All in all, the Cleveland Indians had a good season.
Well, the 2011 baseball season has come to an end. It may have soured for the Cleveland Indians and their fans as time wore on, but there was still a lot to love about this team. They fought through injuries, ineffective play and many other issues, yet still exceeded many pundits' preseason predictions.
Now that the season is over, it's time to rank the Tribe's 2011 roster one last time. I've ranked the active roster before the season, at the 40-game mark, at the All-Star break and with 40 games to go, but this time will be different. In honor of it being the final ranking of the season, I'm ranking all 46 players that donned a Cleveland Indians uniform this year.
I used a variety of measures—both statistical and gut feel—to rank each of these players. One thing I used a lot was what I'll call cWAR (composite WAR). All cWAR does it combine fWAR (Fangraphs' version of WAR) and bWAR (Baseball-Reference's version of WAR). This is done to balance out the extreme variance in some players' WAR (Kosuke Fukudome, for example). But for the non-sabermetric inclined, that's not all I used. So it's all okay.
This article is long, but I've tried to keep the text short. My goal is to sum up each player's season in two to three sentences maximum. So buckle in, kick back, relax and enjoy the article.
Turns out the Indians didn't miss Orlando Cabrera at all.
2011 Stats: 130 games, .238/.267/.307 slash line, .573 OPS (61 OPS+), 5 HR, 51 RBI, 8 SB, .254 wOBA, 59 wRC+, -13 fWAR, -0.5 bWAR, -0.90 cWAR in 477 PA
I disliked the Orlando Cabrera signing when it happened and hated how it was keeping Jason Kipnis in the minors. Considering how he had a terrible offensive season, a not-so-great defensive season and both of his teams missed the playoffs (ruining the Orlando Cabrera playoff mystique), I feel no qualms ranking him dead last. Cabrera's probably not going to get many calls this offseason and may be forced to retire.
Cord Phelps didn't impress in his first major league season.
2011 Stats: 35 games, .155/.241/.254 slash line, .494 OPS (39 OPS+), 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, .231 wOBA, 39 wRC+, -0.9 fWAR, -0.8 bWAR, -0.85 cWAR in 80 PA
Cord Phelps hit as well as Jason Kipnis in AAA this year but couldn't translate it to the big league club. He'll probably compete for the utility job in 2012 but needs to hit in the Majors in order to avoid the dreaded 4A label.
Alex White hasn't made the Indians miss him yet.
2011 Stats: 10 games (10 started), 3-4 W-L, 7.01 ERA (62 ERA+), 7.08 FIP, 4.92 xFIP, 4.57 SIERA, 1.695 WHIP, 6.49 SO/9, 4.38 BB/9, 1.48 SO:BB, -0.8 fWAR, -0.8 bWAR, -0.80 cWAR in 51.1 IP
In the words of Cee Lo Green, "f..., eh, forget you." Alex White had the support of Cleveland, but when he was traded (a normal part of being a professional athlete), he ripped the city on his way out and earned a spot on my hate list. He didn't pitch well in Colorado (and still may be hurt) this year and has hardly made anyone say "including him in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade was a bad idea."
The Adam Everett era was never meant to last.
2011 Stats: 34 games, .217/.277/.233 slash line, .510 OPS (45 OPS+), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB, .240 wOBA, 46 wRC+, -0.4 fWAR, -0.3 bWAR, -0.35 cWAR in 67 PA
Adam Everett wasn't a bad utility infielder at the start of the season, but his bat is long gone and his defense wasn't enough to make up for it. He was good at what he did, but not good enough to stick around on a big league roster anymore.
Don't expect anything out of Mitch Talbot in 2012.
