The WAR Room: Anderson’s resurgence continues

The WAR Room is back again, bringing you the 2015 advanced stats for every Cleveland minor leaguer. Though it is still early in the season, there are some interesting trends to watch and monitor as the season goes on. Join Jim Piascik as he breaks down Cody Anderson’s 2015 resurgence, James Ramsey finding his stride in Columbus, and much more as he takes you into The WAR Room.

As always, just like with scouting, it is always important to keep context in mind with these stats. 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.

For the full stats, go ahead and click here. Stats are updated through Saturday, May 30.

Columbus Clippers

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Tyler Holt Cleveland (AAA) 26 43 186 1.0 1.3 1.5
James Ramsey Cleveland (AAA) 25 47 197 0.9 1.2 1.5
Adam Moore Cleveland (AAA) 31 38 142 0.6 0.8 1.0
Francisco Lindor Cleveland (AAA) 21 46 207 0.5 0.8 1.1
Jerry Sands Cleveland (AAA) 27 21 91 0.5 0.6 0.7
Zach Walters Cleveland (AAA) 25 23 97 0.3 0.5 0.6
Giovanny Urshela Cleveland (AAA) 23 16 63 0.4 0.5 0.6
Michael Martinez Cleveland (AAA) 32 41 152 0.2 0.4 0.7
Nick Swisher Cleveland (AAA) 34 6 27 0.3 0.3 0.4
Jesus Aguilar Cleveland (AAA) 25 47 201 -0.1 0.2 0.5
Carlos Moncrief Cleveland (AAA) 26 40 146 -0.1 0.1 0.4
Yan Gomes Cleveland (AAA) 27 4 15 0.1 0.1 0.1
Ryan Rohlinger Cleveland (AAA) 31 33 126 -0.3 -0.1 0.1
Brett Hayes Cleveland (AAA) 31 3 9 -0.2 -0.2 -0.1
Alex Lavisky Cleveland (AAA) 24 14 44 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1
Audy Ciriaco Cleveland (AAA) 28 27 111 -0.4 -0.2 -0.1
Destin Hood Cleveland (AAA) 25 17 63 -0.4 -0.3 -0.2

It may not always be the most pretty approach at the plate, but as of right now, outfielder James Ramsey is still finding success. Ramsey’s 1.2 average-defense WAR through 47 games is firmly above average -- even accounting for playing half of his games in the hitter-friendly confines of Huntington Park -- as the outfielder has been pretty good at the plate thanks to a .183 isolated power (169 ISO+). There is still a ton of swing and miss in Ramsey’s game (27.4% strikeout rate, 144 K%+), but by pairing power and patience (13.2% walk rate, 152 BB%+), the 25-year-old is playing well overall and could be an option in Cleveland later this year if needed.

Name Team Age IP SP FIP WAR SP RA WAR
Toru Murata Cleveland (AAA) 30 48.0 0.5 1.2
Shaun Marcum Cleveland (AAA) 33 33.0 0.4 1.6
Bruce Chen Cleveland (AAA) 38 31.0 0.3 1.4
Danny Salazar Cleveland (AAA) 25 6.0 0.3 0.5
Jhoulys Chacin Cleveland (AAA) 27 26.3 0.3 0.3
Nick Maronde Cleveland (AAA) 25 44.0 0.0 -0.8
Jordan Cooper Cleveland (AAA) 26 28.0 0.0 0.1
T.J. House Cleveland (AAA) 25 15.7 -0.1 0.2
Michael Roth Cleveland (AAA) 25 58.3 -0.1 1.2
           
Name Team Age IP RP FIP WAR RP RA WAR
Giovanni Soto Cleveland (AAA) 24 22.0 0.4 0.9
C.C. Lee Cleveland (AAA) 28 19.0 0.3 0.2
Shawn Armstrong Cleveland (AAA) 24 16.3 0.3 -0.1
Jeff Manship Cleveland (AAA) 30 24.7 0.2 0.7
Ryan Webb Cleveland (AAA) 29 8.0 0.2 0.3
Enosil Tejeda Cleveland (AAA) 26 5.0 0.1 0.2
Austin Adams Cleveland (AAA) 28 8.3 0.1 -0.1
Anthony Swarzak Cleveland (AAA) 29 4.7 0.1 0.0
Dustin Molleken Cleveland (AAA) 30 21.0 0.1 0.2
Bryan Price Cleveland (AAA) 28 4.7 0.0 0.3
Kyle Crockett Cleveland (AAA) 23 13.7 -0.3 -0.7

Though right-handed reliever C.C. Lee is not dominating the International League, he is throwing well and could get another shot at establishing himself at the major league level as a result. Lee’s 2.84 ERA (79 ERA-) and 2.44 FIP (68 FIP-) in 19.0 innings both stand out and are heavily helped by striking out one-third of the batters he has faced in 2015 (175 K%+). Plus, Lee’s peripherals are pretty even overall (.349 BABIP, 117 BABIP+; 0.5 HR/9, 87 HR/9+), indicating this success is for real. Whether or not it can finally translate to the majors, however, is still up for debate.

