The reigning AL Cy Young, Corey “the Klubot” Kluber had been on the wrong end of some hit parades over the course of his first 7 starts of the 2015 season, which led him to an 0-5 record with a 5.04 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. Given that his breakout 2014 performance kind of came out of nowhere (though there were signs that he had breakout potential), fantasy owners of Kluber were chomping at the bit to get rid of him. Yes, it is unfortunate for anyone who owns/owned Kluber that they had to endure such an ugly stretch, but a closer examination of what was really going on showed that there really was never any real reason to worry.
Heading into Wednesday’s action, Kluber had a .364 BABIP and 62.3% strand rate, both of which were way worse than the league average and they were numbers to expect to regress towards the mean. Though his ERA was bloated at 5.04, his xFIP was 3.16 and his SIERA was 3.21. xFIP and SIERA are far more accurate measures of what a pitcher’s “true” performance is, and for Kluber’s marks to have been nearly two whole runs beneath his ERA, it was an obvious sign of things to come. Then add in the fact that his normal catcher, Yan Gomes who is known to be a great game caller with excellent framing metrics, got injured within the first week of the season, and his impending return in a couple weeks was more reason to believe in Kluber.
With that being said, the Klubot emerged on Wednesday to hurl one of the most dazzling games of this millennium. Outside of a bean ball on Matt Holliday early in the game and a 7th inning single given up to Jhonny “don’t spell it Johnny” Peralta, Kluber was perfect. At the end of 8 innings, Kluber had tallied 18 strikeouts on 113 pitches. I really think that Kluber should have came out for the 9th inning to be given the opportunity to get to 20 strikeouts, or even 21 to set a new record, especially with the ugly way that Indians closer Cody Allen has been pitching. However, possibly playing a part in the decision of Kluber coming out of the game was the fact that manager Terry Francona was ejected earlier in the game and the acting manager for the Indians wanted to be cautious and not get in trouble with anyone for leaving Kluber out there too long. Whatever the case, the Klubot mystified Cardinals hitters all game long and effectively reversed any doubts that any fantasy owners may have had.
Kluber improved to 1-5 with a 4.27 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 64 K/11 BB in 52.2 IP. From here on out, those numbers should keep on improving. The window to buy low on Kluber has officially closed, and this has been your lesson in Klubotics.
Let’s see what else took place on hump day… Continue reading