Mar 30, 2023 - Sports

Guardians enter 2023 with World Series aspirations

Guardians slugger Jose Ramirez looks at a ball he's just hit.

Can the Guardians hit it out of the park again? Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The scrappy, young Guardians surprised everyone last year. Now, they enter the 2023 season with big expectations.

Why it matters: The team finished 92-70 last season, winning the American League Central before losing to the New York Yankees in the AL Division Series.

  • Slight improvements could have the Guardians contending for a World Series.

What we're watching: The biggest weakness last season was a lack of power. The Guardians finished with the second-fewest home runs among all MLB teams.

  • The addition of switch-hitter Josh Bell should help, making it harder for teams to pitch around MVP candidate José Ramírez.

Between the lines: The Guardians should also benefit from MLB's rule changes, which include the banning of defensive infield shifts and making the bases larger.

  • Shifts were the main weapon teams used against left-handed Ramírez last season.
  • Bases that are three inches wider should help baserunners. The Guardians ranked third in stolen bases last season.

What they're saying: FiveThirtyEight ranks the Guardians as the eighth-best team this season and No. 4 in the AL.

  • The site gives the Guardians a 62% chance of making the playoffs, a 43% chance of winning the AL Central and a 4% chance of winning the World Series.

The bottom line: Assuming No. 2 starter Triston McKenzie can overcome a spring training injury, the Guardians have one of the better pitching staffs in baseball.

  • More run support could make this season feel like 2016, when the team came oh-so-close to winning its first World Series since 1948.

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