The WAR Room is back again, bringing you the 2014 advanced stats for every Cleveland minor leaguer. Next up for The WAR Room is breaking down the organization’s minor leaguers by position based on 2014 performance. Join Jim Piascik as he breaks down Cleveland’s right-handed starters and relievers, a group that is deep in talent if not in immediate impact talent.
Over the past months, IBI rolled out the year-end rankings for every minor league affiliate in the Cleveland system and a Top 100 countdown based on age-adjusted WAR. Next up, we will be breaking down the organization position-by-position using the same age-adjusted WAR.
These rankings are adjusted for how old the prospect was compared to his minor league level. For example, older prospects like Anthony Gallas, who did well at 26 years old in High-A and Double-A, are downgraded, while younger prospects likeFrancisco Lindor, who did well at 20 years old Double-A and Triple-A, are upgraded (as if Lindor needed anymore help).
Naturally, if Gallas — or anyone else in his situation — continues to hit like he did in 2014, it will not matter that he was old for his level, and vice versa for young prospects. But overall, accounting for a player’s age relative to level is critically important for judging a prospect’s performance.
Before moving on to the position-by-position breakdown, first some reminders on what these numbers are, their uses, and their limitations:
It is always important to keep context in mind, just like with scouting. A pitcher who is old for his level using that experience to succeed against young, inexperienced hitters must be taken with a grain of salt; the same goes when looking at these WAR totals.
But it is a useful tool to put each player’s performance into context and look at where they sit in regard to the rest of the league.
For reference on how I computed WAR, a reminder on the problems inherent in the stats, and everything else you need to know, click here. For a refresher on WAR and what it is, click here.
As a reminder, a 0.0 WAR per 162 games is replacement level — otherwise known as the kind of performance an average player from the level below could offer — a 2.0 WAR per 162 games is average, and a 5.0 WAR per 162 games is All-Star level.
Also, the lack of good defensive metrics for the minor leagues means we have to adjust for a range of defensive abilities. To account for this, I will give you each player’s WAR with a qualifier: either poor-defense WAR for a poor defender (-10 runs below-average per 162 games), average-defense WAR for an average defender (0 runs per 162 games), or great-defense WAR for a great defender (10 runs above-average per 162 games).
Additionally, note that pitchers have FIP-based WAR — which is based on peripherals like strikeouts, walks, home runs, etc. — and RA-based WAR — which is based on runs allowed.
One more thing, all “+” stats are averaged at 100. Anything over 100, like 110, is higher and means that player is 10 percent better than the league average. Anything under 100, like 90, is lower and means that player is 10 percent worse than the league average. In the case of any “-” stats — when lower is better, like with ERA — a 90 ERA- means that player is 10 percent better than the league average.
The 2014 year-end season in review for every affiliate is listed below:
And here are the links to the Top 100 countdown:
Now, on to part one of the position-by-position breakdown. Each player’s spot in the overall Top 100 rankings is in parenthesis:
- Mitch Brown (12)
- Adam Plutko (15)
- Joe Colon (21)
- Will Roberts (22)
- Zach McAllister (24)
- Gabriel Arias (28)
- Cameron Hill (29)
- Trevor Bauer (30)
- Casey Shane (32)
- Michael Peoples (43)
- Duke von Schamann (47)
- Travis Banwart (51)
- Danny Salazar (52)
- Jordan Milbrath (62)
- D.J. Brown (64)
- Shao-Ching Chiang (74)
- Tyler Cloyd (78)
- Josh Tomlin (83)
- Dylan Baker (85)
- Grant Hockin (87)
- Julian Merryweather (101)
- Cody Anderson (114)
- Kieran Lovegrove (115)
- Mason Radeke (120)
- Cole Sulser (124)
- Michael Clevinger (128)
- Shaun Marcum (137)
- Justin Masterson (141)
- Brett Brach (153)
- Dace Kime (156)
- Matt Capps (167)
- Juan Santana (191)
- Kyle Davies (211)
- Toru Murata (221)
Top performers: The raw numbers on Cleveland’s right-handed starting pitchers are not all that great, as only six put up above-average numbers over the course of the whole season. But while only Mitch Brown, Adam Plutko, Joe Colon, Will Roberts, Zach McAllister, and Gabriel Arias hauled enough innings to be above-average, 17 total were above-average on a per-inning basis. Some like Trevor Bauer, Danny Salazar, and Josh Tomlin did not pitch much in the minors because they were in Cleveland, while others like Cameron Hill and Grant Hockin were 2014 draft picks, unable to pitch as much. There are some issues in Cleveland’s right-handed starting depth — largely that the highest-ranked pitcher is outside of the top 10 and quite a few of those top pitchers are a few steps from the majors, but there are quite a few interesting arms despite the lack of top-end options immediately on the horizon. Read More…
From Indians Baseball Insider, February 23, 2015