According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Indians called the surgery a "distal hamstring debridement.' The injury took place where the tendon attaches behind Bourn's left knee.
According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Indians called the surgery a "distal hamstring debridement.' The injury took place where the tendon attaches behind Bourn's left knee.
Sandy Alomar is in an interesting position this year as one of the top eligible rookie managerial candidates. He has been an Indians coach since retiring after 2007, working all the way up to bench coach for the past two seasons. He was even named interim manager for the final six games of 2012 after Manny Acta was fired. When he interviewed, but didn't win the the Indians managerial role, it was hard to see where he would fit with the team, under the manager who won the job over him. The Indians then brought in former manager and associate of Terry Francona, Brad Mills during the offseason of 2012, who seemed like an obvious choice for bench coach. When the coaching shuffle was done, however, the Indians wouldn't demote Alomar and made Mills the third base coach.
After one full year, the Indians have decided to move things around. Sandy will go back to his old position of first base coach, while Mills will become Francona's second in command (Mike Sarbaugh will move from first to third to fill that hole as well). While this is probably the right move and will almost certainly make Francona more comfortable in 2014 it has to be a real disappointment for Alomar, who was on a quick career path to become a Major League manager, but has now been bumped back to level one.
There are no shortage of opportunities around the league and Alomar will have to decide where his loyalties lie. The Cubs, Reds, Nationals and Mariners are all looking for new management while the Angels, Rangers and Phillies are looking for a new bench coach. Cubs manager David Sveum has already signed on with the Royals, while Eric Wedge and Dusty Baker will likely have a hard time finding new work after leaving their prospective teams on very bad notes, meaning these positions are unlikely to be filled with Major League veteran managers. There are also possibly other jobs that could be opening including the Diamondbacks managers role after a disappointing season under the rugged Kirk Gibson. While his firing is unlikely (though would be smart before he runs any more All-Stars out of town), it would allow Alomar to rejoin former teammate Charles Nagy who is the current pitching coach.
Alomar interviewed for the Cubs job prior to last year, but was passed by. Another year as bench coach, especially as part of the success the Indians were in 2013 could change things however and teams may look at Sandy a little more seriously. Of the three openings, the best fit would be either the Cubs or the Mariners as the Reds and Nationals will likely be looking for someone with a bit more experience to take over their play-off ready teams. Seattle would actually be a good fit as they have a really good young pitching staff and Alomar is renowned for his work with young pitchers. Even while he was still a player, he spent his last few years in a similar role to Jason Giambi this year, mentoring young pitchers and catchers with the Rangers, Dodgers, White Sox and Mets.
If he is unable to snare one of the MLB manager jobs, his choice will be much harder. Would it be worth an increase in chance of advancement to leave the city that he has spent the majority of his career with. It would probably take two years of sub .500 baseball to oust Francona at this point while pitching coach Mickey Calloway has spurred the one of the greatest turnarounds in an Indians pitching staff ever. He will have to decide whether he would prefer to join a team like the Rangers where he could be the bench coach and eventually possibly be manager after getting a foot hold for a few years or whether he would like to stay in Cleveland with no room for advancement, but where his loyalties should lie. While it wouldn't prove anything to other teams about how ready he is to manage, he could help (even if it is in a minor way) the team that he played for through an entire decade and immediately brought him in as a coach on the Major League level.
There may even be a benefit to staying out of the lime light. As a first base coach, he would be able to continue working with the Indians catchers, providing a great asset to the Indians and doing something he wouldn't really be able to do as a manager. If he doesn't need the glory, he can avoid the headaches and stress that comes with the job, while still keeping a job in the Major Leagues. Indians fans would love to see Sandy Alomar stay around, if for no other reason than 90's nostalgia, but ultimately, the choice is between Alomar and whatever team he would like to join. The Indians already stated their position by demoting him to first base.no comments
The most highly anticipated article of the year has finally come back and this year is even better than 2012 after the additions of Michael Bourn, Ryan Raburn and Mark Reynolds to the team. This year's top ten defensive play list features dives, bare handed grabs, plays at the plate and more fantastic exciting plays. Using super secret calculations, there were 164 above average plays, 70 great plays and eight amazing plays. Seven different players made this year's list, with extra links provided to keep from showing ten videos of Bourn flying all over the place.
