Thursday, November 7, 2013

2013 Team Awards: Cleveland Indians

In order to review the 2013 season, the crackpot staff of Off Base is handing out awards to each Major League team. Please send us $19.95 for the shipping and handling of your team's Hello Kitty stickers awards. Here are the Most Valuable Player, Least Valuable Player, Cy Young, Cy Yuck, Rookie of the Year and Reliever of the Year for the Indians. 

*Guidelines, prices and participation may vary by author*

MVP: Jason Kipnis
As a long time fan of Kipnis (say three-ish years), I can't say enough good things about him. So why even bother starting. Terry Francona was a very close second for me. After two World Series Championships and one infamous Popeyes chicken and beer 7-20 September collapse, Francona spent one year killing it as analyst for ESPN before joining the Indians as manager for 2013. The Indians went from 68-94 in 2012 to 92-70 in 2013, including a brief appearance in the one game playoff. While I believe a bad manager makes a bigger difference to a team than a good manager, Francona has to deserve some credit for the turnaround. He's one of the more progressive thinkers as far as managers go and one of the handful of difference makers in the skipper ranks. While I'm back-patting, let's give Francona and his staff credit for polishing a turd into Scott Kazmir 2.0 (two point oh?).

LVP: Lonnie Chisenhall
Chisenhall, like Kipnis, debuted for the Indians in 2011. Chisenhall, like Kipnis, was a top prospect for the Indians in 2011. In fact, Chisenhall was the Indians' top prospect in 2011 according to Baseball America, followed by Alex White and then Kipnis. Chisenhall, unlike Kipnis, has yet to live up to his lofty former ranking. With a 0.5 fWAR, Chisenhall wasn't the worst player on the Indians. This is a team that gave Mark Reynolds 384 plate appearances and over 300 innings at both first base and third base. Reynolds can barely field a clean inning at DH. But Chisenhall hit a paltry .225/.270/.398 in 308 plate appearance and even got shipped to Triple-A for almost a month in mid-May. He just turned 25 in October so I guess there's still time for him to be less-not-so-good.

Cy Young: Justin Masterson
As much fun as it would be to write about Ubaldo Jiminez's big bounce back season or Danny Salazar's electric rookie debut or even challenge myself to write something nice about Scott Kazmir, Masterson was the ace of the staff and turned in a fine performance. His 3.45 ERA and 3.35 FIP were improvements over his 2012 numbers (4.93 and 4.16) but it was his strikeout rate that jumped drastically from 6.94 K/9 in 2012 to 9.09 K/9 in 2013. I doubt the strikeout rate is sustainable but that's why I get fun nicknames like "Debbie Downer" and "Your beard makes you look homeless."

Cy Yuck: Brett Myers
Yes, Chris Perez was awful. According to Fangraphs, Perez was worth -$4.7MM in 2013. Quite the bargain for only $7.3MM. But Perez at least stretched his negative value over 54.0 innings. Brett Myers consolidated his terribleness to three starts and one long relief appearance in April. In those 21.1 innings, Myers gave up 29 hits, five walks, 19 earned runs and 10 home runs. Myers got $7MM of his own which I assume he's already used on Kleenex and therapy. His 2014 club option is probably in jeopardy.

ROY: Yan Gomes
There's no way he can show up on ROY ballots, right? He's not ROY eligible but that hasn't stopped voters before.

ROY: Danny Salazar
Salazar dazzled in his debut striking out seven Blue Jays in 6.0 innings. Then he struck out 10 Tigers in 7.2 innings. He finished with an 11.25 K/9 and 3.16 FIP in 52.0 innings. So, there's some reason for excitement.

Reliever of the Year: Cody Allen
In 70.1 innings, the 24-year-old posted a 2.43 ERA and 2.99 FIP with an 11.26 K/9. With Chris Perez and Vinnie Pestano giving the back of the bullpen a flavorful smell of eggs cooked in hot garbage, Allen is a name for fantasy players to file away. Steamer is already projecting 28 saves for 2014.

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