Shane Bieber’s incredible 2020 season has its first piece of official recognition in the form of the prestigious American League Pitcher of the Month Award. His counterpart in the National League is the Cubs’ Yu Darvish, who is enjoying similar success to the world’s most talented Bieber.
Your Pitchers of the Month:— MLB (@MLB) September 2, 2020
AL: Shane Bieber, 4-0, 1.63 ERA, 38.2 IP, 57 Ks
NL: Yu Darvish, 5-0, 1.09 ERA, 33 IP, 40 Ks pic.twitter.com/SGcCtNccuB
Forget the AL/NL barrier, Bieber leads all starting pitchers in just about everything. Including his July starts, he leads the league in good old fashioned ERA (1.63), SIERA (2.33), strikeout rate (42.4%), and he has one of the lowest walk rates in baseball (6.6%). He improved upon his impressive All-Star Rookie season by deciding he wanted to just, you know, throw two curveballs. He has relied on this brand new pitch, which is identified as a cutter by Baseball Savant, almost a fifth of the time and it’s already one of the best “cutters” in baseball by FanGraphs’ pitch values.
Going by SIERA, a metric which best measures a pitcher based on the factors he can control, Bieber has a full 0.39 cushion between him and second-place Jacob deGrom and the next closest American League pitcher is Kenta Maeda at 3.11. There was never a doubt who would win this award for August.
Bieber started the season by striking out 27 batters in his first two starts and he did not allow a run until his third outing. With eight starts now under his belt he has double-digit strikeouts in all but three and he’s struck out at least eight in every outing. And just for good measure, he’s lasted at least 6.0 innings in every outing.
Obviously the next trophy in his sights is the September Pitcher of the Month and eventually (I guess) the Cy Young. If he wins it, it’ll be the sixth Cy Young Award winner in Indians history and the third in the last six years.