2011 Stats: 12 games (12 starts), 2-6 W-L, 6.64 ERA (60 ERA+), 5.40 FIP, 4.84 xFIP, 4.82 SIERA, 1.853 WHIP, 5.09 SO/9, 3.96 BB/9, 1.29 SO:BB, -0.1 fWAR, -0.6 bWAR, -0.35 cWAR in 63.2 IP
Thinking back, I'm not sure how Mitch Talbot won a starting rotation spot out of spring training. He's not very impressive, especially considering how bright the future may be for Jeanmar Gomez (to name one). I don't suspect we'll see much out of him in 2012, but you never know.
Luis Valbuena seems destined to be a 4A player.
2011 Stats: 17 games, .209/.227/.279 slash line, .506 OPS (41 OPS+), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB, .230 wOBA, 39 wRC+, -0.4 fWAR, -0.3 bWAR, -0.35 cWAR in 44 PA
How many times do we have to see the same old show? Luis Valbuena tears it up in AAA and struggles in the majors. It seems like it'll always be this way for Valbuena and that there isn't any room for him on the 25-man roster.
Jerad Head didn't do much with his cup of coffee.
2011 Stats: 10 games, .125/.160/.167 slash line, .327 OPS (-8 OPS+), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB, .161 wOBA, -9 wRC+, -0.3 fWAR, -0.2 bWAR, -0.25 cWAR in 25 PA
It may have only been 25 plate appearances, but Jerad Head really hurt his big league prospects this year. He was already probably not in the Tribe's long-term plans and didn't do anything to force his way into them this year. Head would need to have a strong spring training to make the big league club next year and even that might not be enough.
It seems unlikely that Josh Judy has done enough to make the big league club.
2011 Stats: 12 games (0 started), 7.07 ERA (58 ERA+), 7.03 FIP, 5.73 xFIP, 4.47 SIERA, 1.571 WHIP, 6.43 SO/9, 2.57 BB/9, 2.50 SO:BB, -0.3 fWAR, -0.2 bWAR, -0.25 cWAR in 14.0 IP
Josh Judy is another player who didn't do enough to force his way onto the big league club in 2012. I don't think he'll crack the Tribe's top seven relievers next year and will bounce between Columbus and Cleveland depending on injuries for the duration of 2012.
Justin Germano just wasn't good enough to stick with the Tribe.
2011 Stats: 9 games (0 started), 0-1 W-L, 5.68 ERA (72 ERA+), 4.92 FIP, 6.08 xFIP, 5.12 SIERA, 1.579 WHIP, 3.55 SO/9, 3.55 BB/9, 1.00 SO:BB, -0.3 fWAR, -0.2 bWAR, -0.25 cWAR in 12.2 IP
It's not a good sign when the highlight of your season is a perfect game, in AAA. While it's something cool that he'll always have, it only came after being demoted. Now Germano's playing in Korea, a pretty big step down from being on the Tribe's 2011 Opening Day roster.
Corey Kluber needs more time in AAA before being ready for the majors.
2011 Stats: 3 games (0 started), 0-0 W-L, 8.31 ERA (52 ERA+), 4.18 FIP, 5.34 xFIP, 3.85 SIERA, 2.077 WHIP, 10.38 SO/9, 6.23 BB/9, 1.67 SO:BB, 0.0 fWAR, -0.1 bWAR, -0.05 cWAR in 4.1 IP
Corey Kluber very well could have a productive major league career, but it won't begin at the start of 2012. Kluber needs more seasoning in AAA before he'll be ready to be a major league starter.
Injuries ruined Trevor Crowe's 2011 season.
2011 Stats: 15 games, .214/.313/.250 slash line, .563 OPS (61 OPS+), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 3 SB, .288 wOBA, 79 wRC+, 0.1 fWAR, -0.1 bWAR, 0.00 cWAR in 32 PA
Trevor Crowe would've had a chance to play a lot this year with all the injuries to outfielders if not for being injured himself. Crowe projects as a fourth outfielder at best, so he may have missed his best opportunity to get regular starts at the big league level.
Zach Putnam could make the big league roster next year.