The Five That Almost Made It:
Michael Bourn - Diving Double Play Surprise
Michael Brantley - Don't Be Greedy
Asdrubal Cabrera - Pitchers Only Make Things Harder
Michael Brantley - Flying in to Save the Day
Asdrubal Cabrera - Behind the Back, No Look, Good for Two
10. Vinnie Pestano - June 21st - Do it Yourself
Who says a pitcher can't make a fine defensive play on his own? This was the only "great play" made by any pitcher all season and was worthy of the top ten. Not only was it an impressive bare hand and throw, but it provided the final out of the game, cementing another Indians win.
9. Michael Brantley - August 5th - Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200
This was my personal favorite play of the year, although it didn't have the importance or flash factor as the plays higher in the rankings. Watch the play a couple times as it truly is spectacular and look out for a few things that make it really stand out. Unlike most outfield assists, Brantley is retreating, meaning he will have to throw the ball much harder than if he was running in to make the catch. The throw was still perfect, hitting Mark Reynolds on the line. Finally, Reynolds instincts to come off the bag and make the quick tag just in time are also to be commended.
8. Ryan Raburn - July 28th - What Did That Wall Do To You?
The Indians didn't even know if Raburn could play outfield this year, until some experimenting at the end of Spring Training. He ended up being a huge plus in right field, both with his glove and his arm (keep reading). On this play against the Rangers, Raburn ran at a dead spring towards right center where he made the catch and banged into the wall. The play went for the first out in the 8th and the Indians hung on for the 6-0 win.
7. Mark Reynolds - June 19th - More Like "Cat" Reynolds
Reynolds was signed as a DH and was never expected to play in the field. Struggles by Lonnie Chisenhall and Drew Stubbs changed this however, and he was pressed into duty at first and third. Rather than being a defensive liability, he was a plus at both positions and this was his best play as a first baseman. The Royals had runners on second and third with two outs when Reynolds got dirty and grabbed an Alex Gordon line drive that would have easily scored both runs.
Carlos Santana had a similar situation against the Royals later in the season, except the runners were on first and second and he dove to his right, meaning he probably saved a one run single rather than a two run double.
6. Mike Aviles - June 15th - Don't Call Me A Back-Up
"Goon Squad" member, Mike Aviles was thrown into a starting role for much of the season and just happened to be paying short stop against the Nationals on this day. With the tying run on third, Aviles charged in and barehanded a ball that dropped on the grass behind the pitcher's mound. Lonnie Chisenhall made things even more difficult by getting in his way, but a strong through got Steve Lombardozzi at first to end the inning.
5. Michael Brantley - June 17th - Another "Driving" Catch By Brantley
Not to outdone by the two new outfield acquisitions, Brantley flashed more than a little leather in 2013. While he was more known for his arm, he still had a few diving catches like this one against the Royals that robbed Chris Getz of at least a double.
4. Ryan Raburn - April 6th - Double Play the Hard Way
There are few plays in baseball more exciting than a play at the plate and there were two that stuck out in 2013. The best was this Raburn double play that saw him make a catch running in toward home against Tampa Bay with one out and the bases loaded. One run was already in and the Rays were looking to run away with things with a sacrifice fly, but Raburn had other thoughts. His throw was slightly up the line, but got to the plate so quickly, Lou Marson had plenty of time to tag out Matt Joyce at the plate.
The runner up in the play at the plate category was by a different right fielder to a different catcher. This time, Nick Swisher threw to Yan Gomes to catch Mark Trumbo against the Angels to end the fourth inning.
3. Jason Kipnis - September 29th - Ending the Season in Style
Sometimes a play is spectacular because it is important and sometimes a play is important because it is spectacular. This play was both. With two outs in the ninth inning of the final game of the year, a game the Indians knew they needed to win to take the top Wild Card spot, Justin Masterson was on the mound pitching to Clete Thomas of the Twins. Thomas hit a ball in the hole between first and second and Kipnis made a tremendous diving stop. He threw the ball to Masterson to complete the out as Nick Swisher watched from his knees. It would be very hard to find a play that ended a season that was better than this.
2. Michael Bourn - September 4th - The Flash Can Fly
Apparently, Bourn only runs while on the base paths because he would have to come down to touch the bases anyway. In the outfield, Bourn has been diving all over the place all year. This particular dive was picked as a representative of all those dives. Against Baltimore, Bourn dove full out, running to his right to end the game.
