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Cleveland Ace Shane Bieber Is Due For A Dominant 2022

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(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

When the 2021 season started, the Cleveland Indians wanted to contend, and had the right structure to do it.

It was far from a perfect roster, but with former MVP candidate Jose Ramirez and the reigning Cy Young award winner Shane Bieber leading the way, they had a chance.

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But things started going south, injuries happened, and some potential contributors, like Eddie Rosario and Triston McKenzie, just to name a couple, underachieved.

However, the thing that affected the Indians (now Guardians, starting in 2022) the most was Bieber’s injury.

After his June 13 start, it was announced that Bieber would miss several weeks with a right shoulder strain.

He ended up missing more than three months with the ailment.

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A Huge Loss For Cleveland

The day after his last start, June 14, Cleveland was 35-28 and 4.5 games behind the division leaders, the Chicago White Sox.

The day after Bieber returned, September 25, the Indians were 76-78 and 10.5 games behind the Sox.

A lot of things went wrong in Cleveland, but losing Bieber for such a long time was the worst of all.

Fortunately, Bieber made it in one piece after returning for a couple of September starts.

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In six innings against the White Sox and the Kansas City Royals (three against each opponent), Bieber only conceded a single run and struck out four, with no walks.

It made little sense to throw him out there in a meaningless September start, but Cleveland achieved what it wanted: assurances about his health.

Now, it’s safe to say that, provided his right shoulder is still healthy by the time spring training rolls around, he should be primed for a huge rebound season.

It’s unlikely that Bieber can sustain his 2020 level (when he won the Cy Young with a 1.63 ERA) over a full year: very few people in the history of baseball have finished with an ERA under 2.00 while starting full-time.

However, he is more than capable of being one of the very best pitchers in the American League when all is said and done in 2022.

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He Remains An Elite Pitcher

His 2021 numbers were actually very good: a 3.17 ERA and a 3.02 FIP, or Fielding Independent Pitching.

He also struck out 12.48 hitters per nine frames, and pitched 96.2 innings.

Some people are disappointed at Bieber because he didn’t quite replicate his 2020 performance, but that was a very high bar to clear in a 162-game season.

In fact, if Bieber hadn’t missed half of the season with his shoulder injury, he probably would have been a Cy Young candidate at the level he pitched.

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Perhaps he wouldn’t have won, because both Gerrit Cole and Robbie Ray had better cases, but he would have been considered.

Bieber is young, at 26 years old, in the prime of his career, and currently healthy.

There is absolutely no reason to think he won’t have a huge year in 2022.

We may forget because of the long injury layoff, but we are still talking about one of the premier pitching talents in Major League Baseball, and that hasn’t changed.

Bieber will lead a very young and talented rotation in 2022, and he will return to being the perennial Cy Young candidate he usually is.

The post Cleveland Ace Shane Bieber Is Due For A Dominant 2022 appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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