2011 Stats: 8 games (0 started), 1-1 W-L, 6.14 ERA (68 ERA+), 3.16 FIP, 2.42 xFIP, 1.83 SIERA, 1.364 WHIP, 11.05 SO/9, 0.00 BB/9, 0.1 fWAR, -0.1 bWAR, 0.00 cWAR in 7.1 IP
Zach Putnam may not have pitched much in the majors this year, but he was impressive in his limited time. I wouldn't be surprised if he got a shot in the bullpen on Opening Day next year and I think that he could become a valued member of the Bullpen Mafia in 2012.
Nick Hagadone could make the big league club next year.
2011 Stats: 9 games (0 started), 1-0 W-L, 4.09 ERA (100 ERA+), 2.93 FIP, 4.53 xFIP, 3.63 SIERA, 0.909 WHIP, 9.00 SO/9, 4.91 BB/9, 1.83 SO:BB, 0.1 fWAR, 0.0 bWAR, 0.05 cWAR in 11.0 IP
Like Putnam, I'd be surprised if Nick Hagadone didn't get a real shot at making the Opening Day roster next year. He's a power arm that would be great to have coming out of the bullpen. If he continues to impress, Hagadone could have a closing job in his future.
Chad Durbin likely won't be back with the Indians next year.
2011 Stats: 56 games (0 started), 2-2 W-L, 5.53 ERA (72 ERA+), 4.85 FIP, 4.26 xFIP, 3.57 SIERA, 1.639 WHIP, 7.77 SO/9, 3.42 BB/9, 2.27 SO:BB, -0.3 fWAR, -0.7 bWAR, -0.50 cWAR in 68.1 IP
If Chad Durbin had been able to give up fewer home runs (1.58 HR/9), he would have ended up much higher on this list. As it is, he has great peripherals and will probably get a chance somewhere next year, but I don't see it happening in Cleveland. The Indians have too many young bullpen arms coming up through the system to give Durbin a spot next year.
The Bullpen Mafia will likely not include Frank Herrmann next year.
2011 Stats: 40 games (0 started), 4-0 W-L, 5.11 ERA (78 ERA+), 4.29 FIP, 4.63 xFIP, 4.20 SIERA, 1.544 WHIP, 5.43 SO/9, 2.56 BB/9, 2.13 SO:BB, 0.0 fWAR, -0.3 bWAR, -0.15 cWAR in 56.1 IP
I like Frank Herrmann, but unfortunately for him and the Indians, I think he is the last guy in the bullpen at best. I think that pitchers like Hagadone and Putnam will push him out next year, sending him down to AAA to bide his time until someone is hurt or ineffective. That is Herrmann's ceiling, in my opinion.
Austin Kearns just couldn't hit enough to help the Tribe.
2011 Stats: 57 games, .200/.302/.287 slash line, .589 OPS (67 OPS+), 2 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB, .262 wOBA, 60 wRC+, -0.8 fWAR, 0.5 bWAR, -0.15 cWAR in 174 PA
Depending on who you trust (Fangraphs or Baseball-Reference), Austin Kearns was either very replaceable or a plus-defender. Either way, Kearns didn't hit nearly enough to keep his roster spot and was cut as a result. This could easily be the end of the road for Austin Kearns' career.
It may be time for the Indians to give up on Matt LaPorta.
2011 Stats: 107 games, .247/.299/.412 slash line, .711 OPS (97 OPS+), 11 HR, 53 RBI, 1 SB, .309 wOBA, 93 wRC+, -0.8 fWAR, 0.2 bWAR, -0.30 cWAR in 385 PA
I really thought that Matt LaPorta was going to break out this year. I really did. As it is, he's a below-average hitter at a position that demands offense and is a bad fielder. It's to the point that I could see the key piece of the CC Sabathia trade not making the Opening Day roster next year. It's that bad at this point.
Zach McAllister will probably be in AAA again next year.