1. Mark Reynolds - June 10th - Bad Call, Great Play.
A bad call by the first base umpire made this play almost not eligible for the top ten, but Nick Swisher saved it with a throw to third. With a runner on first and nobody out, Reynolds stole a double from Mitch Moreland with a dive across the foul line, throwing a seed across the diamond to beat him to the base as well. Moreland was called safe with a terrible call. Thinking fast, Swisher was able to get the ball back to Reynolds, who was covering third, to tag out David Murphy a few feet in front of the base. To add some more pain to the play, Reynolds was spiked by Murphy going into third.
These were pretty good, but if you want to see something amazing, check out the Top Ten Plays of 2011. The top four plays from that season have not been beaten in the past two years. Check out last year's list here as well. All video courtesy of MLB.com.no comments
Finally, the award show that all of Cleveland can't wait for every year, it's the Burning River Awards, where we at Burning River Baseball will recognize the best of the Tribe in 2013.
"The Lee Award" for Most Improved Player - Scott Kazmir
Kazmir is the most apt player to win this award (in it's storied three year history), coming back from Independent League baseball to become an above average starting pitching in Major League Baseball. From 2011 through 2012, Kazmir threw just 1.2 innings in Major League Baseball for the Angels. With no expectations coming into this year after coming into Spring Training as an invitee on a minor league contract, Kazmir won the fifth starter job and didn't slow down. He threw 158 innings and made 29 starts with an ERA of 4.04, truly amazing for a pitcher who hasn't thrown professionally in two years.
In any other season, Ubaldo Jimenez would have won this award, but going from not pitching to being an average pitcher beats out an average pitcher becoming a great one.
2012 Winner - Shin-Soo Choo
2011 Winner - Justin Masterson
"The Super Joe" Rookie of the Year Award - Cody Allen
The 2013 Indians featured two amazing rookies, but Allen was the best, mostly because he was treated like a veteran reliever, while Danny Salazar was brought up slowly, keeping on low pitch counts until the very end of the season. Salazar also joined the team late and pitched less total innings than Allen, although he was arguably more dominant in those innings. No pitcher in recent history has risen to the top as fast as Allen, who was just drafted in 2011 and is already in discussions to be Cleveland's closer in 2014.
2012 Winner - Zach McAllister
2011 Winner - Vinnie Pestano
"The Steve Olin Memorial Award" for Best Reliever - Cody Allen
Allen threw in more games than any other pitcher this year (and all but one ever in Indians history) and was great in almost all of them. With the bullpen expecting to be a positive this year, Allen was supposed to be just another early reliever. When things didn't go quite as planned, Allen took over Vinnie Pestano's set-up man position, with Joe Smith taking over the eighth and Allen usually pitching the seventh. His 2.43 ERA was second to only Smith, but his 88 strike outs in 70.1 innings more than made up for that. Smith himself was a very close second for the award after leading the team in holds and ERA.
2012 Winner - Vinnie Pestano
2011 Winner - Joe Smith
"The Big O" for Most Outstanding Defender - Michael Brantley
This was a difficult choice this season as the Indians had many above average defenders (inlcuding Jason Kipnis, Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs), but only two players stood out above the rest: Yan Gomes and this year's winner, Michael Brantley. Both Gomes and Brantley were responsible for many unexpected outs. Brantley did this with diving catches and a team leading 11 assists, while Gomes caught 41% of attempted stealers with an overall fielding percent of .996. While catching is more difficult than playing outfield, Gomes didn't take over the starting role until the second half and nothing can beat 100%, which was the amount of plays Brantley completed successfully this year. This is Brantley's second straight season leading the team in fielding percent and his second strait "Big O".
2012 Winner - Michael Brantley
2011 Winner - Jack Hannahan
"The Golden Belle" for Most Outstanding Hitter - Jason Kipnis
Jason Giambi may have had the most walk-off hits, but it was Kipnis who lead the team day in and day out. Kipnis lead the team in runs, RBI and steals. The Indians had three hitters worthy of consideration for this award including Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley, but none provided the combination of average, power and speed that the Indians' second baseman brought to the three hole.
2012 Winner - Shin-Soo Choo
2011 Winner - Asdrubal Cabrera
"The Addie" for Best Overall Pitcher - Justin Masterson
An injury late in the year made this race closer than it should have been, but Masterson still lead all Indians in innings pitched, wins and strike outs. The Indians ace also had three shut outs in 2013, giving him four in his career as an Indian, the most by any Tribe starter since C.C. Sabathia who had seven. Especially early in the year, every game Masterson took the mound the Indians thought they would win and they usually did. Despite missing all of September with an oblique injury, he still made 29 starts and rushed back as soon as possible to help the Indians in a relief role.
