Results tagged ‘ Corey Kluber ’
Jonah Keri, a long-time national baseball writer who now writes for Grantland — and previously looked inside the Tampa Bay Rays’ approach in book form — recently published his MLB Trade Value column, and writes favorably about three of the Tribe’s best players: Yan Gomes, Michael Brantley and Corey Kluber.
Important note: Keri is not writing that these three players will be traded; they’ll be in Tribe uniforms for many years to come. As we’ve written here, each player is under club control through at least 2017. Keri simply writes that each player is among the most valuable in the game, thanks in large part to the contract extensions we signed Gomes and Brantley to before this season.
Details on each:
No. 25 most valuable contract in baseball: Yan Gomes (NR), C, Cleveland Indians
Aside from the minor leaguers, Gomes is probably the player on this list who has the least name-recognition among casual fans. That won’t be the case for long. Toronto drafted Gomes in the 10th round in 2009 and dealt him in 2012 for Esmil Rogers, a trade the Jays surely regret, and one that contributed to their decision to spend $82 million on Russell Martin this offseason. Gomes has quietly grown into one of the AL’s best all-around players, bashing 21 homers and posting a .278/.313/.472 line in 2014 while displaying strong pitch-framing skills and playing generally excellent defense. He’s 27 years old, he’s owed a paltry $20.95 million over the next five years, and the Tribe would need to spend only another $20 million to lock him up through 2021.
16. Michael Brantley (NR), OF, Cleveland Indians
15. Corey Kluber (NR), SP, Cleveland Indians
I mentioned the Indians’ impressive prospect-thievery skills earlier, and here’s further proof: They got Brantley as a throw-in for CC Sabathia and got Kluber as an afterthought in a random Jake Westbrook–Ryan Ludwick three-way exchange. Not too shabby!
In 2014, Brantley blossomed from a decent all-around player to a .327/.385/.506 one-man wrecking crew who might be even better than his 7.0 WAR indicated. Brantley’s batting average on balls in play spiked to a career-high .333 in 2014, but there’s reason to believe that might not be a fluke: According to ESPN Stats & Info, he ranked eighth in the majors in hard-hit average, trailing only David Ortiz, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Andrew McCutchen, Adrian Beltre, Edwin Encarnacion, and Lucas Duda. At $19 million over the next three years (with an $11 million club option for 2018),1 the 27-year-old has emerged as a cornerstone.
As impressive as Brantley was, though, he took second billing to fellow breakout sensation Kluber, who tossed 235.2 innings, punched out 269 batters, posted a 2.44 ERA, and won the damn Cy Young. Kluber is 28, Indians property for four more seasons, and isn’t even arbitration-eligible yet. Brantley and Kluber earned two of the top four spots on my fake AL MVP ballot for 2014, and should continue earning that kind of recognition for years to come.
ESPN Insider Buster Olney has completed his annual positional rankings, and Indians players fared well: Michael Brantley was the top-ranked left fielder, while Yan Gomes, Jason Kipnis, Corey Kluber and Cody Allen also rated highly. (Olney factored in more than just the 2014 season, hence Kluber’s ranking.)
Since Olney’s blog is an Insider blog, some Tribe fans may not have access to it; here’s a link and Olney’s reasoning behind placing our guys where he has:
No. 1 — Michael Brantley: He was a working definition of consistency in 2014, with 200 hits (Jose Altuve was the only other player to reach that mark), 67 extra-base hits, 52 walks and 56 strikeouts, plus 23 stolen bases in 24 attempts. His OPS before the All-Star break was .901, and afterward it was .876. In September, when the Indians were making one last push for the postseason, he posted a 1.022 OPS. The only position players who scored higher in Fangraphs’ WAR last season were Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen. Brantley finished third in the AL MVP vote, exactly where he should’ve finished.
No. 8 — Corey Kluber: He doesn’t have the long track record of other starters on this list, but it’s hard to overstate how dominant he was last season, with a breaking ball that confounded hitters who were so often behind in the count. Check out these highlights — the run of his fastball, the spin of his breaking ball — from a start he made in July. After the All-Star break, hitters had a .555 OPS against Kluber, third-best in the majors.
No. 7 – Yan Gomes: Gomes is perhaps the majors’ most underrated catcher, and Indians GM Chris Antonetti deserves a ton of credit for making a deal with the Blue Jays for him. The 27-year-old product of Brazil took over from Carlos Santana in the summer of 2013 because of what he can do defensively, and Gomes is really good offensively as well, having posted an .826 OPS in 2013 and .785 last season.
Gomes scores well in the pitch-framing numbers, and deserves a share of the credit for the staff-wide improvement of the Cleveland hurlers.
