Former Wizards Pitcher Kluber Up For MLB All-Star Game

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Corey Kluber, who pitched for the Fort Wayne Wizards in 2008, is one of five American League Players on the ballot for the Final Vote to determine the last player to be added to the 2014 All-Star Game in each league.

Kluber, now 28 and with the Cleveland Indians, was a starter for the Wizards in July and August of 2008. The 6-foot-4 right-hander went 4-3 with a 3.21 ERA in the Midwest League. He struck out 72 batters in just 56 innings pitched, while walking only 13.

San Diego traded Kluber, a fourth round draft pick in 2007, 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, he spent time in Triple-A in both 2012 and ’13.

Finally on Cleveland’s opening day roster in 2014, Kluber has made the most of his opportunity in the big leagues and become an ace. The Stetson University alum has an 8-6 record for the Indians, who are below .500, while posting a 2.86 ERA in 19 starts. Like he was in Fort Wayne, Kluber has been a strikeout pitcher in Cleveland. He has 137 Ks — fourth most in the AL — in 125 2/3 innings.

The Indians’ website lists five reasons why to vote for Kluber, including how he has overcome both a knee injury and a hand injury during the last two years.

While Kluber has had the most success of Fort Wayne’s major league alums, he is far from alone in the show. So far during the 2014 MLB season, no fewer than 46 former Fort Wayne Wizards and TinCaps have been on big league rosters. (See list below). According to team records, since professional baseball returned to the Summit City in 1993, 127 players have reached the show.

The total counts 16 members of the 2009 TinCaps, who won franchise’s lone Midwest League Championship. With left-handed reliever Nick Greenwood debuting for the Cardinals on June 16, the ’09 TinCaps tied the 2003 Lansing Lugnuts for the Midwest League record for most players from one year to reach the majors.

With the exception of 1997, ’99, and 2013, every year of Wizards and TinCaps baseball has been represented in MLB this season. That includes the original year, 1993, thanks to LaTroy Hawkins, the first to debut in the majors in 1995 and who remains a reliable reliever with the Colorado Rockies. Meanwhile, the most recent former TinCap to represent Fort Wayne in the bigs is Matt Stites, who pitched at Parkview Field in 2012. Stites had a 0.74 ERA and 13 saves as Fort Wayne’s closer. Now in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen, he made his first appearance on June 19.

The Wizards were an affiliate of the Minnesota Twins from 1993-98 and have been affiliated with the San Diego Padres ever since. Even so, former Fort Wayne players have played for 20 of MLB’s 30 teams thus far in 2014. The Padres lead the way with eight Fort Wayne products, while the Tampa Bay Rays have had five, and both the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers four.

Former Wizards and TinCaps on Major League Rosters in 2014
1. P LaTroy Hawkins ’93 (Colorado Rockies)
2. OF Torii Hunter ’94 (Detroit Tigers)
3. C A.J. Pierzynski ’95-96 (Boston Red Sox)
4. OF Michael Cuddyer ’98 (Colorado Rockies)
5. RHP Jake Peavy ’00 (Boston Red Sox)
6. LHP Oliver Perez ’01 (Arizona Diamondbacks)
7. RHP Justin Germano ’01-02 (Texas Rangers)
8. RHP Dale Thayer ’03 (San Diego Padres)
9. C George Kottaras ’04 (Cleveland Indians)
10. INF Chase Headley ’05 (San Diego Padres)
11. LHP Cesar Ramos ’05 (Tampa Bay Rays)
12. RHP Brandon Kintzler ’05 (Milwaukee Brewers)
13. C Nick Hundley ’05-06 (Baltimore Orioles)
14. C Jose Lobaton ’05-06 (Washington Nationals)
15. OF Mike Baxter ’05-06 (Los Angeles Dodgers)
16. RHP Joakim Soria ’06 (Texas Rangers)
17. OF Will Venable ’06 (San Diego Padres)
18. INF David Freese ’06 (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
19. INF Kyle Blanks ’06 (Oakland Athletics)
20. LHP Wade LeBlanc ’06 (Houston Astros)
21. RHP Ernesto Frieri ’06-07 (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
22. RHP Steve Delabar ’06-08 (Toronto Blue Jays)
23. RHP Wilton Lopez ’07 (Colorado Rockies)
24. INF Eric Sogard ’07 (Oakland Athletics)
25. LHP Cory Luebke ’07-08 (San Diego Padres)
26. RHP Brandon Gomes ’07-08 (Tampa Bay Rays)
27. RHP Corey Kluber ’08 (Cleveland Indians)
28. RHP Mat Latos ’08-09 (Cincinnati Reds)
29. INF Andy Parrino ’08-09 (Oakland Athletics)
30. C Ali Solis ’08-09 (Tampa Bay Rays)
31. RHP Anthony Bass ’09 (Houston Astros)
32. RHP Brad Brach ’09 (Baltimore Orioles)
33. RHP Erik Davis ’09 (Washington Nationals)
34. OF Jaff Decker ’09 (Pittsburgh Pirates)
35. INF Vince Belnome ’09 (Tampa Bay Rays)
36. OF Daniel Robertson ’09 (Texas Rangers)
37. INF Cole Figueroa ’09 (Tampa Bay Rays)
38. INF Dean Anna ’09-10 (New York Yankees)
39. LHP Nick Greenwood ’09-10 (St. Louis Cardinals)
40. INF Nate Freiman ’10 (Oakland Athletics)
41. INF Jedd Gyorko ’10 (San Diego Padres)
42. RHP Miles Mikolas ’10 (Texas Rangers)
43. INF Tommy Medica ’11 (San Diego Padres)
44. RHP Kevin Quackenbush ’11 (San Diego Padres)
45. INF Jace Peterson ’12 (San Diego Padres)
46. RHP Matt Stites ’12 (Arizona Diamondbacks)

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