For the third time in the last decade, a Cleveland Indians pitcher has been named the American League Cy Young Award winner. Corey Kluber won it in 2014 and 2017, but unlike his former teammate, Shane Bieber took home the honors unanimously.
Bieber’s undisputed win is the first unanimous Cy Young win in Indians history and the first in MLB since Clayton Kershaw dominated with the Dodgers in 2014.
From start to finish, Bieber’s 2020 regular season campaign was a masterpiece. He ended it leading every qualified pitcher in just about every advanced stat imaginable as well as the pitching “triple crown” of wins, strikeouts, and ERA. He also carried an incredible 41.1% strikeout rate — a full 7.4% higher than second-place Lucas Giolito.
Among the many milestones Bieber reached this season were the fastest ever to 100 strikeouts since at least 1900, tying the MLB record for strikeouts through two starts, and being stupidly handsome while doing it.
Bieber’s success this season can at least partially be attributed to a new cutter he worked on during the downtime before the season started in late July. It’s a pitch that looks exactly like his curveball until it moves just enough in the opposite direction to give opposing batters something else to look for that they have no chance of hitting. It culminated in the 25-year-old being recognized as the best pitcher in the American League, and it’s the beginning of so much more.