5 players that are current cornerstones for the Cleveland Indians
Fans of the Cleveland Indians are turning their attention to the future. The team was no-hit for a fourth time this season, if you include the 7-inning outing against Arizona, and the 2021 season seems to be all but closed out for the club. While the struggles of 2021 has people looking to 2022 and beyond, there’s still current pieces to be excited about.
There’s no doubt that the next wave of talent is intriguing. Whether it be Will Benson, Gabriel Arias or any other prospect, the future is exciting to think about, especially for a team that has struggled this season. With that being said, we can’t forget about the cornerstones that are already established in Cleveland.
The Tribe have a handful of pieces that are providing a base for those up-and-coming prospects to build on. Combining the experience of these five players with the rising prospects and there’s a lot to be exciting about in Cleveland.
Shane Bieber, SP, Cleveland Indians
This season was not a career year for Shane Bieber by any means. He only made 14 starts before being injured and lost his shot at defending his American League Cy Young award. However, he’s still very much a key part of this organization and that was felt when he went down.
Losing Bieber wasn’t the sole reason for the season’s struggles, but it was a big straw. The starting rotation was the first point of pain for the team and losing Bieber hurt the most. He was still dominant early in the season, keeping an ERA of 3.28 while averaging 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
Bieber is now working on a rehab assignment and could make a big league start before the season ends. For now, we can’t forget his incredible 2020 campaign. Albeit in a shortened season, Bieber became the first starting pitcher ever to average 14 or more strikeouts per nine innings (14.2) while going 8-1 with an MLB-best 1.63 ERA.
Once healthy, Bieber won’t only be a cornerstone for this club, but he might be the cornerstone. At 26-years old when the season begins, Bieber still has plenty of team control left and could be the focal point of building this team back to being an annual contender.