The outstanding rookie campaign of Tanner Bibee has come to an end. Bibee left his last start due to a hip injury and is being placed on the injured list by the Cleveland Guardians. The timing of the injury and placement on the injured list, in conjunction with how many games remain on the Guardians' schedule, will end his season. Cleveland is recalling relief pitcher James Karinchak to take Bibee's spot on the major league roster in a corresponding move.
Cleveland's 24-year-old right-hander will finish 2023 with 141 strikeouts in 142 innings across 25 starts. Bibee limited opposing hitters to a .230/.295/.353 slash line, striking out nearly one-quarter of all batters he faced (24.1%). The 2.98 ERA from Bibee this season would rank as the sixth-best in all of baseball if he pitched enough innings to qualify. Based on his performance this season, Bibee should at least receive some consideration for the American League Rookie of the Year award.
The Guardians' pitching staff was decimated with injury after injury, requiring Cleveland to depend on rookie arms to make a significant amount of starts. Bibee led the way as the team's best rookie and eventually their top starting pitcher. With a current team high of 10 wins, Bibee was able to lead a trio of rookie pitchers that kept the Guardians in the mix for the division much longer than anyone could have reasonably anticipated.
Looking ahead to next year, the Guardians' rotation will be in good hands next season. A group of second-year pitchers in Bibee, Williams, and Allen to go with Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie is quite impressive. That is assuming that the Guardians do not trade Bieber before next year, a possibility that does exist considering he was likely to be dealt at the deadline before going down with an injury. Taking the young, talented, and perhaps most importantly, under-control pitching staff into account, the chances they could trade Bieber while leaning on the other four arms listed is much higher than some may want to admit.