2012 Winner - Vinnie Pestano
2011 Winner - Justin Masterson
"The Rose Award" for Best Overall Player - Jason Kipnis
This was a tough race until the beginning of September, when Masterson dropped out due to injury and basically handed it to Kipnis. Not only was Kipnis the top offensive player as already detailed above, but he is a solid defensive presence at a very important position. The Indians have had very few great second basemen in franchise history (despite having the greatest ever) and it is very exciting to have a player as great as Kipnis that will be around for a long time still.
2012 Winner - Jason Kipnis
2011 Winner - Asdrubal Cabrera
A new addition to Burning River Baseball in 2013 is the Top Ten Offensive Play list. This season we have kept track of every walk-off hit, every last at bat win and any other offensive play that seemed exceptional so we could rank them at the end of the year. Only 32 plays made the final cut, including eleven walk off hits, two inside-the-park-home runs, two mammoth home run shots and a plethora of other situations of importance or great interest. Jason Kipnis and Mark Reynolds lead team with five a piece, but Jason Giambi outshone everyone with four that all made it into the top 15. These were whittled down to just the very best, but there were so many amazing plays that we had to cheat a little. Plays that were very similar were put together so that there are actually 21 plays listed in the top 15. Just enjoy them, these are good.
Five that Almost Made It:
Jason Giambi & Carlos Santana Beat the Twins in 10
Drew Stubbs Just Wants to Go Home
Jason Kipnis & Carlos Santana Get Homers the Hard Way
Surprise Bunt Gives Indians 2 Run Lead - Jason Kipnis 5/3
Carlos Santana Super Shot Gets Indians Into Play-Offs
10. Mike Aviles - September 1st - Super Salami
The Indians had trouble with the Tigers all year and things looked dim again on September 1st after they had already lost three straight to Detroit. Facing Joaquin Benoit, the Tigers closer, super-sub Mike Aviles came to bat with the bases loaded. He used a short sweet swing to set a ball just on top of the bullpen. It wasn't a long shot, but it was enough to get the Indians the 4-0 win.
9. Jason Giambi - May 27th - The Wise Old Master Still Has Some Thump
Even though the Indians eventually lost this game, it doesn't get much more exciting than this hit. The score was 2-1 in the eighth inning when Drew Stubbs struck out to start the inning. The Indians had scored on a sacrifice fly and had only hit safely four times, so Terry Francona went to his bench for some Goon Squad magic. Jason Giambi pinch hit for Ubaldo Jimenez and crushed the third pitch he saw 50 feet past the fence in center field to tie the game.
8. Mark Reynolds - May 6th - That Would Have Been Out of Yellowstone
When defining what made an exciting play, we knew that home runs of a certain length should be included, but didn't have a set distance. This ridiculous monster mash by Mark Reynolds set a standard that no one else came even close to for the rest of the year. The blast landed high in the bleachers, a true distance of 457 feet according to the ESPN Home Run Tracker. The home run brought back memories of 1997 when Mark McGwire became the only player to ever actually hit the score board in the history of Jacob's/Progressive Field. This has to be one of the longest and highest home runs in Indians history.
7. Drew Stubbs - May 3rd - Walk-Off double shot? I'll Have Another
This was a big game for the Tribe that saw Jason Kipnis knock in four (including one on the bunt that there is no video of listed above) and Drew Stubbs hit two doubles in regulation, but that was not enough. It all came down to this 10th inning monster double (Stubbs third in a row), that scored Mike Aviles from second. Just another walk-off win from the 2013 Cleveland Indians.
6. Michael Bourn - July 27th - From Start to Finish
This game featured two of the top starters in all of baseball at the time and the game proved the billing accurate. Bourn hit the second pitch thrown by Rangers' ace, Yu Darvish over the right field wall, making it seem like this might not be the case. Instead, the Indians only had two hits during the rest of the game and Justin Masterson, Joe Smith and Chris Perez combined to shut out Texas. This makes this home run just as important as any walk-off, despite occurring at the opposite side of the game.
5. Jose Ramirez - September 9th - Speed Kills & Forces Errors
Ramirez was the only rookie hitter to be given a chance this year with the Indians and he really impressed after his jump straight from AA. In his sixth game (but only his second at bat) he had his first career hit. This particular play in the top ten however, involved his base running after the hit. Drew Stubbs came up next and hit a ground ball to third. Ramirez was running on the pitch, which broke up any chance at the double play, but that wasn't the end. He went to third on the throw to first, then scored when the ball went into the outfield.