No. 9 — Cody Allen: A big swing-and-miss reliever, Allen held opponents to a .601 OPS last season. He’s entrenched as the closer in the Indians’ bullpen.
No. 6 – Jason Kipnis: There’s no getting around it: Kipnis had a terrible season in 2014, posting a .240/.310/.330 slash line, and his extra-base hits plummeted from 57 to 32. But we’re giving him a mulligan, given his age (27) and the fact that he suffered an early-season oblique injury that seemed to put him in a hole from which he never climbed out. Maybe he got caught up in the effort of trying to make up for lost time and simply fell into bad habits. Justin Havens sent along these notes:
In 2013, Kipnis posted a .754 slugging percentage on fly balls, with 14 home runs and 9.5 percent of his fly balls turning into homers. Bizarrely, in 2014, he slugged just .301 on his fly balls, with only 4.3 percent (5) of them going for a home run. Perhaps most telling, his average fly ball distance dropped from 290 feet in 2013 to 270 in 2014. How good Kipnis is centers largely around which performance against left-handed pitchers is “real.” See below (chase rate is defined as percent of pitches out of the strike zone that result in swings):
2014: .208 batting average, .244 slugging, 30.1 percent chase rate
2013: .308 BA, .480 slugging, 18.8 percent chase rate
2012: .215 BA, .282 slugging, 21.2 percent chase rate
Last year’s #12DaysofTribe contests were a big success – thanks in large part to the great participation of our loyal social media followers!
Given last year’s success, we’re back this year! We’ll start on Monday, Dec. 8, and here’s a preview of what fun we have in store for you this year!
Monday, Dec. 8: Record your best Tom Hamilton home run call impression.
- We’ll give you a highlight on Monday, and you have to send us a Vine or Instagram video if you calling it in your best Hammy voice.
- Prize: Booth visit to meet Hammy and Rosey at an April or May 2015 game.
Tuesday, Dec. 9: Hashtag contest
- We can’t give you too many details, as we know you’ll cheat, ya buncha cheaters. Stay tuned for Tuesday.
- Prize: Jim Thome replica statue
Wednesday, Dec. 10: Haiku
- We’ll give you a theme on Wednesday, and if you know us, you know we love haikus … You’ll have to get creative here.
- Prize: Terry Francona replica jersey
Thursday, Dec. 11: Vine contest
- You’ll have to accomplish a winter-themed task of our choosing.
- Prize: Kipnis and Brantley bobbleheads
Friday, Dec. 12: Batting stance impression
- We’ll give you a Tribe player, and you send us your best, most creative impression of that guy’s stance
- Prize: Autographed ball
Saturday, Dec. 13: Walk-off homer re-creation
- We’ll give you a highlight, and you’ll have to re-create it.
- Prize: Michael Brantley autographed jersey
Sunday, Dec. 14: Recreate a magical Tribe photo
- We’ll give you a photo from our storied history – perhaps a walk-off celebration? – and you and your friends/family/random people have to re-create it.
- Prize: Winner will “take over” our Instagram at a 2015 game
Monday, Dec. 15: Meme!
- We’ll give you a meme, and you have to top it.
- Prize: Kluber autographed ball
Tuesday, Dec. 16: Photo caption contest
- Prize: Four tickets to a 2015 game at Progressive Field
Wednesday, Dec. 17: Trivia!
- Prize: 2 Larry Doby jerseys
Thursday, Dec. 18: Guess the Corey Kluber faces
- We’ll give you a jar full of Kluber faces and you have to guess how many are in it.
- Prize: Kluber autographed ball
Friday, Dec. 19: Favorite ballpark photos from 2014
- Post to Instagram your favorite photos from Progressive Field in 2014.
- Prize: Lofton jersey/ “ClevelandLAND that I Love” shirt
Tribe pitcher Corey Kluber took an hour or so to chat with fans on Twitter last Wednesday, about four hours before being named the 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner.
Questions and answers ranged from serious:
… to fun:
Make sure you’re following Corey (@CKluber) to know more about the Cy Young winner!
Cy Young winner Corey Kluber was honored at Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday night as the Cavs took on the Spurs! To watch the Cavs present Kluber with his own Cleveland Cavaliers jersey, check out the highlights by clicking here.
Here are some Twitter highlights, as well; photos above are from the Tribe’s Dan Mendlik.
Date/score: September 26, 1-0
Opponent: Tampa Bay Rays
Pitching line: 8 IP, 0 ER, 11 SO, 2 BB
2014 strikeout total: 269
Key at-bat(s): With support mounting for Kluber’s Cy Young candidacy, he turned in a gem – an exclamation point-type outing, limiting the Rays to five hits while striking out the side in the first as a sort of announcement that, “Yep, I’m the Cy Young.” Only once did Kluber have more than one base runner on, and in the fifth, faced a test after a two-out Kevin Kiermaier triple. Yet as he’d done all season, Kluber ended the threat by striking out Ryan Hanigan.