2011 Stats: 4 games (4 started), 0-1 W-L, 6.11 ERA (66 ERA+), 3.37 FIP, 3.98 xFIP, 4.05 SIERA, 1.868 WHIP, 7.13 SO/9, 3.57 BB/9, 2.00 SO:BB, 0.4 fWAR, -0.6 bWAR, -0.10 cWAR in 17.2 IP
Zach McAllister will probably start next year in AAA, but he has an outside shot at a rotation spot next year. McAllister has shown the ability to strike people out and did a decent job of controlling his walks this year. Look for him to be up at some point next year, possibly doing well enough to stay for a while.
Travis Buck probably isn't in the Tribe's long-term plans.
2011 Stats: 50 games, .228/.275/.342 slash line, .617 OPS (72 OPS+), 2 HR, 18 RBI, 1 SB, .272 wOBA, 67 wRC+, 0.0 fWAR, 0.0 bWAR, 0.00 cWAR in 160 PA
Travis Buck came out of the gate on fire this year, but he faded back to his replacement level production. I don't think he'll do much of note next year or beyond, but he isn't a bad guy to have in AAA on the off-chance he puts it all together.
David Huff isn't a bad 5th starter in the majors.
2011 Stats: 11 games (10 starts), 2-6 W-L, 4.09 ERA (98 ERA+), 4.15 FIP, 4.67 xFIP, 4.41 SIERA, 1.421 WHIP, 6.39 SO/9, 3.02 BB/9, 2.12 SO:BB, 0.6 fWAR, -0.6 bWAR, 0.00 cWAR in 50.2 IP
David Huff was on fire this season when he was first called up, causing many to think he'd finally figured it out. As time passed on though, Huff regressed back to what he is, a fifth starter. Huff will never be more than a back of the rotation guy and will likely bounce between Columbus and Cleveland next year. I don't think he's good enough to hold down a rotation job long-term.
Ezequiel Carrera showed enough to be a fourth outfielder, but not much more.
2011 Stats: 68 games, .243/.301/.312 slash line, .613 OPS (72 OPS+), 0 HR, 14 RBI, 10 SB, .276 wOBA, 70 wRC+, 0.4 fWAR, -0.5 bWAR, -0.05 cWAR in 226 PA
The biggest beneficiary of all the Indians' outfield injuries was Ezequiel Carrera. Unfortunately, he didn't do as much as was hoped with that chance. Carrera played pretty good defense and showed good speed on the base-paths, but if he doesn't start hitting better, his skill set puts him as a fourth outfielder at best.
Will anyone miss Fausto Carmona if the Tribe doesn't bring him back?
2011 Stats: 32 games (32 started), 7-15 W-L, 5.25 ERA (76 ERA+), 4.56 FIP, 4.17 xFIP, 4.03 SIERA, 1.405 WHIP, 5.20 SO/9, 2.86 BB/9, 1.82 SO:BB, 1.5 fWAR, -1.4 bWAR, -0.05 cWAR in 188.2 IP
Though all of his peripherals scream that Fausto Carmona isn't as bad of a pitcher as his 5.25 ERA implies, I still wouldn't be sad to see his option declined. At best, he is a fourth or fifth starter on a team with more than enough of those (by my count, at least Josh Tomlin, Jeanmar Gomez and David Huff are all fourth and fifth starters currently on the roster). He may have a live arm, but he's never struck people out and it just doesn't seem worth the investment anymore (which I've been saying all year).
The Indians should give Grady Sizemore one more shot.
2011 Stats: 71 games, .224/.285/.422 slash line, .706 OPS (95 OPS+), 10 HR, 32 RBI, 0 SB, .302 wOBA, 88 wRC+, 0.2 fWAR, 0.5 bWAR, 0.35 cWAR in 295 PA
Simply put, good center fielders are hard to come by, and the Indians would be best served taking one more chance on Grady Sizemore. He had an average offensive year this season coming off of missing basically a full year. He's only going to be 29 next year and could easily become good again. It's worth taking a chance on, though the team might not.
