Cleveland Indians’ Corey Kluber: Three Pitchers He Needs to Beat To Win Cy Young Award

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Aug 19, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Unexpected Ace: Dallas Keuchel

If there was a player who was more threatening to Kluber’s chances of repeating than Sonny Gray, it would be Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel’s career trajectory is very similar to that of Kluber’s. It wasn’t until last season that he began to show why the team needed him, after two very dismal years. This season, he’s turned in a stellar performance that is absolutely worthy of the Cy Young award.

Keuchel leads the AL in wins, with 14, and has only six losses. He’s pitched 171.2 innings, second only to Kluber himself. His 151 strikeouts rank higher than Gray, but beneath both Kluber and Price. Keuchel also possesses a 1.01 WHIP, which is better than everyone except Gray.

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Yes, there’s no doubt about the fact that Keuchel is having a great season. Fellow Astro and former Athletic/Indian Scott Kazmir is ranked fourth in the AL in ERA, at 2.43, so it’s certainly not as those Keuchel is the only good pitcher on his team. He is just having an exceptionally great season.

While he is slightly younger than Kluber, if Keuchel won, it would certainly change the way people view late-blooming pitchers. When analysts began to predict how Kluber would perform this season, they found that it was particularly challenging. Would he regress to the 5+ ERA pitcher he had been previously? Or were whatever changes he had made more permanent? Because there was no identifiable change – Kluber hadn’t added a pitch, changed his mechanics drastically, or recovered from some type of arm surgery – it was hard to tell what had caused his sudden surge.

Keuchel is in a similar situation. If he wins, it will be hard to predict whether he will continue to be an ace, or if he will fall up part. Regardless, he is perhaps the one unbeatable opponent on this list, and it will take both an amazing finish by Kluber and a rough September for Keuchel in order for Kluber to be victorious.

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