The victories by Bauer and Bieber, each right-handers and first-time winners, underscored the work of the smaller-market Indians’ envied pitching improvement manufacturing unit.
During the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Cleveland counted Bauer, Bieber and the two-time A.L. Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber — plus standouts like Mike Clevinger and Carlos Carrasco — amongst its starters. The Indians traded away Bauer, Clevinger and Kluber in a span of 13 months, and nonetheless reached the playoffs this 12 months.
Bieber, who ultimately earned a scholarship and starred for his school crew, was chosen by Cleveland within the fourth spherical of the 2016 draft. Unlike Bauer, 29, who has thrown laborious since highschool, Bieber, 25, added velocity over time.
In the Indians’ farm system, Bieber tweaked his repertoire and blossomed. In 2020, he threw his mid-90s fastball solely 38 p.c of the time, one of many lowest charges within the main leagues amongst beginning pitchers, as a result of he expertly combined it with sliders, cutters, curveballs and changeups.
“His journey has been quite spectacular,” Bauer mentioned.
Bieber’s greatest blemish of the 12 months: He allowed seven runs in his lone playoff begin, a loss to the Yankees within the first spherical of this 12 months’s expanded postseason. The vote for the Cy Young Award, although, is taken earlier than the playoffs. (The New York Times doesn’t allow its reporters to vote for awards.)
Following a pattern throughout baseball over latest years, Bieber set a serious league file final season by putting out 14.2 batters per 9 innings. He did that, nonetheless, over solely 77⅓ innings. The earlier record-holder was Gerrit Cole, now with the Yankees, whose strikeout fee of 13.eight per 9 innings was completed over 212⅓ innings in 2019 with the Houston Astros.
Continuing a gradual upward pattern, Bauer completed third in strikeout fee (a career-high 12.three per 9 innings) in 2020 behind Bieber and deGrom. Bauer mentioned he used to tease Bieber lots for being the one member 2018 Indians’ rotation who did not notch 200 strikeouts.