Indians A to Z: Part 3
Elliot Johnson: 7 G, 19 AB, .105 BA, .105 OBP, .211 SLG, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB, 1 R, 2 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, -0.4 WAR
2014 Review: Johnson was signed in the off season to give the Indians another super-utility player. Johnson started the year with the Indians, but performed very poorly, resulting in him being sent down to Triple-A. In Columbus, Johnson didn’t fare too well either, only hitting for a .236 average.
2015 Prediction: Johnson is a free agent this coming off season, and will be 31 at the start of the 2015 season.
Jason Kipnis: 129 G, 500 AB, .240 BA, .310 OBP, .330 SLG, 6 HR, 41 RBI, 22 SB, 61 R, 120 H, 25 2B, 1 3B, 0.9 WAR
2014 Review: The Indians signed Kipnis to a 6-year, $52.5 million contract right before the home opener. Needless to say, the season didn’t go how Kipnis or the Indians front office had planned. Kipnis has been known to play poorly in the month of April, but an oblique injury forced him out to late May. When he returned, he just wasn’t the same player. Maybe it was the new contract; maybe it was his oblique, either way, Kipnis lost his power and his ability to get on base. He feuded with fans on Twitter, and missed time at the end of the season due to a hamstring injury. He had his worst season as a pro, and that includes his rookie year of 2011 when he only played 36 games.
2015 Prediction: Kipnis will have the off season to get fully healthy and hopefully get back into game shape. The pressure of playing with a new contract should wear off, and Kipnis should return to the Kipnis of 2013. At least, that’s what the Indians need him to do. Kipnis knows how bad this year went, and doesn’t want to go through this kind of season again. He could have his best year in 2015. Kipnis will be 28 at the start of the 2015 season, and is scheduled to make $4.2 million next year.
Corey Kluber: 18-9, 2.44 ERA, 34 GS, 235.2 IP, 51 BB, 269 K, 1.095 WHIP, 7.4 WAR
2014 Review: Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2014 CY Young winner, Corey Kluber! Only one pitcher in all of baseball had a higher WAR than Kluber. That man is Clayton Kershaw, a soon to be 3-time CY Young winner and MVP. Kluber had the greatest season by an Indians pitcher since Gaylord Perry in 1974, when he posted a WAR of 8.4. I really don’t know how to describe how great Corey Kluber was in 2014. He could have easily won 22 games had the Indians scored more than 2 runs a game for him, as the Indians had 10 games where they scored 2 or fewer runs with Kluber on the mound.
2015 Prediction: Kluber is undoubtedly the Indians #1 pitcher. However, 2014 was the first time he has ever pitched more than 160 innings in a season (majors/minors). Obviously some regression can be expected, but how much? No one really knows, but his peripheral stats suggest we won’t see much of a decrease. Having only pitched two “full” seasons, Kluber will be 29 at the start of the 2015 season. He is still in the pre-arbitration stage of his career, but the Indians would be wise to get him under contract now before he enters arbitration.
George Kottaras: 10 G, 21 AB, .286 BA, .385 OBP, .714 SLG, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB, 4 R, 6 H, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0.4 WAR
2014 Review: For one day, George Kottaras was the king of Cleveland. On May 4th, in his first two at-bats of the season, Kottaras hit two home runs. The Indians would go on to lose that game 4-3 to the White Sox, thanks to John Axford, but at the time it seemed like Kottaras could give the Indians a solid backup catcher. The front office didn’t think so, he was selected off waivers by the Cardinals on July 11th, ending his memorable 10 game stretch with the Tribe.
2015 Prediction: Kottaras is currently a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. They hold the right to offer Kottaras arbitration or release him into free agency. Kottaras will be 31 at the start of the 2015 season.
C.C. Lee: 1-1, 4.50 ERA, 37 G, 28.0 IP, 12 BB, 26 K, 1.500 WHIP, 0.0 WAR
2014 Review: For some strange reason, C.C. Lee always found himself pitching in the most pivotal inning in a game. I don’t know why Terry Francona always decided to put Lee in in high leverage situations, but it probably cost the Tribe a couple games in the standings. Also, am I the only one who thinks that the names of C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee, combined into one is just weird?
