Corey Kluber was already a frontline major league pitcher before the 2016 postseason, and his playoff success must cause the Pirates to sit up and take note COLUMN: Corey Kluber’s Postseason Success Underscores Pirates’ Pitching Needs | The Sports Daily

COLUMN: Corey Kluber's Postseason Success Underscores Pirates' Pitching Needs

COLUMN: Corey Kluber's Postseason Success Underscores Pirates' Pitching Needs

Pirates

COLUMN: Corey Kluber's Postseason Success Underscores Pirates' Pitching Needs

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Corey Kluber was already a front-line major league pitcher before the 2016 postseason, and his playoff success must cause the Pirates to sit up and take note.

Corey Kluber‘s resume preceded him in the 2016 postseason.

A fantastic season capped by a Cy Young award in 2014 put his name on many’s lips, but anyone who follows baseball closely knew that Kluber was a starting pitcher finding his way in the Major Leagues after breaking in back in 2011. The “Klubot” became a household name and firmly entrenched himself atop the Indians’ rotation – a quality one at that.

As the Cleveland Indians wrapped up a 94-67 season, their top starting pitcher’s availability was in doubt. A quad injury threatened to delay his postseason debut. A team whose rotation was already hurting was on pins and needles, waiting for the good news, which eventually came.

Can you imagine what this World Series might look like if Corey Kluber was not available? It’s a dire situation that no team’s fanbase ever wants to go through.

The fact that the situation was so delicate underscores how important it is for teams to have at least one top-flight, front line starter.

Laps of Luxury

Corey Kluber represents more than just 45 wins over the last three years, each with at least 215 innings. He is more than just someone who led the American League in FIP in two of the last three years. He is more than the two shutouts and three complete games that help comprise his league leading ERA+.

He represents stability.

With apologies to Jameson Taillon‘s burgeoning career, the Pittsburgh Pirates do not have that in their starting rotation. Many thought that Gerrit Cole could be “the guy.” (Take note: I’m not using the “A-Word” in this article).

Can you blame Indians manager Terry Francona for wanting to pitch him on short rest in the ALCS?

Was there any doubt in your mind that Francona would align the rotation to get a minimum of two – and possibly three – starts out of Kluber?

No, there was not. In either case. Doubt is not a word commonly associated with Corey Kluber.

If the Pittsburgh Pirates of 2014 or 2015 could have gotten past the Wild Card, would they have had a pitcher of Kluber’s ilk? The argument could be made that J.A. Happ could have filled that role by extending his hot play in 2015. In 2014, an 88-74 team that clawed its way into the playoffs might have been bounced out in two games, because there was no one in the same stratosphere as Kluber’s 2016 form.

Corey Kluber has proven the worth of having a front-line, number one, go-to guy and, ok I’ll say it, ace on your pitching staff.

The Pittsburgh Pirates want to get deeper into the postseason. General Manager Neal Huntington is on record saying that the team will address starting pitching in the offseason.

For inspiration, he need look no further than the value that his former team places on just that.

[irp posts=”10606″ name=”Three Lessons the Pittsburgh Pirates Can Learn From the Cleveland Indians”]

Featured Image Credit – Keith Allison – Flickr Creative Commons

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