News release from the TinCaps:
Former Fort Wayne Wizard Wins AL Cy Young
Corey Kluber ’08 Becomes Fort Wayne’s Second Cy Young Winner
(November 13, 2014) â€” In an offseason that has seen the TinCaps rack up awards for organizational excellence, it’s fitting that a former Fort Wayne player would claim one of Major League Baseball’s most prestigious honors.
Corey Kluber (Cleveland Indians), who pitched for the Fort Wayne Wizards in 2008, was named the American League’s 2014 Cy Young Award winner on Wednesday.
Kluber joins Jake Peavy as the second former Fort Wayne pitcher to garner the award since 2007, when Peavy won the NL Cy Young as a San Diego Padre. No other Class A team has produced multiple Cy Young winners in that time.
“Everyone in Fort Wayne is extremely proud of Corey,” said TinCaps President Mike Nutter. “Corey’s remembered here for having an incredible work ethic and also being a first-class guy off the field.”
Kluber was tied for the AL lead in wins with 18. The 6-foot-4 right-hander finished second in strikeouts (269) and third in ERA (2.44).
Back in ’08 as a Wizard, Kluber posted a 4-3 record with a 3.21 ERA in 10 starts. He recorded 72 strikeouts in 56 innings pitched, while walking only 13.
“I’m definitely surprised,” Kluber said of winning. “It’s just a credit to all the hard work I’ve put in through the past.”
Kluber’s hard work was on display as a 22-year-old in Fort Wayne.
The Stetson University alum was selected by the Padres in the fourth round of the 2007 MLB Draft. After pitching for Short-Season Eugene during his rookie campaign, Kluber started ’08 with Advanced-A Lake Elsinore. He struggled in the California League (2-5, 6.01 ERA) and was sent down to Fort Wayne in July and finished the season in impressive fashion.
Following his Fort Wayne tenure, San Diego traded Kluber to Cleveland in 2010 as part of a three-team deal that brought outfielder Ryan Ludwick to the Padres. Kluber broke into the majors with the Indians in September 2011. However, hampered by knee and hand injuries, he spent time in Triple-A in 2012 and again in ’13.
Finally on Cleveland’s opening day roster in 2014, you could say the Cy Young Award-winner made the most of his opportunity.