Results tagged ‘ Michael Brantley ’

Grantland’s Jonah Keri: Gomes, Brantley, Kluber three of most valuable players in baseball

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Jonah Keri, a long-time national baseball writer who now writes for Grantland — and previously looked inside the Tampa Bay Rays’ approach in book form — recently published his MLB Trade Value column, and writes favorably about three of the Tribe’s best players: Yan Gomes, Michael Brantley and Corey Kluber.

Important note: Keri is not writing that these three players will be traded; they’ll be in Tribe uniforms for many years to come. As we’ve written here, each player is under club control through at least 2017. Keri simply writes that each player is among the most valuable in the game, thanks in large part to the contract extensions we signed Gomes and Brantley to before this season.

Details on each:

No. 25 most valuable contract in baseball: Yan Gomes (NR), C, Cleveland Indians

Aside from the minor leaguers, Gomes is probably the player on this list who has the least name-recognition among casual fans. That won’t be the case for long. Toronto drafted Gomes in the 10th round in 2009 and dealt him in 2012 for Esmil Rogers, a trade the Jays surely regret, and one that contributed to their decision to spend $82 million on Russell Martin this offseason. Gomes has quietly grown into one of the AL’s best all-around players, bashing 21 homers and posting a .278/.313/.472 line in 2014 while displaying strong pitch-framing skills and playing generally excellent defense. He’s 27 years old, he’s owed a paltry $20.95 million over the next five years, and the Tribe would need to spend only another $20 million to lock him up through 2021.

If the Indians were as good at signing free agents as they are trading for unheralded prospects, they’d be a damn dynasty by now.

16. Michael Brantley (NR), OF, Cleveland Indians
15. Corey Kluber (NR), SP, Cleveland Indians

I mentioned the Indians’ impressive prospect-thievery skills earlier, and here’s further proof: They got Brantley as a throw-in for CC Sabathia and got Kluber as an afterthought in a random Jake Westbrook–Ryan Ludwick three-way exchange. Not too shabby!

In 2014, Brantley blossomed from a decent all-around player to a .327/.385/.506 one-man wrecking crew who might be even better than his 7.0 WAR indicated. Brantley’s batting average on balls in play spiked to a career-high .333 in 2014, but there’s reason to believe that might not be a fluke: According to ESPN Stats & Info, he ranked eighth in the majors in hard-hit average, trailing only David Ortiz, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Andrew McCutchen, Adrian Beltre, Edwin Encarnacion, and Lucas Duda. At $19 million over the next three years (with an $11 million club option for 2018),1 the 27-year-old has emerged as a cornerstone.

As impressive as Brantley was, though, he took second billing to fellow breakout sensation Kluber, who tossed 235.2 innings, punched out 269 batters, posted a 2.44 ERA, and won the damn Cy Young. Kluber is 28, Indians property for four more seasons, and isn’t even arbitration-eligible yet. Brantley and Kluber earned two of the top four spots on my fake AL MVP ballot for 2014, and should continue earning that kind of recognition for years to come.

ESPN’s Olney high on quintet of Tribe players

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ESPN Insider Buster Olney has completed his annual positional rankings, and Indians players fared well: Michael Brantley was the top-ranked left fielder, while Yan Gomes, Jason Kipnis, Corey Kluber and Cody Allen also rated highly. (Olney factored in more than just the 2014 season, hence Kluber’s ranking.)

Since Olney’s blog is an Insider blog, some Tribe fans may not have access to it; here’s a link and Olney’s reasoning behind placing our guys where he has:

Left fielders

No. 1 — Michael Brantley: He was a working definition of consistency in 2014, with 200 hits (Jose Altuve was the only other player to reach that mark), 67 extra-base hits, 52 walks and 56 strikeouts, plus 23 stolen bases in 24 attempts. His OPS before the All-Star break was .901, and afterward it was .876. In September, when the Indians were making one last push for the postseason, he posted a 1.022 OPS. The only position players who scored higher in Fangraphs’ WAR last season were Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen. Brantley finished third in the AL MVP vote, exactly where he should’ve finished.

