After throwing a no-hitter in his latest Triple-A start, Shane Bieber is headed to the Major Leagues.:: Complete prospect coverage ::The Indians' No. 3 prospect (No. 100 overall) will be called up to make his big league debut in Thursday's road contest against the Twins. The promotion caps a meteoric
After throwing a no-hitter in his latest Triple-A start, Shane Bieber is headed to the Major Leagues.
:: Complete prospect coverage ::
The Indians' No. 3 prospect (No. 100 overall) will be called up to make his big league debut in Thursday's road contest against the Twins. The promotion caps a meteoric rise through the Minor Leagues for Bieber, who's set to make his first Major League appearance on his 23rd birthday.
The Indians plan to use Bieber as a spot starter, so as to offer extra rest to a starting rotation that has totaled high pitch counts lately. He last pitched Friday, firing a seven-inning no-hitter in a rain-shortened victory for Triple-A Columbus. He struck out seven and faced one over the minimum in the outing, throwing 61 of his 80 pitches for strikes.
Overall, Bieber has gone 5-1 with a 1.10 ERA and 0.70 WHIP in 10 starts, splitting his season between Columbus and Double-A Akron. He's worked 65 1/3 innings across the two levels, compiling 61 strikeouts against three walks while holding hitters to a .183 average.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Bieber fans seven in no-hitter - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=2083455383
Bieber's overwhelming success this season continues a trend in which the right-hander has dominated at every stage of his career since being selected by Cleveland in fourth round of the 2016 Draft out of University of California Santa Barbara.
After a strong professional debut (0.38 ERA in 24 innings) in the Class A Short Season New York-Penn League, Bieber advanced to full-season ball in 2017 and excelled across three levels, finishing the year in Double-A. He ultimately led the organization in innings pitched (173 1/3) and ranked second in ERA (2.86), all while totaling 162 strikeouts and 10 unintentional walks over 28 starts.
• Indians' top prospects stats
Bieber's ability to flood the strike zone with four quality pitches is his greatest strength. His 70-grade control is the highest among all pitching prospects on team Top 30 lists, and a case can be made that Bieber possesses the best command in the Minor Leagues after he led all Minors hurlers both in walk rate (1.5 percent) and walks-per-nine innings (0.5 BB/9) in 2017.
Over three professional seasons, Bieber owns 15-6 record with a 2.19 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. Bieber has piled up 244 strikeouts and 15 unintentional walks in 262 2/3 innings, giving him a superb 0.5 BB/9 walk rate to go along with 8.4 strikeouts-per-nine for his career.
While Bieber stands out most for his nearly elite control and command, his stuff is plenty good, too.
• Bieber soaking it all in before MLB debut
The right-hander's velocity has improved since college, as he'll now sit comfortably in the 91-94 mph range with his fastball while at times reaching back for an additional tick or two. Bieber also has made strides in developing his curveball, leading some evaluators to cite it as his best secondary offering. He also demonstrates advanced feel for his slider and changeup, rounding out an arsenal of four average-or-better pitches.
The quality of Bieber's stuff, along with his ability to throw quality strikes, gives him the requisite tools to become a solid mid-rotation starter in the Majors. And with a solid strikeout rate, strong ground-ball tendencies and a knack for keeping the ball in the park, Bieber has proved capable of succeeding even when not as his best.
The Indians have made it clear that Bieber's first big league stint will be limited to the lone spot start. But the fact that the club willingly turned to him, despite Bieber not being on the team's 40-man roster, bodes well for the right-hander's chances of assuming a greater role with Cleveland later this season.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.