James Karinchak Cleveland Indians

Age: 26 (September 22, 1995) | 1679' 3" | 20151lbs. Minors: p-27
Tm Lg YEAR W L SV Hld G GS IP H HR BB SO ERA WHIP Rating BB/9 SO/9 BABIP G/L/F % $4x4 $5x5
CLE A 2018 3 0 1 0 7 0 11.1 8 0 7 20 0.79 1.32 1.01 5.6 15.9 .401 n/a
CLE A+ 2018 1 1 13 0 25 0 27.0 14 1 17 45 1.00 1.15 0.89 5.7 15.0 .295 n/a
CLE AA 2018 0 1 0 0 10 0 10.1 7 1 12 16 2.61 1.84 1.40 10.5 13.9 .313 n/a
CLE R 2019 0 0 0 0 3 0 3.0 0 0 2 8 0.00 0.67 0.33 6.0 24.0 0.00 n/a
CLE AA 2019 0 0 6 0 10 0 10.0 2 0 2 24 0.00 0.40 0.30 1.8 21.6 .323 n/a
CLE AAA 2019 1 1 2 0 17 0 17.1 14 2 13 42 4.67 1.56 1.36 6.8 21.8 .636 n/a
CLE AL 2019 0 0 0 0 5 0 5.0 3 0 1 8 1.80 0.80 0.70 1.8 14.4 .330 38/31/31 1 1
CLE AL 2020 1 2 1 8 27 0 27.0 14 1 16 53 2.67 1.11 0.87 5.3 17.7 .360 23/31/46 12 13
CLE AAA 2021 1 1 0 0 7 0 6.0 3 1 3 9 3.00 1.00 1.00 4.5 13.5 .202 n/a
CLE AL 2021 7 4 11 13 60 0 55.1 35 9 32 78 4.07 1.21 1.17 5.2 12.7 .250 39/20/40 14 10
Career 3yrs 8 6 12 21 92 0 87.1 52 10 49 139 3.50 1.16 1.05 5.0 14.3 .281 n/a
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Robert Arthur ar BP: 

... Even accounting for all those factors, spin rates have recovered drastically since July. Over half of the net reduction from May 15 (when spin began to fall fastest) has come back.

This trajectory is visible on the charts of individual players like James Karinchak. The Cleveland reliever was one of the pitchers hit hardest by the sticky stuff crackdown, losing about three inches of vertical movement on his fastball. In his most recent appearance, however, that trio of inches has reappeared even more suddenly than it evaporated.

A first and very reasonable thought is that players may have found ways to conceal the very substances that MLB outlawed in June. The inspections the league instituted—with umps checking belt buckles and hat brims—were sufficiently formulaic that a clever thrower might have been able to simply put their glob of sticky substance in a different spot to avoid detection...

In part, the crackdown was more theatrical than anything else, a not-so-subtle message to the players like Cole to cut it out. For a brief moment, it looked like the league’s pitchers heard it loud and clear, but now, we’re well on our way back to the high-spin league we had through the first few months of 2021...

Without another aggressive push to limit substances, there’s every reason to believe pitchers will simply find more and better ways to skirt the rules, rather than actually abandoning the miracle goops that make them much better pitchers.


Alex Patton Alex
Oct 14

Closer Monkey:

Cleveland Indians — After over a month with the Columbus Clippers, the Indians recalled James Karinchak yesterday and he immediately pitched a scoreless 7th inning. Karinchak will look to build some momentum going into next season, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Indians give him another look in the final two games, although it isn’t likely going to be in a save situation with Clase well rested. 

Updated Hierarchy: Clase | Shaw | Karinchak.

Alex Patton Alex
Oct 2

I just cut him.  I had too many reserve guys, and decided that there was no universe in which I would keep him for next year at what I paid, which was $25.  I'm snugly in 9th, so it doesn't really matter.  Let's see if anyone picks him up.

Mike Dean TMU2009
Sep 1

A victim of the crackdown on the sticky stuff? His breaking ball was unhittable for the first few months.

Alex Patton Alex
Aug 29

It simply hasn't gotten any better for Karinchak in the second half. Allowing a three-run homer last night to Jonathan Arauz in the 8'th inning, that wound up costing the Indians the game, was the last straw. He was dispatched to Columbus today. 

Tim McLeod tlmcleod
Aug 28


08.10: James Karinchak took his fourth blown save of the year when he gave up a run in the eighth inning Tuesday against the A's. (Karinchak
lost a great deal of spin rate when they started checking the baseballs
in June, but his velocity held up fine then. Now, though, he's been
down two mph from his norm in back-to-back appearances. It doesn't look
like he'll be much of a threat to Emmanuel Clase the rest of the way,
and he's very droppable in mixed leagues.)

Alex Patton Alex
Aug 11

Threw a total of five pitches.

James Karinchak (P) CLE - Jul. 21

Karinchak fired a perfect ninth inning en route to earn the save in the win over the Astros on Wednesday.

ROTOWIRE RECOMMENDS: Karinchak retired the side in the ninth inning Wednesday, getting all three batters to pop up in the infield. The 25-year-old recorded his 11th save, tying teammate Emmanuel Clase for most on the team. Cleveland's closing situation has been somewhat inconsistent and the save opportunities usually go to Clase or Karinchak depending on the matchup. Karinchak hasn't struck anyone out over his last three appearances, which is uncharacteristic considering his 14.5 K/9. The 25-year-old has 2.55 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP across 42.1 innings.

Alex Patton Alex
Jul 22

In a third of a season he's pitched in 26 games. Too much for a pitcher like Karinchak. Also Clase. If I were Tito I'd ease up.

James Karinchak (P) CLE - Jun. 01


Karinchak earned the save Tuesday against the White Sox despite giving up two runs on four hits with one strikeout and one walk during the ninth inning.

ROTOWIRE RECOMMENDS: The right-hander only picked up the save since he was staked a three-run lead, and he escaped by inducing a bases-loaded groundout. Karinchak was electric through his first 21 outings of the season with a 0.44 ERA, 0.48 WHIP and 38:7 K:BB, but he's now surrendered nine runs (seven earned) on nine hits with a 6:6 K:BB across his past five appearances.

Alex Patton Alex
Jun 2

To get the win yesterday, he had to preserve the tie in the top of the ninth by getting the last out, then keep the Twins off the board in the top of the tenth. In other words, not your garden variety win for a reliever.

Today he started the 10th with another phantom runner on second. He walked Donaldson on a 3-2 pitch, which was okay, since the on-deck batter was Kyle Garlick, who had gone 0-for-12 for the week and was in this game as a defensive replacement for Kepler. Garlick fouled off two 3-2 pitches and hit the third 442 feet over the fence in center.

It's a good thing I only watched this on the condensed game. That was bad enough.

Alex Patton Alex
May 24

I picked up Karinchak ($6) and Clase ($5) both on FAAB bids two years ago.  Even a blind squirrel stumbles across an acorn or two.

Frank Smith Pancho
May 20