In Corey Kluber, the Red Sox get an attack horse, if not more

To call the end of Corey KluberIts 2022 season will go smoothly.

with guard and ray zero trades deep into the extratimes of Game 2 of their AL wild card series, both bulls getting thin. Originally slated to be a strong contender to start Game 3, Kluber was forced into action on the 13th turn of Game 2, entering with relief for the first time since 2013. He stuck a runner-up in game 13 and knocked Cleveland out 2-3-4 in the order of day 14.

Then, to take the 15th lead, Kluber hung a 1-0 slider for the Guardians rookie midfielder Oscar Gonzalez:

The game ends. The season’s over The same Cleveland fans who cheered him on so adorably at his peak are going crazy over his decline. It’s not personal, of course — simply a cruel and unusual scenario in which their team advances at the expense of their old hero. Sometimes baseball will do it.

Less than three months after stepping out of Progressive Field in failure, Kluber signed a one-year, $10 million contract with Red Sox. That makes a lot of sense for a Boston team looking to bolster its rotation, a team that has given considerable attention to the veteran right wing over the past two seasons. It was also a great landing spot for Kluber, who was raising family in nearby Winchester since 2016. As he enters his late 30s, what can Red Sox fans expect from the accomplished right-hander?

From 2014-2018, there was only one jar (Scherzer max) started the season more often than Kluber’s 160. From 2019-2021, 184 pitchers started the season more often than Kluber’s 24. He broke his arm on his return early in his final year with Cleveland in 2019, and then suffered a shoulder problem that limited him to just one outing with Texas in 2020 and 16 start with U.S army in 2021.

It is this disturbing trend that has prompted the Rays to award Kluber such a heavy incentive contract in 2022 — an $8 million one-year deal with incentives up to $5 million based on several thresholds starting the game, demonstrating strong faith in the talented Kluber’s, if he can stay on the field.

Kluber responded accordingly, making 31 starts and not spending a single day on IL. His perfectly healthy 2022 is a refreshing reminder of the endurance horse he once was, as we can once again count on seeing Kluber cross the mound into every Thursday. However, the return of endurance is not really accompanied by a return of dominance. His ERA of 4.34 is 16% below the park-adjusted league average and he hits 7.6 shots on target every nine innings, a career low and far from with the 11.7 mark of his 2017 peak. Although he was never an all-round flamethrower and his average fast ball velocity started to drop even before his injury, his heater is currently around 89 mph. , third slowest among qualified starters.

The Kluber we see now – who turns 37 in April – is significantly different from the man who established residency atop the AL Cy Young ballots in his infancy. Super story of Justin Verlander throwing the high heat of the ’90s into his fours has clouded our perception of what a much more normal transition for pitchers like Kluber as they get older. It’s interesting to see guys like Verlander continue to dominate with the same kind of arsenal he had in his 20s, it’s interesting to see Klubers, Johnny Cuetos, Zack Greinkes or Adam Wainwrights of the league find a new way to eliminate beaters.

Offensive totals may never be the same again for Kluber, but the most encouraging part of his 2022 is the rediscovery of his elite ability to dodge free passes. . Although he showed excellence in his injury short year with the Yankees in 2021 – including one player who missed the target, of course – his command is hardly the same as the commander. of a pitcher who led the league in walks per nine innings (BB/9 ) in both 2017-2018. However, in 2022, Kluber again posted a best tournament – and best career – Walk rate 3%, with only 21 bases on balls allowed in 164 plays. That number becomes even more impressive when you realize that Kluber walked four sticks in the first start of the year on April 10, but never walked more than two times (which he pointed out). twice) in any of the 30 starts for the rest of the season. Season.

In addition to limiting free bases, Kluber entices opposing hitters to turn at a career high of 38.8% of the pitches he throws out of the strike zone, which makes also third best among beginners behind the splitter expert Kevin Gausman and All-Star Tyler Anderson. 29.7% so-called public strike with Klüber’s sniffing percentage (CSW%) tied to Kyle Wright 12th among qualified starting pitchersa much better point than one might expect if you just look at the strikes and the ERA.

Offensive will always be sexier, but this new version of Kluber paints the picture of a professional pitcher in every sense, constantly developing new cunning sequences to keep pitchers from falling. degraded. His limited raw content may be hit harder and more often than before, but that doesn’t mean Kluber still can’t deliver a steady start of quality.

He may not offer the same advantage as some of the other free agency starters already available, but Kluber offers a degree of certainty that this Red Sox spin is incredibly aspirational. With 69 starting combinations between Michael Wacha, rich hills and Nathan Eovaldi out the door via free agency, the only return starter with any major workload in 2022 is Nick Pivetta. Before Kluber, Boston is preparing to believe in Sell ​​Chris and James Paxtonwho have combined in the past 70 plays Three seasonsnot to mention younger arms like Garrett Whitlock and Brayan BelloNone of them have gone through a full major season in a single rotation.

As the starter pitcher’s role in the MLB has grown rapidly over the past decade, it’s not just the total number of plays that have shrunk dramatically as teams are reluctant to let pitchers begin to move deep into the game. . Beginners also become a lot less durable throughout the season, let alone during each individual start. Just as pitchers starting 200 innings are becoming increasingly rare – only eight pitchers will reach the threshold by 2022 – a pitcher starting more than 30 innings is now harder to find too. so many. Only 43 different pitchers made at least 30 starts in 2022, up slightly from 41 in 2021, the lowest in a 162-game season since 1967.

Kluber, even after three consecutive seasons with injuries, is still one of only 43 players to make more than 30 appearances by 2022. Over the past few years, teams targeting Kluber seem to be chasing potential.” what if” of him rediscovering his own Younger Cy. In signing Kluber in 2023, the Red Sox instead appear to be choosing a different profile – one in terms of durability and reliability, something many teams are looking for these days, but especially one The team is composed of Boston pitchers. If he can do more than 30 starts again, he will more than likely fill the dark horse role the Red Sox may be envisioning for him. And if Kluber’s ace form reappears any time during his 37-year-old season, that will be gravy.

Top stories from FOX Sports:

Jordan Shusterman is half of @CespedesBBQ and a baseball writer for FOX Sports. He followed baseball his entire adult life, most notably for, DAZN and Ringer. He’s a Mariners fan living in the Eastern Time Zone, which means he loves the first pitch at 10pm. You can follow him on Twitter @j_shusterman_.

Get more out of Major League Baseball Follow your favorites to get game info, news and more


News7g: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button