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General | Professional | 11/16/2017

Kluber claims 2nd AL Cy Young

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game

Following a vote that wasn’t nearly as close as anticipated, the tall Texan with the stoic demeanor could sit back and enjoy the realization that he had won his second Cy Young Award in four years. And this isn’t about Clayton Kershaw.

Cleveland Indians ace right-hander Corey Kluber claimed 28 of 30 first-place votes – and two second-place votes – to easily outdistance Boston Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale by a 204-126 count in American League CYA voting by members of the Baseball Writers Association of American (BBWAA). Kluber, who is from Coppell, Texas, also won the AL CYA in 2014.

He also becomes the first Perfect Game alumnus to win two AL Cy Young Awards (Kershaw has three National League CYAs on his mantle.) The other former AL CYA winners with PG histories are Zack Greinke (2009), David Price (2012) and Rick Porcello (2016).

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Kluber – nicknamed “Klubot” – spent some time on the 10-day disabled list in May with a lower back strain but came back on June 1 better than ever, posting 1.62 ERA over his last 23 starts. He finished 18-4 with a 2.25 ERA, a 0.87 WHIP and a 7.36 strikeout-to-walk ratio – all major-league bests – while striking out 265 in 203 2/3 innings.

He went 4-0 during the Indians’ 22-game winning streak from Aug. 24 through Sept. 14, a stretch that lifted the Tribe to a second straight AL Central Division crown; they lost to the Yankees in the AL Division Series.

“Winning the second one validates the first one, so to speak,” Kluber told Wednesday night. “I think it’s just another way to find that reassurance when you’re going through hard times, you’re struggling, working your way through things, you always want to have that self-belief to fall back on. Know that even though it seems like things might be going pretty poorly at the time, you can work your way out of it and get back to a certain level.”

A 2004 graduate of Coppell High School, Kluber was at both the 2002 and 2003 PG WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., pitching for Dallas Tigers; he also attended the 2003 South Top Prospect Showcase in Waco, Texas. He was a fourth-round pick of the San Diego Padres in the 2007 MLB amateur draft out of Stetson University.

Sale (6-6, 180) finished 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA this season, and led the majors in innings pitched (214 1/3), strikeouts (308), strikeouts/nine innings ratio (12.93), scoreless starts (10) and double-digit strikeout games (18).

He attended four Perfect Game events while growing up in Florida, including the 2006 PG WWBA 17u National Championship and the 2006 PG WWBA 18u National Championship with the Orlando Scorpions.

Sale was a 21st round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies out of Lakeland (Fla.) High School in 2007 before the White Sox took him with 13th overall pick of the first round in the 2010 amateur draft out of Florida Gulf Coast University.

The Washington Nationals’ Max Scherzer claimed 27 of 30 first-place votes to top the L.A. Dodgers’ Kershaw by a 201-126 count in the NL balloting. The lefty Kershaw was looking for his fourth NL Cy Young Award after having previously topped the balloting in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Kershaw played at the 2004 PG/BA World Championship in Fort Myers, Fla. (now the PG WWBA World championship played in Jupiter, Fla.) with the Dallas Tigers and at the 2005 PG WWBA 18u National Championship in Marietta, Ga., with DBAT 16u.

That 2004 World Championship was a particularly star-studded event with top prospects and current MLB All-Stars Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey, Justin Upton, Pedro Alvarez and Jay Bruce joining Kershaw.

The Dodgers selected Kershaw with the seventh overall pick of the first round in the 2006 MLB amateur draft out of Highland Park (Texas) High School in the Dallas suburbs; he made his big-league debut less than two years later.

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