The failed drug test of Emmanuel Clase won’t hurt the Indians

Cleveland Indians Emmanuel Clase (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Cleveland Indians Emmanuel Clase (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Cleveland Indians prospect Emmanuel Clase tested positive for a banned substance after being included in the Corey Kluber trade.

The Cleveland Indians dealt Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers after the 2019 season ended in exchange for reliever prospect Emmanuel Clase and outfielder Delino DeShields. While not the most impressive haul ever for the aging two-time Cy Young winner in Kluber, it was a nice return for someone who was developing a nasty habit of missing time due to injuries.

The former King of the North‘s trade was met with some criticism from Tribe faithful but the Indians, by and large, do well in trades and have ever since the early 2000s. While Clase was a nice get for the team, the news that he’s going to be out of action for half the season isn’t that big of a deal. Clase was suspended for having the banned performance-enhancing substance Boldenone in his system and assuming there is a 2020 season, he will miss 80 games. Since he wasn’t a major factor in this year’s plans before the suspension of play, his absences won’t be too great.

Clase might one day have a major role in the Indians bullpen, especially at the back of it, but as of this year, no one had huge expectations for Clase, who’s just 22-years-old. The issue with Clase’s positive test has nothing to do with his on the field availability but how getting off the drug will affect him and his performance. A lot of times, pitchers try to up their velocity any way they can and that includes taking performance enhancers like Boldenone. Clase throws the ball fast, with his cutter and four-seam ranging anywhere from 99-102 mph.

He’ll probably lose some velocity from this, but it won’t be dramatic. Even if he has good movement on his pitches, he could still be around 93-95 mph. Velocity isn’t that big of a deal in the majors. Great pitchers rarely cracked the 90’s and were Cy Young winners. Why? Control. Control is all that matters. If you can paint the edge of the strike zone and keep hitters guessing, who cares how fast you throw? After all, we’ve seen flamethrowers come in and get lit up no matter how fast the pitch is. If you telegraph your pitches, you’re going to get taken deep regardless if the balls going 80 mph or 100 mph.

If Clase has any control to speak of, he’ll bounce back and be fine. He just might not be as exciting is all.

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