Mar 28, 2024 - Sports

Why the Guardians could surprise this MLB season

Cleveland Guardians' Shane Bieber pitches the ball.

Guardians ace Shane Bieber. Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Guardians fans don't anticipate a stellar 2024, but historically, the team can be at its scrappiest when facing low expectations.

Why it matters: Cleveland is debuting a new manager and showcased young talent in spring training that could help the Guardians win a mediocre division.

Driving the news: It's Major League Baseball's Opening Day, as the Guardians travel to Oakland for a series against the Athletics.

Catch up quick: The Guardians finished last season with a record of 76-86 — third in the AL Central — missing the playoffs and losing beloved manager Terry Francona to retirement.

  • Cleveland hired former MLB catcher Stephen Vogt to replace Francona.

The intrigue: ESPN gives the Guardians a 29% chance of making the playoffs in what's considered a weak AL Central.

  • Yes, but: Not much was expected in 2022 either, but Cleveland won the division with baseball's youngest team before being eliminated in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

State of play: The Guardian's opening day roster will feature usual suspects like power hitter José Ramírez and a talented pitching rotation led by 2020 Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie.

  • The big surprise is Tyler Freeman, a former shortstop, starting in center field after former starter Myles Straw was sent to the minor leagues.
  • Brayan Rocchio will start at shortstop after winning a position battle with Gabriel Arias, who made the roster as a utility player.

What's next: After series in Oakland, Seattle and Minnesota, the Guardians return to Cleveland for their home opener on April 8 against the Chicago White Sox.


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