2012 Tony Awards: Offensive Player of the Year
Today we continue the IPI’s year-end awards with the announcement of the Offensive Player of the Year.
This award goes to the position player in the Indians organization that had the best year. Like with all the awards so far, this is 100% based on performance and not on prospect standing.
Also, the players eligible for the award had to have at least an .800 OPS and play in at least two-thirds of their season. For a player who played from the start of the season on a full season team this would be 96 games, for a player that started their season once short season leagues got started this would be 50 games (rookie level would be 37 games).
Here are the 2012 Tony Awards so far:
Rookie of the Year: Dorssys Paulino (SS)
Defensive Player of the Year: Giovanny Urshela (3B)
Biggest Disappointment: Dillon Howard (RHP)
Biggest Breakthrough: Cody Allen (RHP)
Reliever of the Year: Shawn Armstrong (RHP)
Comeback Player of the Year: Thomas Neal (OF)
Pitcher of the Year: Corey Kluber (RHP)
This is the final “Tony Award” to be handed out, but this weekend I will provide the final award piece which will be my All-Tony team where I list the best players this season position-by-position in a “1st team” and “2nd team” format.
Again, these awards are simply for fun to hand out at the end of the year. Also, the Cleveland Indians in no way whatsoever had any input in these awards.
Onto the nominees…
Offensive Player of the Year Nominees
(in alphabetical order)
Jesus Aguilar (1B – Carolina, Akron)
.280 AVG, 127 G, 75 R, 31 2B, 2 3B, 15 HR, 71 RBI, 58 BB, 115 K, 0 SB, .833 OPS
Aguilar did not have quite as good a season as he had in 2011 when he hit .284 with 23 HR, 82 RBI, and .865 OPS, but the overall performance was pretty close considering he put up most of his numbers this season in the pitching dominated Carolina League whereas last year he spent most of the season in the Midwest League with Low-A Lake County. He showed improvement in all areas of his game, though going forward he needs to show more with his best tool (his power). He finished 6th in the Carolina League in OPS (.819) and finished 6th in the organization in home runs (15) and 4th in RBI (71).
Russ Canzler (OF/INF – Columbus, Cleveland)
Minors: .265 AVG, 130 G, 68 R, 36 2B, 3 3B, 22 HR, 79 RBI, 46 BB, 128 K, 2 SB, .815 OPS
Majors: .269 AVG, 26 G, 9 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 4 BB, 22 K, 0 SB, .697 OPS
Canzler got off to a slow start at Triple-A Columbus hitting .261 with 3 HR, 15 RBI and .695 OPS in 50 total games in April and May, but from June 1st through the rest of his time in Columbus he hit .268 with 19 HR, 64 RBI and .890 OPS in 80 games. He got a short call to Cleveland in September and flashed some power and has solidified his status as a depth option for left field and first base in 2013. He led the organization in home runs (22) and RBI (79).
Chun Chen (1B/C: Akron)
.308 AVG, 108 G, 62 R, 30 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 43 RBI, 56 BB, 101 K, 6 SB, .820 OPS
Chen had a solid showing offensively at Double-A Akron even while making a position change from catcher to first base right at the beginning of the season. Often times a position change can end up being a distraction and can hurt a player’s performance offensively because they spend so much of their focus on playing the new position, but that was not the case for Chen this season as he put up numbers very similar to his good seasons in 2010 and 2011. He finished 9th in the organization in batting average (.308) and was 5th in the Eastern League in batting average (.308), 9th in doubles (30), and 4th in on-base percentage (.394).
Tim Fedroff (OF – Akron, Columbus)
.316 AVG, 123 G, 79 R, 23 2B, 10 3B, 12 HR, 54 RBI, 61 BB, 78 K, 14 SB, .879 OPS
Fedroff had a fantastic season and really solidified himself as an outfield prospect for the Indians. He got the short end of the stick with his assignment to Double-A Akron to open the season, but he used it as motivation and improved in all phases of his game over the course of this season. He hit .305 with a .839 OPS in 54 games at Akron before he was finally moved up to Columbus, and was even better once he arrived in Columbus hitting .326 with 9 HR and 32 RBI with a .910 OPS. He finished 5th in the organization in batting average (.316).