Starters

No. 8 — Corey Kluber: He doesn’t have the long track record of other starters on this list, but it’s hard to overstate how dominant he was last season, with a breaking ball that confounded hitters who were so often behind in the count. Check out these highlights — the run of his fastball, the spin of his breaking ball — from a start he made in July. After the All-Star break, hitters had a .555 OPS against Kluber, third-best in the majors.

Catchers

No. 7 – Yan Gomes: Gomes is perhaps the majors’ most underrated catcher, and Indians GM Chris Antonetti deserves a ton of credit for making a deal with the Blue Jays for him. The 27-year-old product of Brazil took over from Carlos Santana in the summer of 2013 because of what he can do defensively, and Gomes is really good offensively as well, having posted an .826 OPS in 2013 and .785 last season.

Gomes scores well in the pitch-framing numbers, and deserves a share of the credit for the staff-wide improvement of the Cleveland hurlers.

Relievers

No. 9 — Cody Allen: A big swing-and-miss reliever, Allen held opponents to a .601 OPS last season. He’s entrenched as the closer in the Indians’ bullpen.

Second basemen

No. 6 – Jason Kipnis: There’s no getting around it: Kipnis had a terrible season in 2014, posting a .240/.310/.330 slash line, and his extra-base hits plummeted from 57 to 32. But we’re giving him a mulligan, given his age (27) and the fact that he suffered an early-season oblique injury that seemed to put him in a hole from which he never climbed out. Maybe he got caught up in the effort of trying to make up for lost time and simply fell into bad habits. Justin Havens sent along these notes:

In 2013, Kipnis posted a .754 slugging percentage on fly balls, with 14 home runs and 9.5 percent of his fly balls turning into homers. Bizarrely, in 2014, he slugged just .301 on his fly balls, with only 4.3 percent (5) of them going for a home run. Perhaps most telling, his average fly ball distance dropped from 290 feet in 2013 to 270 in 2014. How good Kipnis is centers largely around which performance against left-handed pitchers is “real.” See below (chase rate is defined as percent of pitches out of the strike zone that result in swings):

2014: .208 batting average, .244 slugging, 30.1 percent chase rate
2013: .308 BA, .480 slugging, 18.8 percent chase rate
2012: .215 BA, .282 slugging, 21.2 percent chase rate

#12DaysofTribe is back for 2014!

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Last year’s #12DaysofTribe contests were a big success – thanks in large part to the great participation of our loyal social media followers!

Given last year’s success, we’re back this year! We’ll start on Monday, Dec. 8, and here’s a preview of what fun we have in store for you this year!

Monday, Dec. 8: Record your best Tom Hamilton home run call impression.

  • We’ll give you a highlight on Monday, and you have to send us a Vine or Instagram video if you calling it in your best Hammy voice.
  • Prize: Booth visit to meet Hammy and Rosey at an April or May 2015 game.

Tuesday, Dec. 9: Hashtag contest

  • We can’t give you too many details, as we know you’ll cheat, ya buncha cheaters. Stay tuned for Tuesday.
  • Prize: Jim Thome replica statue

Wednesday, Dec. 10: Haiku

  • We’ll give you a theme on Wednesday, and if you know us, you know we love haikus … You’ll have to get creative here.
  • Prize: Terry Francona replica jersey

Thursday, Dec. 11: Vine contest

  • You’ll have to accomplish a winter-themed task of our choosing.
  • Prize: Kipnis and Brantley bobbleheads

Friday, Dec. 12: Batting stance impression

  • We’ll give you a Tribe player, and you send us your best, most creative impression of that guy’s stance
  • Prize: Autographed ball

Saturday, Dec. 13: Walk-off homer re-creation

  • We’ll give you a highlight, and you’ll have to re-create it.
  • Prize: Michael Brantley autographed jersey

Sunday, Dec. 14: Recreate a magical Tribe photo

  • We’ll give you a photo from our storied history – perhaps a walk-off celebration? – and you and your friends/family/random people have to re-create it.
  • Prize: Winner will “take over” our Instagram at a 2015 game

Monday, Dec. 15: Meme!

