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Indians' Pitchers One-Third 'On Pace' Projections

Yesterday, we celebrated the official one-third marker for the 2012 Indians season with “on pace” projections for each hitter on Cleveland’s roster—i.e., we multiplied their counting stats by three. Today, we do the same for the Tribe’s pitchers as their numbers stood after Tuesday’s Game No. 54.

As a reminder, these numbers are just for fun. I am in no way endorsing or suggesting the use of the following stats for anything but entertainment and reflection on the season to date—and even that is somewhat questionable for wins above replacement. Now that that’s out of the way, here are your incredibly scientific and 100 percent foolproof season projections:

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The first two rows confirm what we already two: The Tribe’s aces haven’t been pulling their weight. Justin Masterson is on pace to go 6-15 while allowing triple-digit walks. By wins above replacement he actually projects as a slightly above-average pitcher, but even if that’s accurate it would still be a major disappointment for Masterson after his breakout 2011 campaign. As for Ubaldo Jimenez, I’m not sure what’s crazier—that he’s allowed as many earned runs as he’s gotten strikeouts or that he’s on pace to win 18 games.

Yet the rest of the rotation as been great. Derek Lowe‘s pace is almost certainly unsustainable, but nonetheless his line is more shocking than Jimenez’ on both counts—he’s on pace for 21 wins and has more earned runs than strikeouts. And though their records don’t show it, Josh Tomlin and Jeanmar Gomez have been quite valuable to the Indians, especially considering that they’re Nos. 4 and 5 starters and haven’t pitched as much as the other three.

Moving to the bullpen, Nick Hagadone has been a true revelation for the Tribe, and Jeremy Accardo has arguably been even better considering how recently he was called up. Joe Smith is on pace to get 12 wins as a reliever, which regardless of one’s opinion of using a pitcher’s record as a barometer of talent would be quite a feat. And Vinnie Pestano continues to do his thing—100 strikeouts and 2.0 WAR (both tremendous accomplishments out of the bullpen) would be well within reach if he is used less conservatively than he has been for the last month or so.

But with all due respect to Pestano, the real highlight here is Chris Perez. I’m no fan of the save statistic, but getting 54 of them—or 57, as he’s on pace to do if you include Game No. 55—would be amazing. He’s getting strikeouts again while limiting homers and walks, and if he keeps this up he’ll emerge as one of the best closers in the game by any standard before season’s end.

All told, the Indians closed the first third of the year on pace to go 87-75. That might not sound like a pennant winner, but it could be enough to win the AL Central and it would surely be seen as a successful season for Cleveland.

Tags: Chris Perez Cleveland Indians Derek Lowe Jeanmar Gomez Jeremy Accardo Joe Smith Josh Tomlin Justin Masterson Nick Hagadone Ubaldo Jimenez Vinnie Pestano

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