Believeland Ball’s Top 25 players of 2018: Number 4

This month we are covering the top 25 Cleveland Indians from the 2018 season. Today we’re talking about our beloved ace who fell just short of another Cy Young award.

A slew of good starting pitchers was the Cleveland Indians formula for success in 2018. The start of that dominant pitching rotation came from none other than the teams’ ace, Corey Kluber. The remarkable part about watching Kluber pitch for your team is that the expectations are sky-high. Sometimes we forget how good we have it.

Kluber could pitch an eight-strikeout gem allowing just 2 runs and a walk and half of the fanbase would think it was a “meh” outing by his standards. There’s nothing wrong with having high standards, but if the trade rumors are true, we may soon realize just how good we’ve had it with the two-time Cy Young award winner.

Kluber’s ERA and WHIP went up a bit from their incredible levels in 2017. His 2017 season was so dominant that it made 2018 look average. But it wasn’t average. Kluber finished third in the AL Cy Young voting. But we’re still watching Kluber at the peak of his career. He pitched more innings this year despite another minor injury and he won a career-high 20 games.

With Kluber’s name as one of the market’s hot commodities (especially now with Patrick Corbin going to the Nationals), the Indians could possibly lose their stud pitcher. LET’S NOT TALK ABOUT THAT.

There was a point in 2018 where it felt like Kluber had lost a step. He had one of the worst outings of his career against the Cardinals and found himself in a lull for a bit. But it didn’t derail the remarkable season Kluber had.

One weird part about the season he had was his susceptibility to the long ball. He averaged over one home run allowed per game, something he hadn’t done since 2012. It came back to bite him in the postseason against the Astros, where he allowed three homers in 4.2 innings. The playoffs have been a struggle for Kluber of late, but he’s proven that he can go deep into the postseason before. Sadly, it may not be with us.

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Looking back at Kluber’s season gives us something to heavily reflect on. While it wasn’t his best, he was a huge player for the Tribe and helped them win a lot of games. I’m not going to think about anything negative until it happens. I’ll always love watching Kluber and he deserves a high spot on this list.

 

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