  • We’ll give you a meme, and you have to top it.
  • Prize: Kluber autographed ball

Tuesday, Dec. 16: Photo caption contest

  • Prize: Four tickets to a 2015 game at Progressive Field

Wednesday, Dec. 17: Trivia!

  • Prize: 2 Larry Doby jerseys

Thursday, Dec. 18: Guess the Corey Kluber faces

  • We’ll give you a jar full of Kluber faces and you have to guess how many are in it.
  • Prize: Kluber autographed ball

Friday, Dec. 19: Favorite ballpark photos from 2014

  • Post to Instagram your favorite photos from Progressive Field in 2014.
  • Prize: Lofton jersey/ “ClevelandLAND that I Love” shirt

 

Indians plan festivities for Nov. 12, 13 prior to AL Cy Young, MVP Award unveiling

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The Cleveland Indians have a host of activities planned for Wednesday and Thursday ahead of the announcement of the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards, for which Corey Kluber and Michael Brantley are finalists.

Kluber, 28, is coming off one of the best seasons in Indians history by a starting pitcher, going 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA and 269 strikeouts, sixth-most in club history for a single season. He finished tied for first in the American League in wins (18) and starts (34), second in strikeouts and third in ERA (2.44) and innings pitched (235.2).

Brantley earned his first American League All-Star selection in 2014 and led the club and set career-bests in virtually every offensive category. He became the first Indians player to amass 200 hits, 45-plus doubles, 20-plus home runs and 20-plus stolen bases in the 114-year history of the franchise (and the ninth overall player in MLB history to do it). He also won an AL Silver Slugger Award.

Among the activities planned are:

  • Kluber Q&A: Fans will have the opportunity to ask Kluber questions on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon; fans should follow @Indians and @CKluber to participate.
  • Callaway conference call: Tribe Season Ticket Holders and social media followers can chat live with the man who works most closely with Kluber during the season, Tribe pitching coach Mickey Callaway, at 4PM Wednesday.
  • Business/school support: The Indians are asking Cleveland-area businesses and schools to wear Tribe colors to support Kluber and Brantley on Wednesday and Thursday; those that do, and tweet photos of their workplace or school in Tribe gear using the hashtag #CyKluber, will be eligible to win Indians prize packs. (Click here for contest rules.)
  • Social media contests: The Indians will offer prizes for fans on social media who enter a Kluber look-a-like contest and others.
  • #CyKluber countdown, #SmoothMVP highlights: On social media, the Indians will wrap up their month-long countdown of Kluber’s AL-high 18 wins with recaps of each start, including pitching lines, highlights and more. On Thursday, the club’s social media accounts will focus on highlights of Brantley’s historic season.
  • Cy Young announcement: Kluber, along with the other finalists, will be interviewed on MLB Network starting at 6PM Wednesday ahead of the announcement.
  • MVP announcement: Brantley will be interviewed, along with the Angels’ Mike Trout and the Tigers’ Victor Martinez, on MLB Network starting at 6PM ahead of the award unveiling.

 

—tribe—

Michael Brantley discusses being named AL MVP finalist and receiving the AL Silver Slugger Award

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Michael Brantley caught up with reporters on a conference call this afternoon to discuss his reaction to being named an AL MVP finalist and winner of the AL Silver Slugger on Thursday.

Brantley’s thoughts:

“When I sit back and reflect on the season, the coaching staff, teammates and trainers, family, the fun season we had together, to be recognized for these awards is a blessing and an honor. Your peers and voters have their say as well. I’m just honored to be mentioned in that category with those guys. It’s a tribute to a lot of hard work that’s paying off.

