It’s that time again. A new month means a whole new set of our power rankings for the Cleveland Indians. After all, you aren’t cool unless you are power ranking something, so why not arbitrarily rank the top ten people in the organization based on their previous month’s performance? Keeping up with this shtick for the fourth of fifth month now (is anyone keeping track?), the committee of one has gone to pain staking efforts to put together the best possible list to reflect the current state of the Indians. There was tons of fancy math that none of you could possibly begin to comprehend so just trust me that this is more involved than simple observations. So without further adieu… here are the July Power Rankings.
1. Jason Kipnis: This was a no brainer. Stats or no stats, it was painfully obvious that Kipnis was the best Indians throughout the month of June. He was hitting .238/.307/.448 on June 1 with 8 home runs and 26 RBI. Since then, all he has done is hit .419/.517/.699 with 4 home runs and 25 RBI. His overall average jumped up to .299 during that time. Kipnis isn’t just red-hot, he might be the best player in baseball right now with how he is playing.
2. Justin Masterson: Masterson had been holding strong to the top spot in our rankings, but unfortunately a rough stretch during June combined with Kipnis’ antics were enough to knock him from his perch. If not for Sunday’s masterful complete game shut out, Masterson might have fallen even further down this list.
3. Carlos Santana: For much of this season, Santana has been the Indians best hitter. In fact, he is still doing remarkably well at the plate. In addition to his typical on base production (currently a .378 OBP), Sanatana is also hitting the ball with authority. He has already hit 10 home runs after hitting only 18 all of last season. He looked like he would be the Indians lone all-star representative for a while, but now that might be in question.
4. Corey Kluber: Even though he struggled during his most recent start, Kluber-mania is still alive and well. Kluber’s ascent as one of the more reliable pitchers in the Cleveland rotation is nothing short of remarkable. And while Merritt Rohlfing believed in his abilities, myself and many others here at Wahoo’s on First were skeptical. If he can keep it up, the Indians will be that much more difficult to beat down the stretch. It’s something to keep an eye on.
5. Michael Bourn: Bourn has been everything the Indians had hoped he would be when they signed him this winter. He has had a superb season at the plate and played his typically stellar center field. For those who worried about signing a player whose game is built around speed to such a long contract, he has helped put some of those fears at ease, at least for now. His speed has helped cause numerous problems for opposing defenses and his constant threat to steal has had a negative effect on the opposing pitchers, which in turn is good for the Tribe.
6. Scott Kazmir: I struggled to put Kazmir this high on the list, but he earned it after his most recent performance. Pitching for his spot in the rotation, at least that’s what many of us believed, Kazmir delivered with one run allowed over seven innings. Being the only lefty in the rotation is also a built-in advantage, but by no means is his spot going to be handed to him. Kazmir needs to pitch well and he has done that of late. If Kazmir is starting to find his groove, watch out.
7. Drew Stubbs: Don’t look now, but suddenly Drew Stubbs doesn’t look so bad as an everyday player. He is proving that last season’s disaster was nothing more than an aberration on his resume. His current slash line of .241/.295/.381 is much closer to his career line. Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of Stubbs’ performance has been the lack of stolen bases. After stealing an average of 33 over the past three season, Stubbs only has eight entering July.
8. Mike Aviles: Aviles has been an invaluable member of the Indians in 2013. His versatility has enabled the Indians to survive injuries to multiple players, most notably Asdrubal Cabrera, and allows Terry Francona to give his regulars rest while not losing much either out in the field or at the dish. You could even make a case for him as the stop-gap to Francisco Lindor if the Indians decide they want to deal away Asdrubal Cabrera.
9. Terry Francona: The players play the games and determine the outcomes, but you can’t help but feel like Francona is the one responsible for putting them in positions to succeed. His next man up mentality has been great and helped guide the Tribe through their most recent stretch of injury plagued baseball. It’s more than apparent the difference between Francona and the managers of yesteryear.
10. Vinnie Pestano: In previous Power Rankings, Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano, and Joe Smith had been grouped together. However, since the last edition, a lot has happened. Most notably, Chris Perez got hurt and had some serious legal issues that pushed Pestano into the closer’s role. He did pretty well for himself and proved that he might be capable of becoming the full-time closer at some point in the future and thus knocking Perez out of the July Power Rankings.