Guardians’ Tanner Bibee Shows Poise In MLB Debut

The Guardians’ pitching staff, as was frequently the case last season, was hit by a run of injuries early this season.

The good news, as was the case last season, is that Cleveland had the minor league inventory to weather that storm.

Perhaps the most impressive of that group was 24-year-old righthander Tanner Bibee, who not only had an impressive major league debut, but an historic one.

In an April 26 start against the Rockies, Bibee became the first Cleveland pitcher since at least 1920 to strike out five batters in a row in his MLB debut, a 4-1 victory.

Bibee also became the seventh pitcher in franchise history to strike out eight batters in his MLB debut. Prior to Bibee, the last to do that was his teammate Logan T. Allen three days earlier.

“It’s hard not to get excited,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said after Bibee’s six-inning, five-hit, one-run, eight-strikeout, one-walk debut. “He showed poise, competitiveness, and three or four quality pitches.”

Drafted out of Cal State Fullerton in the fifth round in 2021, Bibee dominated in his 2022 pro debut, recording a 2.17 ERA in 132.2 innings with 167 strikeouts and 27 walks for High-A Lake County and Double-A Akron.

Bibee logged 73.2 of those innings for Akron and pitched to a 1.83 ERA with 81 strikeouts, earning him Eastern League pitcher of the year honors.

“We thought at some point he could come up and help us win games this year,” Guardians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “He not only has a really good mix of pitches, but he knows how to pitch, how to set up hitters and get them out.

“He can pitch to a game plan, he controls the running game well, and, most important of all, when we talk about controlling the controllables, he does everything probably as well as any guy we have in our system.”

Like Francona, Antonetti agrees there’s lots to like about Bibee, including “his routines between starts, the way he utilizes information, his feel for his delivery, his ability to make adjustments, and the way he competes.

“He’s a great competitor.”

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