On Yan Gomes being awarded the Silver Slugger: “It’s very exciting because you see that he is one of the leaders on this team. We hit side by side in the cage. He works hard each and every day as a catcher; it’s not easy. To be his teammate and to watch how hard he worked to earn this award, I couldn’t be more happy for him.

On Terry Francona’s contract extension: “It’s exciting because it’s somewhere he wants to be. He is happy coaching us, and we are happy playing for him. 162 games is a long time. He allows you to go out there, play the game and enjoy it. He is truly a players’ manager. When you enjoy your manager, enjoy the guys, enjoy playing, it’s awesome. Something special is going to happen.

On the conversation he had this week with his father, Mickey Brantley: “It’s funny, we were just talking the other day. After I was nominated for a couple awards, I said, ‘Dad, I had a pretty good season.’ He just laughed and said, ‘Son, you had a great season.’ I’ve never been the player that was stat-driven; I care about my teammates and winning, and that comes first.

On his offseason and his anticipation for the 2015 season: “I pride myself on working hard in the offseason. Consistency and your workout routine, eating right and coming into Spring Training ready is important. Once the first game comes, I’m acclimated and ready to go. You have to come into Spring Training prepared and ready to play baseball.

I’m very excited for next year, and I hear from teammates that they are as well. Being with one another, especially the great group of guys we have in the locker room, it’s special. If guys push each other and work hard, I think good things will happen.”

Gomes, Brantley win AL Silver Slugger Awards

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The Louisville Silver Slugger Awards are given annually to the top offensive performers at each position in each league, and the Indians have two winners this year: catcher Yan Gomes and left fielder Michael Brantley.

Gomes, 27, becomes the first Indians catcher to win an outright Silver Slugger Award; Victor Martinez shared the award with Ivan Rodriguez in 2004. He hit .278 (135-485) with 25 doubles, 21 home runs and 74 RBI in 135 games in 2014, leading American League catchers in average (.278), OPS (.785) and extra base hits (49) and was 2nd in RBI (74) and 3rd in homers (21). The Sao Paulo, Brazil native joined Carlos Santana, Victor Martinez, Sandy Alomar & John Romano as only Indians catchers with 20+ HR, 60+ R and 70+ RBI in a single-season. In his first full season in the Majors, Yan finished 12th in slugging pct (.472), 19th in OPS (.785) and 9th in average vs. LHP (.331) in the entire A.L. among the 76 batters who qualified for the batting title while his 51 RBI over the season’s final 86 games (6/24-9/28) were 2nd on the club behind Santana (55). He is the only catcher in club history to win the *Silver Slugger Award outright (Martinez shared the award in 2004).

Brantley, 27, was named a finalist for the AL MVP award on Tuesday night; he’s up against the Angels’ Mike Trout and the Tigers’ Victor Martinez. Brantley earned his first American League All-Star selection and led the club and set career-bests in virtually every offensive category, becoming the first Indians player to amass 200 hits, 45+ doubles, 20+ HR, 20+ stolen bases in the 114-year history of the franchise; he’s also just the 9th player in MLB history to reach those numbers.

He became the ninth member of the club’s 20 homers/20 steal club and the first Indians hitter since 1996 to record 200 hits. Among A.L. batters he finished 3rd in average (.327) and doubles (45), 2nd in hits (200), 4th in on-base pct. (.385), T6th in runs (94), 7th in OPS (.890), 11th in steals (23) and 12th in RBI (97).  He is vying to become the first Indians A.L. MVP since Al Rosen in 1953. Manny Ramirez and Roberto Alomar (T3rd 1999) were the last Indians players to finish among the top 3 in the A.L. MVP voting.

