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The new Beebs

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Wham with the Right Hand

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bushwick_bill posted a video in the Oakland series thread of Austin Hedges being interviewed after the opener. Hedges said some really interesting things about the new and improved Shane Bieber.

It's the same arsenal, it's just we added a changeup. All the stuff is the same, we're just not overdoing the curveball, we're not overdoing the slider. He's got some velo and some rise to the fastball now - we're just pitching and honestly we're just waiting for the hitter to tell us what to throw. It's not this crazy game plan where we're predetermining, you know, "We gotta go spin guys" and that's kind of how it was in the past and he had so much success with it so it was tough to go away from his strengths and the league adjusted to him and now we're adjusting back and now they will have to make another adjustment.

Wow. So after spending the winter mostly at the Driveline facility tweaking his mechanics Beebs now has both a changeup and more velo and rise to his fastball. He still has the curve and slider. The last couple of years he lost velo on the fastball and didn't throw a change, so batters just sat on the curves and sliders.

Now with four viable pitches, including a legit fastball, and more separation in velocity Bieber and Hedges can let the hitter "tell us what to throw". IOW, attack his vulnerability rather than go in with a predetermined plan as to what they will throw him.

It looks like Shane has set himself up for a big year which will make it interesting if he is in the CY conversation come July and the big offers are rolling in.

Major League Baseball formally opens its 2024 season Thursday, and the list of great pitchers on injured reserve resembles a future Hall of Fame ballot.

Among the starting pitchers projected to be out for weeks to months with various arm and back injuries are the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, Los Angeles Dodgers’ Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw, Houston Astros’ Justin Verlander, Texas Rangers’ Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, and Diamondbacks’ Eduardo Rodriguez.

To replace Rodriguez, the D-backs this week signed left-hander Jordan Montgomery to a one-year contract worth $25 million with a vesting option for 2025. But given that he hasn’t thrown a live pitch all spring, he likely won’t be ready for a while. - Sportico, 3/28/2024


Montgomery is a good pitcher. He's 31 and was 10-11 with a 3.20 last year. But you can see the desparation already starting to set in and it could only get worse as more starters go down on teams that have invested huge dollars in making a run this year.

If Bieber stays healthy and continues to pitch like last night, the Guardians could be getting some offers that would surpass the deal they got for Civale last year. If they feel there's no way they could possibly sign Bieber as a free agent (and there won't be) they may have no choice but to move him in July, even if they lead the division.

Since he would be a half-year rental they won't get a haul like they got for Clevinger, who had 1.5 years of control left, but they should get more than they got for Aaron Civale, even though Civale had a 2.34 ERA at the time of the deal.
 
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Bieber's frisbees were as good as I've ever seen them. It looked like the A's were missing by 9 inches all night. In spring training he was excellent as well.

Management should roll the dice and offer him 160 million for 5 years. Given Bieber's injury track record, he would probably take that.

It is a shame that Paul and Larry Dolan care more about stretching their generational wealth than they do in winning a title. After all, they represent the 3rd wealthiest MLB ownership in all of baseball. (5.5 billion) Wealthier than the Steinbrenners, or the owners in Boston, both LA teams, Frisco, the Cubs, Tigers, Houston, Philly and so on.
 
Bieber's frisbees were as good as I've ever seen them. It looked like the A's were missing by 9 inches all night. In spring training he was excellent as well.

Management should roll the dice and offer him 160 million for 5 years. Given Bieber's injury track record, he would probably take that.

It is a shame that Paul and Larry Dolan care more about stretching their generational wealth than they do in winning a title. After all, they represent the 3rd wealthiest MLB ownership in all of baseball. (5.5 billion) Wealthier than the Steinbrenners, or the owners in Boston, both LA teams, Frisco, the Cubs, Tigers, Houston, Philly and so on.
Without saying it outright Bieber has made it clear he intends to hit free agency...

I am calling it now, he will be a L.A Angel starting in 2025... AL and NL west in general and maybe some of the East teams... The only central team I see him possibly signing with is the Cubs... Cardinals... Maybe...

He is a So Cal kid and I believe he cannot wait to get back there.
 
Without saying it outright Bieber has made it clear he intends to hit free agency...

I am calling it now, he will be a L.A Angel starting in 2025... AL and NL west in general and maybe some of the East teams... The only central team I see him possibly signing with is the Cubs... Cardinals... Maybe...

He is a So Cal kid and I believe he cannot wait to get back there.

I'm sure money will win out, but if they were all the same, he would likely choose a California team, on paper... He is showing the world he is past his injuries and is ready to be a Cy Young guy again...

If I was his agent, I'd rather get him to free agency at this point as well even if he wants to stay in Cleveland since he will get the max out of deal...
 
It's just one game, but here's Bieber's pitch mix according to Statcast.

Fastball: 44.6%, 92.3 AVG
Cutter: 26.5%, 86.1 AVG
Changeup: 15.7%, 89.2 AVG
Slider: 13.3%, 83.9 AVG

Statcast claims Shane didn't throw a curveball, but I'm pretty confident that's incorrect as I distinctly remember at least one.

Here's his 2023...

Fastball: 35.2%, 91.3 AVG
Cutter: 26.9%, 86.5 AVG
Slider: 20.7%, 84.6 AVG
Curve: 13.7%, 82.5 AVG
Changeup: 3.5%, 87.2 AVG

The two biggest noticeable differences...

