Guardians enter 2023 with World Series aspirations
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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