He won the award last season and is right up there with New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole in terms of being one of the best pitchers in the AL and all of MLB.
But the dominant pitching in Cleveland doesn’t just start and stop with Bieber.
Several MLB.com writers got together and picked dark-horse candidates for the Cy Young Awards this season.
The Indians had two of the five selections in the AL portion of the list.
The Top Pitching Prospect
Triston McKenzie, Filthy 85mph Slider. 😷 pic.twitter.com/KOK3arAlxy
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 13, 2020
Triston McKenzie showed up on this list after one partial season at the MLB level.
That came during the shortened 2020 season when the young pitcher made eight appearances and six starts.
The top prospect posted a 3.24 ERA and an 11.3 K/9 in what was an impressive debut last summer.
The MLB.com article highlights his strikeout total as a key reason why he is a Cy Young contender in 2021.
However, it also notes how McKenzie has never had a full MLB workload in his career.
His great numbers last year came in only 33.1 innings of work.
That came after missing the entire 2019 season due to injuries.
Health is going to be a key concern for the young pitcher as he looks to maneuver a full slate of games for the first time.
His ability to rack up strikeouts, given he stays healthy, will make him a Cy Young contender for years to come.
A Rising Young Starter
Zach Plesac's Changeup Grip.
Watch the Full YT Video for all of his Grips plus a bunch of other good stuff…including a breakdown of his immaculate inning last year.
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 19, 2021
Zach Plesac was the other Indians starter to show up on this dark-horse list.
The MLB.com article lists his nearly unhittable slider as a reason for his projected success in 2021.
Plesac made his MLB debut in 2019 and posted a 3.81 ERA in 115.2 innings of work.
He showed plenty of promise in 2020 with a 2.28 ERA, but missed some time after breaking COVID-19 protocols during a road trip.
That distraction can now be put behind him as he slots in as the second guy in this stacked rotation.
Plesac had over one strikeout per inning in 2020 and could have easily earned Cy Young votes if he did not miss time.
One concern so far in spring training is how many home runs the right-hander has allowed.
He just gave up four to the Chicago White Sox to up his total to seven total this month.
But once again, these are spring training numbers and there is no need to overreact.
Real concern would creep in if this pace keeps up once the games count next week.
Having one legitimate Cy Young contender is a treat for fans.
The Indians have three and an argument could even be made to include Aaron Civale on the list of dark-horse candidates.
Now the hope is that everyone lives up to the hype.