The season is over and we are sad. Without Cleveland Indians Baseball to entertain us on a nightly basis, we have been left to our own devices to entertain ourselves. This could be a dangerous proposition for most people, but not the committee of one. He has been breaking down tape and diving deep into the most sabermatrician of sabermetrics in order to determine the most arbitrary way of ranking the Cleveland Indians. The end result… the October Cleveland Indians Power Rankings. Think of it as your reward for enduring yet another excruciating Cleveland playoff loss.
1. Ubaldo Jimenez: I know, I’m shocked by this decision too. But, you have to give Jimenez credit. The Indians needed him to come up huge in September once Justin Masterson went down with a strained oblique and all he did was go 4-0 in 6 starts while turning in a 1.09 ERA, 11.1 SO/9, and 7.29 SO/BB in the month of September. Jimenez wasn’t just good, he was crazy video game good. Too bad it looks like he’ll be a free agent this winter.
2. Michael Brantley: All Brantley did in the month of September was turn in his hottest month of hitting for the entire season. His triple slash of .345/.364/.464 was the best out of any month this season. He delivered clutch hit after clutch hit and even filled in admirably for Michael Bourn in the leadoff spot. As crazy as it sounds, Michael Brantely may be the Indians best all around hitter.
3. Jason Giambi: Ignore the stats. This decision was predicated completely by the walk-off home run he hit against the White Sox. If Giambi doesn’t deliver in that moment there is no telling where the Indians end the season. At best they would have been tied with Tampa and Texas after game 162. At worst, they never go on their 10 game winning streak and fall into a death spiral to end the season. Thank you Jason Giambi. Thank you.
4. Carlos Santana: Santana did what Santana does best during the month of September. In fact, he did it better in September than during any other month of the season. Of course I’m talking about getting on base. Santana’s OBP for September was .393. If it wasn’t for his lack of speed and potential to one day hit 30 home runs, he would be the prototypical lead off hitter.
5. Yan Gomes: After months of teasing us, Gomes finally became the everyday catcher towards the end of the season. He was arguably one of the nine best offensive options for Terry Francona and warranted a spot in the lineup. However, it was his defensive prowess, as highlighted by Wahoo’s on First’s Nick Wheatley-Schaller, that made him such a valuable weapon for the Indians.
6. Bryan Shaw: Shaw was outstanding during the second half and spectacular during the month of September. in 15.1 innings of work, Shaw didn’t allow a single run to cross the plate and limited opposing hitters to a .154 batting average. He was Francona’s most reliable weapon out of the bullpen late and should be a valuable piece of the puzzle in 2014.
7. Cody Allen: While not as dominant as Shaw, Cody Allen also turned in a solid performance to end the year. With the continuing struggles of Chris Perez, Francona was forced to rely more heavily on pitchers like Allen and Shaw where he might typically have gone to Pestano or Perez. Could Cody Allen be the closer in 2014? Stay tuned.
8. Danny Salazar: The young right hander did everything that was asked of him in 2013. That included starting in high pressure situations and even the AL Wild Card game. While the Rays might have bested Salazar on that fateful night, he did give a national TV audience a brief sampling of what the future may hold. American League, you have been put on notice.
9. Jason Kipnis: Kipnis struggled in the second half after turning in a month of June that pretty much made his season. Regardless, Kipnis is still the team’s best player and a super star in the making. Even if he is struggling at the plate, just the threat of him in the lineup can make a difference.
10. Nick Swisher: Even though Swisher struggled for much of the early part of the 2013 season, he did put together a solid second half after being put into the #2 spot in the lineup. He finished with a team high 22 home runs but only knocked in 63 runs. Regardless of your opinion of his performance on the field, there is no denying the impact that Swisher had on the team in the clubhouse. He was the glue that held everything together and kept the team loose. That is something you can’t overlook.