Corey Kluber was fantastic by any standard you want to use in August. Are you fan of win/loss records? He was 5-0 in six August starts. Like things that actually matter? He allowed just 11 earned runs with 44 strikeouts and 13 walks in 40.2 innings.
Baseball can no longer ignore his tremendous season — he has been named the American League’s Pitch of the Month for August. Shockingly enough, this is first POTM award since September 2014, the final month of Cy Young-winning season.
Kluber did not throw a single shutout in his six starts, but he did not allow more than three runs in any given start. Two of his outings — the first and last of the month — were both eight innings. In Kluber’s most recent start, an August 31 win over the Minnesota Twins, he struck out a season-high 11 batters.
Chris Sale leads the American League FanGraphs WAR race by a slim margin, racking up 4.7 fWAR to Kluber’s 4.6. However, Kluber leads the AL in FIP (3.17) and he is sixth in strikeout rate (9.26/9).
Kluber’s curveball has been tremendous this season, with a weighed value (essentially, how well it works on opposing hitters) of 18.6, according to FanGraphs. The next closest curveball belongs to Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura at 9.6. The only other individual pitchers worth more than a weighted value of 18.6 are fastballs from JA Happ (26.5), Jose Quintana (24.8) and Ian Kennedy (22.2). Depending on who you ask, Kluber’s curveball may also be straight-up evil.
A lot can happen in a month-and-a-half, even for the ultra-consistent Corey Kluber, but right now he has to be in the forefront of voters’ minds for the AL Cy Young award. If anything, he needs to work on getting his walks down and his earned run average under that mystical 2.99 mark to have the best case possible.