The 2017 Burning River Baseball Awards

The 2017 Burning River Baseball Awards


The 2017 Burning River Baseball Awards


The time is nigh to present the 2017 Burning River Baseball Awards. These awards are voted on by the staff of, this season meaning myself Joseph Coblitz, Justin Lada, Caitlin Boron, Pete Conti and John Hutchison. The awards reward members of the Cleveland Indians for their excellence in the current season based on certain criteria. The breakdown of votes is located at the bottom of the article.

“The Lee Award” for Most Improved Player – Mike Clevinger

Always at least slightly controversial as the meaning of most improved could mean the greatest increase in production overall, the biggest jump for a young player or the best return from an injury. With this in mind, Austin Jackson and Trevor Bauer received votes and Michael Brantley certainly deserved consideration. In the end, however, with a jump in fWAR of nearly two full wins and about 70 more innings than in his rookie season, Clevinger was deemed to have made the biggest move from 2016.

In addition to the increase in fWAR, Clevinger lowered his ERA from 5.26 to 3.11 and his FIP from 4.86 to 3.85, showing there was a significant advancement made. While walks remain an issue, Clevinger improved both his walk  (12.0% to 11.7%) and K rates (21.5% to 27.3%) in 2017 and remained nearly unhittable (.210 AVG) despite a similar BABIP to last season.

2016 Winner – Jose Ramirez
2015 Winner – Lonnie Chisenhall
2014 Winner – Carlos Carrasco
2013 Winner – Scott Kazmir
2012 Winner – Shin-Soo Choo
2011 Winner – Justin Masterson

“The Super Joe” Rookie of the Year Award – Bradley Zimmer

Officially, this award was between Yandy Diaz, Nick Goody and Zimmer as the only rookies who played a significant amount of time for Cleveland and the decision was unanimous. While he didn’t blow anyone away offensively, he was great on the bases (18 steals, 1 cs) and even better in the field. This was an automatic pick with no offense meant to Goody or Diaz.

2016 Winner – Tyler Naquin
2015 Winner – Francisco Lindor
2014 Winner – T.J. House
2013 Winner – Cody Allen
2012 Winner – Zach McAllister
2011 Winner – Vinnie Pestano

“The Steve Olin Memorial Award” for Best Reliever – Andrew Miller

Miller won this award in 2016 in a split decision after playing just August and September in Cleveland, so it probably should have been expected that he’d run away with it this year. Despite missing time with injury, Miller lead all Indians relievers in fWAR, FIP, ERA, K/9, total K’s, holds and mustache length. This was another unanimous decision.

2016 Winner – Andrew Miller
2015 Winner – Cody Allen
2014 Winner – Cody Allen
2013 Winner – Cody Allen
2012 Winner – Vinnie Pestano
2011 Winner – Joe Smith

“The Big O” for Most Outstanding Defender – Bradley Zimmer

While Lindor lead the team in defensive runs saved, he wasn’t as good with the glove as he was last year and the team defense was rather lackluster early in the year when he was the only standout defender. It wasn’t until the Zimmer was called up that things turned around in the outfield defensively and Zimmer ended up leading the team in UZR/150 and would have likely outpaced Lindor in DRS and total UZR had he played more often (he had less than half the innings in the field compared to Lindor). Nobody was as good on the routine plays (he didn’t commit an error and had 8 assists) or had as many spectacular ones as Zimmer (he made 23% of remote possibility plays which are generally made less than 10% of the time).

2016 Winner – Francisco Lindor
2015 Winner – Francisco Lindor
2014 Winner – Jose Ramirez
2013 Winner – Michael Brantley
2012 Winner – Michael Brantley
2011 Winner – Jack Hannahan

“The Golden Belle” for Most Outstanding Hitter – Jose Ramirez

Ramirez took home the MVP last year for his combined hitting, fielding and base running, but couldn’t get past Carlos Santana to be called the Indians best hitter. This year, there was little question as only one voter dissented to Ramirez taking home the gold. His 56 doubles are the most for the Indians since 1926 and his 29 home runs were third on the team. He also lead the team in average (if you like that type of thing) and slugging percent.

2016 Winner – Carlos Santana
2015 Winner – Michael Brantley
2014 Winner – Michael Brantley
2013 Winner – Jason Kipnis
2012 Winner – Shin-Soo Choo
2011 Winner – Asdrubal Cabrera

“The Addie” for Best Overall Pitcher – Corey Kluber

For the fourth season in a row, the Indians ace has taken home top pitcher on the team. This may seem obvious, but he did have some competition this year with a great season from Carlos Carrasco and solid years from Trevor Bauer and Mike Clevinger. Even so, Kluber was not just the best pitcher on the Indians, but arguably the best in baseball, leading all AL pitchers with a 2.25 ERA in over 200 innings despite missing a month on the DL.

2016 Winner – Corey Kluber
2015 Winner – Corey Kluber
2014 Winner – Corey Kluber
2013 Winner – Justin Masterson
2012 Winner – Vinnie Pestano
2011 Winner – Justin Masterson

“The Rose Award” for Best Overall Player – Corey Kluber

In the end, the overall team MVP came down to Kluber and Ramirez for the second season in a row. Using the most fair stat to compare pitchers to hitters, Kluber had a 7.3 WAR to Ramirez’s 6.6, both leading the Indians on their side of the ball. The voting reflected this as Kluber swept the field for his second Rose Award on the strength of 265 strike outs.

2016 Winner – Jose Ramirez
2015 Winner – Francisco Lindor
2014 Winner – Corey Kluber
2013 Winner – Jason Kipnis
2012 Winner – Jason Kipnis
2011 Winner – Asdrubal Cabrera

Vote Results

Awards Joe Justin Cait Pete John Gavin
Most Improved Jackson Clevinger Bauer Bauer Clevinger Clevinger
Rookie of the Year Zimmer Zimmer Zimmer Zimmer Zimmer Zimmer
Best Reliever Miller Miller Miller Miller Miller Miller
Outstanding Defender Zimmer Zimmer Santana Zimmer Santana Perez
Outstanding Hitter Ramirez Ramirez Ramirez Encarnacion Ramirez Ramirez
Overall Pitcher Kluber Kluber Kluber Kluber Kluber Kluber
Best Player Kluber Kluber Kluber Kluber Kluber Ramirez

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