As the New York Yankees prepare for the 2021 season, one of the question marks despite injuries is whether 34-year-old Corey Kluber can pitch legitimate innings. Corey Kluber is an above-averaged pitcher as he won two CY Young awards in the American League during the 2014 and 2017 seasons.
Corey Kluber And Injuries
Before injures started to take a toll on Kluber’s career, he was once one of the most fearful pitchers in the league as he was the ace pitcher for the Cleveland Indians. From 2014 to 2018, he pitched over 200 innings each year with an ERA under 3.50. In 2019, he suffered a broken arm injury as he was hit by a 102 MPH comebacker. After this happened he never pitched the same way as he only pitched 5 games in 2019 with a 5.80 ERA. In 2020, Corey signed with the Texas Rangers with hopes of a bounce-back year. That was not the case at all. Kluber only pitched one inning in 2020 as it turns out he suffered a shoulder injury. It was clear that Kluber was not the same.
Can Kluber live up to expectations?
Yankees’ fans are eager to overcome the world series drought since 2009. Many have been more and more impatient each year with higher expectations. Corey Kluber has signed a 1 year $11 million deal with hopes to overcome injuries and prove himself. But can he do it is what fans wonder. He has only pitched one spring training game so far and looked great. In just two innings pitched, Corey Kluber struck out three with no walks or hits. Matt Blake who is the pitching coach for the team has previously worked with Kluber in the past. This reunion can prove success because of what they did in Cleveland before the injuries.
On the Baseball-Reference website, Kluber is projected to pitch only 8 games with a 4.15 ERA in over 65 innings pitched. Projections aren’t always right and shouldn’t be taken seriously but it is interesting.
Overall, as long as he stays healthy throughout the season, Corey has the chance to prove that he can pitch legitimate innings. He should be able to pitch better than the projections given by Baseball-Reference. Yankees fans shouldn’t be surprised if he is not able to pitch more than 200 innings though. The Yankees are smart enough not to push him. After not pitching more than seven games in the past two years, pitching more than 200 innings seems unreal. As spring training continues and opening day comes closer, we will see how Corey Kluber does. He has much potential left in the tank and will be fun to see what he can as a Yankee.