In the books: stats, notes and picks
“You know this means the Indians will make the playoffs, right?” I said.
It was an innocent joke back in the early days of the pregnancy. I’d quip that it’d take the biggest one-year turnaround in the 113-year history of the Cleveland franchise for the playoffs to interfere with the birth of our second kid. Then, after August, I joked that it’d take something in the neighborhood of 20 or more wins for the Tribe to make the playoffs.
Then, when the Indians kept winning, and winning, and winning, I told my wife not to worry. Do you know how rare it is for a team to win 10 games in a row to finish a season?
Talk about the ultimate jinx.
The Indians did make the playoffs — albeit for one game — and my wife was having contractions throughout that American League Wild Card Game against Tampa Bay. She had to turn the game off at one point, because it was too stressful. Well, we know how the rest of the story goes. The Indians lost, their miracle run ended, and the stress level around the Bastian household has died down, along with the contractions (for now).
Little Miss Bastian could arrive any day now… or a week from now. To be continued…
The Indians did enjoy their biggest one-year turnaround in team history, winning 24 more games than in the 2012 season (tying the 1986 Tribe’s one-year record for improvement, excluding strike-shortened campaigns). Cleveland did win 21 games in September — for the first time since 1948. And the Tribe became only the sixth team ever to end a season with at least 10 straight wins.
Talk about making me eat my words.
While Cleveland’s part in the 2013 season is over, it was a fun ride full of statistical tidbits. I’ll take you on a tour through some of the accomplishment by the team as a whole, and then I’ll give you my picks for the Indians’ player, pitcher, reliever and rookie of the year. My picks for the yearly MLB awards will follow as well.
Indians Offense (AL rank)
.255 average (8)
.327 on-base (5)
.410 slugging (8)
.737 OPS (7)
745 runs (t-4)
1,391 hits (10)
290 doubles (6)
23 triples (t-7)
171 home runs (8)
711 RBI (5)
562 walks (4)
1,283 strikeouts (11)
117 stolen bases (4)
484 extra-base hits (t-5)
2,240 total bases (9)
Back in January, I ran some numbers and came up with team-wide projections for the offense. At the time, I forecasted a .251/.325/.404/.729 slash line to go along with 756 runs, 280 doubles, 28 triples, 169 homers, 679 RBI, 575 walks, 1,304 strikeouts, 141 stolen bases and 477 extra-base hits. My projections came pretty close, but, that said, I compiled those before the Indians signed Michael Bourn. Moving on…
Notes: Cleveland set a franchise record with 1,283 strikeouts, breaking the previous mark of 1,269 (2011). … The Indians tied an MLB record with seven players having at least 100 strikeouts. The 2012 Orioles also accomplished that dubious feat. … This marked the eighth time since 1916 (first time since 1999) that an Indians team had 115 stolen bases, 560 walks and 745 runs. … The Tribe tied a club record with 10 players having at least 10 home runs. … Cleveland tied an MLB record (2000 Orioles) with 12 players having at least nine home runs. … This was the 22nd time since at least 1916 that an Indians team had four players with at least 15 stolen bases (first occurrence since 1993). … This year’s Indians tied the 1921 Cleveland club’s team record of having 10 players with at least 45 RBI.
Indians pitching (AL rank)
92 wins (4)
3.82 ERA (7)
3.92 rot. ERA (6)
3.62 bullpen ERA (8)
38 saves (13)
1,441.1 innings (14)
1,359 hits (3)
662 runs (7)
611 earned runs (6)
147 home runs (2)
554 walks (14)
1,379 strikeouts (2)
.249 average (6)
1.33 WHIP (9)
Notes: This marked the 10th time since at least 1916 that an Indians team had at least 92 wins and an ERA no greater than 3.82. The previous team to do so was the 2005 squad. It hadn’t been accomplished since 1955 prior to that occurrence. … The 1,379 strikeouts were a single-season club record, flying by the previous mark of 1,218 (2001). … The 147 homers allowed marked the fewest given up since 2010. … The 147 homers and 1,360 hits allowed were the fewest in an 162-game season since 1968. That had been done five times (1965, ’66, ’67, ’68 and 2013). … Cleveland tied a club record with eight players having at least six wins (1963, ’64, ’95, 2013). … This marked the 16th time in American League history that a team had at least three pitchers with 10 wins, 150 innings and 160 strikeouts. Only the 1967 Tigers had four such pitchers on the same staff. … Cleveland matched a team record with five pitchers having at least 100 strikeouts (1966, ’76, 2005, 2013). … The Indians tied a club record with four pitchers having at least 135 strikeouts (’66, ’67, ’68, 2013). … The Indians tied a club record with three pitchers having at least 160 strikeouts (’66, 2000, 2013). … The Indians had two pitchers with at least 190 strikeouts for the fifth time (1965, ’66, ’67, ’68, 2013).
Bastian’s 2013 picks
Indians Player of the Year: 2B Jason Kipnis
Slash line: .284/.366/.452/.818
Stats: 17 HR, 36 2B, 4 3B, 84 RBI, 76 BB, 86 R, 30 SB, 57 XBH, 160 H, 255 TB, 149 G
Advanced: 5.8 WAR, 101 RC, 6.2 RC/G, 133 OPS+, 31 RS%
You could’ve made a case for catcher Carlos Santana, who had a higher OPS (.832), more homers (20) and walks (93) and 100 runs created. His defense, however, drags his WAR down to 4.4 and his run-scoring percentage of 25% was lower than Kipnis. In the end, Kipnis’ blend of power and speed, his defense, and his ability to score at a higher rate won out for me.