Jared Goedert (OF/INF – Akron, Columbus)
.311 AVG, 121 G, 73 R, 27 2B, 1 3B, 19 HR, 77 RBI, 48 BB, 92 K, 0 SB, .875 OPS
Like Fedroff, Goedert was forced to start the season at Double-A Akron when he really should have been at Triple-A Columbus all season. He responded by hitting .395 with 5 HR, 17 RBI and 1.089 OPS in 35 games at Akron, which forced the Indians to push him up to Columbus by mid-May. He cooled down some at Columbus hitting .279 with 14 HR, 60 RBI, and .792 OPS in 86 games, but was one of the more consistent hitters in the organization this past season. He finished 8th in the organization in batting average (.311), 2nd in home runs (19), and 2nd in RBI (77).
Jorge Martinez (3B – Arizona, Mahoning Valley)
.324 AVG, 55 G, 35 R, 17 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 45 RBI, 18 BB, 53 K, 4 SB, .906 OPS
The 19-year old Martinez spent his third season at rookie level Arizona, but the third time was a charm for him as from his 2011 to 2012 season his batting average jumped from .256 to .347 and his slugging percentage jumped from .400 to .563. His very good play out in Arizona earned him a late promotion to short season Single-A Mahoning Valley and it looks like he will start the 2013 season at Low-A Lake County in left field (a new position for him). He finished 5th in the Arizona League in hitting (.347), 3rd in home runs (7), 4th in hits (66), 8th in doubles (14), 5th in RBI (39), 4th in slugging percentage (.563), 3rd in total bases (107), and 4th in OPS (.957 OPS). He also finished 4th in the organization in hitting (.324).
Thomas Neal (OF – Akron, Cleveland)
Minors: .314 AVG, 117 G, 77 R, 24 2B, 1 3B, 12 HR, 51 RBI, 46 BB, 71 K, 11 SB, .867 OPS
Majors: .217 AVG, 9 G, 2 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 6 K, 0 SB, .511 OPS
Neal was named the IPI’s Comeback Player of the Year earlier this week. He came back from a few significant injuries at the end of 2011, the devastation of being removed from the 40-man roster in April, and a very slow start in April and May to have a very productive season and get back on the Major League roster and make his big league debut in September. He finished 4th in the Eastern League in hitting (.314), 3rd in on-base percentage (.400), 8th in slugging percentage (.467), 5th in runs (77), and 2nd in OPS (.867). He also finished 7th in the organization in hitting (.314).
Dorssys Paulino (SS – Arizona, Mahoning Valley)
.333 AVG, 56 G, 47 R, 19 2B, 6 3B, 7 HR, 38 RBI, 18 BB, 45 K, 11 SB, .938 OPS
Paulino mesmerized scouts around the league this season with his advanced approach, good swing, and limitless potential with the bat. He dominated the Arizona League at 17 years old and was pushed to short season Single-A Mahoning Valley with two weeks left in the season and really held his own in 15 games there (.271 AVG, 1 HR, 8 RBI, .713 OPS). He finished 2nd in the AZL in batting average (.355), 7th in hits (61), 8th in doubles (14), 4th in triples (6th), 6th in home runs (6), 3rd in slugging percentage (.610), 4th in extra base hits (26), 4th in runs scored (42), 5th in total bases (105), and 3rd in OPS (1.015). He also finished 2nd in the organization in hitting (.333).
Jose Ramirez (2B – Mahoning Valley, Lake County)
.354 AVG, 70 G, 56 R, 15 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR, 27 RBI, 25 BB, 26 K, 17 SB, .869 OPS
Ramirez was the straw that stirred Low-A Lake County’s second half run to the playoffs as his arrival sparked the team both offensively and defensively from late June until the end of the season. He hit the day he arrived in Lake County and did not stop, and really helped solidify his standing as a priority prospect for the organization when even they were not sure what they had in him coming into the season. He finished 1st in the organization in hitting (.354).
Anthony Santander (OF – Arizona)
.305 AVG, 43 G, 27 R, 15 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 32 RBI, 13 BB, 37 K, 6 SB, .874 OPS
Santander had a very good debut in the organization this season and has established himself as one of the Indians’ better young hitting prospects. His impressive two month showing over the summer in Arizona was overshadowed by what Paulino, Ramirez and Martinez were all doing at the same time, but considering his age and tools and that he is already performing, that is a good sign. He finished 14th in the Arizona League in batting average (.305), 5th in doubles (15), 13th in RBI (32), 20th in total bases (76), 18th in on-base percentage (.381), 9th in slugging percentage, and 13th in OPS (.874). He also finished 10th in the organization in hitting (.305).
