If you watched the Cleveland Guardians last season, you know that Emmanuel Clase was the American League’s nastiest reliever.
He had a 1.36 ERA and struck out 77 hitters in 72.2 frames.
The right-hander earned his eighth save of the season on Wednesday versus the Colorado Rockies.
There is a problem, though.
Clase, despite his 2.25 ERA entering the day, hasn’t been missing many bats with his trademark cutter.
He is actually experiencing a bit of a velocity loss with the pitch so far in 2023.
He got only one swing-and-miss on 20 pitches on Wednesday, yet is still working on a six-game scoreless streak.
He has been good, but we all know he can be even better.
Should the Guardians be worried?
“Emmanuel Clase has thrown 115 cutters so far this season but only 1 of them has been at least as fast as his average cutter last season (99.5 MPH),” Codify Baseball tweeted.
Emmanuel Clase has thrown 115 cutters so far this season but only 1 of them has been at least as fast as his average cutter last season (99.5 MPH). h/t @fuzzyfromyt
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) April 26, 2023
Clase is averaging around 98 mph with the cutter, after checking in at 99.5 mph last year.
In 2022, it was common to see him surpass 100 mph.
That hasn’t been the case this season, though, and it has reflected in his strikeout numbers.
He entered Wednesday’s game with eight punchouts in 12 frames this year.
It might have something to do with weather, or he could be hiding a minor injury.
In any case, it’s not time to hit the panic button since he has been getting good results and is not that far from his peak velocity.
We will know better in a few weeks, unless he is hiding something.NEXT: ESPN Analyst Sounds Off On Guardians' Lack Of Offense