Jeanmar Gomez made a decent case for making the starting rotation next year.
2011 Stats: 11 games (10 starts), 5-3 W-L, 4.47 ERA (89 ERA+), 4.12 FIP, 4.03 xFIP, 3.99 SIERA, 1.509 WHIP, 4.78 SO/9, 2.31 BB/9, 2.07 SO:BB, 0.7 fWAR, 0.2 bWAR, 0.45 cWAR in 58.1 IP
I wish Jeanmar Gomez struck out more batters in his big league stint this year, but he's still a very talented pitcher that should have a real shot at making the starting rotation next year. He showed me enough this year that I would take him over Carmona, McAllister and Huff, which is what you're supposed to do when you're given a chance in the big leagues.
Jason Donald will be a great utility infielder for the 2012 Indians.
2011 Stats: 39 games, .318/.364/.402 slash line, .765 OPS (114 OPS+), 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3 SB, .337 wOBA, 112 wRC+, 0.7 fWAR, 0.7 bWAR, 0.7 cWAR in 143 PA
I don't necessarily trust Jason Donald's offensive production with that small of a sample size, but it does show what Donald can be capable of. I see him topping out as a utility infielder, but a pretty good one. His ability to play second base, third base and shortstop at an above-average level, his decent bat and general toughness make him a valuable asset.
Tony Sipp could've done much better this season.
2011 Stats: 69 games (0 started), 6-3 W-L, 3.03 ERA (131 ERA+), 4.44 FIP, 4.37 xFIP, 3.65 SIERA, 1.107 WHIP, 8.23 SO/9, 3.47 BB/9, 2.38 SO:BB, -0.1 fWAR, 1.3 bWAR, 0.60 cWAR in 62.1 IP
To me, Tony Sipp is a pretty good reliever with one big problem, home runs. If Sipp can get his 1.44 HR/9 rate down, he'd have a shot at being the best reliever in the Bullpen Mafia. With that problem, he's only the fifth best reliever on the team.
Chris Perez needs to improve or he'll likely implode in 2012.
2011 Stats: 64 games (0 started), 4-7 W-L, 36 SV, 3.32 ERA (120 ERA+), 4.27 FIP, 5.01 xFIP, 4.50 SIERA, 1.207 WHIP, 5.88 SO/9, 3.92 BB/9, 1.50 SO:BB, 0.1 fWAR, 1.2 bWAR, 0.65 cWAR in 59.2 IP
Like Sipp, Chris Perez will be in trouble if he can't fix his one big problem. In the Rage's case, he needs to get his strikeouts back up to his pre-2011 level. If he continues striking out less than six batters per nine innings, his .234 BABIP will regress back to the mean and we'll see him start blowing lots of saves.
Rafael Perez was a valuable member of the Bullpen Mafia this season.
2011 Stats: 71 games (0 started), 5-2 W-L, 3.00 ERA (133 ERA+), 3.30 FIP, 3.86 xFIP, 3.56 SIERA, 1.238 WHIP, 4.71 SO/9, 2.71 BB/9, 1.74 SO:BB, 0.8 fWAR, 0.7 bWAR, 0.75 cWAR in 63.0 IP
Like Chris Perez, Rafael Perez really needs to remember how to strike people out if he wants to maintain the level he pitched at this season. That said, the Indians aren't relying on Rafael Perez to be their closer, they just need him to be a decent middle reliever. I feel pretty confident that Rafael Perez can pull that off in 2012.
Lou Marson is all the Indians could ask for in a second catcher.