4. Mark Reynolds - April 3rd - Starting Things Off Right
The Indians knew this was going to be a special season early on when they won their first two games against Toronto, the second on this giant Reynolds home run. Reynolds gave the Indians the lead in the 11th inning and it stood up as the Indians started off 2-0. The distance was impressive and provided some foreshadowing for his first two months as a Cleveland Indian.
3. Michael Bourn - July 30th - You Can't Catch the Flash
Bourn and Stubbs brought a new dimension to the Indians offense this season after many years of little to no team speed. This play shows all that speed can do, as Bourn grounds into a routine double play into a two run play. Down two with one out in the fifth against Chicago, Bourn beat out the double play and stepped on pitcher Andre Rienzo's foot in the process. While he was hobbling around, Lonnie Chisenhall came around third to score the game tying run.
The importance of this play showed later in the game when Ryan Raburn had another exciting play, hitting a two out, two run, go ahead single in the eight inning that provided the winning margin.
2. Jason Giambi - July 29th & September 24th - You Can Put it on the Board....Yes!
It seemed like every hit by Giambi this season came at an important time, and amazingly, he hit two pinch hit, walk-off home runs against the White Sox. First, pinch-hitting for the struggling Mark Reynolds, Giambi lead off the ninth inning with a huge solo home run to center.
The next time, in a much more important game, he pinch-hit for Matt Carson who had came on defensively at the top of the ninth. After a blown save by Chris Perez turned a one run lead into a one run deficit, Michael Brantley started the bottom of the ninth off with a single. Giambi then came through with a huge home run that was pulled down the right field line. This was a microcosm of the Indians entire season against the White Sox where they went 17-2, including a 14 game winning streak. The second walk-off made Giambi the oldest player in baseball history to hit a walk-off home run and tied an Indians record with three pinch hit home runs.
1. Jason Kipnis, Mark Reynolds & Yan Gomes - May 17th-20th - Walk-Off Weekend
At this point, you may be thinking, "he said their were eleven walk-off wins, but only two have been listed in the top ten so far." That is because the best are being saved for last. Toward the end of May, the Indians swept a four game series against the Seattle Mariners, but it wasn't any normal sweep. The Tribe won the first, second and fourth games of that series in walk-off fashion, including two tenth inning three run home runs. The official number one offensive play of this year was the Kipnis home run as it came with two outs and was a rocket shot out to right.
All video courtesy of MLB.comno comments
"Why keep a massive statistical database of every player in Indians history if you're not going to use it?", is what some people might say and I agree. Keeping track of many stats increases the probability of modern players hitting on one of them and such was the case this season. You may have heard during the regular season, milestones such as Danny Salazar struck out more batters in his first two games than any Indians pitcher since Herb Score or that Jason Giambi set the record for oldest player to hit a walk-off home run. Those type of records are not going to be considered here. Instead the focus is on the top ten Indians records for single season and career.
Starting with the least valued stat first, quite a lot of movement happened in the holds rankings this year. Joe Smith became the Indians leader while Vinnie Pestano moved into fifth all time. In addition, Rich Hill (13), Cody Allen (12) and Bryan Shaw (12) moved into the top 20 on the strength of just a single season. Joe Smith's 25 holds this year was also good enough for fifth all time in a single season, surpassing Tony Sipp's 2011 campaign.
While it isn't a stat that directly shows talent, being used often out of the building shows a certain reliability and Cody Allen was nothing if not reliable. His 77 games played surpassed Sid Monge as the second most used pitcher in a single season in Indians history. Bob Howry set the team record with 79 in 2005 with a very similar season to Allen in 2013.
Rounding out the relief stats, Chris Perez surpassed Jose Mesa early in the season in career saves, moving into third place all time. There is a very good chance this top ten list will not have to be updated for a least a few years, despite the small distance between the leaders as Perez appears to be on his way out.
The Indians history in catchers is simply pathetic. Yes, they have had great catchers ever since 1990, but prior to that, it was a primarily defensive position with almost no offensive stand outs. Because of this, Carlos Santana has been destroying positional records, although he has cheated some by playing first base on his off days. This may be the final year he is eligible for these considerations as a move to first seems immanent.
