In case you have been living under a rock until five minutes ago, Cleveland Indians right-handed pitching prospect Shane Bieber will make his major league debut tonight when he gets the start against the Minnesota Twins.
But with all the hype, what can we realistically expect from Bieber?
LGT similarly lost its collective mind when Mike Clevinger made his MLB debut just over two years ago on May 19th, 2016. He’s had his ups and downs, but Clevinger has now become a staple in what is a dominant rotation. Could Bieber do the same?
Here’s what Steamer Projections has to say about the rookie in 2018.
GS: 3, IP: 18.0, K/9: 7.02, BB/9: 1.52, HR/9: 1.28, ERA: 4.14, FIP: 4.04, WAR: 0.3.
Is it realistic?
I think so. Bieber has been tremendous thus far in 2018, holding a 1.10 ERA in Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus combined, most recently throwing a seven-inning no-hitter in his last start.
That being said, he’s had the occasional difficulty when making a big transition.
In his professional debut (less than two years ago), Bieber gave up one run on two hits in 2.0 innings and threw two wild pitches. When he was promoted to Triple-A earlier this month, he shockingly walked to batters, although he was able to limit the damage to just one run in 6.0 innings.
Even Mike Clevinger admitted the nerves got to him before his Major League debut and he threw up in the clubhouse. Don’t be shocked if Bieber experiences something similar. After all, this is the big time.
Long-term? I’m beyond pumped to see what the just-turned-23-year-old can do. Elite command of four pitches combined with the ability to touch the mid-90s can be a dangerous thing. There’s no telling how much better Bieber can get if he stays focused, develops his pitches and continues to garner comparisons to Corey Kluber by Tribe manager Terry Francona.
Short term? As hyped as I am to see Bieber make his MLB debut tonight, I’m going to temper my expectations. Don’t freak out if he walks a batter or two along the way or even gets knocked around a bit. The Twins know he’ll be in the strike zone and Bieber still has some growing to do.