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In a Clase of his own

Tribe closer lights up the radar gun
Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Emmanuel Clase celebrates after a win over the Detroit Tigers...
Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Emmanuel Clase celebrates after a win over the Detroit Tigers in a baseball game in Cleveland, Sunday, April 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Phil Long)(Phil Long | AP)
Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 5:04 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - When Indians rookie Emmanuel Clase takes the mound, his teammates notice. They love it. “It’s something that kind of fires me up, like ‘here comes the big guy,’” said Franmil Reyes. “There’s no chance they’re getting anything off this guy.”

It certainly feels like that. With a fastball over 100 mph and breaking balls in the low-90′s, Clase can be very difficult for a hitter to deal with. “He’s obviously impressive,” said Bryan Shaw. “He’s got a slider that is faster than most people’s fastballs. He’s obviously stupidly good.”

It is rare for a pitcher to throw off speed pitches faster than fastballs from other pitchers. “It’s unbelievable. It’s unfair,” said Logan Allen. “I don’t know how people hit it. I really don’t.”

They usually don’t. Through his first four outings of the year he has only given up one hit, and it was an infield hit. He did however give up some home runs in spring training, something Terry Francona wants his young closer to remember. “Velocity gives you more margin for error, but you still need to command and chance speeds. In spring training, they hit some pretty decent home runs against him. Most hitters, if they know something hard is coming, they can gear up for it.

Clase was the centerpiece of the Corey Kluber trade with Texas. Both players missed the 2020 season, Clase was suspended for a PED violation, Kluber was injured in his first start and never pitched the rest of the year. He is now a Yankee. The Rangers did not get anything out of that deal, but the Indians may have struck gold.

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