FG On Fox: Finding a Comparison for Corey Kluber’s Breaking Ball

If you check out the FanGraphs leaderboard of the best pitchers so far, you’ve got a lot of awfully familiar names. Felix Hernandez and Clayton Kershaw are obvious. Chris Sale? Jon Lester? No shock. The guy that stands out — the guy currently in third place in Wins Above Replacement — is Corey Kluber.

People are gradually coming to terms with the reality of Kluber being a rotation ace, but there’s still the question of how. It’s uncommon to have an ace come completely out of nowhere, and a few years ago Kluber was a little-thought-of trade return for Ryan Ludwick. Even the Indians couldn’t have seen all this coming.

The Corey Kluber story is complicated, as all of them are. He’s extremely dedicated and focused off the field. He’s changed the fastball that he throws. He’s made all kinds of little tweaks and adjustments, and he’s benefiting now from just having gotten an opportunity in the majors. But there is this one little signature of his that’s never been as good as it is today. Recently, Baseball America polled big-league managers on the best tools in the league. One of the prompts concerned the owner of the best curveball in the American League. Justin Verlander came in third, and, yeah, his curveball is really good. Dellin Betances came in first, and he’s really gotten comfortable in the bullpen. Corey Kluber came in second. That is, according to people who coach at the highest level, Kluber has one of baseball’s true elite curveballs.

Read the rest at Just A Bit Outside.

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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Well-Beered Englishman
Well-Beered Englishman

I can’t help noticing Fredi Gonzalez was voted the third-best manager. Perhaps managers are better at assessing players than they are at assessing themselves.