Shane Bieber made the most of his time on the mound during the shortened 2020 Cleveland Indians season.
He went 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA in 12 starts en route to winning the American League Cy Young Award.
The ace also finished fourth in AL MVP voting.
That meant he was more than just a top athlete in the city.
He had one of the best seasons of any athlete across all professional sports.
So it should come as no surprise that Bieber was recently named the Professional Athlete of the Year at this year’s Greater Cleveland Sports Awards.
Shane Bieber, the unanimous Cy Young Award winner, was named the 2020 Professional Athlete of the Year at the annual Cleveland Sports Awards tonight.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) March 5, 2021
The Obvious Choice Versus the Competition
Bieber was up against Collin Sexton and Myles Garrett for the award.
The other two stood no chance considering Bieber was the reigning Cy Young Award winner.
However, some fans may have thought a Browns player would take home this award simply because of the team’s newfound success in 2020.
Baker Mayfield may have had a better shot than Garrett, but the Cy Young winner was still the obvious choice.
Sexton being nominated for 2020 was only because the Cavaliers didn’t have much success in 2020.
They also barely played.
Bieber had a limited season but was among the best in his entire sport.
Just the Beginning for the Ace
Toying around with some new ideas on how to present pitcher arsenals.
Here's Shane Bieber's approach to right-handed hitters. The overlays are based off his most common location for each pitch. #Cleveland pic.twitter.com/Uvu5EthT6T
— Lance Brozdowski (@LanceBroz) February 4, 2021
Bieber’s first full season was in 2019 after having limited action in 2018.
That first full year was good enough for an All-Star nod, the All-Star Game MVP Award, and a fourth-place finish in the AL MVP race.
Winning the Cy Young in 2020 was the next logical step.
There is really no telling what Bieber’s ceiling is starting in 2021.
He should be a perennial Cy Young candidate and another All-Star Game appearance seems like a given.
Is this unrealistic hype?
The answer to that is no, unless Bieber deals with an injury or some other setback.
An Indians player taking home this award over any Browns player shows how dominant Bieber was.
The next step for the franchise is getting to work on a contract extension.
The longer they wait, the higher the price tag goes and at some point they may decide he is too expensive.
Another Cy Young Award in the next year or two would certainly raise the price in a significant way.
Being an Indians fans involves a lot of worry about the future of the franchise.
For now, everyone can appreciate Bieber’s talent and get excited to see what he can do in 2021.
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