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Cleveland Guardians Pitching Rookie of the Year Candidates?

Could the Cleveland Guardians pitching staff hold multiple Rookie of the Year candidates in the 2023 season?

As usual, the Cleveland Guardians are boasting one of the top pitching staffs in Major League Baseball. However, they don’t have just one name that sticks out in the 2023 campaign. They have a couple of standout rookies that are making some major waves this year.

I detail some of the wealth Cleveland has at the pitching position here.

Now, one rookie pitcher who is having a breakout rookie campaign in 2023 is right-hander Tanner Bibee. The 24-year-old California native is putting up some stellar numbers for his first crack at the big leagues. In 21 starts, Bibee holds a 10-3 record. He also has a healthy 3.01 ERA and 117 strikeouts to just 37 walks in 119.2 innings.

Sure, Bibee might not have the best swing-and-miss stuff (he averages just under a strikeout an inning), but he does a good job of keeping the basepaths rather traffic-free. As the end of August draws near, batters are hitting under .240 against him.

But how do the Guardians continue to build on a “factory of pitching”? Let’s take a deeper look at the success of Cleveland’s rookie hurlers…

Cleveland Guardians Pitching: Two Rookies Lead the Way

Getting back to the earlier point on Bibee, his batting average against line is actually 12 points better than league average. His WHIP, or walks plus hits per innings pitched, is at 1.203, which puts him amongst the top 30 of pitchers in the MLB. For a rookie, that’s a really good group to be a part of.

Having a ten-win season is also something to smile about as a rookie. A statistic like that is something that can help build positive momentum throughout the career and give Bibee a chance to be an elite pitcher with a lengthy career.

The Other Potential Candidate on Cleveland’s Staff

Another pitcher, who, despite having a losing record, is also having a solid rookie season in 2023 is lefty Logan Allen. Sure, a 6-7 record may be a bit of a disappointment. But, the 24-year-old Allen does tote a healthy 3.61 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 107.1 innings. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 2.5-to-1, which signals that he may be more of a pitch-to-contact type of arm.

Looking at the opposing offenses, Allen has a batting average against of .253, which is just four points higher than league average. While those aren’t exactly the greatest numbers, staying somewhat close to league average is a positive takeaway for a rookie pitcher.

Another signal of the pitch-to-contact style is one stat that is rather alarming. As a rookie, Allen has a 1.35 WHIP rate, which is well above the league average. And that is something that will not make himself or his fan base happy.

The Guardians’ Pitching Rotation As A Whole

Both Allen and Bibee are two key pieces in what is a steady pitching rotation for the Guardians again in 2023. Overall, Cleveland has the fourth-best pitching in terms of innings pitched (1178), ERA (3.88), and earned runs allowed (508). They’ve also surrendered the second-fewest home runs out of any Junior Circuit staff, with just 140 long balls given up.

Similarly, Allen and Bibee have each given up 13 home runs this season, which is tied for the second-most on the team.

Likewise, the two rookies are the only hurlers on the roster with at least 100 strikeouts. Cleveland’s pitching staff has struck out the second-fewest batters in the American League at just 1061.

Cleveland Guardians Pitching Continues to Build on Last Year’s Mantra

The theme surrounding the Guardians for the past two seasons appears to be “let the kids play.” A youth movement has taken over in Cleveland, and a majority of the pitching staff on the roster is anywhere between 24 and 27 years old.

Of course, when a team has a youthful roster, like the Guardians, there are plenty of growing pains to be expected.

Growing Pains/Down Year in Northeast Ohio

After winning the AL Central division last year, the Guards appear to have taken a bit of a step back in 2023. Their record sits at about ten games under the .500 mark, and neither the pitching staff nor the offense appears to be clicking as the home stretch draws closer.

Not only that, but the team’s odds of making a playoff spot are fading fast. They are down to just a 2% chance at start of play on August 29.

Unfortunately, things won’t be getting much clearer in terms of leadership. Manager Terry Francona is unsure whether he will be coaching again after this season. The 64-year-old is dealing with some noteworthy health issues. He has missed games due to corrective surgery over the past two seasons.

Final Thoughts on the Cleveland Guardians Pitching Rookie of the Year Candidates

To this point, both Tanner Bibee and Logan Allen appear to be dark-horse names for Rookie of the Year. Bibee is proving himself to be a future-of-the-franchise type of pitcher, with Allen also being a dependable lefty starter. Where this leads the two down the road remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure. That is consistency. And that is something both rookies have. The Cleveland Guardians are now becoming known as a “factory of pitching”.

Cleveland goes as its pitching can go. And if Bibee and Allen can stay healthy and dominant, they will make some serious noise in the future.


Nate Powalie is a contributor for Back Sports Page. A 2022 graduate of Ashland University (Ashland, Ohio), Nate has five years of sports writing experience, and has gotten the chance to call sporting events for radio and live stream. Nate can be found on Twitter (@PNate22) and Facebook (Nate Powalie).

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