Daily Notes: The Half-Secret to Corey Kluber’s Success

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. Featured Game: Detroit at Cleveland, 19:05pm ET
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Featured Game: Detroit at Cleveland, 19:05pm ET
Starting This Game, In Terms of Pitchers
Starting this game for Detroit and Cleveland in terms of pitchers are right-hander Max Scherzer (54.1 IP, 63 xFIP-, 1.9 WAR) and Corey Kluber (28.1 IP, 86 xFIP-, 0.5 WAR), respectively.

Regarding Max Scherzer, What Is Manifestly the Case
What is manifestly the case with regard to Max Scherzer is that he’s well-suited to prevent runs at an above-average rate relative to other major-league pitchers.

Regarding Corey Kluber, What Is Less Manifestly the Case
What is less manifestly the case with regard to Corey Kluber is that, like Scherzer, he’s also probably well-suited to prevent runs at an above-average rate.

Some Evidence to That Effect
In four starts this season, Corey Kluber has produced a 91 xFIP-, placing him 40th among the 149 pitchers who’ve thrown at least 20 innings in a starting capacity — and just ahead of both CC Sabathia (41st) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (42nd), themselves well-suited to preventing runs.

Some More Evidence to That Effect
Nor does what Kluber’s doing this season appear to represent any markedly new level for the Clevelander. Both his strikeout rate as a starter (19.2% this season, 19.8% last season) and walk rate (5.9% this season, 6.4% last season) are nearly identical to what he produced in 12 starts last season, when he posted a 96 xFIP- and 0.5 WAR in 63.0 innings. In fact, given his swinging-strike rate (11.5%), it would not be wholly irrational to expect an increase in Kluber’s strikeout rate.

Regarding Kluber, The Obvious Concern
The obvious concern with regard to Corey Kluber is that, while he’s well-suited to preventing runs, he’s actually been less successful at actually preventing them. To wit: despite a 3.76 FIP and 3.70 xFIP and 3.86 SIERA, Kluber has actually posted a 6.17 ERA in the same four starts in question.

Regarding Kluber, More of the Obvious Concern
Another part of the obvious concern is that Kluber also had less success in run prevention than seemingly ought to have been the case last year, when he posted a 4.29 FIP and 3.99 xFIP and 3.87, but a 5.14 ERA.

In Conclusion
In conclusion, it is perhaps not entirely accurate to say that what has been revealed here is the half-secret to Corey Kluber’s success — in part, because Kluber has only been half successful, and, in part, because very few secrets have actually been revealed. And yet, it’s also fair to say that something has happened here, and not nothing.

Action Footage: Kluber Striking Out Delmong Young
Here’s action footage of Corey Kluber striking out Delmon Young on a slider in the second inning of his most recent start:

CK Again

Action Footage: Kluber Striking Out Young
Here’s more footage, also of Kluber striking out Delmon Young, except this time in the fourth inning and by means of an inside sinker:


Readers’ Preferred Broadcast
Per the results of our crowdsourcing project from the 2011-2012 offseason, FanGraphs readers prefer Cleveland Radio (link).

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Arizona at Colorado | 20:40 ET
Ian Kennedy (55.1 IP, 116 xFIP-, 0.4 WAR) faces Jhoulys Chacin (42.0 IP, 105 xFIP-, 1.1 WAR). Charlie Blackmon Status Update: 16 PA, .267/.313/.467 (.300 BABIP), 101 wRC+, 0.4 WAR.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Arizona Television, Perhaps.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 5.3.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.

Away SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Matt Garza* CHN 8 5 6 7 4 PIT Wandy Rodriguez 19:05
Max Scherzer DET 10 7 9 9 9 CLE Corey Kluber 19:05
Phil Hughes NYA 6 6 5 7 2 BAL Miguel Gonzalez 19:05
Alex Cobb TB 8 7 6 4 3 TOR Ramon Ortiz* 19:07
Mike Leake CIN 5 5 4 7 1 NYN Jon Niese 19:10
Mike Pelfrey MIN 0 3 4 8 6 ATL Tim Hudson 19:10
Tyler Cloyd* PHI 4 1 5 0 10 MIA Jose Fernandez 19:10
Dan Straily OAK 6 6 7 5 10 TEX Yu Darvish 20:05
Felix Doubront BOS 5 8 5 1 5 CHA Jose Quintana 20:10
Wade Davis KC 3 7 3 3 2 HOU Bud Norris 20:10
Zack Greinke* LAN 9 2 5 6 1 MIL Hiram Burgos 20:10
Ian Kennedy AZ 3 4 4 8 4 COL Jhoulys Chacin 20:40
Aaron Harang SEA 5 6 5 4 5 LAA Jerome Williams* 22:05
Adam Wainwright STL 10 2 5 6 1 SD Edinson Volquez 22:10
St. Strasburg WAS 10 2 6 5 4 SF Matt Cain 22:15

To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.

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