This year, Santana grabbed top ten spots for three single season catcher stats, games played, runs scored and doubles. Again, this includes all stats for players whose primary position was catcher, not just while actually playing that position. His 154 games played was second only to his own 2011 season when he played in 155. In more impressive stats, he placed sixth all time in runs scored among catchers with 75, falling between Johnny Romano's 1961 season (76) and Victor Martinez in 2005 (73). Santana already had the top spot in this stat as well from his 2011 season (84).
Finally, Santana came one double away from the team catcher record for doubles in a year with 39. Only Victor Martinez (40 in 2007) had more. He is still signed for the next few years and will continue to move up the career charts whether it is as a catcher, first baseman or DH.
Jason Kipnis has been a very effective base runner, both because of his speed and his intelligence/instincts. This was his second season of 30 or more steals, giving him his second spot in the top five for single season steals by an Indians second baseman.
|Single Season SB as 2B|
This is a pretty boring top five and the top ten is likely to be almost completely Alomar and Kipnis by the time Kipnis becomes a free agent.
In addition to the single season prowess, Kipnis surpassed the 50 attempt mark this year, qualifying him for the career stolen base top ten. He has a precarious spot at second all time right now, behind (surprise) Roberto Alomar. Alomar was successful in 86.9% of his steal attempts, while Kipnis has been safe in 82.5%. This places him just slightly ahead of Kenny Lofton (81.3%) who, of course had the disadvantage of stealing almost 400 more games than Kipnis to this point. His qualifying this year also allowed him to jump straight to 26th all-time in Major League history, passing two of his teammates, Drew Stubbs and Michael Bourn who were both ranked in the top 20 prior to this season, but fell off.
The Indians most impressive improvement as a team was the pitching staffs ability to strike people out. Not only did an Indians pitcher have the first 190 strike out season since C.C. Sabathia's Cy Young year, but two pitchers did it, Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson. In addition, all five regular starters struck out at least 100 batters, something that hasn't happened since 2005. These, however, aren't the records we're looking for.
Starting with least significant, the Indians had two pitchers join the top five pitchers in single season K/9 with a minimum of 50 IP. This generally means relievers and starters who didn't throw the whole season and there was one of each.
|SS K/9 At Least 50IP|
Most impressively, Danny Salazar bumped off the first season of a different young Indians flamethrower, Bob Feller.
|SS K/9 Qualified|
Increasing the innings limit to 162, we can consider just starters who qualified for the ERA title. Jimenez used his fantastic finish to move into fifth all time, while Justin Masterson came in 12th with a 9.1 K/9. The rest of the top five features some the two greatest strike out pitchers in Indians history (not Colon) and Jimenez even beat one out, knocking back Score's 1956 (9.5) season.
Saving the most significant for last, considering the careers among pitchers with at least 300 IP, Jimenez has jumped from being one of the worst pitchers in Indians history to being someone of importance. He now ranks seventh all-time in the Indians 113 year history, beating out famous strike out pitchers like Bob Feller, C.C. Sabathia and Luis Tiant. In all of Major League baseball, Jimenez now ranks 33rd, while fellow Indians starter Scott Kazmir now ranks 15th.
Following this, Justin Masterson bumped his strike outs up this year, pushing him to 15th all time in K/9. Of course the most exciting pitcher is one who doesn't qualify. Danny Salazar's 11.3 K/9 through 52 innings is the best all time for an Indians pitcher with more than 20 innings thrown. While this will certainly drop as his career progresses, he is already set up to be the Indians best strike out pitcher since Herb Score. Most impressively, he does it with swing and misses, confounding hitters with a 99 MPH fastball and unfair curve. Let's just hope that no one hits a ball into his eye this time.no comments
The statistic used to impartially and unemotionally discover the player of each game is useful for more than that. As an all encompassing cumulative statistic, it makes it possible to compare pitchers and hitters to see who is more useful to the team. The Player of the Game score is used extensively by Burning River Baseball when deciding the player power rankings, team awards and just general comparisons. Below is the final numbers accrued by each players that participated in at least ten games this year. The scores have been split into three categories to show how each player contributed through offense, defense and pitching.
A few notes:
- It should surprise nobody that Kipnis came out on top in both total score and average among hitters, but Raburn coming in second in per game average may surprise. The Indians would almost certainly have been better off during the regular season if he had gotten a little more playing time.
- A negative defensive score doesn't mean a player didn't play well on defense. The majority of points given for defense are for errors and unearned runs, with only small amounts handed out for positive defense plays. Reynolds and Bourn are good examples of this. Swisher had the worst defensive game of the year in June 7th when he committed two errors that allowed three unearned runs, earning almost half his negative score in that game alone.
