Emmanuel Clase is proving to be well worth the trade.
The Indians had an ace by the name of Corey Kluber, a player so good, he should’ve won four Cy Young awards in six years. The Indians traded a then 34-year-old Kluber to Texas for a reliever named Emmanuel Clase and a veteran outfielder. It was a trade that fans rejected and demanded heads for. How dare the Indians trade him away for a reliever.
How dare they indeed.
Since 2018, the year prior to the Trade, and all the way to September of 2021, Corey Kluber is just 6-6, with a 4.70 ERA, across 19 starts in only 184 innings pitched and just 100 strikeouts. That’s over three seasons, by the way.
Clase in the same time span is 5-8, with a 1.76 ERA, in 81 games, with 81.2 innings pitched, 84 strikeouts, and 21 saves. Pretty comparable numbers. The only problem, Clase is a closer, Kluber’s a starter. They shouldn’t have comparable numbers.
Clase has become one of the Indians’ best pitchers and that’s shown across the league as he’s become the first Indians reliever to win reliever of the month since 2017, when Cody Allen did it.
AL Reliever of the Month for August and a future pillar for 2022
Clase has gone 20 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball, and according to Cleveland.com, he has not allowed a run since the Tribe’s showdown at Oakland, where Jed Lowrie hit a two-run home run off of him in the ninth for the win.
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He’s on a scoreless streak that has not been seen since Andrew Miller in the 2016-2017 seasons, where Miller went 29 and 2/3 innings of no-run baseball. Not only is Clase not giving up runs but he’s 8-8 in save opportunities as well.
Despite pitching some in 2019 with the Rangers, Clase is still considered a rookie and according to Cleveland.com again, he currently leads all of them with a 1.41 ERA with a minimum of 25 innings pitched. He’s also the leader in saves as well, with 20.
Not only is Clase dominating the opposition but he’s secured himself as the standalone closer for the Tribe going forward. Originally it was seen as a three-headed beast with James Karinchak and Bryan Shaw along for the ride as well, but Karinchak has fallen apart for unknown reasons and Shaw has settled in as a set-up guy, with 18 holds on the year.
Clase should be someone the Tribe can rely on for next year and is a key part of their expected rebound in 2022 as the Guardians.