Cleveland Indians: 3 players who exceeded expectations in first half

Harold Ramirez #40 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Harold Ramirez #40 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians, Emmanuel CLase
Emmanuel Clase #48 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

Emmanuel Clase, RP, Cleveland Indians

Heading into the 2021 season fans of the Cleveland Indians weren’t exactly sure what to expect from Emmanuel Clase. He came to the team through the Corey Kluber trade, but missed all of 2020 due to suspension. Despite entering the season after not playing since 2019 and having only 23.1 innings of major league experience, Clase has burst onto the scene for the Tribe.

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Statistically, Clase has been the Tribe’s best reliever. He has been splitting closer duties with James Karinchak, but Clase has a bit of a leg up on the stat sheet. Posting an ERA of 1.72, Clase leads the Tribe’s bullpen, and entire staff, in the category. He’s also logged a team-high 11 saves and registered 41 strikeouts in 36.2 innings.

Clase’s campaign has been enough to put his name in the American League Rookie of the Year conversation since he still has his rookie status intact. He stumbled a bit in late June and early July, but should be able to resume his craft after the break.

Considering the Texas Rangers got just one inning of Kluber, it seems like the Tribe stole Clase in the trade. If he continues to play at his current level, the team should have a strong backend pitcher for the next five years at least, and potentially their closer as well.

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