Akron RubberDucks

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Tyler Naquin Cleveland (AA) 24 28 136 1.1 1.3 1.5
Jordan Smith Cleveland (AA) 24 45 201 0.9 1.2 1.5
Todd Hankins Cleveland (AA) 24 47 220 0.8 1.1 1.4
Yandy Diaz Cleveland (AA) 23 48 206 0.7 1.0 1.3
Erik Gonzalez Cleveland (AA) 23 47 216 0.7 1.0 1.3
Destin Hood Cleveland (AA) 25 22 89 0.5 0.6 0.8
Bryson Myles Cleveland (AA) 25 25 99 0.4 0.5 0.7
Tony Wolters Cleveland (AA) 23 41 175 0.0 0.3 0.5
Ollie Linton Cleveland (AA) 29 16 67 0.1 0.2 0.3
Anthony Gallas Cleveland (AA) 27 40 171 0.0 0.2 0.5
Yonathan Mendoza Cleveland (AA) 21 15 55 0.0 0.1 0.2
Alex Lavisky Cleveland (AA) 24 1 5 0.0 0.0 0.0
Justin Toole Cleveland (AA) 28 27 89 -0.3 -0.1 0.1
Jake Lowery Cleveland (AA) 24 29 118 -0.5 -0.3 -0.1
Jeremy Lucas Cleveland (AA) 24 29 119 -0.8 -0.6 -0.4

Second baseman/outfielder Todd Hankins is not a big guy -- he is listed at 5’9”, 175 pounds on the RubberDucks’ roster -- but he manages to hit for some surprising power given his size. That .133 isolated power (114 ISO+) this year is a big part of why Hankins has posted 1.1 average-defense WAR through 47 games, placing the 24-year-old in the above average category among Eastern League hitters. The rest of Hankins’ game is fairly average (19.5% strikeout rate, 107 K%+; 8.2% walk rate, 99 BB%+; .338 BABIP, 110 BABIP+), but as long as his power remains at least average, he is an interesting prospect at the plate with positional flexibility in the field.

Name Team Age IP SP FIP WAR SP RA WAR
Cody Anderson Cleveland (AA) 24 52.0 1.2 2.4
Ryan Merritt Cleveland (AA) 23 56.0 0.8 0.3
Mike Clevinger Cleveland (AA) 24 57.3 0.7 1.6
Shawn Morimando Cleveland (AA) 22 55.7 0.6 1.8
Will Roberts Cleveland (AA) 24 57.7 0.3 0.5
Adam Plutko Cleveland (AA) 23 3.0 0.1 0.1
           
Name Team Age IP RP FIP WAR RP RA WAR
Josh Martin Cleveland (AA) 25 29.3 0.6 0.8
Trey Haley Cleveland (AA) 25 21.7 0.6 0.1
Jeffrey Johnson Cleveland (AA) 25 19.0 0.5 0.9
Enosil Tejeda Cleveland (AA) 26 15.0 0.2 0.5
Jacob Lee Cleveland (AA) 25 24.0 0.2 0.5
Jordan Cooper Cleveland (AA) 26 5.3 0.1 0.1
Nicholas Pasquale Cleveland (AA) 24 3.0 0.1 0.2
Louis Head Cleveland (AA) 25 22.0 0.0 0.2
Joe Colon Cleveland (AA) 25 5.3 0.0 -0.5
Benny Suarez Cleveland (AA) 23 4.3 0.0 -0.4
Clayton Cook Cleveland (AA) 24 2.7 -0.1 -0.1
Grant Sides Cleveland (AA) 26 21.3 -0.3 0.0

It has reached the point where right-handed starter Cody Anderson’s struggles in 2014 seem to be the exception, not the rule, as he has come out firing on all cylinders this season. Though Anderson’s 1.56 ERA (41 ERA-) and 2.4 RA-based WAR in 52.0 innings are both not likely to be sustainable, the right-hander’s 3.05 FIP (80 FIP-) and 1.2 FIP-based WAR are both All-Star caliber performances. Continuing to gain consistency will be a key for Anderson over the rest of 2015, but provided he can keeping getting the ball over the plate (4.5% walk rate, 54 BB%+) and can maybe find a few more strikeouts (17.8% strikeout rate, 98 K%+), the right-hander looks ready to regain his top prospect standing and impact the major league team before too long.

