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Friday, August 15, 2014

Corey Kluber has rain to thank for rise to game’s elite

I bless the rain down in… Columbus???

Rain showers had washed away Triple-A Columbus’ pregame plan, and Corey Kluber retreated to the confines of a cage to complete his workout. With rain falling and nothing but time on his hands, the pitcher decided to have some fun with the mound session.

Kluber fired his customary four-seam fastball, but he then started working in a two-seam sinker every few pitches. Ruben Niebla, who was Columbus’ pitching coach during that 2011 season, liked what he saw and told the right-hander to finish the workout with nothing but sinkers… What the Indians could not have known on that rainy afternoon three years ago was the turning point in Kluber’s career had quietly arrived…

Heading into Monday’s off-day for the Tribe, Kluber was 13-6 with a 2.46 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP through 25 starts this season… “He’s getting an air about him like a Nolan Ryan or a Roger Clemens,” pitching coach Mickey Callaway said…

Callaway says the two-seamer has increased the effectiveness of Kluber’s two main offspeed offerings… Entering Monday’s action, Fangraphs.com gave Kluber’s cutter a 12.2 rating, which was the second-best cut fastball in baseball behind Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright (16.9)... hitters have posted a .072 (11-for-153) average in at-bats ending with Kluber’s curveball, which has Fangraph’s highest rating (17.7) in the Majors for that particular pitch…

And what if it had not rained on that afternoon three years ago?

“I guess we’ll never know,” Kluber said with a smile.

The District Attorney Posted: August 15, 2014 at 06:12 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: corey kluber, indians

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   1. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 15, 2014 at 06:45 PM (#4772106)
Today's kids are so lazy. Oh, it's too hard to grip four seams, coach! ####### prima donna.
   2. Jacob Posted: August 15, 2014 at 06:59 PM (#4772115)
Traded by the Padres for Ryan Ludwick (who sucked ass) in 2010. Without him, they may have actually made the postseason.
   3. Al Kaline Trio Posted: August 15, 2014 at 07:35 PM (#4772141)
Spahn, Spain and a day of rain?
   4. Walt Davis Posted: August 15, 2014 at 08:59 PM (#4772185)
I suppose I could read the article but the excerpt has me a bit kerfuddled ... he's got the #2 cutter and the #1 curve but the key to his success is the 2-seaner?
   5. Accent Shallow Posted: August 15, 2014 at 10:30 PM (#4772232)
Good for him, although it's a (little) odd that all this clicked in 2011, but he wasn't a worthwhile Major League pitcher until last season.
   6. akrasian Posted: August 15, 2014 at 10:50 PM (#4772241)
#5 - obviously steroids. This is just the cover story. (yes, I went there)
   7. Squash Posted: August 16, 2014 at 01:03 AM (#4772271)
Good for him, although it's a (little) odd that all this clicked in 2011, but he wasn't a worthwhile Major League pitcher until last season.

You can learn to throw a sick pitch stuff-wise, but it can take a while to learn how to command it properly. At least that's one reason it can take a little time.
   8. Batman Posted: August 16, 2014 at 01:13 AM (#4772273)
Ichiro could get out of the rain if he wanted to.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: August 16, 2014 at 02:00 AM (#4772277)
And Ichiro could hit a 2-seam fastball if he wanted to ... which he usually does.
   10. Norcan Posted: August 16, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4772371)
Good for him, although it's a (little) odd that all this clicked in 2011, but he wasn't a worthwhile Major League pitcher until last season.


Yeah, I guess maybe if it hadn't rain, he would never ever had worked on a sinker extensively in a bullpen session but according to his pitch charts, he didn't start featuring sinkers until 2012. Another big change has been the scrapping of his changeup. He threw a changeup 16 percent of the time in 2012 when he had a 5.14 ERA in 63 innings; that figure is only 4 percent this season.

He carves up righties and lefties in mind numblingly similar fashion. He gets ahead with sinkers that are hard to square up so he gets called strikes or foul balls and then puts then away with a great slider/cutter or curve. The only thing I would worry about with him is his longevity because his elbow gets up above his shoulder.

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