May was a good month to be a fan of the Cleveland Indians. After getting off to a slow start in April, the club turned things completely around in May by winning 18 games and pulling themselves within striking distance of the Tigers. With that in mind, it’s time to once again rank everyone’s favorite baseball team. For June, the Committee of One had a lot of tough decisions to make, but in the end it all worked itself out. So without further adieu, I present to you the June power rankings for the Cleveland Indians.
1. Justin Masterson: For the second straight month, Masterson finds himself at the top of our power rankings. And why shouldn’t he? All he has done is prove himself to be the most valuable member of the entire team and not just the pitching staff. He has been near dominant all seasons long. His 1-0 complete game shutout of the Yankees may go down as one of the best performances of the season. So long as Masterson continues to pitch the way he has been pitching, the Indians can continue to rely on him as the ace of their staff.
2. Trevor Bauer: All Bauer did was continue to improve upon his performance at the big league level in a few emergency starts. Oh, and he provided the anthem of the 2013 season when he wrote and recorded the new smash hit, “Gutter to the Grail” to be the intro song for our podcast. Yes, this one might be for selfish reasons, but they are also valid reasons.
3. Carlos Santana: He’s struggled a bit of late, thus his suddenly sagging batting average, but the fact remains that Santana is still this team’s most talented and dangerous hitter. He is a constant threat to get on base and he is always a threat to jack one out of the park. It is this combination, and at a position that is typically void of offensive talent, which makes Santana such a valuable commodity for the Tribe.
4. Mark Reynolds: Reynolds leads the team in every offensive power category. While he appears to be regressing a bit as of late, his ability to hit baseballs 3/4 of the way up the bleachers in left remains one of the most impressive and entertaining parts of the 2013 Indians. His power from the right handed side of the plate is something we have not seen in years.
5. Vinnie Pestano: With Chris Perez on the disabled list, Vinnie Pestano becomes that much more valuable as the team’s closer. In a way, this almost serves as an open audition for the closer’s role for Pestano. Everyone wanted to see him close out games in 2013. Now he gets his chance. If he is successful, expect the talk about a potential Chris Perez trade to heat up, especially within the wishful fan base.
6. Mike Aviles: Like Pestano, Aviles sees his stock rise thanks in part to an injury to Asdrubal Cabrera. With Cabrera on the DL with a bad quad, it is up to Aviles to anchor the middle infield. Defensively this shouldn’t be a problem. However, offensively we should be a bit concerned. Aviles has been okay at the dish this season, but has shown over the course of his career that he can be exposed at the plate as his number of plate appearances increase. For the time being, he is the only option.
7. Zach McAllister: McAllister has been spectacular for the majority of the 2013 campaign thus far. While he struggled his last time on the mound, he has been right there with Masterson in terms of his effectiveness and his ability to make it through six or seven quality innings. In fact, McAllister appears to be getting better as he gains more and more experience. That is a great sign for a team still searching for a legitimate #2 starter to follow Masterson.
8. Jason Kipnis: Kipnis finally makes an appearance on this list. He can thank he bat, which has finally begun to show signs of life. During the Tribe’s red-hot stretch to begin the month of May, Kipnis was typically at the center of the action hitting home runs or coming through with a hit when the Indians needed it most. I still hold firmly to the idea that he has the capability to be a future MVP candidate.
9. Michael Brantley: Like I said in the Yanks Go Yard Podcast on Sunday night, Brantley is our dirty little secret. He’s been great once again. And while the power still hasn’t arrived, Brantley’s ability to hit the ball where it is pitched and come through with two out hit after two out hit more than makes up for it. Everyone like to talk about how the C.C. Sabathia trade was a bust due to Matt LaPorta‘s ineffectiveness, but Brantley has been pretty solid for a player to be named later.
10. Nick Swisher: Swisher’s value seems to have taken a hit, but that’s only because his on field performance hasn’t been everything we hoped it would be. Perhaps our expectations were too high, but for the money he is being paid it would be nice to see a little more production. In his defense, he has been dealing with a lot of different issues. He had a death in his family back in spring training, injured his shoulder at the end of April/beginning of May, and most recently his wife gave birth to a baby. Maybe once things settle down Swisher will kick it up a notch. Here’s hoping.