The Cleveland Indians watched Shane Bieber has all but lock up the Cy Young award by winning the MLB’s pitching Triple Crown title on Sunday
Shane Bieber is the Cleveland Indians ace, and soon to be 2020 AL CY Young winner. Bieber’s season continues on from a great 2019 that saw him go to the All-Star game for the first time and finish fourth in the AL Cy Young voting. He was a runaway favorite for the award in early August, and he did nothing but solidify that positioning as the season came to a close. Now, Bieber all but guarantees the hardware win by securing a Triple Crown title in the process; crowning him the “Ace of the AL”.
While not an actual award, the Triple Crown is considered an instant lock to win whatever qualifying awards you’re eligible for. Miguel Cabrera for instance won the AL MVP in 2012 for securing the batting version of the crown.
In baseball, there are two ways to win the triple crown. With batting, it’s leading the league in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in RBIs. For pitching, it’s leading the league in wins, strikeouts, and ERA. According to Baseball-Reference, the last AL pitcher to have the Triple Crown was Justin Verlander. He won the MVP that year.
The last player to lead the entire Majors, not just the AL/NL was Johan Santana in 2006. He finished seventh in MVP voting that year. Bieber led the Majors (not just the AL) in wins (8), strikeouts (122), and ERA (1.63). He started twelve games for the Tribe and averaged 10.2 strikeouts per game and 1.6 strikeouts per inning.
Bieber should finish in the top three of the AL MVP voting as well, as he and Jose Ramirez nearly carried this team on their own for the entire year. Position players are generally regarded as more important for day to day success, but a great pitcher can change a series.
Both men should finish one and two in voting but we’ll see if the baseball media penalizes them for playing in Cleveland.