Heads up, fantasy owners: One of baseball’s best teams is on the verge of calling up one of their top pitching prospects…
Francona confirms: Prospect Shane Bieber will make a spot start Thursday for Indians.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) May 28, 2018
Shane Bieber is a former fourth-round pick out of UC Santa Barbara, a right-hander with low-to-mid 90s velocity. He doesn’t have any specific pitch that dazzles the scouting community, so you won’t find his name on many top-100 prospect lists. But Bieber has at least one freakish trait: elite command. Over the course of his minor league career, he’s averaging just one walk for every three games started.
Bieber has issued only three walks so far this season in 65.1 innings spent at Double-A and Triple-A. He’s struck out 61 batters, allowing just eight earned runs (1.10 ERA) and his WHIP is an absurd 0.70. His numbers actually improved when he made the jump to Columbus. The kid threw seven no-hit innings in his last start, which ain’t bad.
It would be fair to say that Bieber has earned his opportunity. He’ll make his major league debut on his 23rd birthday, which is kinda fun. Nothing is guaranteed for Bieber beyond Thursday’s spot start, but Cleveland hasn’t completely settled on a fifth starter. If he impresses against the Twins, he has a shot to stick.
Based on Bieber’s minor league track record, we should expect maybe 4-6 strikeouts, a bunch of groundouts and zero free passes on Thursday. He might just get interesting for fantasy purposes. You can probably wait and watch in shallow leagues, but go ahead and make a what-if add in deeper formats.