MLB: The 25 most valuable pitchers of 2019

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 29: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets in action against the Chicago Cubs during a game at Citi Field on August 29, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 29: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets in action against the Chicago Cubs during a game at Citi Field on August 29, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /

4. Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians, $14.148 million value; $560,000 salary

The injuries to aces Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger that undermined Cleveland’s season allowed Bieber to emerge as a staff ace in 2019. One year older than Flaherty, he is in several other respects a clone. In his second full season, he went 15-8 with a 3.28 ERA. He also threw in two complete-game shutouts, something that’s almost impossible to due in these days of paranoid use of starting pitchers.

Bieber’s overpowering credential was that durability. He delivered 214.1 innings, a total surpassed by only one pitcher all season. Fifteen of his 34 starts carried through at least seven complete innings, and he had only three truly “short” starts of fewer than five innings. That reliability translated to $5.483 million in value.

That workload gave Bieber the opportunity to strike out 259 opposing batters, the third highest number and the most in baseball by anybody who didn’t pitch for the Astros. It added another $3.355 million to his value.

His 144 ERA+, while good, ranked only 12th and dragged his overall rating outside the top three. That 144 ERA+ valued at $5.31 million.

Also like Flaherty, Bieber is a pre-arb who won’t get a hearing until 2022. By then the Indians probably will have signed him to some sort of multi-season contract.