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Way back a long time ago I undertook the job of ranking the top 10 Indians in franchise history at each position. Now, at the end of every season I go back and add in that season as well as any new information about older players that seems important. The following are the results and changes after considering the 2018 season. To see the full list of ten players and my reasoning, click the header for each position.
It seems odd to start off a list of top 10 changes with a player who isn’t a top 10, but these are actually top 15 lists with the bottom five listed at the bottom of the page. Yan Gomes came into the season ranked at #14 and surpassed Duke Sims and Ron Hassey to move to #12.
Jason Kipnis started off slowly this year, but ultimately had a solid season. This, however, was not enough to budge him out of his spot at #5. As a near equal to Odell Hale now, he should be able to move to #4 next year with another two win season.
Coming into 2018, Lonnie Chisenhall was ranked as the Indians 12th best 3B while Jose Ramirez came in 13th. Honestly, both should probably have been in the top 10 already by that point, but I think I was too lazy to update that particular list. The error has since been rectified and Ramirez jumps all the way to #3 behind Al Rosen and Ken Keltner, ahead of Bill Bradley. Chisenhall also moves into the top ten, although with a much smaller jump. He comes in at #10 as he heads into free agency, surpassing Max Alvis, Buddy Bell and Graig Nettles. If you are wondering why Chisenhall is listed as a third baseman, it’s because I’ve created the standard that a player will be listed where he played most often and he still has played 341 games at 3B compared to 274 in the outfield (242 in RF).
Lindor easily made his way into the top 10 after just a couple seasons, but moves up just one spot this year from #9 to #8, surpassing Woodie Held. One more season anywhere near the quality of his last two, however, would likely move him to #5 by the end of 2019.
Michael Brantley moved into 5th last year despite missing most of 2017 and another All-Star appearance and all around good year in 2018 has allowed him to surpass Joe Vosmik and Charlie Jamieson to move into #3 all time behind Jeff Heath and Albert Belle. As Brantley is a free agent this off-season, it is likely this will be his permanent position.
It’s hard to find ten players to even consider for a top ten designated hitters list, so Edwin Encarnacion made it to #7 after his first season. He used a similar season in 2018 to surpass Richie Sexson and Eddie Murray to move into 5th. Another decent season could move him up one or two, but the top two spots are likely set for life.
Andrew Miller jumped into the top ten left handed relievers after just a season and a couple months last year due to a lack of other worthy contenders. Now that he has a few more innings, he moves ahead of Paul Assenmacher, Rafael Perez, Don Mossi and Jesse Orosco into 3rd place behind Sid Monge and Tony Sipp. If his season had been more like the previous two, he would easily be #1 without a thought.
Cody Allen moved into the #1 spot last year and remains there. At the current time, it is hard to imagine this list changing in any manner for at least three years.
When my top 10 lists were originally created I split starting pitchers into two categories; aces and everyone else. This was done because the Indians have had so many incredible pitchers over the years and I felt that just because someone was overshadowed in their day doesn’t mean they should be forever. The 2018 season was a great example of pitchers who aren’t the ace blossoming as both Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer had incredible seasons. Their seasons in addition to the rest of their careers so far were enough to place them in the top 15 as Bauer debuts at #15 this year, knocking off Otto Hess and Carrasco moves from #13 to #10.
This also gave me a chance to take another, more modern look at the rankings overall and I’ve done quite the shuffle. You can click the link in the header to see all the changes, but essentially Bob Rhoads‘ dead ball era performance has been discounted with Bob Lemon taking over the top spot and Mike Garcia moving up to third.