With a large pool of high-profile and immensely talented starting pitchers across the majors, including Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, and Yu Darvish, it can be easy to overlook one of the most dominating pitchers of the young season: Corey Kluber.
Despite accumulating 15 earned runs in his first four starts, Kluber is posting a 3.10 ERA, an unlucky number as his 2.23 FIP dictates. He is flashing elite strikeout ability with a 10.28 K/9 while preventing free base runners by showcasing a magnificent 2.11 BB/9. To make matters worse for hitters, Kluber has managed a 45.8% GB rate and low 33% FB rate, a solid ratio that exhibits hitters’ difficulties to get solid swings on the ball.
The prized jewel of Kluber’s repertoire is his deadly Slider, which has already racked up 7.6 Runs Above Average in 2014, trailing only Kyle Lohse for the most effective Slider in the game. Here it is in action striking out Orioles infielder Jonathon Schoop:
Corey Kluber displayed his potential as a top-tier pitching talent in 2013, and he initially seemed to be fizzling out in 2014. However, with his recent dominating performances, including five starts with at least 9 punchouts, Kluber looks primed for a breakout 2014 campaign.
Nick Pollack writes for Pitcher GIFs and can found making an excessive amount of GIFs on Twitter @PitcherGifs.