Cleveland Indians right-hander Shane Bieber completed a historic, albeit abbreviated 2020 season by winning the American League Cy Young Award unanimously on Wednesday.
He became the first unanimous AL Cy Young honoree since Justin Verlander, then of the Detroit Tigers, in 2011.
“It means the world,” Bieber said on MLB Network. “It’s truly incredible just to join this group and be in the same list as (past greats). To be able to get the season in this year and do what we did and for it to finish this way was extremely special.”
Bieber received all 30 first-place votes for 210 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Minnesota Twins right-hander Kenta Maeda placed a distant second place with 18 second-place votes and 92 points, and Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu came in third with four second-place votes and 51 points.
Bieber led the major leagues in the pandemic-shortened, 60-game season with a 1.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts, and he tied for first with eight wins. He wound up with a 8-1 record in 12 starts, and he walked 21 in 77 1/3 innings.
The only other pitchers in the past 50 years that led their league in wins, ERA and strikeouts were Steve Carlton (1972), Dwight Gooden (1985), Roger Clemens (1997 and 1998), Pedro Martinez (1999), Randy Johnson (2002), Johan Santana (2006), Jake Peavy (2007), Clayton Kershaw (2011) and Justin Verlander (2011).
Shane Bieber joins elite company
The list of unanimous AL Cy Young winners consists of Denny McLain (1968), Ron Guidry (1978), Clemens (1986, 1998), Martinez (1999, 2000), Santana (2004, 2006), Verlander (2011) and now Bieber.
The AL second- and third-place Cy Young finishers, Maeda and Ryu, were members of the Los Angeles Dodgers last year, exiting before the team won the World Series this year.
Maeda led the AL with a 0.750 walks-plus-hits-per-inning pitched ratio. He went 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 11 starts, striking out 80 while allowing 40 hits and 10 walks in 66 2/3 innings.
Ryu, the NL Cy Young Award runner-up last year, finished 5-2 with a 2.69 ERA in 12 starts this year. He struck out 72 and walked 17 in 67 innings.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)