Corey Kluber
Corey Kluber
32-Year-Old PitcherSP
Cleveland Indians
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Despite another superb all-around campaign, Kluber is eliciting some trepidation from the "better to run away a year early" crowd. The consternation emanates from a marked drop in Kluber's velocity in the final month of the season -- he lost a couple ticks off his four-seamer. The conundrum is he posted his highest swinging-strike rate in September (over 18%), resulting in a monthly-best 35.3 K%. The assumption is September was more fluke than fact and Kluber can't sustain that dominance with less velocity. For the season, he posted his usual stellar ratios, eclipsing the 200-inning plateau for the fifth straight season, the fourth hurling at least 215 frames. Perhaps amassing 1,091.1 regular-season innings the past five years with another 45.1 tacked on in the playoffs has taken its toll, but assuming he doesn't exhibit any health issues in the spring, it's well worth any discount you may get on what should be another elite year. Read Past Outlooks
$Agreed to a five-year, $38.5 million extension that includes club options for 2020 and 2021 in April of 2015.
Takes the loss
PCleveland Indians
October 5, 2018
Kluber (0-1) gave up four runs on six hits and two walks over 4.2 innings in a loss to the Astros in Game 1 of the American League Division Series. He struck out two.
Kluber pitched three scoreless frames before allowing four runs over the next two innings. The devastating blows were three solo shots, marking the fourth consecutive playoff start that Kluber has allowed at least two home runs. The right-hander posted a 2.89 ERA, 9.3 K/9 and 1.1 HR/9 in 2018 and will look to get back on track if he gets another opportunity in the Division Series.
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .218 1189 326 72 241 44 6 35
Since 2016vs Right .204 1290 388 55 249 58 1 33
2018vs Left .227 411 115 21 88 14 4 16
2018vs Right .220 431 107 13 91 18 0 9
2017vs Left .200 367 115 22 68 11 0 10
2017vs Right .186 410 150 14 73 20 0 11
2016vs Left .226 411 96 29 85 19 2 9
2016vs Right .206 449 131 28 85 20 1 13
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
Since 2016Home 2.38 0.93 343.2 31 10 0 10.4 1.8 0.9
Since 2016Away 3.23 1.03 290.0 25 10 0 9.8 1.8 1.1
2018Home 2.14 0.87 118.0 11 3 0 9.5 1.3 0.9
2018Away 3.80 1.13 97.0 9 4 0 9.1 1.6 1.2
2017Home 1.81 0.81 114.2 10 2 0 12.3 1.6 0.5
2017Away 2.83 0.94 89.0 8 2 0 10.9 1.5 1.4
2016Home 3.24 1.11 111.0 10 5 0 9.5 2.6 1.1
2016Away 3.03 1.00 104.0 8 4 0 9.5 2.2 0.7
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Stat Review
How does Corey Kluber compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
92.0 mph
Strand %
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Despite missing most of May with lower-back discomfort, Kluber won the American League Cy Young Award and joined Max Scherzer and Jeff Samardzija as the only pitchers to toss more than 200 innings in each of the last four seasons. Kluber shattered career bests in both strikeout (34.1) and walk (4.6) percentages, resulting in his lowest ERA ever. While back issues often resurface, there’s doesn't seem to be any real reason to be concerned about Kluber. The righty threw at least seven frames in 19 of his 29 outings. Of the 10 shorter efforts, three were in April as he battled blisters, one was his only May start when his back began barking, two were the games right after he came off the disabled list in June while another was his last start of the season as he was readying for the playoffs. Kluber’s skills and reliability place him among the elite, warranting first-round consideration in leagues that push pitching.
Kluber is wrongly perceived as underrated. He's quiet and prior to 2016, Cleveland didn't get a lot of national run, but that hasn't muted Kluber's price. Consider that he was the 35th overall pick on the heels of his Cy Young win in 2015 draft season and then even after a 9-16 season that saw his ERA rise by a full run, the fantasy market still understood just how good he was and slotted him as the 38th overall pick on average. He rewarded that faith with another Cy-worthy effort that saw minimal erosion in his skills with an ERA and WHIP that essentially split the difference on his 2014 and 2015 seasons. Even with the overall stock of SPs dropping, Kluber will likely set a new best Average Draft Position, going somewhere in the top 30 picks. He has the occasional blowup (five starts of five-plus earned runs), but his eight starts of at least eight innings were third-most in MLB. Those five starts were virtually his only bad ones out of 32. He's elite.
