Cleveland Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase wrapped up an impressive rookie season, finishing fifth in the 2021 American League Rookie of the Year balloting.
Cleveland Guardians closer and certified flamethrower Emmanuel Clase finished fifth in the 2021 American League Rookie of the Year balloting, garnering one first place vote and two second-place votes.
The Tampa Bay Rays had two players in the top three, with outfielder Randy Arozarena winning the award after hitting .274/.356/.459 with 32 doubles, 20 home runs, and 20 stolen bases to go along with a 128 wRC+ in 604 plate appearances. Wander Franco, the other young phenom for the Rays, finished third. Astros pitcher Luis Garcia was second in the voting, while Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia finished fourth. Rays pitcher Shane McClanahan also took the seventh spot in the balloting, so there really is an incredible youth movement happening down in Tampa Bay right now.
As for Clase, the fifth-place finish caps off a stellar rookie campaign in which he threw more 100 mph pitches than anyone else in baseball. He ended the season with a 1.29 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings, giving him an absurd 340 ERA+. With the velocity Clase has, it should come as no surprise that he also wields the fastest average four-seam fastball in the majors at 100.7 mph, along with the fastest cutter (100.2 mph) and slider (91.9 mph).
Clase’s percentile rankings across the board should get you pretty revved up, too.
For a guy who throws as hard as Clase, though, the interesting thing is that he doesn’t miss as many bats as one might assume – he ranked 50th among qualified relievers in strikeouts this season. He’ll put runners on base too, but it sure didn’t burn him much in 2021. With the incredible stuff he has, putting more batters away will certainly be a point of emphasis in 2022.
All in all, not a bad return for Corey Kluber whatsoever.
In the meantime, the Guardians’ drought of winning the American League Rookie of the Year award continues. Sandy Alomar Jr. was the last Cleveland player to win it back in 1990. Joe Charboneau (1980), Chris Chambliss (1971), and Herb Score (1955) have also won the award.