Last Friday, our site published Week 1 of the Playoff Push Power Rankings. The post takes a look at which Indians are carrying their weight and the role they have played in pulling the Tribe within 5.5 games of the division and 4.0 games of the wild card. Below are the current ten most valuable Indians as Cleveland rolls into Kansas City for a pivotal series against the Royals.
10. Zach Walters (9) – Walters drops a spot, and, admittedly, he is making his way off of this list. That said, he makes the list after again leading the club in homeruns. His power surge has led to some magical moments. On August 22, Walters’ jack was the Tribe’s sole run against Houston. On August 26, the 24-year-old’s 10th inning bomb plated the winning run in Chicago.
9. Danny Salazar (NR) – Salazar makes his appearance on the list on the strength of his August 23 start against the Astros. Salazar went six innings, giving up just three hits and one earned run. He struck out seven while walking just two. This was only Salazar’s third quality start since being recalled to pitch on July 22, and, certainly, the Indians will need continued strength out of the rotation if they are going to make another postseason appearance.
8. Bryan Shaw (NR) – Shaw replaces Scott Atchison on the list this week. Shaw pitched in five games over the past seven days, leading the team. In those six innings of work, the lock-down setup man struck out five, walked none, and allowed just one earned run. He also added a win to his stat line. Shaw is having an outstanding year and provides what every playoff team needs: stability at the backend of the pen.
7. Jose Ramirez (NR) – Francisco Lindor who? Certainly, Lindor is the future at shortstop for the Tribe, but Ramirez is making the most out of his time with the Tribe. Over the past six games, Ramirez’s batting an incredible .400, racking up a team high ten hits and three extra base hits. He is also a stolen base threat, notching one of the Tribe’s five stolen bases on the week, and contributes a steady glove on an otherwise shaky left side of the infield. Tough to imagine these offensive numbers continue, but his output has been invaluable during the week that was.
6. Jason Kipnis (5) – Kipnis drops a spot from last week despite putting together a decent week. Kipnis, who is having a rough year, picked up seven hits in 21 AB this week. He knocked in two runs, and being the leader he is, found a means to contribute, this week on the base paths, swiping three bags without being caught.
5. Trevor Bauer (NR) – Bauer picked up his ninth win of the year on August 24 against the Astros. He pitched six innings and struck out nine. He allowed just four hits; however, four other Astros reached via walk or HBP. When Bauer pitches like he did this past week, Tribe fans realize how incredibly bright the future can be. Bauer’s 2014 stretch run role may be very similar to Salazar’s in 2013.
4. Michael Bourn (6) – Bourn jumps up two spots this week. Last night, Bourn’s two triples were a statement to fans, teammates, and opponents – the hamstring injury is officially an afterthought. Bourn batted .346/.393/.538 while knocking in two and adding three runs. Having Bourn cement the leadoff spot with a viable bat will certainly help what has been an inconsistent offense fall back into a healthy rhythm.
3. Carlos Carrasco (4) – Carrasco’s late season turnaround has taken many by surprise. After struggling immensely as a starter to begin the year, Carrasco has proved his critics wrong over the course of August. Over the past week, Carrasco started twice going 1-0. In 12.2 innings, he allowed two earned runs, struck out 15 while walking just three, and gave up a meager six hits. Overall, during his huge August, he is 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 29.2 innings.
2. Michael Brantley (2) – Brantley’s hold on the two spot remained firm for this week, but his performance will make it a little less sure for next week. In his last 22 plate appearance, Brantley is hitting .150/.227/.200. His three hits on the week are paired with three RBIs, which was tied for the week lead. He also continued to battle at the plate, striking out just once. Weeks like this will happen, but it’s the second in a row for Brantley.
1. Corey Kluber (1) – Kluber took a loss during his one start this week. Although it was still a quality start, Kluber had to wiggle out of some jams to accomplish that feat. He let up nine hits and walked two. He did notch eight strikeouts, and, ultimately, he was more a victim to Jose Abreu than the White Sox as a whole. Abreu plated all three of the runs against Kluber, knocking in the tying run in the third and plating the winning run in a seven pitch, seventh inning matchup. On the season, Abreu is 6-13 against Kluber.