Indians prospect Shane Bieber to make MLB debut Thursday

The righty to make first start on 23rd birthday

Alex Hooper
May 28, 2018 - 8:27 pm
Jun 18, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; UC Santa Barbara Gauchos pitcher Shane Bieber (19) throws against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the 2016 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park.

© Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports


Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Terry Francona has not seen right-handed pitching prospect Shane Bieber pitch, but returns from his development staff have him on par with a righty the Cleveland Indians skipper has seen a lot of.

“By all accounts he is in the mold of (Corey) Kluber,” Francona said. “By routines and work ethic and poise. There’s just so many things to like. He’s not the finished product. He throws a ton of strikes. There’s so many good things.”

The reviews were so good that Francona said team officials had to keep the prospect from the coaching staff.

“I think (Indians President Chris Antonetti) was afraid to bring him over in spring training because he knew we were going to want to latch on to him,” Francona laughed.

Bieber, a quick-rising fourth round draft pick from 2016, will make his Major League debut for the Indians on Thursday in Minnesota against the Twins. It also happens to be the righty’s 23rd birthday.

The team was looking to give Saturday starter Trevor Bauer a day off after he threw a career-high 127 pitches against the Houston Astros. The solution to that problem was Bieber, who tossed a seven-inning no-hitter for Triple-A Columbus on May 25th.

“It will be really good for him to gain some experience,” Francona said. “He’s going to go back and we’ll tell him that if they haven’t already. It’ll be good for him. I think it’ll be good for us. Kind of just get a chance to watch him pitch a major league game. Hopefully he helps us win. But it’ll be just great experience for him.”

Bieber has allowed just eight earned in 65 1/3 innings (1.10 ERA) between Columbus and Double-A Akron over 10 starts in 2018. His minor league career ERA of 2.19 is only slightly higher, coming over 262 2/3 innings in 47 outings.

His former teammate, Indians Sunday starter Adam Plutko, received word of Bieber’s promotion just minutes after improving to 3-0 in his third career start.

“Man, he’s awesome. He’s really good,” Plutko said. “That’ll be a lot of fun to watch. Great for him. I’m really, really happy for him. He’s done it every step of the way, so that's great to see.”