Lynchburg Hillcats

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Bradley Zimmer Cleveland (A+) 22 48 211 2.4 2.7 3.0
Luigi Rodriguez Cleveland (A+) 22 44 182 1.1 1.3 1.6
Clint Frazier Cleveland (A+) 20 48 216 0.8 1.1 1.4
Paul Hendrix Cleveland (A+) 23 45 179 0.6 0.8 1.1
Nellie Rodriguez Cleveland (A+) 21 47 197 0.6 0.8 1.1
Joe Sever Cleveland (A+) 24 41 142 0.3 0.6 0.8
Eric Haase Cleveland (A+) 22 31 129 0.2 0.4 0.6
Alex Monsalve Cleveland (A+) 23 16 64 0.2 0.3 0.4
Ivan Castillo Cleveland (A+) 20 43 171 -0.1 0.1 0.4
James Roberts Cleveland (A+) 23 33 124 -0.1 0.1 0.3
Juan De La Cruz Cleveland (A+) 21 5 12 0.0 0.0 0.0
Yhoxian Medina Cleveland (A+) 25 4 14 0.0 0.0 0.0
Yonathan Mendoza Cleveland (A+) 21 2 4 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1
Mike Papi Cleveland (A+) 22 46 185 -0.4 -0.1 0.2

The 2015 season included some ups and downs for first baseman Nellie Rodriguez, but on the whole, his 0.8 average-defense WAR in 47 games is pretty solid. As usual, power has been a key component of  Rodriguez’s success (.196 isolated power, 176 ISO+), though the first baseman could improve on how often he gets to that power. Rodriguez’s 11.7% walk rate (140 BB%+) is obviously very good, but in order to go from solid to great, the first baseman needs to cut down on his strikeouts (26.9% strikeout rate, 140 K%+), an improvement that could be huge given how hard the soon-to-be 21-year-old typically hits the ball.

Name Team Age IP SP FIP WAR SP RA WAR
Adam Plutko Cleveland (A+) 23 49.7 1.3 2.8
Luis Lugo Cleveland (A+) 21 34.3 1.1 -0.2
Dylan Baker Cleveland (A+) 23 5.0 0.3 0.4
Dace Kime Cleveland (A+) 23 21.7 0.3 -0.1
Mike Rayl Cleveland (A+) 26 14.0 0.2 -0.6
Michael Peoples Cleveland (A+) 23 41.7 0.0 -1.1
Mitch Brown Cleveland (A+) 21 45.3 -0.2 -0.9
           
Name Team Age IP RP FIP WAR RP RA WAR
D.J. Brown Cleveland (A+) 24 35.7 0.5 -0.3
Justin Brantley Cleveland (A+) 24 29.0 0.4 0.7
Ben Heller Cleveland (A+) 23 16.3 0.3 -0.2
Antonio Romero Cleveland (A+)  24 11.3 0.2 -0.1
Mason Radeke Cleveland (A+) 25 4.0 0.0 0.2
Joe Sever Cleveland (A+) 24 2.7 0.0 0.0
J.P. Feyereisen Cleveland (A+) 22 1.0 0.0 -0.1
Casey Weathers Cleveland (A+) 30 17.3 -0.1 -0.1
Luigi Rodriguez Cleveland (A+) 22 0.7 -0.1 -0.1
Benny Suarez Cleveland (A+) 23 10.0 -0.1 0.2
Nicholas Pasquale Cleveland (A+) 24 9.0 -0.2 -0.4
Delvi Francisco Cleveland (A+) 22 24.3 -0.3 -0.2
Robbie Aviles Cleveland (A+) 23 23.3 -0.3 -0.9
Clayton Cook Cleveland (A+) 24 24.3 -0.3 -0.6

Earned Run Average continues to paint a dire picture of left-handed starter Luis Lugo’s future, but despite a 4.46 ERA (125 ERA-), the 21-year-old is actually pitching well overall in 2015. Lugo’s 2.17 FIP (61 FIP-) is the byproduct of strong strikeout ability (26.0% strikeout rate, 136 K%+) and a solid walk rate (8.0% walk rate, 96 BB%+), and while he is bound to give up a home run eventually, those peripherals are probably sustainable. Where the left-hander struggles is with his .367 BABIP (124 BABIP+) and 55.1% strand rate (78 LOB%+), but given how those stats tend to regress toward the mean no matter who you are, the future still looks bright for Lugo.

