Cleveland Guardians' Emmanuel Clase Joins Elite Group of Closing Pitchers

Cleveland Guardians' star closer Emmanuel Clase is now part of a stellar group after the Guardians' victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.
Emmanuel Clase continues to be a dominate force in 2024
Emmanuel Clase continues to be a dominate force in 2024 / AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Emmanuel Clase's reign of dominance with the Cleveland Guardians has put him in an elite category of closing pitchers.

After Friday's 3-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, Clase joined Craig Kimbrel and Jonathan Papelbon in baseball's history books when looking at their saves and ERA throughout the beginning of each pitcher's careers.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to Guardians fans. The mixture of heavy usage and top-tier play from Clase has put him in the conversation of being one of the best closing pitchers in recent memory.

Clase was part of the 2019 deal that sent former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers, along with outfielder Delino DeShields. The newly acquired flamethrower was suspended for all of 2020 (60 games due to the shortened season) after testing positive for PEDs and did not make his debut with Cleveland until 2021.

Since the 2019 trade, Clase quickly became the anchor of the Guardians' bullpen. The 26-year-old has appeared in 257 Games with the Guardians, racking up 131 saves in the regular season, which ranks first in the MLB since 2020.

He went on to be named to the AL All-Star team in both 2022 and 2023.

The Guardians' closer has been widely considered one of the best in baseball this season. After finishing 2023 with a 3.22 ERA and 12 blown saves, Clase looks to be back in his prime self. In 33.1 innings of work, he leads the American League with 21 saves while maintaining an 0.81 ERA.

Even though fans are not allowed to vote on pitchers, Clase is on the path to making his third consecutive All-Star game.

Dylan Feltovich