For those still trying to use wins as a measure of pitcher quality, Kluber's 2014-15 should finally convert you. Yes, his ERA jumped by 1.05 runs, but there is no way that was worth nine wins, especially when the skills were actually better in the 9-16 season. He lost a tick on his strikeout rate, but also dropped his walk rate resulting in a slightly better 5.4 K/BB ratio. The most frustrating thing about Kluber's season was that his hot streaks were best-pitcher-in-baseball good and they always seemed to get broken up by a blow-up start. He had 11 starts of eight-plus innings, the most in baseball, but also five starts of five-plus earned runs allowed. Part of the problem is that despite the velocity, Kluber doesn't have a great fastball. It got a bit better last season, but it remains below average, especially for an ace-level talent. The record will definitely drop his cost on draft day, but the fact that you are reading this means you are smart enough not to make that mistake.
Kluber showed devastating secondary stuff throughout 2013 which hinted at a breakout, but his fastball command lagged behind meaning he was no sure thing. Understanding that, Kluber shifted from a four-seamer to a two-seamer and actually gained velocity, giving him a reasonable fastball offering to set up the elite secondaries, the best of which was an incredible curveball that was arguably baseball’s best pitch in 2014. The .241 OPS-against was the best for any single pitch with 150 batters faced and the .091 AVG was second to only Dellin Betances’ breaking ball (.075). It’s hard to believe that Kluber could get better, but if he began commanding his two-seamer like the breaking pitches, then his 2.35 FIP might be in reach. Batters still hit .304 on the two-seamer, but hitting .172 on the rest of his pitches mitigates that damage. He has improved his fastball OPS yearly, down to .821 last year. Another jump could stifle an ERA dip. Even with a backslide in ERA, he’s still a Tier-1 asset.
Kluber stepped into the rotation when Brett Myers hit the disabled list in late April and never looked back. He missed a chunk of time in August with a finger injury and didn't fare well upon his return, but was effective enough overall to pitch himself into the team's plans heading into 2014. Kluber struggles at times with the long ball, but helps out his cause by missing plenty of bats (8.3 K/9) and not allowing many free passes (2.0 BB/9). He'll head into spring training with a spot in the team's starting rotation, and there is very little in the underlying numbers (.329 BABIP., 72.9% LOB, 3.10 xFIP) that suggest his breakout can't be repeated.
Kluber showed better control (3.5 BB/9) and an uptick in his strikeout rate (9.2 K/9) at Triple-A Columbus and earned a midseason promotion to the Indians. He struggled with the long ball in his time with the Indians and does not have the nasty power stuff you might expect from someone his size (6-foot-4, 215 pounds). He will compete for a rotation spot this spring despite some pretty ugly numbers (5.14 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 1.3 HR/9 in 12 starts) unless the Indians are able to upgrade their rotation options this winter.
Kluber struggled in his first full season at Triple-A (5.56 ERA, 1.480 WHIP, 8.5 K/9IP in 27 starts) despite a nice strikeout rate. The 6-foot-4 righty doesn't have the power arsenal you might expect from his size, and that figures to limit the success he might have if the Indians move him into a relief role. He'll start the season again at Triple-A Columbus, but it doesn't appear that a breakout season is coming any time soon.
Kluber struggled a bit at Double-A Akron after coming over to the Indians from the Padres midseason, but he pitched well enough in the Texas League to warrant some attention. He's always posted nice strikeout totals in his minor league career, but Kluber might get lost in what has become a pretty deep Indians farm system. He was added to the team's 40-man roster this winter, so apparently he did enough to get noticed by the front office and figures to spend most of the year making the jump to Triple-A.
More Fantasy News
Fans six in no-decision
PCleveland Indians
September 30, 2018
Kluber didn't factor into the decision in Saturday's 9-4 loss to the Royals, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks over five innings while striking out six.
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Seven scoreless in win over White Sox
PCleveland Indians
September 24, 2018
Kluber (20-7) tossed seven scoreless innings Monday to earn the win against the White Sox, allowing four hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts.
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Next start coming Monday
PCleveland Indians
September 21, 2018
Kluber is listed as the Indians' probable pitcher for Monday's game against the White Sox.
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Strikes out 11 in win over White Sox
PCleveland Indians
September 19, 2018
Kluber (19-7) allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks across eight innings to earn the win Tuesday against the White Sox. He struck out 11.
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Set to be skipped this weekend
PCleveland Indians
September 11, 2018
Kluber will be skipped this weekend as the Indians look to line him up for the postseason, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
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