There have been plenty of ups and downs for Cleveland so far in 2014, yet the team is entering the All-Star break at a perfectly average 47-47. There have been a few notable breakout stars and players performing above their true talent, but given the number of disappointments Cleveland’s gone through, .500 actually feels pretty good right now.
These rankings represent a snapshot of each player’s performance to date, meaning there are some people ranked higher who will regress down as the season goes on and vice versa. Players with more playing time are typically given some preference to those with less, which is why someone like Roberto Perez — who performed well in one game — is not #1.
In-text photos from ESPN
#21 John Axford, RHP (Previous Rank: 18, 26)
Axford has actually gotten his ERA in check lately, lowering it to 3.41 in 37.0 innings, but there are still greater signs that all is still not right with the right-hander. The strikeouts are there for Axford, but an inability to consistently put the ball over the plate (6.32 BB/9) and a third straight season of being prone to home runs are holding the right-hander back. It is possible Axford is on the upswing, but right now, he is still being used more in a mop-up role as opposed to being tasked with holding leads.
#20 Kyle Crockett, LHP (Previous Rank: NR, NR)
One place Cleveland excelled in the draft is acquiring fast-moving relievers, with Crockett’s rapid ascent through the system serving as the latest example. The fourth round pick in 2013 already has 13.1 innings under his belt at the major league level and has succeeded in that time, posting a 2.03 ERA. Granted, Crockett only has a 7:5 SO:BB and 4.41 FIP in that time — things that will need improvement if the left-hander is going to find continued success — but for now, the 22-year-old is surviving in the majors roughly 13 months after being drafted; that itself is pretty impressive.
#19 Zach McAllister, RHP (Previous Rank: 10, 5)
McAllister’s performance really fell off before he went on the disabled list, though whether that is a direct result of the injury or the regression that was bound to come his way is up for debate. Either way — even with the poor performances factored in — McAllister’s 0.5 fWAR in 54.1 innings still puts him on pace for a roughly average full season based on his 4.08 FIP. Now, if McAllister keeps getting results closer to his 5.63 ERA, obviously, he will not be average. But there is some hope McAllister can get back to being a solid starter in the second half, something Cleveland desperately needs. Read More…
From Indians Baseball Insider, July 15, 2014