2011 Stats: 79 games, .230/.300/.296 slash line, .596 OPS (68 OPS+), 1 HR, 19 RBI, 4 SB, .271 wOBA, 67 wRC+, 0.9 fWAR, 0.8 bWAR, 0.85 cWAR in 272 PA
Lou Marson obviously generates most of his value from his elite defensive ability since his hitting leaves a lot to be desired. If he could improve even a little bit on offense, however (along with Carlos Santana truly learning how to play first base), I could get on board with Marson starting at catcher and Santana playing first base next year. Much like GM Chris Antonetti, I do think Marson is capable of being a starting catcher in this league.
Things could've gone better for Lonnie Chisenhall, but they weren't all bad.
2011 Stats: 66 games, .255/.284/.415 slash line, .699 OPS (93 OPS+), 7 HR, 22 RBI, 1 SB, .303 wOBA, 89 wRC+, 0.7 fWAR, 1.0 bWAR, 0.85 cWAR in 223 PA
Lonnie Chisenhall's rookie season could have gone much better, but there were bright spots. He needs to work on striking out less and walking more, but being on a 20 HR pace as a rookie and playing decent defense isn't a bad start. There's definitely hope for Chisenhall going forward.
Shelley Duncan has some real pop in his bat.
2011 Stats: 76 games, .260/.324/.484 slash line, .808 OPS (123 OPS+), 11 HR, 47 RBI, 0 SB, .346 wOBA, 118 wRC+, 0.8 fWAR, 0.8 bWAR, 0.80 cWAR in 247 PA
I don't think that Shelley Duncan is good enough to be the regular first baseman for the Tribe, but if he's able to continue his 29 HR, 124 RBI full-season pace he set in 2011, he'll force his way into the conversation. For an offensively starved team, Shelley Duncan is an absolute necessity to keep around— even if just as a bench player—in 2012.
It's a shame that Carlos Carrasco will miss all of 2012.
2011 Stats: 21 games (21 starts), 8-9 W-L, 4.62 ERA (86 ERA+), 4.28 FIP, 4.07 xFIP, 4.01 SIERA, 1.364 WHIP, 6.14 SO/9, 2.89 BB/9, 2.13 SO:BB, 1.4 fWAR, 0.6 bWAR, 1.00 cWAR in 124.2 IP
Considering the fact that I feel Carlos Carrasco was on his way to establishing himself as a potential third starter on a contender, it's a shame that he will miss all of 2012. I feel he was having an underrated 2011 campaign and was set up well to impress some people next year. Hopefully he can recover fully from Tommy John surgery and come back even stronger in 2013.
Jason Kipnis was the breakout star of 2011 for the Indians.
2011 Stats: 36 games, .272/.333/.507 slash line, .841 OPS (131 OPS+), 7 HR, 19 RBI, 5 SB, .371 wOBA, 135 wRC+, 0.8 fWAR, 1.0 bWAR, 0.90 cWAR in 150 PA
It feels good to be right. My breakout star for the 2011 Indians absolutely hit in the biggest way. If he had been up in the majors for longer (and avoided getting hurt soon after being called up) I could have ranked Kipnis higher. If this season was any indication, however, he'll soon be a perennial member of the top 10 of these rankings. Too bad they didn't call him up earlier.
Things should get better for Shin-Soo Choo in 2012.
2011 Stats: 85 games, .259/.344/.390 slash line, .733 OPS (105 OPS+), 8 HR, 36 RBI, 12 SB, .325 wOBA, 104 wRC+, 1.4 fWAR, 1.3 bWAR, 1.35 cWAR in 358 PA
This 2011 season was literally everything possible going wrong at the same time for Shin-Soo Choo. How many players have offseason problems (his DUI), multiple DL stints and unimpressive offensive numbers for the first time in their career all coincide in one season? The good news for Choo and the Indians is he still played defense at a high level and things have to get better for 2012. We can only go up from here.
Kosuke Fukudome was a decent fill-in for an injured Indians outfielder.