Louisville Slugger annually awards Silver Sluggers to the top offensive player at each position in the American and National Leagues. The award is voted on by four members of each club’s coaching staff.

The Tribe’s last winner was shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera in 2011, while Grady Sizemore was the last Indians outfielder to win the award, in 2008. Victor Martinez was the last Tribe catcher to win, in 2004, and the last time the Indians had two Silver Sluggers in the same year was 2000 (Robbie Alomar, Manny Ramirez).

News roundup: What they’re saying about Francona extension, Kluber/Brantley named finalists for BBWAA awards

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Looking for a one-stop shop for a recap of our big day of news from Tuesday? We have you covered. Here’s a roundup of what local and national writers are saying about Terry Francona’s extension and Corey Kluber and Michael Brantley being named finalists for the Baseball Writers Association of America awards!

FRANCONA

  • Anthony Castrovince, MLB.com: Francona’s genuine love for the Tribe shows in results
    • It’s hard to be around this club as much as I am and come away with the belief that either record would have been even remotely possible without somebody like Francona at the helm. I certainly don’t think a rookie skipper would have guided that 2013 club to the playoffs, and I’m doubly convinced that 85 wins, with a club playing multiple rookies down the stretch, would have been impossible had Francona not kept his clubhouse in order.
  • Tom Withers, AP: Francona helps turn around culture in Cleveland
    • Francona has been worth every penny since the Indians hired him following a disastrous, 94-loss season in 2012. He’s helped reshape the team’s culture, infused enthusiasm into the organization and made Cleveland a more attractive destination for free agents. Players want to play for Francona.
  • Zack Meisel, Cleveland.com: What Terry Francona’s contract extension really means for the Indians
    • That core — which now includes Santana, Kipnis, Yan Gomes and Michael Brantley — is locked up, and affordably so, for years. The starting rotation, a group that thrived in the second half of the season, is under team control on the cheap for at least another three seasons. With Francona in the fold until at least 2018 — the Indians hold club options on him the following two years — the organization is announcing its intention to see it through to the end with this bunch.
  • Joe Reedy, FoxSportsOhio.com: Locking up Francona allows Indians to keep moving forward
    • There are many, including me, who would say he did an even better job this past season considering the rotation was shaky until the last months and that 12 rookies saw significant playing time. Dating back to 2004, teams that Francona has managed have posted winning records 10 consecutive seasons (eight in Boston, two in Cleveland). That is the longest such managerial streak since Joe Torre had 14 straight with the Yankees and Dodgers from 1996-2009.

KLUBER/BRANTLEY

  • Anthony Castrovince, MLB.com: Takeaways from BBWAA finalists
    • The great thing about announcing these finalists the week before the award is that it gives the public, at large, proper appreciation of the seasons that will fall just short of actual hardware. Let’s say Mike Trout runs away with the AL MVP, as most of us are anticipating. At least now the sensational seasons of Victor Martinez and Michael Brantley are — for a few days, at least — headlines, not footnotes.
  • Jordan Bastian, Indians.com: Indians Kluber, Brantley finalists for BBWAA awards
    • Brantley became the first player in Indians history to finish with at least 20 homers, 20 steals, 40 doubles and 200 hits in a single season. “He’s a complete player,” Antonetti said at the end of the season. “And we think he’s deserving of MVP consideration with the year he had. He was a huge part of our success and we think one of the best players in the American League.” Brantley became only the ninth player in Major League history to end a season with at least 20 homers, 20 steals, 45 doubles and 200 hits. The others on that short list include Jacoby Ellsbury (2011), Handley Ramirez (2007), Alfonso Soriano (2002), Craig Biggio (1998), Larry Walker (1997), Ellis Burks (1996), Vada Pinson (1959) and Chuck Klein (1932). During his final game of the season, Brantley collected his 200th hit and was showered with “M-V-P!” chants from the Cleveland faithful. Hearing that from the fans meant a lot to the outfielder. “It’s a remarkable feeling,” he said. “I want to thank the fans for that. That’s something that’s not thrown around. It was a special moment and I appreciate that.”

