It was an impressive rookie campaign for Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Tanner Bibee. Bibee came on relatively early this season, putting together enough of a rookie-year portfolio to be among the three finalists for the 2023 American League Rookie of the Year Award. Bibee would finish in second place, as Baltimore Orioles' Gunnar Henderson was a unanimous winner.
Bibee made his MLB Debut in late April this season and would make 25 starts over the course of the year. The 24-year-old right-hander struck out 141 batters in 142 innings this season, compiling a 2.98 ERA and 1.176 WHIP. This is an impressive performance for most pitchers, not just a rookie. Bibee's first season in the majors was an encouraging one, and it appears he is capable of being a top arm in Cleveland's rotation.
It was always going to be an uphill batter for Bibee to win the award, not just because of the performance of Henderson but rather the history not being on his side. The last player who was exclusively a starting pitcher for their ballclub to win Rookie of the Year was Detroit's Michael Fulmer in 2016. (Shohei Ohtani would win in 2018 as a starting pitcher and designated hitter for the Los Angeles Angels, and Milwaukee's Devin Williams would win out of the bullpen in 2020).
While Bibee did not win the award, he does receive a full year of service time for his second-place finish. This is due to a provision in the most recent collective bargaining agreement as an attempt to stop service time manipulation by ballclubs. The organization of the winning player receives a first-round draft pick, while the player receives a full year of service. The second-place finisher receives the full year with no draft picks being awarded. Bibee's service time was below the threshold but will get a full year to his name, and this allows him to enter free agency one year earlier. That is if the Guardians do not find a way to sign him to an extension before that point.