Bryan Shaw has quietly become an Indians legend.
The Cleveland Indians have had a history of great relievers, especially lately, and Bryan Shaw can now proudly stake his claim to one of those spots. On Friday, in the Indians win over the Texas Rangers, Shaw came into the game for the 457th time for the Indians. In doing so, he set a club record for most relief appearances in history.
In all six seasons, he’s pitched with Cleveland, he’s always hit or surpassed 70 games in a given season. That’s over 43% of the season, Shaw comes in to pitch. Considering most starters only impact about 19% of the season, it says something that you can have a reliever that reliable for that long.
Shaw passed former Indians’ reliever Cody Allen to take the spot and with the season Shaw has had, it makes all the sense in the world to bring him back. At 33-years-old, his arm is still as springy as ever, having appeared in 78 games, just two shy of his career-high (80) in 2014. While it’s possible he could tie it, it’s unlikely that interim manager DeMarlo Hale will throw out Shaw three days in a row.
His ERA was a respectable 3.57 and he posted a 6-7 record for the year.
Bryan Shaw isn’t too far off from other records
Shaw has the record for most appearances but he’s not far away from most innings pitched by a pure-reliever either. MLB.com tracks all reliever innings, even if the pitcher was predominantly a starter, and of all the pitchers on the list who have never started a game, Shaw is nearing the top of the list.
If Shaw can log another 70+ inning outing in 2022 as he did in 2021, then he’ll sit at least at 505 innings pitched. That would be the most ever by a pure-reliever in Indians’ history. Right now Shaw sits at 435.1, with Allen in second place at 440.2 and Eric Plunk, of all people, leading the way with 462.0
He’s also nearing the club record for most strikeouts by a reliever, though he’ll need another two seasons at his current rate to take the record. Currently, Shaw sits fifth with 404. Rafael Betancourt is second with 409, Paul Shuey is third with 450, at fourth is Erick Plunk with 460 and Cody Allen is the top dog at 564.
Considering Allen’s best seasons see him strike out around 70 people, he’d need to play for the Tribe for another two seasons for him to break Allen’s strikeout record for relievers.
Shaw has quietly become an all-time great for the franchise and deserves his moment in the sun.