Our look at Top 25 Cleveland Indians in 2016 continues with a look back at a reliever who was part of one of the most dominant bullpen trios in the MLB.
The Cleveland Indians had a great problem in the latter half of 2016. Who was going to close out games?
While Allen was what one would consider the closer, by traditional standards, he was just one piece of a dominant bullpen. Along with Miller and Bryan Shaw, Allen was able to be slotted into any inning and produce at a high level.
Allen finished the regular season with 32 saves and a career-best 1.000 WHIP. It was not a career year for him during the regular season, but he did well when it counted.
His most impressive work came in the postseason, when he allowed zero runs in 13.2 innings of work. This included 24 strikeouts and only eight hits.
Allen also went at least one full inning in all 10 of his postseason appearances, including two innings in Game 7 of the World Series. His two scoreless innings kept the game within reach, and allowed Rajai Davis‘ magical home run to tie the game. On a night when Corey Kluber and Andrew Miller struggled, Allen was there to provide quality, clutch pitching.
2017 will be Allen’s sixth season in Cleveland, and it will be interesting to see what his role entails now that Miller will have a full season with the team. Miller, Allen, and Shaw will obviously not be able to appear in every winnable game next season, but we could be in for more instances of a different player recording a save every few days. Allen and Miller had no ego problems last season, and that should hold true next season as well.
Allen’s work in 2016 was almost taken for granted because of the high expectations fans had of the bullpen, but he emerged as one of the better relievers in all of baseball. Having two players capable of closing out a game makes the Indians a threat to not only win another division crown, but to return to the promised lands of the World Series in 2017. And if this does indeed happen, Cody Allen will have been a major key to the success.