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The 2014 IBI Awards: Most Valuable Pitcher

Kluber is in a tight race for the AL Cy Young, but wins this vote in a rout

The 2014 IBI Awards: Most Valuable Pitcher
Corey Kluber (Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
October 7, 2014
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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 second installment of the IBI Awards, the Most Valuable Pitcher. Previous awards for this season include:

Just like in the Most Valuable Hitter, a singular name stood out. Options two through five differed among the voters, but it was impossible to not vote for one Corey Kluber.

Rank Name Points
1 Corey Kluber 60
2 Carlos Carrasco 34
3 Cody Allen 25
4 T.J. House 12
5 Trevor Bauer 11
6 Scott Atchison 10
7 Bryan Shaw 9
8 Danny Salazar 8
9 Kyle Crockett 1

Again just like Brantley every voter put Kluber at the top of their ballot (like they should have), which is not surprising since both Brantley and Kluber are getting MVP and Cy Young buzz respectively.

Past Kluber, my personal ballot featured Allen in second place, Carrasco in third, Atchison in fourth, and Shaw in fifth. It is rare for me to have three relievers ranked this high when ranked with starting pitchers (since starters are given more innings to accumulate value), but I think it is justified given Cleveland’s uncommon 2014.

There is no denying every team will have seven or so relievers in their bullpen, each slated to throw around 70.0 innings. Since those innings have to be thrown, every team needs quality relief pitching to fill them. Relievers have a ton of volatility from year to year (and in general should not be trusted with deals running more than two years), but something like this is not projecting the future; it is only looking at what happened in 2014.

So, for me, Allen (who posted 1.5 WAR in 69.2 innings), Atchison (1.1 WAR in 72.0 innings), and Shaw (0.9 WAR in 76.1 innings) outrank starting pitchers who fell short of a full 200-inning load like Bauer (1.2 WAR in 153.0 innings), House (1.4 WAR in 102.0 innings), and Salazar (1.2 WAR in 110.0 innings).

The starting pitchers may have the relievers when it comes to raw WAR totals, but the byproduct of them not coming close to throwing a full season’s worth of innings is that other starters were pressed into action. To me, there is value in carrying your weight and it is reflected in my ballot.

Or at least those are my thoughts on the subject. Here is what the rest of IBI had to say:

Tony Lastoria:

  1. Kluber
  2. Allen
  3. Carrasco
  4. Shaw
  5. House

Sort of like the Most Valuable Hitter award, this one to me is a foregone conclusion considering the amazing season that Kluber had that should end up with at worst a runner-up finish in the Cy Young voting. Beyond him though, unlike with the offense, there were several standout to solid performances throughout the pitching staff. Allen and Shaw were key late inning pieces who performed well and were very reliable, and Carlos Carrasco pitched well in the bullpen before emerging the last two months of the season as a legit front of the rotation arm. House surprised with his season and outpitched guys like Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer for the final spot.

Hayden Grove:

  1. Kluber
  2. House
  3. Carrasco
  4. Bauer
  5. Salazar

Once again, this list is comprehensive, but needs only a single name. Corey Kluber, who should be the AL Cy Young award winner, was far and away the Indians best pitcher. On a team that struggled offensively throughout the year, Kluber was an anchor, a stopper and a force not to be reckoned with throughout this season. His consistency amidst the most inconsistent of bunches was awe-inspiring, to say the least. With an offseason to further develop, the future for Corey Kluber seems incredibly good.

Michael Goodman:

  1. Kluber
  2. Allen
  3. Carrasco
  4. Bauer
  5. Salazar

Kluber is a lock. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe his season. I went with Cody Allen over Carrasco, Bauer and Salazar because he was consistently good all season, and took to the closer’s job well when he was called upon. He wasn’t perfect, but he looks to be as good of a closer as the team has had in a number of years. They won’t have to waste another 4+ million dollars trying to find someone with experience in that role. After April, Carlos Carrasco was dynamite in whichever role he was pitching. He’s not second on my list, but he probably could have been. I can’t stress how tough it is to post a 2.9 WAR when you receive only 13 starts. Twelve months from now we might be talking about having two of the top five pitchers in the entire American League. While they weren’t consistent, Bauer and Salazar had their moments this season and overall were more valuable than bullpen guys like Atchison or Bryan Shaw, the next guys up on this list.

Jake Dungan:

  1. Kluber
  2. Carrasco
  3. Bauer
  4. Salazar
  5. House

This, too, was a no-brainer, as the Indians have not only finally pinpointed their next ace pitcher, they have developed a talent being mentioned in the same breath as franchise legends Bob FellerSam McDowell and Luis Tiant. Corey Kluber not only put up record numbers, he found a way to take complete control of any given game and impose his will on the opposing lineup, a talent only possessed by a select few in this game. And the best news, he isn’t a free agent until 2019.

