The Clippers finished the season with a disappointing 59-68 record, but went out on a high note by taking three of four from Louisville in their final series of the season.
Wednesday, 9/29: W 13-3 – W: J.C. Mejia (1-3), L: Fulmer
Thursday, 9/30: L 5-2 – W: Lee, Z, L: Adam Scott (0-3)
Friday, 10/1: W 2-1 – W: Heath Fillmyer, L: Mariot, S: Kevin Herget (S)
Saturday, 10/2: W 10-3: W: Kirk McCarty (9-6), L: Finnegan
Sunday, 10/3: Rained out
Player of the Year
SS Gabriel Arias – 115 games – .284/.348/.454, 13 HR, 29 2B, 3 3B, 64 R, 39 BB, 110 SO
Arias had a fabulous season for the Clippers and the best part about it was he got better as the season progressed. Arias, all of 21 years old, did not have a season last year thanks to the pandemic and skipped Double-A on his way to the Clippers’ lineup this season. After a slow first month at the plate, Arias’ bat caught fire and anyone paying attention could see him developing before our eyes. The big question on Arias is whether the free swinger will show a good enough eye at the plate to hit in the big leagues. After a full season in Triple-A the results are promising. He worked 39 walks to go with 110 strikeouts in 483 plate attempts. The strikeouts are going to be a part of his game, but he showed better discipline at the plate than anticipated. Importantly, his batting average kept pointing up throughout the year. In the last month of the season, Arias got that up over .280 in the final month of the season and finished with a very promising .284/.348/.454 line. Arias’ power also came on as he got more comfortable against Triple-A pitching – he finished the season with 13 home runs and 29 doubles. At the close of the 2021 season the future certainly seems bright for Arias, who also proved he is ready defensively to play in the big leagues. It will be exciting to see what 2022 has in store for the young shortstop.
Pitcher of the Year
LHP Kirk McCarty – 24 GS – 124.0 IP, 9-6, 5.01 ERA, 104 SO, 44 BB, 117 H, 69 ER
McCarty did not have a spectacular season by anyone’s standards. But in a season where decent pitching was hard to find, McCarty offered a sense of consistency on a very volatile pitching staff. All season McCarty could be counted on to take the ball every fifth day, and he gave his team a chance to win during most of his 24 starts. Recall that Triston McKenzie, Eli Morgan and Sam Hentges were all slated to start the season in Triple-A. They spent most of the season with Cleveland after injuries ravaged the Indians’ pitching staff. Lefty Scott Moss was also slated to pitch in the Clippers’ rotation this season, but was injured for nearly the entire year. And then there is Logan S. Allen who worked to find some sort of consistency all year. Enter McCarty, who started 24 games and pitched 124 innings for the Clippers. His stuff is not overpowering, but he threw strikes and stayed healthy all season. He was the one member of the staff who could be counted on start in and start out to go get his team a win. McCarty finished his season on a high note, earning the win for the Clippers in the final game of the season. On Saturday night he went 5.1 innings against the Louisville Bats, giving up two hits and three earned runs. He struck out four and walked three to earn his ninth win of the season.
Reliver of the Year
LHP Anthony Gose – 28G – 33.0 IP, 6-1, 3.55 ERA, 49 SO, 28 BB, 20 H, 13 ER
Gose was one of the few bright spots in an underwhelming Clippers’ bullpen this season. The converted outfielder consistently hit 99-100 mph on the radar gun at Huntington Park this season, and he also seemed to harness his control as the season wore on. Gose took some time away from the team to represent the U.S. in the Olympics and then finally got the call-up to finish the season with the Indians. For Columbus this season, Gose struck out 49 and walked 28 in 33.0 innings pitched. He also went 6-1 for a Clippers’ team that was looking for wins wherever they could find them. With Cleveland’s bullpen in disarray for much of this season, it will be interesting to see if Gose gets a shot next year. After all, flame throwing lefties do not grow on trees, and at 31 years old, there is no reason for Gose to spend anymore time in the minors after this season.
Surprise of the Year
RHP Cody Morris – 9 GS – 36.2 IP, 2-2, 1.72 ERA, 52 SO, 12 BB, 25 H, 7 ER with Triple-A Columbus
If Morris had pitched a little more for the Clippers this season, he would have been a prime candidate for pitcher of the year. Instead he comes in as the Surprise of the Year, as he arrived in Columbus after recovering from an injury and offered some much needed firepower to a struggling rotation. Morris was a welcome addition to Columbus, and the best surprise was how quickly he showed he was capable of handling Triple-A lineups. Morris struck out 52 and walked 12 over 36.2 innings pitched. This spanned 9 games for the Clippers during the second half of the season. Morris is one to watch next season. He will likely start the season in Triple-A but could be one of the first call-ups to the 2022 Guardians if injury strikes the starting rotation or they are unable to shore up the bullpen this offseason.
OF Daniel Johnson – .222/.314/.444, 14 HR, 16 2B, 2 3B, 36 R, 35 BB, 106 SO in 72 games for Triple-A Columbus
In fairness to DJ, his season consisted largely of being shipped up, down and to-and-from the taxi-squad, and perhaps that contributed to his lackluster season with the Clippers. When Cleveland would call him up, they rarely played him, so he spent more time on the bench than is optimal for someone trying to prove they can be an everyday player. Nevertheless, Johnson did not make the most of his time in Triple-A this season. His disappointing slash line of .222/.314/.444 was not ideal for a player trying to earn a permanent role on the major league club. Johnson did provide pop in the Clippers’ lineup. His 14 homers and 16 doubles show more than anything else that there is not much left for him to do in the minors. But his 106 strikeouts in 318 plate appearances will likely be enough for Cleveland to part ways with Johnson this offseason. This was Johnson’s chance to play his way into a major league role, a la Bradley Zimmer. We can argue Cleveland did not give him a fair enough chance, but the bottom line is his failure to force the issue makes it likely that he has seen his last at-bat with Cleveland’s organization. Johnson is an athletic force in the outfield and on the base paths, and he has enough pop in his bat that he should get a shot to be at least as one half of an outfield platoon. Here’s hoping if he does part ways with Cleveland that Johnson catches on with another club that gives him a real shot to play his way onto the major league roster.
Install Arias at 2b and dangle Gimenez in trade package for an outfielder?