While baseball fans will look at teams like the Astros and Yankees as teams to beat in the AL, what about the other division leader, The Cleveland Guardians.

The Big Five

Shane Bieber: 3.6 WAR, 2.83 ERA, 184 SO, 2.84 FIP

Triston McKenzie: 3.4 WAR, 3.08 ERA, 167 SO, 3.82 FIP

Cal Quantrill: 1.4 WAR, 3.56 ERA, 116 SO, 4.21 FIP

James Karinchak: 1.0 WAR,1.72 ERA, 50 SO, 2.57 FIP

Emmuanuel Clase: 2.8 WAR,1.27 ERA, 65 SO, 1.95 FIP

These five you can consider the core of the Guardians pitching staff. And my goodness, what a top five.

These five pitchers have a combined 12.4 WAR. The Guardians have always been known for their ability to develop pitching, and it shows. We didn’t even mention guys like Zach Plesac, Trevor Stephan and Sam Hentges who have all been rock solid as well.

The Overlooked Offense

Jose Ramirez is the heart and soul of the Cleveland offense. He is a walking thirty home runs and one-hundred RBIs machine every year, but he can’t do it by himself.

Insert overlooked players like Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez, Josh Naylor, Steven Kwan and Oscar Gonzalez.

These five hitters have an average OPS+ of 121 (league average is about 100) with a combined WAR of 17.6. You’d be surprised to know Steven Kwan, a rookie outfielder, has a WAR of 4.5.

Solid Defensively

The Cleveland defense up the middle might be the best in baseball. This is led by center fielder Myles Straw, who despite having a dreadful .562 OPS, is a 2 WAR player. His speed in center along with Steven Kwan and the athletic Oscar Gonzalez in left and right makes a deadly trio.

Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez, both acquired in the Francisco Lindor trade, are holding down as well.

Credit to the Cleveland Guardians

The Guardians will be overlooked when they play in the same league as the Astros and Yankees. Maybe that’s the way it should be, but I think people will be mistaken. This is the same team that was bashed in the off-season for not spending money, while the Detroit Tigers spent it foolishly.

Cleveland will probably matchup against either Seattle, Toronto, or Tampa Bay in the Wild Card Series. While they will probably not be favored in any of those matchups, their strong pitching, underrated hitting and great defense will make them a dark horse candidate to make a World Series run in October.

Jon Kloss

Photo Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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By Published On: September 21st, 2022Categories: MLB

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