Jamyson Frierson:

  1. Kluber
  2. Carrasco
  3. Atchison
  4. Allen
  5. Crockett

The Tribe have been trying to find a legitimate ace since Cliff Lee was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009. They have potentially found it. Kluber had one of the best seasons for an Indians pitcher since C.C. Sabathia won the Cy Young in 2007. He joined the Tribe record books in numerous categories and it will likely continue into 2015. The “Klubot” went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA which was seventh in baseball and had 269 SO’s which was second in the MLB. Kluber also had three CG’s with one shutout. He is the favorite to win the Cy Young in the AL. If he wins, this would make the third Indians pitcher in seven years to win the award.

Tyler Stotsky:

  1. Kluber
  2. Carrasco
  3. Bauer
  4. House
  5. Salazar

Kluber’s season speaks for itself as to why he is the most valuable pitcher in 2014. Dominant all year to where he is a AL Cy Young favorite in my books.

Spencer Davies:

  1. Kluber
  2. Carrasco
  3. Salazar
  4. House
  5. Bauer

Again, the fact that I have to write a paragraph on who the most valuable pitcher on the Indians was is absurd. Corey Kluber not only finished second in the AL in strikeouts with 269, but he won 18 games and led the team with 7.3 (!!!) WAR, which was the best in the entire MLB for pitchers and second behind Mike Trout in the MLB overall.

If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at jpiasci1@gmail.com. If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.

User Comments

Vic Venom
October 8, 2014 - 6:05 PM EDT
Crockett needs to be on most of the lists. Cody Allen is rated way too high on a lot of these lists.
Mike
October 8, 2014 - 1:34 AM EDT
Something noteworthy I thought about this season. Hagadone kinda established himself this year as a valuable bullpen arm. His splits are pretty equal and was being used in more high leverage spots prior to his back injury. I'd expect him to be a staple in the pen next year.
Rocky55
October 7, 2014 - 6:44 PM EDT
Disagree with Allen being more valuable than anyone in the rotation. We were good because the starters were good. The pen gets ridden too hard without a strong rotation. Carrasco averaged 6 IP per start, including the crappy ones in April. Bauer averaged just under 6 IP (5.88). Kluber averaged nearly 7 IP per start (6.93). House averaged 5.6 IP per start. Salazar was lowest at 5.5 IP per start. The only guy in the rotation who might be rated below Allen, IMO, would be Salazar. Bauer was more consistent, with fewer ugly games. Also, Allen wasn't the closer until late in May & had only 49IP as closer. OH, wth...WTH? Are you comping a 30 IP LHRP with a 235 IP SP who should win the CYA?? Really?
wth
October 7, 2014 - 2:47 PM EDT
wth no kyle crockett? His ERA was way better than Klubers. That is disrespect. Unbelievable he only got a single point. what is the world coming to
Vic Venom
October 7, 2014 - 1:48 PM EDT
I am amazed that House is not even on some of these guys lists.
Daingean
October 7, 2014 - 1:37 PM EDT
Brantley is unquestionably the best hitter of 2014
Kluber is unquestionably the best pitcher of 2014

In an interesting twist, if I were to pick an MVP, it would be Gomes......His value to the pitching staff and being the 2nd best hitter (IMO) would put him in front of both as the overall player of the year.

I think the game has changed some and the valuable of the BP shortening the game is really what put the Indians as an above .500 team instead of a 76-86 team (IMO). I can see Allen above Carrasco, who was awful early in the year then a non-factor for another 2 months before really turning it on the final 2 months of the year.
Head Check
October 7, 2014 - 1:25 PM EDT
I agree Rocky that Carrasco is more valuable than Allen long term and those 2 are interchangeable as 2 and 3 this year..........BUT.... To say that Bauer, Salazar, House or any other reliever (obviously) were more valuable than Allen this year is a BIG stretch IMO.
Rocky55
October 7, 2014 - 11:42 AM EDT
I'd take a good, durable starter over the best closer in the Majors. Allen over Carrasco is, well, let's say mistaken in my view. I believe that this is the first year in a while in which you could have one name as the entire article for the pitching & hitting MVPs. No contest, really. The fact that they're both in the running for POTY honors for their respective positions is really exceptional. Great season to be a Tribe fan.
Joseph
October 7, 2014 - 10:19 AM EDT
I really like the potential of starters like House, Carasco, Salazar, and Bauer. I know the Tribe is thin in the upper minors for starting pitchers if one of these guys slip. We might get something out of Will Roberts if needed. I know it is hard to imagine Kluber having another year like 2014, but he hasn't thrown too many innings prior to this year. There might be a couple more excellent years in that arm. Be ready for someone to slip. We might get some help from McCallister or Tomlin.
Head Check
October 7, 2014 - 10:16 AM EDT
Was there a misunderstanding when voting? I see lots of list with only SP's on them. Allen needs to be in everyone's top 5 list. In his first year closing (he wasn't even the guy at the seasons start) he had a great year. Kluber, Allen and Carrasco should be 3 of the 5 - the other 2 well that is when personal preference takes over.

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