CLEVELAND – Former UC Santa Barbara star pitcher Shane Bieber will make his Major League Baseball debut when he starts for the Cleveland Indians against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.
Bieber, 22, was recalled from Triple-A Columbus for a spot start, giving Trevor Bauer, who tossed 127 pitches on Sunday, and the rest of the Tribe's rotation an extra day of rest.
Ranked third on the Indians' Top 30 Prospects list, Bieber was added to MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list on Sunday. The right hander as been nothing short of spectacular at Columbus and Double-A Akron this season. In 10 starts and 65.1 innings, he has put together a 5-1 record with a 1.10 earned run average. In his last start on May 25, he tossed a rain-shortened no hitter, striking out seven through seven innings.
Bieber was in Cleveland's clubhouse on Wednesday to watch a series finale against the Chicago White Sox.
"Your first Major League start, you're gonna have all types of emotions and nerves, but it starts to get him acclimated," Indians' manager Terry Francona told Casey Harrison of MLB.com. "Being here today, he can take it in, talk to the guys, listen, fly with us. He'll pitch tomorrow night, then he knows he's going back."
Bieber was a key part of a UCSB rotation during his three years as a Gaucho. During his career, which spanned the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons, he went 23-12 with a 2.73 ERA. In 2015, he was 8-4 with a 2.24 ERA, earning Second Team All-Big West Conference honors. In 2016, he went 12-4 with a 2.74 ERA and was named first team all-league. The 12 wins equaled the second most in school history. Bieber, a noted control artist, and had just 38 walks in 300.0 innings.
The Laguna Hills, Calif., native was the ace of UCSB's rotation as it made its first trip to the College World Series in 2016. Bieber started his team's first game of the Nashville Regional, the Louisville Super Regional and the CWS. In Nashville, he tossed 7.1 innings while allowing eight hits and one run while striking out five and walking two in a no decision against Washington. In the opener at Louisville, he was spectacular, throwing a complete game win while allowing just eight hits and two runs, striking out seven and walking one. In the opener in Omaha, he took a hard luck loss as Oklahoma State blanked the Gauchos, 1-0. In that game, Bieber threw another complete game, allowing six hits and one run while striking out six and allowing no walks. In all, his 2016 postseason saw him throw 24.1 innings, allowing four earned runs and 22 hits while striking out 18 and walking just three. He had an ERA of 1.48.