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Counting down the days until Tanner Bibee’s MLB debut

Cleveland Guardians news and notes for Friday, April 14, 2023

Cleveland Guardians v Minnesota Twins
One day Tanner Bibee will be wearing this logo, and maybe then I’ll have a usable photo of him.
Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

No Guardians baseball yesterday, so all eyes were on the minor-league system, namely Tanner Bibee lighting up the radar gun against the Worcester Red Sox. His four-seamer reached new highs, peaking at 99.4 mph in the first inning and maintaining at 98.2 mph by the fourth.

I wouldn’t expect him to sit that high when he’s in the majors and pitching full-time — hopefully later this summer — but it means he’s got a lot of wiggle room to figure out what kind of pitcher he’s going to be in the long-term.

In addition to his impressive four-seamer, he also mixed in his slider, changeup, and curveball. All told he finished with 10 swings and misses on 80 pitches and he showed that he deserves a shot at the majors sooner rather than later. That doesn’t mean the Guardians are calling him up tomorrow or anything, but oh lawd he’s comin’.

The onset of easily accessible MiLB broadcasts and Baseball Savant data is going to be a fascinating experiment when it comes to hype and prospects. In theory, we should be able to see disappointments coming from further away, similar to how teams have had mountains of data not previously available to the public. But on the same note, there is no burying when a prospect does something like Bibee did last night. It’s one thing to hear from a friend of a friend of a scout that a pitcher throws hard, it’s another to see it in HD and have the exact measurement of the velocity at your fingertips.

“Don’t scout the box score” has been an adage of following the minor leagues for as long as there have been box scores and minor leagues, but now that the average fan has more to scout than a box score, there is a sea of information for us all to take in and, hopefully, handle with care. Everyone gets things wrong and misjudges what they’re seeing, probably more often than not, but the floor of knowledge that a baseball fan has today is astronomical even compared to when I started writing eight years ago, let alone decades ago.

In the end, I think we’re better off for it with all the information, but it’s always good to remember that baseball is extremely hard — especially in that leap from Triple-A to the majors — and human beings playing a sport are more than the numbers they produce.

I say all this to say there’s no guarantee Bibee is going to be a great MLB pitcher just because he can almost touch 100, but at this point, there is no slowing down the hype train. We’ve all seen what he can do with a baseball, but whatever other shortcomings the front office has tracked that we can’t see could float to the surface once he’s facing major-league pitching. The only way to find out what he can do is to promote him. Now? Maybe? Please?

Oh, also, the Clippers scored 16 runs. You’ll have to wait for the MiLB recap to hear more about that, though.

Unrelated to that, but a small programming note, I am going to be mostly out of town for the next couple of days (probably still hopping on later at night), so please don’t wreck the place. Blake is in charge and I left him $20 for pizza. Emergency numbers are on the fridge and don’t forget to give your brother a banana if he passes out from his potassium deficiency.

Cleveland Guardians news

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