This week’s spotlight is on the reigning American League Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. The Cleveland Indians‘ Opening Day starter really came out of nowhere last season, and now enters the 2015 season with perhaps added pressure to try to duplicate the strong performance. Kluber will be entering his fifth year with the Indians, but the expectations will be higher than ever before for the right-hander. In a suddenly strong division, will Kluber be able to guide his Tribe to the postseason in 2015?
At the start of last season, Kluber wasn’t exactly in the discussion of possible Cy Young contenders. But with the help of a very strong second half, Kluber earned his first career Cy Young award. After July 1st, Kluber went 11-3 and won his last five starts. He also closed out the second half with 13 out of 14 quality starts. The 2014 season was easily the best of the soon-to-be 29 year old’s career, and with all of his domination being done in the second half of the season, Kluber was not even selected as an All-Star a season ago.
With everything coming together for Kluber seemingly all at once and out of nowhere, the progression can be compared to a former Indian in Cliff Lee. While Lee made his debut at a slightly younger age, his first two seasons in Cleveland were also spent getting his feet wet. Towards the end of year three, Lee started to make big strides, and in year four, he really found his stride.
A decade later, Kluber is following along the same path as Lee. If Kluber is able to turn in two straight highly productive seasons, it also may very well lead to a pay raise for him as he becomes arbitration eligible after this season. Kluber will also be a guy to keep an eye on come September. The last two years, he is 9-1 in September starts. A big game pitcher in the making perhaps? A year ago, Corey Kluber was not on the radar of many. This year, Kluber will be in the spotlight to try to remain among the group of elite American League pitchers.