Lake County Captains

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Claudio Bautista Cleveland (A) 21 44 191 1.3 1.5 1.8
Greg Allen Cleveland (A) 22 44 200 0.9 1.2 1.4
Taylor Murphy Cleveland (A) 22 38 165 0.7 0.9 1.2
Yu-Cheng Chang Cleveland (A) 19 46 200 0.5 0.8 1.1
Francisco Mejia Cleveland (A) 19 40 161 0.4 0.7 0.9
Bobby Bradley Cleveland (A) 19 25 106 0.5 0.7 0.8
Ordomar Valdez Cleveland (A) 21 26 90 0.3 0.4 0.6
Dorssys Paulino Cleveland (A) 20 46 193 -0.1 0.2 0.5
Martin Cervenka Cleveland (A) 22 21 85 0.0 0.1 0.2
Yan Gomes Cleveland (A) 27 2 5 0.1 0.1 0.1
David Armendariz Cleveland (A) 23 29 105 -0.2 0.0 0.1
Sicnarf Loopstok Cleveland (A) 22 14 48 -0.2 -0.1 0.0
Bobby Ison Cleveland (A) 21 45 185 -0.5 -0.2 0.0
Grant Fink Cleveland (A) 24 34 122 -0.6 -0.4 -0.2

With a perfectly average 100 wRC+, shortstop Yu-Cheng Chang has been solidly in the middle of the road so far in his first year of full season ball. Given Chang plays shortstop, however, league-average offense means even more, which is why the 19-year-old is currently a little above average with 0.8 average-defense WAR through 46 games. Everything looks good with Chang in his full season debut, as he may own a 23.5% strikeout rate, but given the nature of the Midwest League, that figure is not all that high (112 K%+). Chang is walking enough (8.0% walk rate, 95 BB%+), hitting for some power (.126 isolated power, 118 ISO+), and, overall, is certainly having a successful debut for a 19-year-old in Low-A.

Name Team Age IP SP FIP WAR SP RA WAR
Justus Sheffield Cleveland (A) 19 45.7 1.2 0.0
Anderson Polanco Cleveland (A) 22 47.7 0.7 0.5
Dace Kime Cleveland (A) 23 35.0 0.6 0.3
Sean Brady Cleveland (A) 21 48.7 0.3 0.5
TJ House Cleveland (A) 25 3.0 0.2 0.2
Jordan Milbrath Cleveland (A) 23 43.7 0.0 -0.6
           
Name Team Age IP RP FIP WAR RP RA WAR
Julian Merryweather Cleveland (A) 23 21.3 0.5 0.0
Nicholas Pasquale Cleveland (A) 24 18.0 0.4 0.9
Cameron Hill Cleveland (A) 21 21.3 0.4 0.9
J.P. Feyereisen Cleveland (A) 22 16.7 0.3 0.7
Thomas Pannone Cleveland (A) 21 37.3 0.1 0.1
David Speer Cleveland (A) 22 27.3 0.1 -0.3
Luke Eubank Cleveland (A) 21 19.7 0.0 0.0
Dominic Demasi Cleveland (A) 22 2.0 0.0 0.1
Caleb Hamrick Cleveland (A) 21 3.0 0.0 0.2
David Armendariz Cleveland (A) 23 1.0 -0.1 -0.1
Justin Garcia Cleveland (A) 22 11.3 -0.2 0.2
Jordan Carter Cleveland (A) 23 29.0 -0.2 -0.8

The good news for right-handed starter Jordan Milbrath is his 6.39 ERA (178 ERA-) probably overstates how much the 23-year-old has struggled so far in 2015. The bad news is that Milbrath’s 4.65 FIP (129 FIP-) and replacement-level 0.0 FIP-based WAR through 43.2 innings is not really much better, as the right-hander is yet to put it all together in Low-A. There is still hope for Milbrath, however, as his 20.5% strikeout rate (98 K%+) and 6.5% walk rate (77 BB%+) are not the problem. The issue for Milbrath lies in his .377 BABIP (124 BABIP+) and 1.4 HR/9 (306 HR/9+), and if those abnormally high numbers subside in time, the right-hander may get back on track with his on-the-surface stats and finally find success with the Captains.

#Cleveland Indians

If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at jpiasci1@gmail.com. If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.

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