There were plenty of Cleveland Indians fans groaning when they heard the team had signed Bryan Shaw to a minor league deal this past offseason.
The former Indians reliever had a great run in town from 2013-2017, but remained a polarizing player.
He then left Cleveland for Colorado and looked terrible out west.
Shaw posted a combined 5.61 ERA in two seasons with the Rockies and had a short, ugly stint with the Seattle Mariners in 2020.
So how would he look in 2021?
He appears to have actually found some sort of fountain of youth because he is throwing absolute smoke and looking like an elite reliever.
Holy reborn Bryan Shaw! Shaw in his scoreless inning of work tonight vs White Sox threw three cut fastballs over 97 mph topping out at 97.8 mph. He threw 10 cutters in all averaging 95.4 mph on the pitch.#Indians #OurCLE @BryanShaw37
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) April 13, 2021
So much for any fears of lost velocity.
Bryan Shaw Looking Dominant Again
The Rockies have to be wondering what exactly went wrong after they signed Shaw to a $27 million deal.
His velocity plummeted and his pitches just weren’t as effective as they were in Cleveland.
Was it the thin air?
Or maybe a nagging injury?
Whatever it was, Indians fans don’t have to concern themselves with the problem.
Shaw is now approaching 98 miles per hour on the radar gun and may have learned a tip or two from Emmanuel Clase.
Just look at the increase from one month ago.
#Indians RHP Bryan Shaw threw 6 pitches 95+ mph today topping out at 96.9 mph. Shaw's increased velocity has been intriguing this spring.
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) March 20, 2021
There was likely a fear that Shaw was overworked during his time with the Indians.
He appeared in at least 70 games every year from 2013-2017 and that is before factoring in the postseason.
Getting him back at his old level of talent is one of the best moves the Indians have made in 2021.
Bryan Shaw’s Performance So Far
Shaw has allowed one hit in four games this season and it was a solo home run in a game the Indians ended up winning.
His pitches are also effective as he has forced seven groundballs as opposed to two in the air so far this season.
One strikeout per inning of work is also nothing to gloss over.
The Indians came into the year with Nick Wittgren, James Karinchak, and Clase as the late-game trio.
Shaw has put his name right into the mix and Monday night showed a preview of what could be a dynamic duo.
That is Shaw coming in as the setup guy to turn it over to Clase in the ninth.
Wittgren and Karinchak are still right in the mix, but a Shaw-Clase duo where both are throwing cutters near 100 miles per hour would be a sight to behold.
Now comes the tough task of sustaining this hot start.
Whatever newfound life Shaw has found, the Indians need to make sure that doesn’t go away.
A more balanced workload would be a good first step toward keeping Shaw fresh in 2021.
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