Corey Kluber doesn’t give an inch.
The two-time Cy Young award winner utilizes a devastating arsenal of pitches to baffle opposing hitters, and he recently went 46 1/3 consecutive innings without walking a batter.
When he does allow the rare base runner, Kluber does everything in his power to prevent that man from scoring. His ability to prevent stolen bases is one of the most overlooked aspects of his game.
At the time of writing, Kluber has allowed zero stolen bases in 126.1 innings pitched thus far this season. That’s ridiculously good. For reference, Steven Matz of the New York Mets currently leads MLB pitchers in stolen bases allowed with 19.
With so many speed demons littering the MLB, why can’t anyone seem to steal against Kluber?
At his recent ProCamp in Mentor, Ohio, the Cleveland Indians ace explained a simple strategy he utilizes to keep would-be base stealers off-balance. By varying the amount of time he takes to go from the set into his motion, Kluber makes it virtually impossible for runners to get a good jump against him.
“A lot of people try to speed up, go faster with a runner on first. But for me, it’s more important to mix up your times going to home plate. You want to hold it for longer one time, one time hold it for shorter, and then pitch. That way, the guy can’t really time you up. He doesn’t know when you’re going to throw home, so he can’t leave early. If you hold the ball for two seconds every time, he can time that up and he knows that as soon as it gets to two seconds, he can take off, because you’re pitching home,” Kluber said.
The next time Kluber finds himself on the mound with a runner on base, watch how he toys with his timing to combat the running game. It’s not as sexy as the gaudy strikeout totals he seems to record every outing, but it’s little details like this that help make Kluber so dominant.
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