MAY 28: The Indians are set to promote top pitching prospect Shane Bieber for his first MLB action, skipper Terry Francona announced (via Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal, on Twitter). Bieber is slated to receive a start on Thursday, which is also his 23rd birthday.For the time being, it’s expected only to be a spot start.
Since he was taken in the fourth-round of the 2016 draft out of UCSB, Bieber has zipped up the ladder in the Cleveland farm system.In 2017, his first full season as a pro, Bieber threw 173 1/3 innings of 2.86 ERA ball with a shiny 162:10 K/BB ratio.
The results have been even better thus far in 2018. In ten starts — five apiece between Double-A and Triple-A — he has allowed just eight earned runs on 43 hits over 65 1/3 innings, while racking up a ridiculous mix of 61 strikeouts against just three free passes.
Prospect evaluators have increasingly taken notice of Bieber’s sustained output. MLB.com just bumped him onto its top-100 list, crediting him with four useful pitches that he (obviously) commands with aplomb. Clearly, there’s some question whether Bieber’s pure stuff is all that compelling, but it seems his off-the-charts ability to spot the ball will likely make him a useful major-league hurler.
The Indians obviously believe that Bieber is ready now to begin contributing at the game’s highest level. Though he’s only scheduled to get the ball once before being demoted, the move will put Bieber on the 40-man roster. He could well be the top available arm if a future need arises, whether that’s in the rotation or a bullpen unit that has struggled mightily thus far.