Fun Fact: Kipnis became just the fourth player in Indians history to have at least 15 homers, 30 stolen bases, 75 walks and 85 runs in one season. The others include Grady Sizemore (2007, 2008), Roberto Alomar (1999, 2001) and Kenny Lofton (2000), Only 2008 Sizemore and Alomar (both years) added at least 80 RBI to the mix.
Indians Pitcher of the Year: RHP Justin Masterson
Stats: 14-10, 3.45 ERA, 32 G (29 GS), 193 IP, 195 K, 76 BB, 13 HR
More stats: 1.20 WHIP, 3 SHO, 9 SB, 17 HBP, 2.57 K/BB, 15.6 P/IP
Opponents’ slash: .222/.312/.312/.624
Advanced: 3.4 WAR, 109 ERA+, 3.35 FIP
Like with the Player of the Year, you could make a case for someone else here, too. Ubaldo Jimenez’s season, especially given his torrid finish, is worthy of consideration, and you could argue that his showing was the better of the two. I felt Masterson’s performance from start to finish (a finish that included being a valuable reliever in the final week) outweighed the overall production of Big U. Masterson had the shutouts, more innings, a better WHIP and opponents’ OPS, and the higher WAR. Had Jimenez not struggled so mightily early on in April, he might be the clear winner here.
Fun fact: This marked the 16th time (seventh pitcher) that an Indians pitcher ended a season with at least 190 innings, 195 strikeouts and three shutouts. That exclusive list includes Masterson (2013), Dennis Eckersley (1976), Gaylord Perry (1972, ’73, ’74), Sam McDowell (1965, ’66, ’68, ’69), Luis Tiant (1968), Herb Score (1956) and Bob Feller (1939, ’40, ’41, ’46, ’47).
Indians Reliever of the Year: RHP Joe Smith
Stats: 6-2, 2.29 ERA, 70 G, 63 IP, 54 K, 23 BB, 5 HR, 69 GO
More stats: 1.22 WHIP, 2.35 K/BB, 15.79 P/IP, 3 SV
Opponents’ slash: .235/.313/.330/.643
Advanced: 1.8 WAR, 165 ERA+, 3.60 FIP
This was an extremely hard choice. It would’ve been easy to pick rookie Cody Allen for this, but there are a few areas in which Smith won out for me. Since it’s not fair to compare Allen’s strikeouts to Smith, or Smith’s groundouts to Allen, I combined the two for a strikeouts/groundouts per nine innings. Smith led with a 17.6 compared to 17.1 for Allen. Smith had the lower opponents’ OPS, the better WAR and the better inherited-runners scoring percentage. I’ve also come up with an out-efficiency rate for relievers (there will be a blog post breaking this down in the near future), and Smith was the best in the Tribe bullpen, while Allen ranked fifth among the nine most-used Cleveland relievers.
Fun fact: Smith’s season marked one of just 11 in Indians history in which a reliever had an ERA no greater than 2.30 with 60 or more games logged. This was only the third time in Indians history that a reliever had 70-plus appearances with an ERA of 2.30 or better. The other two include Smith in 2011 and Derek Lilliquist in 1992.
Indians Rookie of the Year: RHP Cody Allen
Stats: 6-1, 2.43 ERA, 77 G, 70.1 IP, 88 K, 26 BB, 7 HR
More stats: 1.25 WHIP, 3.38 K/BB, 17.12 P/IP, 2 SV
Opponents’ slash: .233/.300/.380/.679
Advanced: 1.4 WAR, 155 ERA+, 2.99 FIP
As noted above, you could easily anoint Allen the Indians’ top reliever for 2013. And, if that’s how you feel, I wouldn’t argue with you. You could also make a case for Allen as the American League’s Rookie of the Year, considering there is not one player head and shoulder above the pack. In fact, the more I dig into it, the more Allen looks like the best RoY option to me.
Fun fact: Allen’s 88 strikeouts were the most for a Tribe reliever since Paul Shuey’s 103 in 1999. The right-hander’s 77 appearances are the second-most games in a single-season in Cleveland history. Only Bob Howry logged more work for the Indians in 2005.
American League picks
Most Valuable Player
1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2. Mike Trout, Angels
3. Josh Donaldson, A’s
Cy Young Award
1. Max Scherzer, Tigers
2. Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners
3. Bartolo Colon, A’s
Rookie of the Year
1. Cody Allen, Indians
2. Chris Archer, Rays
3. Wil Myers, Rays
Manager of the Year
1. Terry Francona, Indians
2. John Farrell, Red Sox
3. Ned Yost, Royals
National League picks
Most Valuable Player
1. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
2. Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs
3. Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
Cy Young Award
1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
2. Jose Fernandez, Marlins
3. Cliff Lee, Phillies
Rookie of the Year
1. Jose Fernandez, Marlins
2. Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
3. Shelby Miller, Cardinals
Manager of the Year
1. Clint Hurdle, Pirates
2. Don Mattingly, Dodgers
3. Fredi Gonzalez, Braves