Notable: By striking out 11 overall and allowing no earned runs while walking two, Kluber logged his 11th start of the season with 10 or more strikeouts, two or fewer earned runs and two or fewer walks. Incredible.
Game score (avg. Game Score, developed by sabermetrician Bill James, is 49-50): 81
Date/score: September 21, 7-2
Opponent: Minnesota Twins
Pitching line: 8 IP, 2 ER, 14 SO, 1 BB
2014 strikeout total: 258
Key at-bat(s): Minnesota cut its deficit to 5-2 in the fifth on doubles by Chris Hermann and Danny Santana, but Kluber struck out Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer to end the frame. He did the same (to Oswaldo Arcia and Josmil Pinto) in the sixth after a one-out single by Trevor Plouffe.
Notable: Kluber had at least two strikeouts in each of the first six innings as he matched his career high for strikeouts in a game with 14 – set in his previous start, a Sept. 16 win over the Astros in Houston.
Game score (avg. Game Score, developed by sabermetrician Bill James, is 49-50): 73
The Cleveland Indians have a host of activities planned for Wednesday and Thursday ahead of the announcement of the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards, for which Corey Kluber and Michael Brantley are finalists.
Kluber, 28, is coming off one of the best seasons in Indians history by a starting pitcher, going 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA and 269 strikeouts, sixth-most in club history for a single season. He finished tied for first in the American League in wins (18) and starts (34), second in strikeouts and third in ERA (2.44) and innings pitched (235.2).
Brantley earned his first American League All-Star selection in 2014 and led the club and set career-bests in virtually every offensive category. He became the first Indians player to amass 200 hits, 45-plus doubles, 20-plus home runs and 20-plus stolen bases in the 114-year history of the franchise (and the ninth overall player in MLB history to do it). He also won an AL Silver Slugger Award.
Among the activities planned are:
- Kluber Q&A: Fans will have the opportunity to ask Kluber questions on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon; fans should follow @Indians and @CKluber to participate.
- Callaway conference call: Tribe Season Ticket Holders and social media followers can chat live with the man who works most closely with Kluber during the season, Tribe pitching coach Mickey Callaway, at 4PM Wednesday.
- Business/school support: The Indians are asking Cleveland-area businesses and schools to wear Tribe colors to support Kluber and Brantley on Wednesday and Thursday; those that do, and tweet photos of their workplace or school in Tribe gear using the hashtag #CyKluber, will be eligible to win Indians prize packs. (Click here for contest rules.)
- Social media contests: The Indians will offer prizes for fans on social media who enter a Kluber look-a-like contest and others.
- #CyKluber countdown, #SmoothMVP highlights: On social media, the Indians will wrap up their month-long countdown of Kluber’s AL-high 18 wins with recaps of each start, including pitching lines, highlights and more. On Thursday, the club’s social media accounts will focus on highlights of Brantley’s historic season.
- Cy Young announcement: Kluber, along with the other finalists, will be interviewed on MLB Network starting at 6PM Wednesday ahead of the announcement.
- MVP announcement: Brantley will be interviewed, along with the Angels’ Mike Trout and the Tigers’ Victor Martinez, on MLB Network starting at 6PM ahead of the award unveiling.
Date/score: September 16, 4-2
Opponent: Houston Astros
Pitching line: 7 IP, 1 ER, 14 SO, 2 BB
2014 strikeout total: 244
Key at-bat(s): Kluber found himself in rare trouble in the fourth – Marwin Gonzalez singled, Jon Singleton walked and Max Stassi singled to load the bases. Kluber once again locked in, striking out Alex Presley and Gregorio Petit to end the inning.
Notable: Kluber’s previous career-high in strikeouts was 13, on May 4 vs. the White Sox at Progressive Field; he pitched 8 innings that afternoon but got a no-decision.
Game score (avg. Game Score, developed by sabermetrician Bill James, is 49-50): 71
Date/score: September 11, 8-2
Opponent: Minnesota Twins
Pitching line: 8.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 SO, 0 BB
2014 strikeout total: 230
Key at-bat(s): Trying to hang on for a complete game, Kluber allowed singles by Oswaldo Arcia and Eduardo Escobar in the eighth – but as he had done all season, buckled down, striking out Jordan Schaefer and getting Danny Santana to line out. He entered the ninth having thrown 96 pitches, but allowed three singles, the latter an RBI variety by Trevor Plouffe, and exited after 8.1 innings.
Notable: The second of five wins in a row, Kluber had five 1-2-3 innings in the victory.
Game score (avg. Game Score, developed by sabermetrician Bill James, is 49-50): 66