The regular season has ended and before we move on to another post-season run, we’ll take a look back at what happened so far in 2017 in the most BurningRiverBaseball fashion. While we generally only look at the players on the roster for the power rankings, this time we’ll rank every single player who has played for the Cleveland Indians this season in order of their production for the team this year. We’ll start today with the bottom half of the list, going from #44 through #23 with the top 22 coming out tomorrow. Only players who played in September will get a write up and will be rated as Above, Even or Below their expectations for the month. They will also have their movement since the August rankings noted.
43. Adam Plutko – Sent to Lynchburg, Did Not Play in 2017
42. Shawn Morimando – On Roster, Did Not Play in 2017
41. Kyle Crockett – Even – Unranked in August
Crockett was recalled after the Clippers season ended, but he played almost as little as Plutko and Morimando, who were each sent home due to lack of use before the season ended. Crockett pitched one inning in September and allowed two hits, but didn’t allow a run. This lowered his ERA to 10.80 on the season and showed how important Olson now is to the club.
40. Francisco Mejia – Even – UR
The first thing every team needs when call-ups are made September first is a third catcher to give the manager more strategic options. While the Indians could have went with Erik Kratz or even Eric Haase, they chose to go with top offensive prospect Mejia to get him a little experience. That experience, however, has been very little indeed as he had just a few at bats with his first cup of coffee.
39. Tyler Naquin – Even – UR
You could say that Bradley Zimmer took Naquin’s spot on the roster, but even when Zimmer was knocked out for the season Naquin was at best the Indians fourth string center fielder after Greg Allen, Almonte and Austin Jackson. As it was, he barely played in September and will likely not be involved with the Indians at all in the future beyond being a fourth outfielder.
38. Michael Martinez – Not on roster to end season
37. Boone Logan – On 60 Day disabled list
36. Shawn Armstrong – Even – UR
Armstrong was victim of some roster issues late in August that cost him a late start to September, but the results were essentially the same as he pitched just two innings in the month. While he was fine in those innings, it may signal that he will not be part of the bullpen much longer.
35. Greg Allen – Even – UR
Allen burst onto the scene as a September call-up, largely starting in center after the Zimmer injury. He’s had a few nice plays defensively and a few big hits, but he’s far from his ultimate potential, especially on the bases. He may have been called up a little early as he missed most of the season with a broken hamate bone, but was the Indians best speed outfield option at the top two MiLB levels and has played admirably so far.
34. Craig Breslow – Below – ↓8
As with many of many players who took a big dive in the rankings this month, Breslow falling eight places has a lot more to do with the addition of 17 players who weren’t in the August group. At any rate, Breslow didn’t pitch often enough as the Indians third left hander out of the bullpen to make much of a difference either way.
33. Dan Robertson – Not on roster to end season
32. Brandon Guyer – Below – ↓11
Guyer missed most of September with a wrist injury and when he did play, it was disappointing. This is likely because of said injury, but it really put a down note to end a down season.
31. Abraham Almonte – Above – UR
After missing considerable time this season, Almonte was a positive force late in the season, batting .286/.364/.357 in September and is the Indians only player who can really be considered a serviceable offensive (not Allen) and defensive (not Jackson or Kipnis) center fielder with Zimmer out.
30. Joe Smith – Below – ↓5
Bad luck lead to a crazy BABIP for Smith in September as his season ERA in Cleveland ballooned near four despite an FIP below 2.00. This shouldn’t cause any trepidation going forward, but it makes it impossible to rank him very highly, especially looking at his relatively low innings load.
29. Tyler Olson – Above – ↓10
Olson was one of the Indians best relievers in September, but since he often only pitches to one batter per game and hasn’t been with the team all year, he didn’t have the innings to consider him more of an impact player on the roster.
28. Erik Gonzalez – Even – ↓6
Gonzalez has had surprising power given his minor league numbers and his status as the skinny little utility infielder although his .272 OBP should be more expected to continue than his .418 SLG. That being said, no one projected Francisco Lindor to be a 30+ home run short stop, so you never know.
27. Ryan Merritt – DNP – ↓9
Merritt’s entire Major League career so far has been him exceeding his expectations to a great degree, then being told there was no room once the job was done. He was on the roster all month, but didn’t pitch in a game despite a season ERA of 1.74 in over 20 innings. The reasoning has two parts. First, his peripheral stats don’t look great, so it’s possible the Indians don’t believe he can continue this success. Second, the Indians rotation is so incredible that he legitimately may be the Indians seventh best starter.
26. Roberto Perez – Even – ↓6
Perez has continued his rise back to being an above average hitter with five home runs and 12 RBI leading to a .556 SLG. He played more often than Yan Gomes in September, possibly setting the stage for the post-season, but Gomes had better offensive numbers during the month and for the season as a whole. At the moment, we should expect them to split time about 50/50.
25. Yandy Diaz – Even – ↓1
While Diaz has been a better all around player than expected (2 SB, 0 CS and league average defensively so far), he hasn’t quite had the power numbers the Indians were looking for. He’s still had a better OPS vs LHP than many regulars including Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis and Bruce and even better than other specialists like himself, particularly Guyer. Because of that, he’s still valuable to the post-season roster, just not as valuable as the team had hoped.
24. Giovanny Urshela – Above – ↓1
With five extra base hits in September compared to just three from Diaz, Urshela won not just the battle of the glove, but the battle of the bat at third base. Urshela’s defense at third was likely the genesis of Jason Kipnis moving to center field and if his offense continues to improve the Indians may have to change some long term plans.
23. Jay Bruce – Even – ↓7
Bruce really slowed down after his torrid start with the Tribe in August, but he still hit three home runs and knocked in 11 during September. There’s no question that his ability to plug the hole in the injury laden outfield has been huge in not just running away with the Central and home field advantage, but in giving the team confidence in the offense going forward.
22. Dan Otero – Even – ↓5
Otero was fine in September and has been all year, performing his duty as a middle reliever perfectly. There just isn’t much glory in being a middle reliever and when the Indians added Smith it took away the little playing time he had in big situations.