Aug 19, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber (28) throws a pitch against the Boston Red Sox in the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
It seems fitting that this list ends the way it began: with a player who had unjustly low expectations. Acquired in the Jake Westbrook trade, Kluber showed strikeout ability with questionable run prevention skills. If one had judged a player solely on ERA or FIP, Kluber would have appeared to be nothing but a potential innings-eater.
A few years later, Kluber now features solid command and has found a way to limit base runners. After winning the Cy Young Award last season, he now finds himself locked in a fierce battle between Chris Sale, Dallas Keuchel, and Sonny Gray. Players may vehemently deny any selfish actions on the diamond, but it is possible that Kluber will find this to be a new source of motivation to pitch even better than he has so far.
Another reason to believe that the Klu-bot will continue to dominate in September is that he did so last season. Last September, the right-hander logged 43 innings with a 2.09 ERA and 1.85 xFIP. It was an impressive ending to an impressive year, and he helped to keep the Tribe in the playoff hunt until the very end. Hopefully, he will repeat this success this season despite a limited track record of run-prevention success.
Follow-up on Last Month’s Post:
A month ago, the author wrote a post predicting three breakout players in August. Before we go our separate ways, let’s briefly look back on how those three players did in a handy table with a variety of statistics.
It appears that the most handsome author had a bit of a success. Carlos Carrasco pitched quite well before getting hurt, so perhaps that is a successful pick. Corey Kluber also pitched well, but it was arguably worse than his seasonal performance, so, again, an arguably successful pick. Selecting Yan Gomes was a bit of a risk, and it did not pay off at all. It seems safe to call that an unsuccessful pick. Still, two-out-of-three isn’t bad.