The big expectations for the 2023 Cleveland Guardians have been reinforced by a 5-2 start to the 2023 season. The question is, will it last? It has been 75 years since Cleveland has won a World Series. Will this be the year they end the season as MLB champs? The city seems poised to support the Guards as they navigate this season and let’s dig in and see what factors will affect this year.
The Guardians, 1 year on from their name change, are looking to return as American League playoff contenders. But how will they fare in the upcoming season? Let’s begin by examining the offseason.
The biggest need that Guardians wanted to address in the offseason was to add more power. The Guards hit the second-fewest home runs last year, only Detroit hit fewer. Cleveland’s 127 home runs in 2022 needed to be increased in 2023 for them to make a deep playoff run.
To address that need, Cleveland signed first baseman Josh Bell to a 2-year $33 million dollar contract. Bell has hit 44 home runs in the last 2 years and was Cleveland’s marquis signing.
Additionally, the Guardians signed catcher Mike Zunino who has totaled 38 home runs since 2021, although only 5 of those were in 2022. Assuming Bell and Zunino can play somewhere near their best, they should be welcome additions to the Cleveland lineup.
The Guardians will be relying on some familiar faces to lead the way in 2023. Third baseman Jose Ramirez is coming off a strong season in which he hit .280 with 30 home runs and 129 RBIs. Shortstop Amed Rosario is also poised for a breakout year after his 11 home runs and 71 RBIs last year.
On the pitching front, the Guardians will be counting on Shane Bieber to anchor the rotation. The 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner had an impressive 2022 season, going 13-8 with a 2.88 ERA and 198 strikeouts.
Overall, the Guardians have a solid core of players that can compete with any team in the league. However, they will need some breakout performances and contributions from role players if they hope to make playoff magic.
Strength of Schedule
Another factor that could influence the Guardians’ performance in 2023 is their strength of schedule. They play in the AL Central division, which includes the likes of the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins. Both the Sox and the Twins pushed the Guardians last year and will assumedly remain strong this year.
According to Power Rankings Guru, the Guardians have the 4th easiest remaining schedule this year. Since baseball has such a long season and there are so many unpredictable twists and turns, it’s anyone’s guess as to how the schedule will treat them by the end.
Final Record Prediction
Taking all these factors into consideration, it’s difficult to predict exactly how the Guardians will perform in 2023. However, based on their solid roster and manageable schedule, I predict that they will finish with a record of 90-72.
This would be a slight regression from their 2022 record of 92-70 and should be enough to earn them at least a wild-card spot in the playoffs. Cleveland’s young and dynamic team took a large step forward last year and I think they can build on that this year.
The 2023 Cleveland Guardians season promises to be an exciting one, with a lot of potential for success. While they may not have made earth-shattering off-season moves, the Guardians have a solid core of players and a manageable schedule that should put them in a good position to compete for a playoff spot.
Of course, there are many factors that could influence their performance, and anything can happen over the course of a long baseball season. But with a buzz around the team and Clevelanders ready to stand for the team, exciting days should be ahead. Check out the Cleveland Vibes guardians merch to get you ready to cheer on the Guards!