2011 Stats: 146 games, .262/.342/.370 slash line, .712 OPS (97 OPS+), 8 HR, 35 RBI, 4 SB, .313 wOBA, 96 wRC+, 0.0 fWAR, 2.8 bWAR, 1.40 cWAR in 603 PA
While he's not anything special, Kosuke Fukudome filled in quite well in the Indians outfield. Fangraphs says his defense isn't anything special but Baseball-Reference thinks he's very good. Watching him, I feel he's closer to good than average, so I think he has value there. Either way, he probably won't be resigned and will head elsewhere for 2012.
Travis Hafner struggled to stay healthy again in 2011.
2011 Stats: 94 games, .280/.361/.449 slash line, .811 OPS (126 OPS+), 13 HR, 57 RBI, 0 SB, .353 wOBA, 123 wRC+, 1.3 fWAR, 1.4 bWAR, 1.35 cWAR in 368 PA
Once again, Travis Hafner hit very well—when he was healthy. Unfortunately, a team like the Indians can't afford to be paying a DH $13 million when he routinely misses over 60 games. Maybe if the Indians can move his contract and not pay any of it next year they could go after one of this season's marquee free agents.
It was great to see Jim Thome in an Indians uniform again.
2011 Stats: 93 games, .256/.361/.477 slash line, .838 OPS (131 OPS+), 15 HR, 50 RBI, 0 SB, .362 wOBA, 133 wRC+, 1.2 fWAR, 1.4 bWAR, 1.30 cWAR in 324 PA
I ranked Jim Thome ahead of Hafner because he hit at a slightly higher level and did it at a significantly lower price. Not only was Thome coming back to Cleveland a great story this year, he also hit at a high level and hopefully set a good example for the many young players on the Tribe's roster. It's too bad that he won't be back in Cleveland next year.
Joe Smith really came on strong for the Indians this year.
2011 Stats: 71 games (0 starts), 3-3 W-L, 2.01 ERA (198 ERA+), 2.91 FIP, 3.57 xFIP, 3.20 SIERA, 1.090 WHIP, 6.04 SO/9, 2.82 BB/9, 2.14 SO:BB, 1.2 fWAR, 2.1 bWAR, 1.65 cWAR in 67 IP
While I don't see Joe Smith's extreme success this year as sustainable, I do think that he can be a very effective reliever in 2012. As long as he continues to keep the ball in the park (0.13 HR/9), he'll be just fine going forward.
Michael Brantley had a pretty good year for the Tribe this season.
2011 Stats: 114 games, .266/.318/.384 slash line, .702 OPS (96 OPS+), 7 HR, 46 RBI, 13 SB, .309 wOBA, 93 wRC+, 1.4 fWAR, 2.2 bWAR, 1.80 cWAR in 496 PA
Michael Brantley had a decent season, but if he doesn't get his on-base percentage up to offset his lowish slugging percentage, he's going to be an average player at best. I think that Brantley can be more than average, so I hope he gets his walks up and strikes out a little less. He did it in the minors, so he can learn to do it in the majors too.
Josh Tomlin pitched very well this year.
2011 Stats: 26 games (26 starts), 12-7 W-L, 4.25 ERA (93 ERA+), 4.27 FIP, 4.03 xFIP, 4.08 SIERA, 1.077 WHIP, 4.84 SO/9, 1.14 BB/9, 4.24 SO:BB, 1.8 fWAR, 1.9 bWAR, 1.85 cWAR in 165.1 IP
I love the way Josh Tomlin pitches, only walking the bare minimum and allowing as few base runners as possible (Tomlin finished 11th in the majors in WHIP). That said, he isn't more than a fourth starter on a good team because he doesn't strike enough people out. I definitely want him in my rotation, but only as a fourth or fifth starter.
Vinnie Pestano had a amazing rookie season.
