Jul 7, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians left fielder Michael Brantley (23) celebrates his two-run home run in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Cleveland Indians First-Half* Presents

Most baseball fans realize the All-Star break is not the midpoint of the season, and also accept most media outlets ignore this simple fact because there’s a three-day break to sit back and evaluate what has come before us.

So with these acknowledgements out of the way, and with the majority of eyes on the All-Star game in New York (including most of the Wahoo’s on First staffers), I’ve decided to come out of semi-retirement and drop some of my #veteranpresents on all of you wonderful readers, in the form of First-Half* Presents. These have been decided on by a committee of one (despite the protests of the other voices in my head), and are based in as much statistical and anecdotal evidence as I see fit. If you disagree, you can send your own awards column to Wahoosonfirst.com and I’ll likely ignore it because I don’t have access to that account.

I’m sure people will assume I’m going to give this to Chris Perez, but even as overpaid as he is, if you take out his month of May (which included a stretch where he was most likely pitching hurt, prior to landing on the DL and um, self-medicating), he’s actually been fairly typical for his norms in terms of production for the club. Others may assume this will go to one of my favorite punchlines, Rich Hill, but for as bad as his overall numbers are, he’s been slightly better in the past month, and I don’t think anyone outside of Terry Francona expected a lot out of him.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

No, the 2013 Albie Lopez Present goes to Carlos Carrasco.

He hasn’t even pitched 30 innings this season, but I think it’s hard to find any other pitcher who’s been so damaging to this team as Carrasco. It pains me to say it, as I’ve had high hopes for Carrasco to finally figure it out, and part of me still thinks he can. But this season, the Indians have twice shuffled their roster to accommodate Carrasco’s suspensions. And in return, Carrasco continues to take a dump on the mound. Maybe he figures it out, but if I’m the Indians, I don’t try to find out again until rosters expand in September, if then.

If you’re looking strictly at WAR, Mark Reynolds has been the Indians worst everyday player so far, at -0.6. There are major caveats here, even with Reynolds mired in a bad slump, namely, he’s actually been doing exactly what the Indians expected offensively when they inked him to a one-year deal. The majority of Reynolds’ loss in value is due to his fielding. Because of either injury (Nick Swisher, and to a lesser extent, Carlos Santana) or demotion (Lonnie Chisenhall), he’s been asked to play the field a lot more than originally expected.

I’ve also considered Jason Giambi, who’s been a complete waste of space provided valuable leadership, but I don’t feel like dealing with any more angry tweets for a part-time DH.

The 2013 David Dellucci Present goes to Omir Santos.

Why am I giving this present to a player with only 1 at bat with the 2013 team? Because I’m still angry he was ever on the team to begin with, and I already said I wouldn’t give it to Giambi.

  • The Kingdom Hearts 2 Present (Best individual game)

I’m going with June 28, at Chicago, game one of a doubleheader. The Indians beat the White Sox, 19-10.

Perhaps I was impressed with the way the team didn’t roll over and die after a disastrous outing by Trevor Bauer, who didn’t get out of the first inning before allowing six hits, one walk, and five runs (two home runs). Perhaps it was because personal-favorite Adam Dunn homered in a game and the Indians won anyways. Perhaps it was because the start of a four-game sweep and five-game winning streak. I don’t know. But that game was fun.

This isn’t really close, because Jason Giambi is a coach and not a player doesn’t have a good beard. The winner is T.J. House. Did you know the “T.J.” stands for “Tiger Jr.”?

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

I had to find a way to mention Marte, but who has been the Indians best position player this year? It’s Jason Kipnis, but I enjoy being difficult, and I’m fairly certain Kipnis will have plenty of real, tangible awards and presents to play with so I’m gonna give this to someone else. Michael Bourn has been as good as advertised, and his speed is very sexy, but I feel the need to honor someone who is often maligned.

The Andy Marte Present goes to Carlos Santana.

Yeah, his defense isn’t great, but despite the struggles behind the plate, he’s quietly approaching his best season offensively. He’s 27, and starting to enter his prime. Personally, I feel like when we look back on this era of Indians baseball, we will appreciate Santana a little more than we do now.

I could get cute here, and try to make a case for Corey Kluber, who’s been quite the pleasant surprise in the team’s rotation, but let’s be honest: he may not exactly be an ace, but Justin Masterson is, and has been so far, the team’s best pitcher. And it’s really not close.

  • The Game Seven of the 1997 World Series Present (worst/nightmare-inducing game)

It wasn’t nearly as bad as that game, but holy hell was it hard to watch the end of the game in Boston on Sunday, May 26. Francona stuck by an (obviously hurt) Perez for too long in the ninth (with two outs, natch), wasting an excellent start by Kluber. The positive of this was the team finally admitted Perez needed to hit the DL.

  • The Coolest Moment Ever to Happen Present (self-explaintory)

I asked Trevor Bauer to write a rap song for the Wahoo’s on the Mic podcast.

He did. And it’s awesome.

After Wahoo’s on First took the song viral (coincidentally, a couple of days after the Perez meltdown in Boston), Mark Reynolds used “Gutter to the Grail” as his walk up song, and smashed a home run in the at bat (then stopped using the song, and began slumping. Coincidence? I think not!). After the game, the stadium PA system cut out of the overplayed traditional “Cleveland Rocks,” and played “Gutter to the Grail” instead.

I was at the game, and although nobody knew who I was, or what connection I had to the song, it was still a cool feeling.


Tags: Adam Dunn Albie Lopez Andy Marte Boston Red Sox Carlos Carrasco Carlos Santana Chicago White Sox Chris Perez Cleveland Indians Corey Kluber David Dellucci Gutter To The Grail Jason Giambi Jason Kipnis Justin Masterson Lonnie Chisenhall Mark Reynolds Michael Bourn Nick Swisher Omir Santos Rich Hill Terry Francona Tj House Trevor Bauer

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