Corey Scott Kluber (born April 10, 1986), nicknamed "Klubot", is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2011.
After playing high school baseball for Coppell High School in Coppell, Texas, and collegiately for Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, Kluber was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2007, and traded to the Indians in 2010. Kluber established himself in the Indians' starting rotation in 2013. He led the American League in wins and won the American League Cy Young Award in 2014. Kluber signed a 5-year, $38.5 million contract extension with the Indians in April 2015. He was named an American League All-Star for the first time in 2016.
Kluber attended Coppell High School in Coppell, Texas. While pitching for the school's baseball team and amid overuse by his high school coach, Don English, Kluber developed a stress fracture in his elbow, requiring surgery and the insertion of two screws. He went unselected in the 2004 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft.
Coaches at Stetson University became aware of Kluber when he pitched at the World Wood Bat Championships in Jupiter, Florida, where his parents owned a condominium. He enrolled at Stetson, where he played college baseball for the Stetson Hatters baseball team in the Atlantic Sun Conference. As a freshman in 2005, Kluber was used as a relief pitcher. He compiled a 2–2 win–loss record with a 7.82 earned run average (ERA) in 25 innings pitched. As a sophomore, he had a 6–5 win–loss record and a 3.61 ERA in 17 games, 14 of which he started. In 2007, Kluber had a 12–2 win–loss record and a 2.05 ERA with 117 strikeouts. That year, he was named the Atlantic Sun Conference's Pitcher of the Year, a second team member of the 2007 Ping! Baseball All-American Team and a member the American Baseball Coaches Association All-Atlantic Region Second Team in 2007.
San Diego Padres
Kluber was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the fourth round of the 2007 MLB Draft. The Padres signed Kluber, giving him a $200,000 signing bonus. Kluber played for the Eugene Emeralds of the Class A Midwest League in 2008. On August 25, 2008, he was named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week.
Kluber played for the Lake Elsinore Storm of the Class A-Advanced California League in 2009. On June 1, 2009, he was named the California League Pitcher of the Week. He received a promotion to the San Antonio Missions of the Class AA Texas League in 2009, finishing the year with an 11–13 win–loss record and a 4.55 ERA. On July 26, 2010, Kluber was named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week. He pitched to a 6–6 win–loss record with a 3.45 ERA with the Missions, while leading the Texas League in strikeouts.
The Padres traded Kluber to the Cleveland Indians on July 31, 2010, in the three-team trade between the Padres, Indians, and St. Louis Cardinals that sent Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals and Ryan Ludwick to the Padres. The Padres also sent Nick Greenwood to the Cardinals, and the Indians paid $2.7 million of Westbrook's remaining salary. The Indians assigned Kluber to the Akron Aeros of the Class AA Eastern League. After the 2010 season, he took part in the Indians' Winter Development Program. In 2011, he was added to the Indians' 40-man roster.
Kluber played for the Columbus Clippers of the Class AAA International League in 2011, pitching to a 7–11 win–loss record and a 5.56 ERA. He was called up to the Indians on September 1, 2011, and made his major league debut that day. Kluber was brought up from Columbus in August 2012 to replace starting pitcher Josh Tomlin in the Indians' rotation. Tomlin was moved to the bullpen.
Kluber began the 2013 season with Columbus, but received a promotion when Brett Myers suffered an elbow injury. On June 16, 2013, Kluber threw eight shutout innings in a 2–0 victory over the Washington Nationals. He won the American League Player of the Week Award for the week ending June 16, 2013. On September 22, 2013, he became the first pitcher to strike out 14 batters in consecutive starts since Randy Johnson in 2004. He finished the season with an 11–5 record and a 3.85 ERA.
Kluber was named the American League Player of the Week for the week ending September 21, 2014, and the Pitcher of the Month for September 2014. He finished the 2014 season with an 18–9 win–loss record and a 2.44 ERA. His 18 wins were tied with Max Scherzer and Jered Weaver for the most in the American League (AL), and his ERA was the third best in the league. He also struck out 269 batters in 235 2⁄3 innings, good for second-best in the major leagues behind David Price's 271. Though the Indians missed the playoffs, the 2014 season culminated with Kluber winning the AL Cy Young Award, beating Félix Hernández in a close vote. Kluber earned 17 of 30 first-place votes, with Hernandez getting the remaining 13.
On May 13, 2015, Kluber struck out a career-high 18 batters over eight shutout innings against the St. Louis Cardinals, earning his first win of the 2015 season. Kluber tied Bob Feller's 77-year franchise record for strikeouts in one game, Feller having done so on October 2, 1938. Despite posting a 3.49 ERA and striking out 245 batters in 222 innings, Kluber suffered from poor run support for much of the 2015 season, finishing with a 9–16 record.
Kluber was named a member of the 2016 American League All-Star team on July 7, 2016 as a replacement for an injured Marco Estrada. Kluber finished the 2016 regular season with an 18–9 record, 3.14 ERA, an AL-leading 149 ERA+, and 227 strikeouts in 215 innings.
On November 7, Kluber was announced by the BBWAA as a finalist for the 2016 American League Cy Young Award, along with Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello. With 98 points, Kluber finished third in the voting that was announced on November 16, behind Porcello (137) and Verlander (132).