New manager Terry Francona has his Cleveland Indians in a good position at the All-Star Break. The Indians are 51-44 (53.7%) so far this year, which has them in second place in the A.L. Central, only 1.5 games behind the Tigers. The Indians are also 3 games behind the Rangers and Rays in the Wild Card Race. Here are the players who made the biggest impacts for the Indians in the first half of the 2013 season, in my opinion:
TEAM MVP: Jason Kipnis – 26-year old lefty swinging 2B Jason Kipnis is having a huge season for the Tribe in 2013. Kipnis has played in 84 games for the Indians so far this year and he is 96 of 319 (.301 avg, .897 OPS) with 53 runs scored, 13 homers, 57 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. He has also walked 45 times so far this year, but he has also whiffed 83 times…..which is too many! Kipnis is the Indians’ leader in runs scored (53), RBIs (57) and stolen bases (21) at the All-Star Break. He is also #2 in homers (13) and #3 in walks (45) for the Tribe so far in 2013.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Corey Kluber – 27-year old righty starting pitcher Corey Kluber was a long shot to make the Indians’ starting rotation this spring. He not only made the team, but he has been one of their best pitchers so far in 2013. Kluber has pitched in 17 games (15 starts) for the Indians so far this year and he is 7-5 with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. Kluber has given up 96 hits and 22 walks while whiffing 94 batters in his first 95 innings so far this year, which are impressive numbers.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Nick Swisher – The Indians gave 32-year old switch-hitting 1B Nick Swisher big bucks last winter for his bat, but that just hasn’t worked out so far in 2013. Swisher has played in 79 games for the Indians so far this year and he is 70 for 289 (.242 avg, .750 OPS) with 42 runs scored, 9 homers and 31 RBIs. Swisher has also whiffed 72 times against 46 walks so far this year. The Indians need a lot more out of Swisher’s bat in 2013.