With only a few days left in the 2020 Major League Baseball season, we've been discussing some of the individual hardware this week. When I went to look at the National League Cy Young race, I ran down 10 names. That won't quite be necessary in the AL. We only really need to mention one. In yet another Cleveland win on Wednesday (that's now six of seven after eight straight losses), Shane Bieber locked down the Cy Young.
He went five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out 10. It wasn't one of his best outings, which sums up his dominant 2020 season.
Here are the categories in which Bieber leads qualified AL pitchers and we'll note where it's a total blowout:
- Wins: 8
- bWAR: 3.2
- fWAR: 3.2 (second place is 2.1)
- ERA: 1.63 (second place is 2.04)
- ERA+: 281 (second is 218)
- FIP: 2.06 (next is 2.79)
- K%: 41.1
- Strikeouts: 122 (next is 97)
- Hits/9 innings: 5.35
- WPA: 3.0
There are more if we got deeper into advanced metrics, but that's not really necessary. Among the more mainstream stats where Bieber doesn't lead the AL, here are his ranks:
- Innings: 2nd (one behind the leader)
- WHIP: 2nd (0.11 behind)
- K/9: 2nd (0.09 behind)
- K/BB: 4th
- HR/9: 5th
Bieber isn't the only AL pitcher having a great 2020 season. Lance Lynn, Kenta Maeda, Dallas Keuchel, Lucas Giolito, Gerrit Cole and a host of others will garner some votes. However, there should only be one man getting first-place votes in the AL Cy Young. Shane Bieber should be the unanimous winner.
The last unanimous winner in the AL was Justin Verlander in 2011.
Former Cleveland Cy Young winners (bold indicates unanimous):
There really isn't much question Bieber in 2020 joins the list. The only real question is if his name will be in bold. It should be.