- Only one semi-regular player earned a negative score for the season (and just one short termer, Kelly Shoppach) on the year. Carrasco actually looked much worse at a point during the year, but gained a positive 10 points after being made a reliever on August 9th. In general, in any game a positive score means the player helped his team, while a negative score means they hurt their team. Usually a player that hurts his team regularly doesn't stick around very long, so there are generally no full season players with negative scores.
Much has been made of the Indians success this season and many people have attributed it to a big offseason in 2012. While those players and personnel have been important, enough credit can not be given to Mickey Calloway's role in turning around the pitching staff, the real reason behind the Indians success this year was the career progression of the players acquired through various means over the past five years.
Before going into the greatness of the long term Tribesmen, credit must be given to the newcomers. Terry Francona has been just about the perfect manager for this team. He was patient when necessary, allowing Ubaldo Jimenez, Lonnie Chisenhall and others to work through their struggles during the early season before making rash decisions. In each decision, he was right, allowing Jimenez to continue while benching Chisenhall and Mark Reynolds. He was generally good in handling the pitching staff as well, keeping the young starters from over extending so they would be available late in the season. Of the rest of the new coaching staff, it is hard to tell how much they actually effected, but the offense, coached by Ty Van Burkleo, has improved over previous seasons. Mickey Calloway and Mike Sarbaugh have been good as well, but are technically not newcomers as they came through the minor league system.
In addition to an entirely new coaching staff, the Indians also spent a lot of money to bring in a slew of free agents, including Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Mark Reynolds and Brett Myers. Some even better deals were made through trades where the Indians picked up Yan Gomes, Mike Aviles, Drew Stubbs, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw. Finally, they added a few role players just before the season started through minor league contracts including Scott Kazmir, Ryan Raburn and Rich Hill.
Of the 25 most used roster members, 12 were new, while 13 were either on the team in 2012 or came up through the Indians farm system. Based on our 2013 final Player Power Rankings, the Indians top six Indians producers this year fell under the second category, Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley, Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Corey Kluber. This is important to look at before giving Nick Swisher all the credit for the turn around, just because he used to play for the Yankees.
The above chart shows the total final season statistics for the Indians, split between those players who have been with the team at least a year or came up through the system and those that were added just prior to the 2013 season. Obviously, the Indians added a much larger percent of their lineup in the offseason than the pitching staff. In fact, although it wasn't prepared this way at the beginning of the year, four of the five regular starters were hold overs from last year. The sixth starter, Danny Salazar, also counts for that side as a former Indians international free agent signing.
Because of this, there is no question that the old pitchers far outproduced the new, not just in innings, but in the rate stats as well. In fact, almost none of the new pitching acquisitions worked out with Brett Myers and Rich Hill especially being epically bad. Marc Rzepczynski was a great mid season pick-up and is included on the new players list, but didn't throw enough innings to really matter. The main player responsible for anything positive on that side was Scott Kazmir, who was a surprise signing that continued to surprise through the final month of the season.
The offense was a different story. Three of the eight regular offensive players were new as well as the entire bench, most of which eventually became some sort of every day player. An interesting note is that those five starters that remained from 2012 were essentially the only old Indians to play at all this year. Those players all played in at least 94 games with the next highest being September call-up, Juan Ramirez, who played in 15. On the other side, eight new players got into at least 70 games and September call-up, Matt Carson, played in 20. This essentially explains why the counting stats are higher for the new players, but the rate stats are higher for the original Indians.
The most interesting statistical oddity is that not only did new players not steal more bases than the old, but they were more inefficient. Coming into 2013, Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs were supposed to bring a new level of speed to the Indians offense, but Bourn was caught 12 times in 35 attempts and Stubbs only attempted 19. Jason Kipnis was the top stealer on the team this year with 30 steals and was only caught seven times. Michael Brantley added 17 of his own and was only caught four times. Yes, the Indians were much more dangerous on the bases this year than in previous years, but it had more to do with the career progression of Kipnis, Brantley and Cabrera than the additions of Stubbs and Bourn.
