MLB

Shane Bieber wins AL Cy Young Award unanimously after dominant 2020 season

The winner of the 2020 American League Cy Young Award came as no surprise. Cleveland ace Shane Bieber took home the honors in unanimous fashion. 

Bieber, 25, was far and away the best pitcher in the AL during the 2020 regular season. In 12 starts, he was 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA (281 ERA+), 0.87 WHIP and 122 strikeouts against 21 walks in 77 1/3 innings, good for 3.3 WAR in a touch over 1/3 of a normal season. He led the AL in wins, win percentage, ERA, FIP, ERA+, hit rate (5.4 hits per nine innings allowed), strikeout rate, WAR and several other measures. 

Kenta Maeda of the Twins came in second after going 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 80 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings. Hyun-jin Ryu of the Blue Jays finished third after going 5-2 with a 2.69 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 67 innings. Interestingly enough, both Ryu and Maeda were on the Dodgers in 2019. 

Bieber’s journey to the top has been a quick one. He joined the Cleveland rotation at age 23 in 2018 after having never seen a top-100 prospect list. He was fine as a rookie, but nothing special. In 2019, he emerged as an All-Star and secured All-Star Game MVP honors. He finished fourth in Cy Young voting last year, though he didn’t finish serious consideration to win the award and didn’t have a first-place vote. 

This time around, Bieber got all 30 first-place votes from the BBWAA voters assigned to this award (two per chapter from each AL market). The most recent unanimous Cy Young winner was when Clayton Kershaw did so on the NL side in 2014. The last time an AL pitcher took this award unanimously was 2011, when Justin Verlander, then of the Tigers, did so. Bieber becomes the eighth pitcher to do so in the AL (Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens all did so twice). 

Concerning the Cleveland Indians’ franchise, the recent history here is rich. Only Gaylord Perry (1972) had won a Cy Young Award with the club through the 2006 season, but since then: 

2007 – CC Sabathia
2008 – Cliff Lee
2014 – Corey Kluber
2017 – Corey Kluber
2020 – Shane Bieber

One franchise posting five wins by four different pitchers in 14 years isn’t too shabby. 

A full breakdown of the votes — including the individual ballots of each writer — can be found here. Each ballot is required to be turned in before the playoffs start. Each voter picks a top five in order, awarding seven points for a first-place vote, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one point for a fifth-place vote. 

Here’s the top 10 and their final point totals: 

  1. Bieber, 210
  2. Maeda, 92
  3. Ryu, 51
  4. Gerrit Cole, Yankees, 50
  5. Dallas Keuchel, White Sox, 46
  6. Lance Lynn, Rangers, 22
  7. Lucas Giolito, White Sox, 18
  8. Chris Bassitt, Athletics, 10
  9. Dylan Bundy, Angels, 5
  10. Liam Hendriks, A’s, 5



 

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