Cleveland Guardians star pitcher Shane Bieber might have seen his strikeout rate drop to 20.1 percent in 2023 in what was a lackluster season by his standards.
However, the level of dominance he exercised over MLB hitters from 2019 to 2022 was nothing short of amazing.
Even with the diminished strikeout rate, he managed to post a decent 3.80 ERA in 128 innings last season, and that’s why teams are looking at him as a potential trade acquisition.
Those asking about him are hopeful he can recover some of that early-career luster he had, and maintained until as recently as 2022.
When Bieber was on, he was a strikeout beast capable of missing bats like no one in the league.
This is evidenced by one of the records he managed to establish.
“Shane Bieber struck out 8 or more hitters in 20 consecutive regular season starts and he’s the only MLB pitcher to ever do that,” Codify Baseball tweeted.
Shane Bieber struck out 8 or more hitters in 20 consecutive regular season starts and he's the only MLB pitcher to ever do that. pic.twitter.com/zCu2ruAl2p
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) December 11, 2023
It happened from July 24, 2020, until May 11, 2021.
Over that span, Bieber’s lowest strikeout output in a game was eight, and he accumulated ten or more in 13 of the 20 games.
That stretch of play had him post a ridiculous 2.18 ERA, a 12-3 record, and 207 strikeouts in 132.1 innings.
It’s easy to forget that Bieber was comfortably the best pitcher in baseball in 2020 and won a Cy Young award because of that.
Now, teams are somewhat wary of the right shoulder issues that took several weeks from his 2023 season.
He managed to return and pitch well in a couple of September starts, so chances are he is close or at full health.
Bieber’s name keeps circulating among MLB organizations looking for pitching help, and the Guardians are willing to listen.