Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
I’m feeling real neutral about Corey Kluber right now. But I’m super ready to hate him if the situation calls for it. I would also love to love him should the need arise.
IDK how to feel, so let’s just dive in and see if Kluber is worth our love or hate.
Reasons to Hate Corey Kluber
Kluber is a 27-year-old journeyman pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, except that he’s suddenly relevant.
When Brett Myers went down to injury, Kluber finally got his shot, despite having only 12 starts in the majors prior to 2013. And he performed…quite well, actually.
In 24 starts he struck out 8.3 batters per 9 innings while only walking 2. This led to a 3.85 ERA. Considering he has been entirely overlooked, fantasy owners would be thrilled to get that type of production off the waiver wire.
There was a velocity jumped on his sinker from 92.2 mph to 93.4 mph, which is significant although you can’t always count on a velocity job to carry over to the following year. And by getting an excellent 63.3% 1st pitch strike he gets ahead of the count.
Kluber dropped his four seamer, but added a cutter. He also sequences in a slider and changeup. The slider gets a 25%!! whiff rate, but he doesn’t over-rely on it, using it just 1 out of ten pitches.
Those are a lot of numbers that boil down to Kluber really knowing how to pitch and having periphreals that suggest sustainability.
Reasons to Love Corey Kluber
Wait a minute. I’m confused. You’d think that all the things listed above would be reason to love, so why were they written in the ‘Hate’ column in my moleskin? I love him; I love him not.
Maybe 2013 was simply Corey Kluber’s bar mitzvah season. Kluber becomes a man. His numbers suggest a late bloomer who figured out to pitch. The reason for hate is that we won’t know that that until 2014.
Without a strong MLB track record we don’t have a whole lot of confidence in any sort of projections. But the tease he offered in 2013 was too good for us not to keep an eye his direction.
Love or Hate?
I’ve come right back to where I started; I don’t know how I feel about Corey Kluber. His numbers made a strong jump, but he doesn’t have enough of a track record to instill confidence in that jump.
He’s a wait-and-see fantasy pitcher. I typically keep a short list of these type of pitchers and I make sure I’m really familiar with as the season starts and throughout April.
Injury can strike pitchers at any time, so a solid fill in list is critical. You pluck them off the waiver wire. Additionally, if Kluber gets off to a strong start you can use him to fill a roster spot for a struggling pitcher.
It’s nice to have options; Corey Kluber just might be a fine one.