Last season it was Trevor Bauer who really turned heads with his amazing 2018 campaign for the Indians on the mound, as he lowered his ERA from 4.19 to 2.21, and was one of the top choices for the AL Cy Young award before an August injury derailed him.
While Bauer should be at or near the top of the list again for the award, there could be another Indians pitcher who just might be in the mix for the award – and it’s not Corey Kluber.
That pitcher is Mike Clevinger, who at 28 years old (the same age as Bauer) looks poised to have an even bigger impact on the mound in 2019 than he did in 2018.
Not to say what he did in 2018 was bad by any means, as Clevinger went 13-8 with a 3.02 ERA, striking out 207 batters in exactly 200 innings.
He showed not only that he has the durability to go 200 innings in 2018, but he also was clutch in working hard to continue to get better adding pitches to his resume.
MLB.com wrote an interesting story about pitchers who might be ‘sleepers’ for their respective Cy Young awards in the AL and NL, and Clevinger is on the list for the American League.
Kluber is always in the Cy Young discussion. Carrasco is always on the verge of that discussion. Bauer had a good shot at last year’s award before he was injured. But let us offer a fourth Cleveland starter for your consideration. Clevinger actually added life to his fastball down last year’s stretch run thanks to a mechanical adjustment, and he showed the durability to be a consistent workhorse in the years to come. Clevinger is another pitcher on this list who’s developed a dominant offspeed assortment (only Milwaukee’s Chase Anderson allowed a lower hard-hit rate on secondary pitches in 2018), and he’s part of one of MLB’s best pitching classes in the Tribe’s rotation.
While fans are still taking plenty of time to bash the Indians for their outfield as well as their bullpen, it’s incredible to think that any one of the top four starters could possibly end up with hardware at the end of the season.
If nothing else, it should be fun to watch in 2019.