The fact is, things are looking good for the Indians now and in the future. There is no real competition between the old players and the new and this was just an effort to show that all the Indians success was not due to their extra spending last offseason. Kipnis, Swisher, Santana, Gomes and Bourn are under team control through 2017. Most of the top pitchers, like Danny Salazar, Zach McAllister, Trevor Bauer, Cody Allen and C.C. Lee are under control even longer. If nothing else, this means that last year's off-season was a one time event and won't need to happen again for at least the next four years. If these guys played this well together in their first year, just imagine what they will be like when they hit their prime within the next three years.no comments
The Indians were poised to make a long run into the play-offs this year, the only thing standing in their way being the Tampa Bay Rays and starting pitcher Alex Cobb. As we all know now, this block was insurmountable, but what we really want to know is why.
First off, the odds were against them. Winning ten games in a row against anyone is incredibly improbable and winning eleven is even more so. In fact, ten games was the Indians longest winning streak in 2013 and the longest by any Indians team since August of 2008. While it was necessary to get as far as they did, the Indians would have been much better off had they been able to coast into the play-offs, winning only seven or eight of their last ten.
In addition to just plain bad luck, Alex Cobb matched up against the Indians in all the wrong ways. In general, as a patient team that likes to go deep in the count, but still strikes out a lot, the Indians were easy to take advantage of by Cobb, who had great stuff in this and each of his other appearances against Cleveland. Even his handedness was a liability as the Indians were one of the worst teams in the league at hitting right handers (.247). In fact, a large part of their success at the end of the year had to due with facing so many left handed starters. Against the right hander, the Indians were unable to make use of Mike Aviles at all, while Nick Swisher and Asdrubal Cabrera were forced to hit from their weak side.
Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis deserve a lot of the blame as well, although their failures at the plate reflect very little on their ability as hitters. The Indians number two and number three hitters had chances in pivotal situations in the fifth and seventh innings when even a single could have turned around the whole game. With runners in scoring position the two combined to go 0-3 and between the two of them and Asdrubal Cabrera, ended six of the nine innings.
As has been the case all year, the bottom of the lineup and the Goon Squad in general did come through as much as they could. Yan Gomes and Ryan Raburn reached base four times, while recent back-up Lonnie Chisenhall hit safely in each of his first three at bats. While he did make the final out of the game, it was really decided much earlier when none of the Indians top hitters were able to knock in Chisenhall after he got on.
In the end, the team probably ended where it deserved. From their record against Detroit alone, it is obvious that they were not ready for the big guys this year, but things are just getting started. Kipnis just finished his second season and both he and Chisenhall will be getting closer to their prime next year. Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana should be able to continue their success from 2013 and the pitching staff is only going to get better with Trevor Bauer and Danny Salazar around for a full season.
While squandering any chance at a World Series is incredibly disappointing, at the Indians have hope this time that unlike 2001 and 2007, this team could return to the play-offs again in 2014, possibly as Division champions so they can avoid all the one game play-off siliness.no comments
The Indians announced their 25 man roster for tonight's one game play-off with the Rays this morning and there are a few surprises. As expected, the starting pitchers that would be unable to pitch in this game, Ubaldo Jimenez and Zach McAllister were left off the roster, since the winning team will be able to completely revamp their roster going into the series with Boston. In those spaces, the Indians will be using a fourth outfielder for the first time this season in Matt Carson and will also bring along super rookie, Jose Ramirez.
Those two players will be used to add a little more versatility to late inning maneuvering for Terry Francona. Now he can pinch run in the late innings without worrying about not having a defensive replacement. There is essentially no way either of these players will receive an at bat during the game, but both have been adept at running the bases so far and will allow Francona to use Jason Giambi at any point.
There were some surprises on the roster as well. Rich Hill and Chris Perez are being brought along, despite an almost complete assuredness that they will not pitch in this game. Perez has been removed as the closer and Justin Masterson named his replacement depending on the situation. The Indians never announced anything about Hill, but it should be obvious that he should not be used in any close situation and this game matters so much that the whole game should be considered close.
Hill's biggest problem has been the most important part about being a left handed match-up man, the first batter faced. He had 63 appearances during the regular season and allowed nine walks and 13 hits to the 63 first batters he face. No other reliever allowed more than five walks in this situation and no pitcher that had less than 70 appearances allowed more hits. Eleven of those 21 base runners eventually came around to score, giving him the highest ERA on the team against first batters. Of course it is very unlikely he will pitch in the game, but both him and Perez seem like wasted roster space.
Here's the Indians line-up for today's game:
CF Michael Bourn
1B Nick Swisher
2B Jason Kipnis
DH Carlos Santana
LF Michael Brantley
RF Ryan Raburn
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
C Yan Gomes
3B Lonnie Chisenhall