Shane Bieber’s Success With the Guardians

Shane Bieber
(Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)

Prior to Shane Bieber‘s collegiate career, he was an ace pitcher for Laguna Hills High School, in Laguna Hills, California. Bieber was pitching in the mid-80s as a junior in high school. He was later recruited by the University of California, Santa Barbara as a walk-on. He received little to no attention from other schools. As a senior, in 2013, Bieber finished with an 8–4 record with a 1.40 ERA.

Walk-On

After high school, Shane Bieber walked on to Santa Barbara. He joined the Gauchos baseball team as a walk-on. In his first season with the Gauchos, he played summer ball with the Cowlitz Black Bears of the West Coast League. Prior to his sophomore season, Bieber earned himself a scholarship. In his second season, he played summer ball with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod Baseball League. He gained invaluable experience in his junior season. In his final season at Santa Barbara, Bieber finished the season going 12-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 18 starts.

Working His Way Up

In 2016, Shane Bieber was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the fourth round of the MLB Draft. He spent his first three seasons in the minors. Bieber split time with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Lake County Captains, Lynchburg Hillcats, and Akron Rubberducks. With the Scrappers, where he spent his first season, he posted a 0.38 ERA in 24 innings. In his next two seasons, he pitched to a combined 10–5 record with a 2.86 ERA in 28 starts with the Captains, Hillcats, and Rubberducks.

Bieber’s Shot

On May 31, 2018, the Indians purchased Bieber’s contract and added him to their active roster. That evening, he debuted at Target Field against the Minnesota Twins, a divisional rival. Over 5 2/3 innings, Shane Bieber allowed four runs on eight hits, but recorded six strikeouts while walking one as the Indians won the game 9–8. Bieber lit up his rookie season, and finished with an 11–5 record, a 4.55 ERA, and 118 strikeouts in 20 games.

The Triple Crown

In 2020, Shane Bieber became the first pitcher since Justin Verlander to capture the American League Triple Crown. He recorded eight wins, a 1.63 ERA, and 122 strikeouts. He led the American League in all three categories. Bieber also led the league in WAR (3.2), won-loss percentage (.889), and fewest hits per nine innings (5.353). His strikeouts per nine innings (14.198) was first in the league as well. The 2020 season came to an end for the Guardians in the AL Wild Card series. They lost the best of three series, 2–0, to the New York Yankees. Following the season, Bieber was awarded the American League Cy Young Award.

Thus Far

Along with these accolades, Bieber has also made two All-Star appearances, and was the game’s MVP in 2019. In 2022, he was the Gold Glove winner. Bieber has continuously been a huge part of this ball club for the past six years. The Guardians need to prioritize bringing Shane Bieber back. A multi-year contract might be necessary to keep him around for the long haul, or else teams will be all over him come next offseason.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Updated on 6/1/2023 to change the team name to Indians in certain locations

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Nathan Leko

Senior student-athlete wrestler at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, covering the Cleveland Guardians and the AL Central.

3 thoughts on “Shane Bieber’s Success With the Guardians

  1. Dear Nathan:

    Your article was very good — with one exception.

    You wrote these words: “In 2016, Shane Bieber was selected by the Cleveland Guardians … On May 31, 2018, the Guardians purchased Bieber’s contract … That evening, he debuted [and] the Guardians won the game 9–8.”

    Do you see the three errors? The word, “Guardians,” should have been “Indians” in each of three phrases.

    We writers should avoid “political correctness” when it would result in inaccuracy of reporting. Otherwise, we may accidentally say that the “Guardians” won the World Series in 1920 and 1948!!!
    Good luck in your career(s).

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