Corbin Burnes, Shane Bieber and what it’ll take to lock up other top young arms


Corbin Burnes and Shane Bieber have emerged as two of the top young arms in Major League Baseball. Both players have played key roles in helping their teams reach the postseason in recent seasons, and they are viewed as two of the game’s most promising talents. As their success continues, other teams will be looking to lock up their own young pitchers to long-term deals.

Burnes, a 26-year-old right-hander, had an impressive 2021 season for the Milwaukee Brewers. He finished the year with a 2.43 ERA and a remarkable 234 strikeouts in just 167 innings pitched. Burnes was instrumental in leading the Brewers to their third consecutive postseason appearance, and he figures to be a key part of their rotation for years to come.

Bieber, meanwhile, has been one of the American League’s top pitchers since he burst onto the scene in 2018. The 26-year-old right-hander has a career ERA of 3.23 with 721 strikeouts in just 529 innings pitched. Bieber won the AL Cy Young Award in 2020 and has been a workhorse for the Cleveland Guardians over the past few seasons.

Both Burnes and Bieber have already signed long-term contracts with their respective teams. Burnes agreed to a four-year, $45 million extension with the Brewers in March of this year, while Bieber signed a five-year, $135 million contract extension with the Guardians in July 2021.

Other teams will undoubtedly be looking to lock up their own young pitchers to similar deals in the coming years. The New York Mets, for example, have a trio of talented young arms in Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard. All three players are set to hit free agency after the 2021 season, and the Mets will likely consider offering long-term extensions to at least one of them.

Similarly, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a pair of promising young pitchers in Walker Buehler and Julio Urias. Buehler is set to hit free agency after the 2022 season, while Urias is under team control through 2024. Both players have shown flashes of greatness, and the Dodgers will no doubt be looking to keep them in the fold for years to come.

Ultimately, locking up young pitchers to long-term deals can be a risky proposition for teams. Injuries and underperformance are always a concern, and it can be challenging to predict how a pitcher’s performance will evolve over time. However, for teams with young pitchers who have already shown a high level of success, the potential rewards of such deals can be substantial.

In the cases of Burnes and Bieber, their teams will have secured two of the game’s most promising young arms for years to come. Whether other teams can follow in their footsteps remains to be seen, but one thing is clear – the market for top young pitchers will continue to be competitive in the coming years.

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