There was never a doubt who the American League Cy Young winner would be. There was also very little doubt that the selection of Shane Bieber would be unanimous, which it was.
The Cleveland Indians ace received all 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America, making him the first unanimous Cy Young winner since Clayton Kershaw in 2014.
A pair of Kershaw's former teammates with the Los Angeles Dodgers rounded out the AL's three finalists. Kenta Maeda, now with the Minnesota Twins, finished second. Hyun-Jin Ryu, who finished second in last season's NL Cy Young voting, finished third in his first season with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Here are the full standings, via the BBWAA. You can find individual ballots on their site.
Bieber is the fifth Cleveland pitcher to win the award, joining Gaylord Perry (1972), CC Sabathia (2007), Cliff Lee (2008) and Corey Kluber (2014, 2017). Trevor Bauer, who was traded by Cleveland to the Cincinnati Reds last season, is a finalist to win the NL Cy Young Award.
Clearly, finding and developing starting pitchers hasn't been a problem for Cleveland over the past decade. Bieber, though, may end up being the best of the group. The 25-year-old right-hander continued elevating his performance following a breakthrough 2019 season that saw him lead MLB in both shutouts and complete games, win the All-Star Game MVP and finish fourth in the AL Cy Young balloting.
While the abbreviated 60-game season will alter the historical context of his 2020 performance, the dominance he sustained over 12 starts reached an elite level. Bieber was the first pitcher to lead all of MLB in wins (8), ERA (1.63) and strikeouts (122) in the same season since Johan Santana in 2006. He's also the first Indians hurler to win the pitching triple crown since Hall of Famer Bob Feller did it in 1940.
Bieber's strikeout numbers were truly astonishing. He became the fastest pitcher to reach 100 strikeouts in MLB history, needing just 62 1/3 innings. He struck out at least eight batters in each of his 12 starts. Only Randy Johnson, who struck out eight or more batters in 15 straight starts in 2000, had a longer streak to begin a season.
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