Best duos in Cleveland baseball history

Written by:
May 16, 2022
Schyler // Wikimedia Commons

Best duos in Cleveland baseball history

In Major League Baseball, it takes more than one skilled player to field a championship contender. It takes talent all over the field at a variety of positions, both in terms of pitchers and hitters. While having a star pitcher and a star hitter at the same time is no guarantee of success, it does put your team in a position to have the type of season that fans will talk about for generations.

While it’s not quite the same as the NBA, where one standout duo can take a team from the cellar to playoff contention, it’s not uncommon for an outstanding season from a pitcher and position player duo to add 20 wins or more, according to Baseball Reference’s wins above replacement player metric. The number is designed to illustrate the difference between a star player and the type of player that would be considered “replacement level”—that is, one who could be easily signed as a midseason free agent or called up from the minor leagues.

The following is a list of the top pitcher/position player duos in Cleveland history. Using wins above replacement, Stacker compiled a list of the seasons in franchise history that had a pitcher and hitter with the most combined value. Note that, for the purpose of capturing and examining the game's "modern era", only seasons after 1969 were used for this list.

#10. 1982 Cleveland
- Toby Harrah: 6.6 WAR (#8 position player in 1982)
- Rick Sutcliffe: 5.7 WAR (#6 pitcher in 1982)
- Total: 12.3 WAR

#9. 1992 Cleveland
- Kenny Lofton: 6.6 WAR (#6 position player in 1992)
- Charles Nagy: 6 WAR (#8 pitcher in 1992)
- Total: 12.6 WAR

#8. 1995 Cleveland
- Albert Belle: 7 WAR (#3 position player in 1995)
- Dennis Martinez: 5.7 WAR (#5 pitcher in 1995)
- Total: 12.7 WAR

#7. 2008 Cleveland
- Grady Sizemore: 5.9 WAR (#12 position player in 2008)
- Cliff Lee: 6.8 WAR (#4 pitcher in 2008)
- Total: 12.7 WAR

#6. 1970 Cleveland
- Graig Nettles: 5.2 WAR (#25 position player in 1970)
- Sam McDowell: 8.3 WAR (#2 pitcher in 1970)
- Total: 13.5 WAR

#5. 2018 Cleveland
- Jose Ramirez: 7.5 WAR (#5 position player in 2018)
- Trevor Bauer: 6 WAR (#9 pitcher in 2018)
- Total: 13.5 WAR

#4. 1996 Cleveland
- Jim Thome: 7.5 WAR (#8 position player in 1996)
- Charles Nagy: 6.6 WAR (#7 pitcher in 1996)
- Total: 14.1 WAR

#3. 2017 Cleveland
- Jose Ramirez: 7 WAR (#6 position player in 2017)
- Corey Kluber: 7.9 WAR (#1 pitcher in 2017)
- Total: 14.9 WAR

#2. 2014 Cleveland
- Michael Brantley: 7 WAR (#2 position player in 2014)
- Corey Kluber: 8.1 WAR (#1 pitcher in 2014)
- Total: 15.1 WAR

#1. 1972 Cleveland
- Graig Nettles: 4.8 WAR (#29 position player in 1972)
- Gaylord Perry: 10.8 WAR (#2 pitcher in 1972)
- Total: 15.6 WAR

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