1. Fastball velocity up a full MPH - and I'd have suspected that would have been higher since he hit 93-94 a bunch of times.
2. Changeup usage up dramatically which perhaps (likely?) has a direct correlation with the uptick in fastball velocity.

He also threw 5 changeups to right handed batters after not throwing a single changeup to a right handed batter the entire season in 2023.
 
This is where I hate the “teams aren’t loyal and are in it just as a business” argument.
of course they are. As are the players. The Jose contracts are rare and infrequent, where one side or the other gives in on grounds that are not rooted in value.

the last contract, iirc Joe Mauer signed with Minnesota was essentially given to honor his time with the team, and ensure he retired with them….even if it didn’t make good business or baseball sense. Or maybe I’m just misremembering.

so, if we can get return for Bieber in July…and feel it doesn’t crater at chances we have of some fun in October, deal him. Because his mindset is to get to next winter healthy and cash in probably one last time.
 
If he stays healthy and continues to pitch like he did in the opener and some of these teams like the Dodgers, Yankees, Mets, Astros, Phillies, and Braves that have huge payrolls and are heavily invested in going to the Series this year are having big holes in their rotations due to injuries, there could be a massive bidding war for Bieber.

In that case we could score a seriously great prospect in addition to having the #1 pick in the draft. Those two players, in addition to what we have now, could set us up to be contenders for years, or at least dominate the Central.

We could even package Bieber with somebody like Laureano or Fry to get an even better return. Heck, the Dodgers traded for Amed Rosario last year.

And then there's Josh Naylor, with 1.5 years of control come July and Manzardo ready to step in. Could Naylor be traded with 1.5 years left the same as Victor Martinez and Mike Clevinger?
 
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It's just one game, but here's Bieber's pitch mix according to Statcast.

Fastball: 44.6%, 92.3 AVG
Cutter: 26.5%, 86.1 AVG
Changeup: 15.7%, 89.2 AVG
Slider: 13.3%, 83.9 AVG

Statcast claims Shane didn't throw a curveball, but I'm pretty confident that's incorrect as I distinctly remember at least one.

Here's his 2023...

Fastball: 35.2%, 91.3 AVG
Cutter: 26.9%, 86.5 AVG
Slider: 20.7%, 84.6 AVG
Curve: 13.7%, 82.5 AVG
Changeup: 3.5%, 87.2 AVG

The two biggest noticeable differences...

1. Fastball velocity up a full MPH - and I'd have suspected that would have been higher since he hit 93-94 a bunch of times.
2. Changeup usage up dramatically which perhaps (likely?) has a direct correlation with the uptick in fastball velocity.

He also threw 5 changeups to right handed batters after not throwing a single changeup to a right handed batter the entire season in 2023.
When people lose velocity some of their FBs usually get labeled as changeups. Likewise when they gain velocity some of their changeups can get labeled as FBs. Possible that is keeping his FB velo down in the calculations but that'd mean he'd throw even more changeups. Also if he gained velo it could explain curves getting labeled as sliders. It does seem strange that his slider velo would go down.
 
It does seem strange that his slider velo would go down.
Suuuuuuper SSS

but as Hedges had touched on, even that 0.7 mph variation furthers the way in which those distinctions in Slider/FB velo would make it a touch tougher for opponents to match their bat path & timing to a Bieber tossed basebaball
 
I would prefer to eat a rock than to say this but I would trade him NOW. His value will never be higher. We appear to have dodged a bullet with his injury, at least so far. However, I hope that one game, as he is cruising along, he doesn't make a slight tug at his elbow.

Trading him now would really hurt but not nearly as much as if " tenderness" appears.
Rcristal
 
I would prefer to eat a rock than to say this but I would trade him NOW. His value will never be higher. We appear to have dodged a bullet with his injury, at least so far. However, I hope that one game, as he is cruising along, he doesn't make a slight tug at his elbow.

Trading him now would really hurt but not nearly as much as if " tenderness" appears.
Rcristal

Not going to find a worse take than this today, and it’s not even 8am

You can’t run a franchise this way. Loser mentality.
 
I would prefer to eat a rock than to say this but I would trade him NOW. His value will never be higher. We appear to have dodged a bullet with his injury, at least so far. However, I hope that one game, as he is cruising along, he doesn't make a slight tug at his elbow.

Trading him now would really hurt but not nearly as much as if " tenderness" appears.
Rcristal
I would trade him whenever the offer came in that demanded the deal be made. That could or could not happen and I have no inclination toward the possibility of it happening either. All I know is that he is looking damn good and I'm pretty sure they could care less about his salary so it comes down to prying him from their kung fu grip.
 
It's just one game, but here's Bieber's pitch mix according to Statcast.

Fastball: 44.6%, 92.3 AVG
Cutter: 26.5%, 86.1 AVG
Changeup: 15.7%, 89.2 AVG
Slider: 13.3%, 83.9 AVG

Bieber Start 2
Fastball: 39%, 91.6 AVG
-32 pitches, 12 swings, 3 whiffs, 9 called strikes, 6 fouls

Slider: 25%, 85.1 AVG
-21 pitches, 14 swings, 7 whiffs, 2 called strikes, 1 foul

Curve: 13%, 82.5 AVG
-11 pitches, 4 swings, 0 whiffs, 2 called strikes, 3 fouls

Cutter: 12%, 86.3 AVG
-10 pitches, 2 swings, 0 whiffs, 5 called strikes, 1 foul

Changeup: 11%, 88.7 AVG
-9 pitches, 5 swings, 1 whiff, 0 called strikes, 1 foul
 

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