Monday, June 3, 2013

Fantasy Funkhouser: Judge Reinhold - Making the Case for ... Corey Kluber

Corey Kluber is worth a look in fantasy. (Getty)
Fantasy Funkhouser will review all things Fantasy Baseball. After all, life is a small sample size.

In spite of being 3-7 over their past 10 games, the Cleveland Indians have exceeded expectations in 2013 under Terry Francona. You don't enter June .5 games back of the all-mighty Detroit Tigers without some luck, but what always comes through in the wash is talent and players stepping up. The Indians have had their fair share of players performing at high levels. Justin Masterson has been a Cy Young candidate so far, Mark Reynolds  has 41 RBI, and Carlos Santana appears to be putting together a full season this year carting around a .390 OBP. These are all subject to change - for better or worse - as the season progresses, but since we are into June, there's no reason to take this team lightly.

One player that hasn't gotten much attention thus far has been starting pitcher Corey Kluber. There's probably good reason for this. He's been overshadowed by Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Scott Kazmir, and an impressive but recently struggling Zack McAllister. All of these guys have more interesting story lines than the 26-year-old former 4th round draft pick, but his time is coming. He's only started 7 games thus far, his last being a 2 IP rain shortened outing, but what he has shown thus far shows all the indications of a productive season.

The main indicator that caught my attention is the 9.55 K/BB ratio. That's tasty. Any time you can strike out a high amount of players and keep those walks down, it's a great way to stay out of trouble. Take out a horrific start at Detroit (no one other than SP1 and select SP2 should be making those starts) his numbers bounce back even more so. His WHIP is a favorable 1.22, and since we can't erase starts in Detroit from the record book, his ERA of 4.36 should settle once his .342 BABIP does. 

Kluber certainly sent some flairs into the sky on May 26th when he chucked 10K's at Fenway. He was on his way to what looked to be another impressive outing 5 days later against Tampa that was, as mentioned rained out.

He has a tricky start coming up against the Yankees, but in deeper leagues I'd add him and watch from the bench. The Yankees aren't the Yankees, but there's no telling what can happen in the Bronx. If he dominates the Yanks his value will only go up. Ultimately what you're looking at is a pitcher that can get you K's and low peripherals. It wouldn't surprise me if he finished the season as the Indians second best pitcher. For what is shaping into a good team, that's a nice bargain to find.

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