Jordan Smith (OF – Lake County)
.316 AVG, 116 G, 70 R, 23 2B, 7 3B, 9 HR, 74 RBI, 35 BB, 52 K, 9 SB, .820 OPS
Smith was the MVP of the Low-A Lake County team this year and was the consistent driving force offensively the entire season. While Ramirez came in and gave the top of the lineup a spark, it was Smith’s steady approach and clutch hits that helped deliver a lot of wins for them. He has some impressive size and if he can continue to get bigger and stronger so he can more consistently show power, there is a lot of potential for him to jump into a higher prospect standing than he is already in. He finished 2nd in the Midwest League in hitting (.316), 1st in hits (148), 6th in RBI (74), 3rd in total bases (212), 11th in on-base percentage (.367), 12th in slugging percentage (.453), and 9th in OPS (.820). He also finished 6th in the organization in hitting (.316) and 3rd in RBI (74).
Joey Wendle (2B/3B – Mahoning Valley)
.327 AVG, 61 G, 32 R, 15 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 37 RBI, 15 BB, 25 K, 4 SB, .844 OPS
Wendle made an immediate impact to the organization as he led his short season Single-A Mahoning Valley team in several offensive categories and was a league leader in several as well. There is a long way to go, but he is looking like a gem the Indians unearthed in the 6th round of the draft this year. He finished 3rd in the NY-Penn League in batting average (.327), 10th in 3B (4), 10th in RBI (37), 5th in total bases (115), 10th in on-base percentage (.375), 3rd in slugging percentage (.469), 4th in OPS (.844), and 5th in lowest total plate appearances per strikeout (10.7). He also finished 3rd in the organization in hitting (.327).
And the Tony Award goes to….Dorssys Paulino
Fedroff, Goedert and Neal all had nice seasons, but they also all opened the season in Double-A and spent a good chunk of the season there. The Double-A level is a challenging level, but all three of them should have been in Triple-A all season where they would have faced more experienced pitching. Even still, they can’t control where they are assigned, and they responded with good seasons. Of the three, Fedroff’s was the most impressive as he hit right out of the gate in Akron and when he got to Columbus he was even better. The improved power from Fedroff was what was most encouraging this season as his 12 homers obliterated his previous career high of 4 home runs.
Aguilar and Canzler provided most of the power in the system this season. Canzler had a good showing in the end, but he lacked consistency and he was a strikeout machine finishing 5th in the International League in strikeouts (128). Aguilar’s dip in power had something to do with the parks he played in this year in the Carolina League as they play bigger. He had at least a dozen balls go off the 20-25 foot wall that surrounds almost the entire field at home this season at Carolina.
Chen and Santander had very solid seasons offensively. Chen’s power took a step back this season, but his approach was still there as he walked a lot and got on base at a good clip. Santander was just a stat stuffer and showed a good all-around game where he maybe does not have one great tool but has several at least average ones.
Wendle, Ramirez, and Martinez all had very good seasons. Wendle led a lineup in Mahoning Valley that really underperformed this season and he stood out both with his offensive and defensive play. Martinez put it all together and finally showed why the organization was so high on him when they signed him three years ago. Ramirez exploded onto the scene and is probably the most electrifying player to watch in the system because of how much he can do with the bat and with his speed once the ball is put in play and he gets on the basepaths.
But for me it came down to two players for this award - Jordan Smith and Dorssys Paulino - and really, it was not hard to separate the two. I included Smith in the final running simply because of how consistent he was all season, the very good production he had, and how clutch he was all season. But in the end Paulino shined above all and was the Indians’ best offensive performer this season.
Paulino brings a lot of tools to the table when he is at the plate. His swing and the ease with which he loads up and brings the barrel through the zone is impressive and something that is rare to see from young hitting prospects. There are no doubt some things he needs to work on at the plate, but he is extremely young and still learning, and if he can stay healthy he has only scratched the surface of what kind of player he can be offensively.
Paulino will likely be the opening day shortstop at Low-A Lake County and if he continues to perform offensively like he did this season and shows he needs a better challenge, then he could get to High-A Carolina later in the year next season and force the Indians to make a position change at that time to second base, third base, or even the outfield. But that is putting the cart ahead of the horse as so much can change between now and next season, so for now just revel in the fact that the Indians arguably have their best hitting prospect in the system in the last 20 years.
Up Next: All-Tony team
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It will be interesting to see which one you rank higher when the rankings come out.