22-year old right handed pitcher Shane Bieber is making his way through the Indians’ farm system at an impressive pace. Bieber, who was a fourth round pick by the Indians in the 2016 draft, has earned his second promotion of the season recently, being called up to the Akron RubberDucks (AA) of the Eastern League. The right-hander made just five starts with the Lake County Captains (A), and then 14 more at Lynchburg (A adv) before making the move to Akron. All of this just over a year after his last college start.
Bieber attended UC-Santa Barbara as a preferred walk on, which meant he was not guaranteed a spot on the team, let alone a scholarship. Just three years later, as a junior in 2016, he helped the Gauchos reach the quarterfinals of the College World Series. Despite only playing for three years, Bieber still ranks third all time in wins (23), and second in career strikeouts (224) for his alma mater. The day after he was picked by the Tribe in the fourth round of the draft, he pitched game one of the quarterfinals, giving up just one run over eight innings in a tough loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Because he had pitched 134.2 innings, and his team had advanced deep into the College World Series, Cleveland was cautious with Bieber. He was started with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (A short) where he posted an impressive 0.38 ERA over eight starts, surrendering just 10 hits and two runs. Bieber has a fast ball that regularly sits between 88 and 92 MPH, and he does not have overwhelming stuff, but it is his control and command that helps him to stand out.
Because of his early success, Bieber started the 2017 campaign with the Lake County Captains (A). In five starts he went 2-3 with a 3.10 ERA, while striking out 31 and walking just one. That led to his first promotion to the Lynchburg Hillcats (A adv). Over 14 starts in Lynchburg, Bieber matched his 3.10 ERA from Lake County, while posting a much improved 6-1 record. In 90 innings pitched, Bieber struck out 82 while walking only four.
With his continued success in Lynchburg, Bieber was called up again, this time to the Akron RubberDucks. In his first start against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Bieber went 6.2 innings, giving up five hits and no runs, but did not get the decision. At this pace Bieber could be in Columbus by next year, and from there the sky is the limit. For his minor league career, Bieber is 8-4 (2.53 ERA), with a 1.016 WHIP, and 17.38 SO/W. Also, it should be noted that two of his eight walks over 149.2 innings pitched were intentional. With stats like these straight out of college, it is easy to see why Shane Bieber has moved through the Indians’ system so quickly.