Admittedly, this month’s edition of the Cleveland Indians Power Rankings is a tad bit late. These things happen from time to time when life gets in the way. Regardless, the Committee of One presses on in an attempt to arbitrarily rank the Cleveland Indians from one through ten in order of importance. Keep in mind, these rankings are based off of July’s performance meaning that August holds no weight here. In other words, ignore the recent four game sweep at the hands of the Tigers. That’s another story for another day. Without further adieu, the August Cleveland Indians Power Rankings.
1. Jason Kipnis: After a red-hot May and June, Kipnis cooled down a bit in July. He hit only .272/.333/.402 in July but still remained the focal point of the Indians offense out of the three-hole in the lineup. On top of that, Kipnis earned his first all-star nod and represented Cleveland with an RBI double in the game. Without a doubt, Kipnis is the Indians best player and making a case for the title of best second basemen in all of baseball.
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2. Justin Masterson: Masterson has been a regular atop these rankings since the first month of the season. July was no different. Masterson posted a 2-1 record in four starts with a 3.12 ERA. Like Kipnis, Masterson was also selected to the American League All-Star team, but he did not get a chance to participate in the game itself. Even still, Masterson has continued to perform like an ace.
3. Scott Kazmir: The rebirth of Scott Kazmir’s career continued in July. After finding his groove half way through June, Kazmir turned in a July that was reminiscent of the Tampa Bay version of himself. He went 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA and 1.028 WHIP in his six starts. A key reason for the new-found success was a de-emphasis on strikeouts while focusing on forcing weaker contact. Mariano Rivera will probably be named comeback player of the year, but Kazmir should definitely be in the conversation.
4. Corey Kluber: The Klubes was spectacular in July and posted his best stats of the year to date. While he only went 1-0 in six starts, but that’s not an indication of how well he performed. He posted a 3.00 ERA, 1.051 WHIP, and 37 strikeouts in 39 innings of work. A .257 BAbip also helped contribute to the spectacular results while solidifying his spot in the rotation.
5. Carlos Santana: A respectable July earns Santana the fifth spot in this month’s rankings. A slash line of .282/.370/.459 ended up being Santana’s best month since April. His two home runs and 14 RBI played a key role in the Tribe’s success. If Santana can keep up this level of production, then it is possible he could one day live up to all they hype that surrounded him earlier in his tenure with the Indians.
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6. Ryan Raburn: As the 2013 season presses on, it is becoming more than apparent that Ryan Raburn was a fantastic signing. In July he kept up his awesome performance in his limited appearances by OPSing 1.084. He was so good that he actually was 104% better than the league average for the month of July with a 204 sOPS+. Bottom line is that Raburn has been invaluable as the do everything extra outfielder the Indians so desperately needed off the bench.
7. Chris Perez: Legal troubles aside, Chris Perez got back to looking like Chris Perez in July. He turned in eight saves, the most of any month this season, with a 0.60 ERA in 15 total innings of work. Perez’s performance was huge because while he was getting back to full strength, Vinnie Pestano was slowly degrading into a shell of his former self.
8. Nick Swisher: July was indicative of the season Nick Swisher has had thus far. Many are disappointed by his performance, but only because we choose to focus on stats he mostly cannot control. For instance, Swisher had only four RBI in July, at least three of which came via his three home runs. However, Swisher also posted his best slash line of the year at .284/.376/.420 while recording an OPS+ of 118. If anything, July should serve as an indication the Swisher is ready to break out of his slump and start putting up big numbers.
9. Lonnie Chisenhall: After struggling for so long and dealing with yet another demotion to the minor leagues, it’s beginning to look like Chisenhall is figuring it out. While his glove work has still been a bit spotty, his bat really began to heat up in July. In only 19 games, Chiz hit two homers and drove in eight runs, but it was his patience at the plate that was so impressive. His .338 OBP was the best it had been all season as he drew six walks in addition to racking up 16 hits in 65 plate appearances. Can he keep it up and be the offensive power house the Indians expect? That’s the real question.
10. Michael Bourn: Bourn really fell back to the pack in the month of July. He posted his worst slash line of the year but at the same found a way to drive in 18 runs while scoring 13 of his own. He also played his usual spectacular defense in center which more than makes up for any offensive deficiencies he may have encountered.