Indians of the Decade: Prologue


The is the first entry in a series.

As we enter a new decade of Indians baseball, we at Let's Go Tribe thought it would be interesting to look back at the players who played during the past turbulent ten years. The Aughts began with the end of a quasi-dynasty, saw a short return to prominence after several years of rebuilding, and ended with the worst season since the early 1990s. The Indians made the playoffs twice, barely missed the playoffs twice, and won at least 90 games four times. But only once did the Indians have two consecutive winning seasons, and that was at the beginning of the decade.

With this turbulence came almost constant roster change. No player appeared in an Indians uniform every year this decade, and after Omar Vizquel left following the 2004 season, the Indians didn't have a player on its roster who had been with the club ten consecutive seasons. But even with the changes, we watched some outstanding players and great seasons during the first decade of this century. We saw Jim Thome hit 52 home runs in 2002, Travis Hafner lead the league in OPS in 2006, and two Indians win back-to-back Cy Youngs in 2007 and 2008.

This series will look at the outstanding Indians of the decade, starting out with a simple statistical ranking. Then we'll make our cases for individual players. And finally, we'll construct our own personal rankings. Along the way, we'd appreciate your input, both on the players themselves, as well as the methods by which we rank them.

Now, onto the initial rankings....

First, a word on just who is included. A player is eligible if he appeared in one game for the Indians from 2000 to 2009. Only time with the Indians is counted. Seasons before 2000 are included, though those contributions are significantly penalized. In this initial ranking, we used Baseball Prospectus's WARP3 (Wins Above Replacement Level). Seasons with the Indians between 2000 and 2009 are given full credit (WARP3 A), while seasons with the Indians before 2000 are included, but are multiplied by .20 (WARP3 B). I've included the top 36 players, drawing the line between Milton Bradley (3.5) and Ben Francisco (3.3).

 

WARP3 A WARP3 B WARP3 Total Yrs From To ▾
Grady Sizemore 31.2 0.0 31.2 6 2004 2009
C.C. Sabathia 27.0 0.0 27.0 8 2001 2008
Travis Hafner 22.8 0.0 22.8 7 2003 2009
Victor Martinez 21.4 0.0 21.4 8 2002 2009
Jim Thome 14.4 29.9 20.4 12 1991 2002
Jhonny Peralta 17.3 0.0 17.3 7 2003 2009
Bartolo Colon 14.3 8.2 15.9 6 1997 2002
Cliff Lee 15.2 0.0 15.2 8 2002 2009
Jake Westbrook 13.7 0.0 13.7 8 2001 2008
Roberto Alomar 9.9 7.7 11.4 3 1999 2001
Casey Blake 10.8 0.0 10.8 6 2003 2008
Shin-Soo Choo 10.5 0.0 10.5 4 2006 2009
Omar Vizquel 6.1 21.3 10.4 11 1994 2004
Bob Wickman 9.8 0.0 9.8 6 2000 2006
Rafael Betancourt 9.7 0.0 9.7 7 2003 2009
Asdrubal Cabrera 9.3 0.0 9.3 3 2007 2009
Ron Belliard 7.8 0.0 7.8 3 2004 2006
David Riske 7.2 0.0 7.2 6 1999 2005
Kelly Shoppach 7.0 0.0 7.0 4 2006 2009
Ellis Burks 6.1 0.0 6.1 3 2001 2003
Danys Baez 6.0 0.0 6.0 3 2001 2003
Chuck Finley 5.9 0.0 5.9 3 2000 2002
Paul Shuey 4.5 5.4 5.6 9 1994 2002
Steve Karsay 4.5 2.6 5.0 4 1998 2001
Coco Crisp 4.8 0.0 4.8 4 2002 2005
Einar Diaz 4.2 2.6 4.7 7 1996 2002
Fausto Carmona 4.7 0.0 4.7 4 2006 2009
Kenny Lofton 4.4 27.9 4.4 10 1992 2007
Manny Ramirez 4.4 26.5 4.4 8 1993 2000
Dave Burba 3.0 6.9 4.4 5 1998 2002
Juan Gonzalez 4.2 0 4.2 2 2001 2005
Bobby Howry 4.1 0.0 4.1 2 2004 2005
Kevin Millwood 3.9 0.0 3.9 1 2005 2005
Ryan Garko 3.8 0.0 3.8 5 2005 2009
Milton Bradley 3.5 0.0 3.5 3 2001 2003

 

If you'd like to crunch the numbers yourself, you can download my spreadsheet here.

UPDATE: I've added Juan Gonzalez, who I had missed out on earlier, and revised downwards the totals of Nagy, Lofton, and Manny, because their 1990-1999 totals were more than their 2000-2009 totals.

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