The Cleveland Guardians’ success in 2022 was the result of several things falling into place for a team that was not expected to accomplish much at the beginning of the season.
Starting pitching was among the key factors in their run to the AL Central title, their first since 2018.
Leading the way was their ace, Shane Bieber, who put together yet another Cy Young-caliber season in 2022.
The right-hander started 31 games and went 13-8, posting an ERA of 2.88 in 200 innings of work.
Bieber also struck out 198 batters, posted a 1.04 WHIP, and continued his dominant stretch with the FIP statistic, which is the fourth-lowest in 30 or more starts since the 2020 season.
Lowest MLB FIP since 2020 (30+ starts):
Jacob deGrom, 1.80 (38 starts)
Corbin Burnes, 2.40 (70)
Carlos Rodón, 2.48 (57)
Shane Bieber, 2.74 (59)
Kevin Gausman, 2.76 (74)
Zack Wheeler, 2.80 (69)
Clayton Kershaw, 2.88 (54)
Max Scherzer, 2.93 (65)
Shohei Ohtani, 2.95 (53) https://t.co/4I6xPt6CM5
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) November 26, 2022
Bieber Joins Elite FIP Company
Ahead of him were Jacob deGrom (1.80), Corbin Burnes (2.40), and Carlos Rodon (2.48).
Also on the list were Max Scherzer, Shohei Ohtani, Zack Wheeler, Clayton Kershaw, and Kevin Gausman.
For context, FIP stands for Fielding Independent Pitching, and it is a stat designed to measure the effectiveness of a pitcher, taking plays that would involve the defense trying to field a batted ball in any way out of the equation.
Bieber’s 198 strikeouts on the season can certainly attest to his effectiveness.
Collectively, hitters hit for just a .233 average against the Guardians ace.
But the right-hander is certainly in some elite company along with some of the top pitchers in all of baseball, pitchers who have won Cy Young Awards and have pitched some key games in postseason baseball.
In the end, the Guardians ace’s efforts were enough to help guide the team into the top five in ERA in the American League (3.46).
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