballot followed the top four exactly, as did many other ballots. Gomes and Santana both look like lineup cornerstones (and are not necessarily negatives on defense, especially after Santana moved to first base), and while Chisenhall tailed off terribly in the second half, his overall season ended up pretty decent.

My fifth spot went to Kipnis, a sentiment shared by no one else. If you want to see why in better detail, you can see it in my recent year-end roster rankings piece where I ranked Kipnis one spot behind Chisenhall. But the short version involves his high number of plate appearances compared to other players and his slight positive value on the season.

Here is what the rest of IBI had to say:

Tony Lastoria:

  1. Brantley
  2. Gomes
  3. Santana
  4. Chisenhall
  5. Slider

It goes without saying that the trio of Brantley, Gomes and Santana were the driving force to the Indians offense all season. And it goes without saying that AL MVP candidate Michael Brantley was their Most Valuable Hitter after the record breaking season he had. But beyond those three players and the inconsistent but solid overall season from Chisenhall, the rest of the lineup was a complete mess or forgettable. So while Slider is included half-jokingly, it is half serious since no one else was worthy of a top five mention.

Hayden Grove:

  1. Brantley
  2. Gomes
  3. Chisenhall
  4. Santana
  5. Ramirez

This list has five names on it, but the reality is... there should only be one. Michael Brantley was far and away the most productive hitter on a team that struggled offensively throughout the year. With a 200-hit season, Brantley has put together a historic season and is undoubtedly an AL MVP candidate.

Michael Goodman:

  1. Brantley
  2. Santana
  3. Gomes
  4. Chisenhall
  5. Cabrera

Brantley being at the top of this list is a no-brainer. He had a season as good as any Indians hitter over the past twenty years. I went with Santana over Gomes because of his on base ability. He had a rough start to the year, but he bounced back with an impressive second half and one of the better power seasons of his career. No matter how you rank them, Santana and Gomes were key cogs in the middle of the lineup and two of very few bright spots in the lineup. Early on, it was Lonnie Chisenhall that teamed with Brantley to carry the offense. He was as hot as any player we’ve ever seen in the first two months. While he eventually came back down to earth, he still provided some key hits down the stretch, and you still have to consider his season a success offensively. It was impossible to pick out a fifth player. I think that’s telling about the issues this team has offensively.

Jake Dungan:

  1. Brantley
  2. Santana
  3. Gomes
  4. Chisenhall
  5. Bourn

This was almost not worth even thinking about. The season Michael Brantley had was something we’ve only come close to seeing a handful of times in the last half century. He didn’t put up insane numbers in any particular category, but he did just about everything exceptionally well. And the multi-year extension he signed last offseason looks like a bargain now for a player of his caliber. He is a franchise player and a star in this league.

Tyler Stotsky:

  1. Brantley
  2. Gomes
  3. Santana
  4. Ramirez
  5. Chisenhall

Very easy to choose, Brantley was the most productive player on the Indians this year. Brantley piled up some spectacular numbers including a 200 hit season. Being an AL MVP candidate puts him at the top of this list.  

Spencer Davies:

  1. Brantley
  2. Gomes
  3. Santana
  4. Chisenhall
  5. Murphy

The fact that I have to write a paragraph on why Michael Brantley deserves this award is nonsense. Even with Yan Gomes’ all-star-esque performance at the plate this year, the aptly-named “Dr. Smooth” eclipsed the 200-hit mark, the first to do it since Kenny Lofton in 1996. He led the team in RBI and doubles as well. This is a no-brainer.

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

October 7, 2014 - 4:10 PM EDT
I think with Brantley, Gomes, Santana, Chisenhall, Jose Ramirez make up a very good core.
Add Perez, catcher, Walters, Holt, all young players who learned the system and will be better players and possibly the new bench. I think due to age and contract, Michael Aviles, Jason Gambi, and Nick Swisher will be off the rooster. Nick will be new hitting coach so his contract money will not be lost.
Vic Venom
October 6, 2014 - 11:56 PM EDT
I dont have a problem with someone putting Chisenhall ahead of Santana on a list. If you remember Santana got off to a disastrous start on offense mainly due to the struggle with getting acclimated to the third base position. Chisenhall, however, started the year hot which is something he really hasn't done in his career. He might of had a bad 2nd half, but since his average was so good in the first half, there was still an improvement by him. The 3 homerun 12 RBI game was one of the most impressive performances I have seen in a long time.
October 6, 2014 - 4:58 PM EDT
I think there were two players that had one good half and one downright awful half and Tony I have been saying for several years that if Santana is one of your top " hitters" you are in big trouble.
October 6, 2014 - 3:09 PM EDT
The sad reality in all of this is that the Indians may actually have more holes offensively than we maybe all realize (or are willing to admit). I mean, there were just three players who were worthy of mention here. Another who was very good half the year and downright awful the other half. And the rest of the group were an underachieving bunch of veterans or still unknown rookies and young players.
Head check
October 6, 2014 - 3:03 PM EDT
The top 3 without a doubt are 1.Brantley, 2. Gomes and 3. Santana. You could easily flip flop Gomes and Santana between 2 an 3, but Brantley is the clear #1. I see Hayden actually had Chiz in front of Santana... That is crazy and makes absolutely ZERO sense..

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