2015 Prediction: Lee could easily start the year with the Indians or could be sent down to Triple-A, it all depends on his spring training performance. If I were a betting man, I would put money on him starting in Triple-A. Lee will be 28 at the start of the 2015 season, and will be eligible for pre-arbitration.
Mark Lowe: 0-1, 3.86 ERA, 7 G, 7.0 IP, 6 BB, 6 K, 2.286 WHIP, -0.3 WAR
2014 Review: Who’s Mark Lowe? I must have made a mistake here.
2015 Prediction: Who?
Justin Masterson: 4-6, 5.51 ERA, 19 GS, 98.0 IP, 56 BB, 93 K, 1.653 WHIP, -0.8 WAR
2014 Review: Coming into the 2014 season, Masterson was the unquestioned leader and ace of the pitching staff. Many fans were up in arms when the front office decided against accepting a team friendly contract offer from Masterson. Many knew this would be his last year with the Indians. Masterson looked every bit like the Indians #1 pitcher in the season opener, going 7 innings, and allowing no runs to the A’s. However, things derailed quickly for Masterson. Over his next 18 starts he posted an ERA of 5.93. His last start with the Tribe came on July 7th; he left after 2 innings after giving up 5 runs to the Yankees. Masterson landed on the DL with a knee injury the next day, and on July 30th, the Indians traded Masterson to the Cardinals for an outfield prospect, James Ramsey.
2015 Prediction: Masterson cost himself millions of dollars with his poor play. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Masterson in an Indians uniform in 2015. Masterson was once a target for a long-term contract, but might have played himself into a one-year reclamation deal. Masterson will be 30 years old at the start of the 2015 season.
Zach McAllister: 4-7, 5.23 ERA, 22 G, 15 GS, 86.0 IP, 28 BB, 74 K, 1.442 WHIP, -0.4 WAR
2014 Review: Through his first 7 starts of 2014, Zach McAllister was one of the few bright spots in the Indians rotation, as he had an ERA of 3.18. McAllister then imploded. Over his next 3 starts McAllister had an ERA of (get ready to shield your eyes) 19.96. The rest of the year, McAllister bounced between the DL, Triple-A, the bullpen, and the occasional spot start.
2015 Prediction: I honestly think that the Indians will cut ties with McAllister this off season. If they don’t release him, then he will be a starter for the Clippers. McAllister in his 4 year career has posted one season with a positive WAR (2013). McAllister will be 27 at the start of the 2015 season, and will be eligible for arbitration for the first time.
Nyjer Morgan: 15 G, 41 AB, .341 BA, .429 OBP, .439 SLG, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 SB, 8 R, 14 H, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0.2 WAR
2014 Review: Nyjer Morgan, occasionally “Tony Plush”, started the season as the Indians opening day center fielder, courtesy of Michael Bourn starting the year on the DL. Morgan filled in more than admirably for Michael Bourn, and gave the Indians a nice spark on offense. Unfortunately, Morgan suffered a knee injury that put his season in jeopardy. On August 5th, the Indians and Morgan decided it was time to call it quits, as both sides agreed to Morgan’s release.
2015 Prediction: Morgan will be 34 at the start of the 2015 season, and is currently a free agent
David Murphy: 129 G, 416 AB, .262 BA, .319 OBP, .385 SLG, 8 HR, 58 RBI, 2 SB, 40 R, 109 H, 25 2B, 1 3B, -0.6 WAR
2014 Review: The prized free agent signing of the off season was David Murphy. Murphy struggled in his last year with Texas, which enabled the Indians to sign him on the “cheap side”. As late as June 10th, Murphy was batting .290 and was on pace for 99 RBIs. Murphy then went into a extended 31 game slump where he batted just .140. However, “Good Guy” David Murphy was able to salvage his season and pushed his average to .262 to end the season, even though he was on the DL for a month.
2015 Prediction: Barring a big-name signing (cough, Victor Martinez, cough). Murphy will be the Indians starting right fielder for the 2015 season. He may also split time out there with Nick Swisher and Ryan Raburn (more on those players later). Murphy will be 33 at the start of the 2015 season, and is set to make $6 million.
— Chris Sladoje (@CST_Doje)