Emmanuel Clase, CP, Cleveland Indians
This is another one that could attributed to some recency bias with Emmanuel Clase being named the Reliever of the Month for August, but even before August Clase was a mainstay in the bullpen. What started out as a strong committee of Clase, James Karinchak and Bryan Shaw in the late innings as been whittled down to just Clase, making his value to the club skyrocket.
Clase’s August was undoubtedly impressive. He tallied six saves over 12.2 innings tossed, but what was the best part of his month was a perfect ERA. Clase didn’t allow a run all month for an ERA of 0.00. On top of that, he walked just one batter and allowed only four hits for a WHIP of 0.395 while striking out 15.
After a tough month of July, Clase’s strong August was a good sign. However, his months prior to July were about as good. For the year as a whole, Clase has an ERA of 1.54 over 58.1 innings with 20 saves and 63 strikeouts. He’s blown just five saves this year with the last being in July. He had three straight blown saves in a row then, but has rebounded well.
Having a lockdown closer is a huge advantage for any team. It took Clase a bit to settle in to the role, but at just 23-years old he’s setting the stage for dominance throughout his career. What he’s provided this team has been incredibly valuable, but does it make him the club’s most valuable player when they have struggled to get to save situations at times?