The Cleveland Guardians have enjoyed a complete team effort in 2022. As a result, they are headed to the MLB playoffs as AL Central division champions. As per usual with Cleveland, pitching has been a main storyline. Notably, ace Shane Bieber and breakout star Triston McKenzie have led the charge in the rotation. Bieber shared his honest thoughts on McKenzie ahead of the playoffs, per The Athletic’s Zach Meisel.

“This entire year,” Bieber said, “he (McKenzie) has displayed that he doesn’t just belong here. He’s going to thrive here. I believe in him. I know everybody else does. And I think most important is he believes in himself.”

Triston McKenzie was one of the Guardians top prospects heading into the 2020 campaign. After a strong performance in limited action during the shortened 2020 season, he took a step backwards in 2021. McKenzie finished the year with an ERA just south of 5 and consistently battled his command.

However, Cleveland did not give up on him and it has paid off. In 2022, Triston McKenzie owns a 2.96 ERA and 0.95 WHIP with 190 strikeouts.

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Shane Bieber’s veteran leadership has played a crucial role in his development. However, McKenzie is 25 and Bieber is just 27-years old. But 27 years of age qualifies as a veteran for a team that is the youngest in all of baseball.

Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie are looking to lead the Guardians’ rotation in October. They have developed into a dynamic duo for Cleveland and will play a pivotal role in the team’s MLB playoff success.