Corey Kluber Deserves Your Vote in the American League Final All-Star Vote
Plain and simple, Corey Kluber's exclusion from the American League All-Star team is a travesty. A complete travesty, especially as an Indians fan. One of the best pitchers in baseball was excluded from a game which is supposed to feature the game's best.
But there's a way to right the wrong. Kluber has been included in the "American League Final Vote," along with Chris Sale, Garrett Richards, Rick Porcello and Dallas Keuchel. One of these AL starters will be voted in, and we can end the travesty by voting Corey Kluber into what would be his first All-Star Game.
Why should you vote for Kluber? To start, the man has some of the best numbers among the five pitchers in the Final Vote.
Kluber, among the candidates, is second in almost every major pitching category, only behind Chris Sale. And the difference between the two is minuscule at best. These numbers put both Kluber and Sale, if he had the innings to qualify, in the top 20 pitchers in Major League Baseball in every one of these categories. It's a shame that both Kluber and Sale, having been left out of the initial voting, will have to duke it out to win this last vote, as both should have made it in the first place.
However only one can make it, and it should be Kluber. Sale might have better numbers on the surface, albiet in less innings pitched - due to a muscle strain - but when taking a look at numberFire's nERD metric, which measures the number of runs a pitcher prevents compared to the league average per game, Kluber wins big time.
Of all the pitchers in the Final Vote, Kluber has the best nERD of the bunch.
Kluber's nERD is third-best in baseball among starting pitchers, only behind Felix Hernandez and David Price. Only Richards' nERD comes close to Kluber's, ranked 12th, while none of the others crack the top 30.
Comparing Kluber and Sale's nERD, Kluber is preventing more than half a run per game more than Sale. While some of Sale's other statistics may be a bit better than Kluber's, nERD is an all-encompassing statistic, proving that Kluber has indeed pitched better.
And as I explained in a previous article, Kluber has emerged as one of the best pitchers in baseball this year. His stuff is just downright nasty and combined with a high wiff rate make him one of the best in the league. He is certainly deserving of an All-Star vote.
Not only is Kluber good, he's also incredibly consistent. In more than half of his starts, he's struck out at least eight batters, something Sale hasn't done in fewer starts. In addition of Kluber's 19 starts, all but four of them have been quality starts.
There's no doubting that any of the five would deserve the nod, and while Sale and Kluber seem to make it a two-horse race, Kluber pulls it out with his historic May. Corey Kluber absolutely dominated in the month, to the point where his name was floated around with some Hall of Famers.
Kluber finished May with a 2.09 ERA, 1.78 FIP, 1.80 xFIP, 12.56 K/9 and 1.67 BB/9. In the month of May, he struck out 60 batters, while walking just 8. He was just the second pitcher, the other being Yu Darvish, to strike out 60 batters in a month in the past decade.
More so, since 1914, there have been just 10 pitchers who have struck out 60 or more batters while walking less than 10 in a month. Corey Kluber is one of them. The others are mostly Hall of Famers, or future Hall of Famers, and include: Sandy Koufax, Fergie Jenkins, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez.
When a pitcher is mentioned in the same sentence as the likes of Koufax, Johnson and Jenkins, he deserves to be an All-Star, period.
Riding a May of historic proportions, Kluber should be your vote for the AL Final All-Star Vote. He's emerged as one of the best pitchers in baseball this year and certainly deserves his first All-Star bid. Paraphrasing the words of Uncle Sam, I want you to #VoteKluber.