Three Up, Three Down: K Is For Kluber

Each week, Kyle Glaser will take a look at the trends in major league baseball.


Corey Kluber, RHP, Indians: The Indians’ ace has returned to form and carried the Tribe back into first place in the AL Central. After a 3-2, 5.06 start followed by a month on the disabled list with a lower back strain, there were legitimate concerns that last year’s 249.1 innings pitched, including the postseason, had taken a toll on the former Cy Young Award winner. Instead, Kluber has gone 3-0, 1.29 in five starts after coming off the disabled list June 1, with twice as many strikeouts (52) as baserunners allowed (26) in 35 innings.

Ben Gamel, OF, Mariners: Aaron Judge is well on his way to winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award. But if you had Gamel as his likely runner-up, pat yourself on the back. The long-haired sensation shows no signs of slowing down and, in fact, is only getting hotter. Gamel is hitting .394 this month with a .958 OPS, raising his overall season slash line to .346/.403/.490. The key has been Gamel’s proclivity for crushing fastballs. Per Fangraphs, Gamel has been the sixth-best fastball hitter in the game this year among players with at least 200 at-bats, ranking even higher than noted mashers Judge, Michael Conforto, and Miguel Sano.

Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates: Remember six months ago when the Pirates were actively trying to trade their franchise icon? It’s a good thing they didn’t. McCutchen has bounced back from his worst season as a professional to post an .831 OPS and is on pace for his first 30-home run season since 2012. June has been a particularly productive month, as he’s hit .380 to help the Pirates post an 11-11 record and stay on track for their first non-losing month of the season.


Jose Reyes, SS/3B, Mets: The Mets are losing for a lot of reasons, but continuing to play Reyes every day isn’t helping their turnaround cause. Reyes enters Tuesday with a .196/.266/.323 slash line, and it’s getting worse. He has a .176 average and .592 OPS in June. What’s more, Reyes has been one of the worst defenders in the game at both shortstop and third base, with a minus-10 defensive runs saved mark at each position, per Baseball-Reference. By all appearances, the end has come for the former All-Star, but the Mets are still trying to squeeze the final bit of former glory out of him.

Jose Bautista, OF, Blue Jays: Just when it looked like the veteran slugger was heating up, he has come crashing back down. Bautista hit just .190 with three home runs this month, and Toronto looks increasingly smart for giving him only one year guaranteed on his contract they signed in the offseason. Overall Bautista is down to .234/.345/.416 on the year, his worst marks in all three slash line categories since 2009.

Rick Porcello, RHP, Red Sox: The struggles continue for the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner. Porcello has given up a league-worst 132 hits in 99 innings this season, and overall hitters are batting an astonishing .315/.344/.520 off of him. Porcello’s four-seam fastball has been effective, but everything else he primarily throws has been a problem. Per Brooks Baseball, opponents are batting .404 with a .699 slugging percentage against his sinker, .318 with a .409 slugging percentage against his curveball, and .306 with a .531 slugging percentage against his changeup. Porcello is coming off his worst month ERA-wise—6.75 in June—so the Red Sox can only hope he has bottomed out before turning things around.

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