Guardians Spring Training: Shane Bieber looks ready for the season

Cincinnati Reds v Cleveland Guardians
Cincinnati Reds v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages

There are a few players who are garnering an extra amount of attention during this year's Spring Training, and Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Shane Bieber is one of them. Bieber was able to put on quite a show in Sunday's 4-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

The 2020 Cy Young Award Winner would allow just one run on two hits while striking out eight and walking two in 5.2 innings of work. An outing like this against what should be Cincinnati's regular-season lineup is quite impressive and something worth taking note of.

Bieber would strike out Elly De La Cruz (2x), Jake Fraley, Lule Maile, Matt McClain (2x), Jonathan India, and Will Benson in what was his third start of the spring.

And while these starts and stats mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things, seeing Bieber looking like his old self again is a very encouraging sign for the Guardians this season. This is the level of pitching that Cleveland was hoping to see, and the fact he can deliver it early on should bode well moving forward.

There have been numerous noted concerns about Bieber in the last few years regarding his velocity and strikeout numbers both dropping. An attempt to rectify those issues was made by Bieber, with some time being spent at Driveline in the offseason. The early returns in spring are impressive, but there is a difference between pitching in the regular season and Spring Training in Arizona. Whether or not his performance will carry over remains to be seen, but it seems like Bieber is more likely to bounce back this time around when compared to previous seasons.

There are two ways the Guardians could benefit from Bieber returning to his Cy Young-caliber form. First off is the obvious of being in contention for the division or a Wild Card berth. Bieber has shown he can carry a rotation previously, and a full-functioning version of him should be able to do that again. The other is if the season goes by the wayside and the Guardians are not in contention. Bieber could then be shopped around before the trade deadline in an attempt to get the best trade package in return. Either way, the Cleveland Guardians will benefit from Bieber pitching at or near his best this season.