Corey Kluber has pitched for three teams in his MLB career, and once the 2022 season rolls around, he’s going to make it four.
The 35-year-old signed with the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.
Free-agent RHP Corey Kluber in agreement with Rays on one-year deal, pending physical, sources tell @TheAthletic. Kluber, 35, missed more than three months with right shoulder strain before rejoining Yankees in late August. Finished with 3.83 ERA in 80 IP, including no-hitter.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 28, 2021
Kluber spent the 2021 season with the New York Yankees, and when he was available, he was solid.
Going into the 2021 campaign, some folks thought he had nothing left in the tank, but he definitely proved that notion wrong.
He’ll look to prove his worth again in 2022.
In the meantime, let’s rank some of his best seasons so far.
This guy was an elite arm during his prime, so there are plenty of good years to choose from.
Let’s get started.
3. 2018 Season
Kluber’s 2018 season was perhaps the final year of his prime.
He certainly made it a memorable one.
He was a horse that year, as he led the league in innings with 215.0.
The righty posted a 2.89 ERA over 33 starts.
He also registered a 150 ERA+, 3.12 FIP, and 0.99 WHIP.
He eclipsed 200 strikeouts for the fifth time in his carer, fanning 222 batters in this particular season.
Corey Kluber, 2018 Highlights. 😳 pic.twitter.com/n2omLRK9sw
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) January 15, 2019
The former fourth-round pick earned an All-Star selection along the way, which was the third of his career.
When all was said and done, he finished the season with a 5.7 bWAR.
He landed in third place in the AL Cy Young race.
2. 2014 Season
Kluber’s 2014 season was an unforgettable one.
You could maybe argue that it deserves consideration for the top spot on this list, but it seems like a better fit here at the No. 2 slot.
He won his first Cy Young Award in 2014, and it’s pretty easy to understand why.
He maintained a 2.44 ERA over 34 starts, and he complemented that mark with a league-best 2.35 FIP.
The three-time All-Star struck out 269 batters in 235.2 innings, giving him a K/9 of 10.3.
He also posted a 160 ERA+, which stands as the second-best mark of his career today.
A 160 ERA+ is 60 percent better than league average, so that gives you a pretty good idea of how dominant he was compared to his peers.
Kluber finished the 2014 season with a bWAR of 8.1 (which stands as a career-best today).
He wound up 11th in the AL MVP race.
1. 2017 Season
At No. 1, Kluber’s 2017 season gets the nod.
The hurler accomplished a LOT in 2017.
He led the league in each of the following categories:
- ERA (2.25)
- Wins (18)
- ERA+ (202)
- WHIP (0.87)
- Hits per nine innings (6.2)
- Walks per nine innings (1.6)
- Strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.36)
Those clips are all absurdly impressive, but his ERA+ seems to stand out the most.
As you probably realize, a 202 ERA+ is 102 percent better than league average.
That’s a remarkable accomplishment.
For context, the AL’s next-best ERA+ in 2017 was 157.
No one else came close to Kluber’s mark.
The Stetson University product also racked up a bWAR of 7.9 in 2017, a mark that helped him finish seventh in the AL MVP race.
When it came to the Cy Young race, he took home the hardware in a runaway, giving him the second Cy Young Award of his career.
Cy Kluber 2.0!
Congrats to @Indians ace Corey Kluber on winning the 2017 AL Cy Young. pic.twitter.com/lbm4itwlUB
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) November 15, 2017
All things considered, his 2017 campaign deserves the top spot on this list.