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Cody Allen had another dominant year at the back end of the Indians bullpen

He’s no Andrew Miller, but the elite closer is just a notch below.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

When Andrew Miller found his way to the Cleveland Indians in 2016, many people were (rightfully) thrilled at the addition of an electric arm to the back end of the bullpen. Because of this, many people tended to forget just how good Cody Allen was as the Indians’ closer. Yes, Allen didn’t always get things done in a sexy way, which ultimately led to his “Cardiac Cody” nickname, but he got the job done the vast majority of the time.


Bryan Shaw rightfully gets a lot of credit for being the workhorse of the Cleveland bullpen and often has the most innings out of any pitcher in the Tribe relief corps. Cody Allen is no slouch in this department either; in 2017, appeared in 69 games (67.1 innings) compared to Shaw’s 79 games (76.2 innings). And he’s been doing this since 2013, averaging right around 69 innings per season during that time frame. Oh, and this is sort of nice (especially considering Andrew Miller’s knee injuries this season):

Cody Allen is consistently excellent for the Cleveland Indians and never breaks down. Even if his results were average, this trait alone is valuable at the back end of the bullpen, so it helps that Allen is fantastic at what he does.

Model of Consistency

In games where Cody Allen pitched for the Cleveland Indians in 2017, the team was 56-13. To put that into perspective, the Dodgers were 60-5 in games when uber-reliever Kenley Jansen pitched this season. Despite how you feel about the “Cardiac Cody” moniker, it was true that you could trust Allen more often than you couldn’t, and that was evident at the beginning of the season. April was a good month for Cody as he gave up just 1 run throughout the entire month and wouldn’t give up another until May 10 against the Toronto Blue Jays. His worst month was probably June when he allowed 6 runs (4 earned) in 9.1 innings. He gave up runs in 16 of his appearances yet went scoreless in his other 53. If you’re looking at some of his other stats and comparing them to his career norms, he was just as dominant as ever despite some hiccups here and there. His WHIP was right in line with his career average (1.158 in 2017 compared to 1.159 across six seasons), he was allowing a few more hits and home runs (7.6 H/9 and 1.2 HR/9 compared to 7.1 and 0.8, respectively), but he was also striking out more (12.3 K/9 vs. 11.7) and walking fewer hitters (2.8 BB/9 vs. 3.4) than we’re used to.

Bullpen dominance couldn’t salvage the ALDS

Cody Allen did everything he could to help his team advance past the ALDS this season. In his 6.1 innings of limited work, he gave up just one earned run (oddly enough, in game 5 where it seemed like every run was unearned thanks to the circus show defense) while striking out 6 and walking 3. You really can’t ask for much more out of your closer in the playoffs, especially considering the issues that some of the other pitchers had both in this series as well as across the entire playoffs.

Looking ahead to 2018

With Cody Allen, you know what you’re getting: a reliable, dominant arm to close out games. Yes, he will have issues every now and then, but Cody Allen was great once again and will hopefully continue to be just that for Cleveland in the upcoming seasons. With the very real possibility that Bryan Shaw will not be returning to the Cleveland Indians next season looming, it will be critical for new bullpen arms to step up and fill his role; with that being said, that only matters if back end guys like Cody Allen continue to terrify and dominate hitters late in games.