Reliever Emmanuel Clase Offers A New Look
Some may have scratched their heads over the return the Indians got from the Rangers for two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. But the Indians were excited about that return, which consisted of veteran outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. and 22-year-old reliever Emmanuel Clase.
The flame-throwing Clase, in particular, has the Indians excited.
Cleveland has had a knack for consistently constructing quality bullpens, and team officials feel the righthander will be a big part of their bullpen in 2020.
"He has electric stuff,” president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. "He’s been up to 102 (mph) and averaged about 100 with his fastball, and he has a cutter that is hard to center up. He complements that with an above-average slider.
"We feel he’ll go into our bullpen and be a weapon for us.”
In 21 appearances with the Rangers last season Clase recorded a 2.31 ERA. In 23.1 innings he allowed 20 hits with 21 strikeouts and six walks.
Clase started the 2019 season at high Class A Down East then moved up to Double-A Frisco. In a combined 39 appearances he logged a 2.82 ERA and 12 saves. In 44.2 innings he allowed 38 hits, with 50 strikeouts and nine walks, while holding opposing hitters to a .226 average.
The Indians had a solid bullpen in 2019, but it lacked power arms.
"In an era in baseball where bullpens have the hard-throwing guys, we had gone the other way," Indians manager Terry Francona said. " We were still good. But it’s nice when you can bring in a guy who, when all else fails, you know he has velocity. That can be really good.
Antonetti said that on the day the trade was made, he immediately received trade inquiries on Clase from two other teams.
"There are some 22-year-old relievers in the majors having success, but not many average 100 (mph) with their fastball,” Antonetti said. "We think Clase will fit in the back of our bullpen and provide a different look . . . We’ve got a diverse group able to attack hitters in a number of ways.”