Vote for your favorite Tribe players in MLB’s GIBBY awards!

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The Indians are well-represented in the 2014 edition of the GIBBYs, or Major League Baseball’s Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards.

The awards are given based on votes, media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans and the Society for American Baseball Research.

Those Tribe players nominated are:

  • MVP: Michael Brantley
  • Hitter: Brantley
  • Pitcher: Corey Kluber
  • Breakout player: Kluber, Carlos Carrasco
  • Play: Michael Bourn catch, May 27
  • Outfield throw: Mike Aviles, July 13
  • Hitting performance: Lonnie Chisenhall’s 9-RBI night on June 9
  • Oddity:
    • Aug. 5: Two balls on the field at Progressive Field vs. Cincinnati
    • May 22: Chisenhall bunt single to right field
  • Walk-off: Balkoff vs. the Tigers, May 21
  • Cut4 topic: Jim Thome statue unveiling, Aug. 2

 

Core values: Tribe’s young stars under control through at least 2017

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With the World Series nearing an end – and what a series it’s been – baseball’s offseason will move into high gear, beginning with the postseason awards the week of Nov. 10. Those include MVP, where Michael Brantley should finish in the top 3, and Cy Young, where Corey Kluber should have a good chance at winning.

Before the offseason begins, it’s prudent to take a look at exactly where the Tribe’s roster stands – especially since it’s in a good place: 16 players are under Indians control through at least 2016, with the team’s top young players – Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and more – under control even longer.

Here’s a look at the current Indians roster and the number of seasons through which individual players are scheduled to be under club control. Certainly this can change over the course of an offseason – for instance contract extensions to Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes and Jason Kipnis last year.

Under club control through at least 2019

  • Jason Kipnis
  • Yan Gomes
  • Danny Salazar

Under club control through at least 2018

  • Cody Allen
  • Corey Kluber
  • Zach McAllister
  • Nick Hagadone

Under club control through at least 2017

  • Michael Brantley
  • Bryan Shaw
  • Lonnie Chisenhall
  • Carlos Carrasco

Under club control through at least 2016

  • Nick Swisher
  • Michael Bourn
  • Carlos Santana
  • Marc Rzepczynski
  • Josh Tomlin

Additionally, a group of young Tribe players who impacted the big-league club are under control for even longer; they’re just into their Major League service time clock, so the club controls their rights even past 2019. That group includes:

  • Jesus Aguilar
  • Kyle Crockett
  • Tyler Holt
  • TJ House
  • CC Lee
  • Roberto Perez
  • Jose Ramirez
  • Zach Walters

–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond

Brantley, Gomes named finalists for Gold Glove awards

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Congratulations to Tribe outfielder Michael Brantley and catcher Yan Gomes, each of whom have been named finalists in the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards. Winners will be announced on Nov. 4 on “Baseball Tonight.”

Gomes picked up where he left off in 2013, making 121 starts at catcher (126 games) and eight at DH. Gomes threw out 27 of 93 (29%) of the runners attempting to steal off him, the second-highest percentage among American League catchers behind the Yankees’ Brian McCann (31%). Gomes also made just three errors over his last 55 games of the season (since July 18). Gomes set new club records for single-season putouts (1052) and total chances (1139) for an Indians catcher as the Indians staff set a new MLB record for strikeouts (1450).

Brantley, meanwhile, made 106 starts in left field, 40 in center and eight at designated hitter. His error on April 2 at Oakland snapped a club-record string of 247 consecutive errorless games; that error was Brantley’s only error of the season. He ended the season with a 144-game errorless streak and has just one error over his last 393 games since June 3, 2012. His 12 outfield assists were tied for fourth among American League outfielders; he now has 33 career assists.

Brantley also should receive some MVP votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

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