2011 Stats: 68 games (0 starts), 1-2 W-L, 2 SV, 2.32 ERA (172 ERA+), 2.67 FIP, 2.80 xFIP, 2.08 SIERA, 1.048 WHIP, 12.19 SO/9, 3.48 BB/9, 3.50 SO:BB, 1.5 fWAR, 2.2 bWAR, 1.85 cWAR in 62.0 IP
When Vinnie Pestano got one of the last bullpen spots out of spring training this year, no one expected him to be the Tribe's best reliever in 2011. Yet, that's what he managed to accomplish. I don't think that it's possible that he'll pitch this well for the rest of his career, but the future looks very bright for Pestano.
Jack Hannahan exceeded expectations this year.
2011 Stats: 110 games, .250/.331/.388 slash line, .719 OPS (101 OPS+), 8 HR, 40 RBI, 2 SB, .320 wOBA, 100 wRC+, 2.3 fWAR, 2.2 bWAR, 2.25 cWAR in 366 PA
Jack Hannahan was another player who wasn't expected to make the team out of spring training. He played extremely well in 2011, adding his excellent defense to his average bat. His spot at third base will be occupied by Chisenhall next year, but there is always at least a bench spot for a player that can play defense as well as Hannahan can.
Ubaldo Jimenez should rebound in 2012.
2011 Stats: 32 games (32 started), 10-13 W-L, 4.68 ERA (92 ERA+), 3.67 FIP, 3.71 xFIP, 3.59 SIERA, 1.402 WHIP, 8.60 SO/9, 3.73 BB/9, 2.31 SO:BB, 3.6 fWAR, 1.4 bWAR, 2.50 cWAR in 188.1 IP
I don't have any patience for all of this Ubaldo Jimenez panic, I really don't. All of Jimenez's peripherals are the same as his elite level last year, so it makes no sense that he just became a below-average pitcher. He should be just fine next year and could even compete for a Cy Young. Who knows? So let's all just settle down for a bit and give Ubaldo a full offseason to get used to his new team.
Asdrubal Cabrera had a breakout season in 2011.
2011 Stats: 151 games, .273/.332/.460 slash line, .792 OPS (119 OPS+), 25 HR, 92 RBI, 17 SB, .345 wOBA, 118 wRC+, 3.7 fWAR, 3.7 bWAR, 3.70 cWAR in 667 PA
I still maintain that Asdrubal Cabrera takes away a ton of his value with his poor range at shortshop, but if he's always able to hit like this, it doesn't matter as much. Without at least average defense I don't think Asdrubal can be a star on the level of Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter, but he's definitely someone who can help you win a World Series.
Carlos Santana has a chance of being a real star.
2011 Stats: 155 games, .239/.351/.457 slash line, .808 OPS (124 OPS+), 27 HR, 79 RBI, 5 SB, .349 wOBA, 120 wRC+, 3.8 fWAR, 3.9 bWAR, 3.85 cWAR in 658 PA
The 2011 season wasn't the ideal season for Carlos Santana. Yet, he still turned in a fairly impressive season (as long as you realize that batting average isn't all that important in the grand scheme of things). If 2011 illustrates the worst case scenario for what a healthy Carlos Santana is capable of, imagine what he might turn in for the 2012 season.
Justin Masterson was the best player on the Cleveland Indians in 2011.
2011 Stats: 34 games (33 started), 12-10 W-L, 3.21 ERA (124 ERA+), 3.28 FIP, 3.64 xFIP, 3.53 SIERA, 1.278 WHIP, 6.58 SO/9, 2.71 BB/9, 2.43 SO:BB, 4.9 fWAR, 4.1 bWAR, 4.50 cWAR in 216.0 IP
I may feel that he is best suited to be a number two starter in a contending rotation and that he should strikeout more batters, but that doesn't change what Justin Masterson was able to accomplish this year. Masterson made good on the promise he brought with being the key piece of the Victor Martinez trade and established himself as one of the best young starters in the majors.
The Indians had many good (and bad) performances in 2011, but Justin Masterson was the best of all of them. Here's hoping that the good players sustain their performances into 2012 and the bad ones use the offseason to improve.