Cleveland Indians: Corey Kluber and the Tribe’s Greatest Cy Young Season Ever

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May 11, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher

CC Sabathia

(52) throws a pitch in the first inning of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

C.C. Sabathia vs. Corey Kluber

Just like Perry and Kluber, Sabathia was less than impressive his first two seasons. His ERA climbed over 4.00 in four of his first five major league seasons, but in 2006, his started to settle down. By the following year, he was the best pitcher in the American League. Sabathia started 34 games in 2007, walking away with a 19-7 record, a 3.21 ERA, and a 3.14 FIP. He struck out just 209 batters, but he also only walked 37, giving him a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5.65 – the best in the league that season. That was just slightly better than Kluber’s 5.28 strikeout-to-walk rate, but with far fewer strikeouts, to give an idea of just how few free passes Sabathia issued.

The Indians gave Kluber a long-term deal after his stellar season, but they didn’t feel the same way about Sabathia. Just halfway through the season after he won his Cy Young award, the Tribe traded Sabathia to Milwaukee for Matt LaPorta and three other players, including Brantley. While the trade likely worked out in the Indians’ favor thanks to the unexpected emergence of Brantley, it was pretty hard to accept dealing the team’s star pitcher for a collection of rookies.

How does Sabathia compare to Kluber? Well, Kluber fared far better in all categories, especially ERA and FIP. Even though Kluber walked more batters, it clearly didn’t have an impact on the amount of runs that were scored. He ended up having a season that was just barely superior to Sabathia’s, but it still topped it.

After waiting 35 seasons for another Cy Young, the Indians didn’t have to wait too long for their next one, when Cliff Lee took home the hardware the very next season: