Cleveland Guardians Odds to Win the American League

Cleveland Guardians Odds to Win the American League

Ayden Fahlstrom
1 year ago
3 min read
Cleveland Guardians Odds to Win the American League

The Cleveland Guardians missed the postseason for just the second time last year since 2016. The team was decimated by injuries, including their top three starting pitchers. Realistically, had Cleveland been able to stay healthy, they could have had a chance at the playoffs.

But the White Sox are looking stronger than ever heading into 2022, and the Tigers are looking to put their rebuilding years in the past and could be a contender this season. There is no question that the American League Central is improving.

But the entire American League is filled with competitive teams. The only team that seemingly does not have a shot at winning are the Baltimore Orioles. The entire AL West has teams hoping to reach the postseason, and four out of the five AL East teams should be in the October hunt as well.

So what are the odds of the Cleveland Guardians winning the American League?

The Cleveland Pitching Factory

The Guardians pitching staff is still intact and ready to roll.

Shane Bieber was named to his second all-star team last year before missing almost the entire second half due to injury.

Following Bieber, Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale make a formidable 2-3 punch in the middle of the rotation. While neither is dominant, both can work deep into games and should maintain solid ERA’s. Cal Quantrill showed potential as a starter last year, and Cleveland will likely place him in the middle of the rotation as well.

The wild card is Triston McKenzie.

There were times last season when McKenzie looked downright unhittable. However, there were also instances when he lost the strikeout completely and cost Cleveland wins. He wound up with a 4.95 ERA, but McKenzie is a pitcher who has an all-star ceiling.

If he can control his nerves and consistently pound the strike zone, McKenzie will be the key for Cleveland having a dominant starting rotation.

Other possible rotation options include Logan Allen and Eli Morgan.

Breaking Down the Bats

Offensively, the Guardians are led by superstar third baseman Jose Ramirez. Ramirez was named to his third all-star team last year while slugging 36 home runs and swiping 27 bags with a slash line of .266/.355/.538 and a .893 OPS.

But J-Ram can’t do it all on his own.

Franmil Reyes is quickly developing into one of the better power hitters in the game. Bobby Bradley has 30-plus home run potential. Amed Rosario is a guy Cleveland likes at shortstop and displayed an ability to hit for average last season.

Myles Straw is a speedy center fielder who has a decent hit-tool.

But the Guardians will need to add some more bats once the lockout ends if they want to compete with the best of the best in the AL.

Call to the ‘Pen

Finally, let’s talk about the bullpen.

Emmanuel Clase finished last season with a sparkling 1.29 ERA and 24 saves. He has arguably the nastiest pitch in baseball with his 100-plus MPH cutter, and Clase is in the conversation for a most dominant reliever in baseball.

Another guy who was forgotten at the end of the year is James Karinchak. Karinchak began to labor down the stretch, but he was honestly over-used by the time July rolled around. Expect Karinchak to rebound in 2022 and for Terry Francona to limit his overall usage early in the season.

When Karinchak is at his best, he is also one of the best relievers in the game.

The rest of the relief core looks alright. Nick Sandlin is a pitcher Cleveland likes, and Trevor Stephan showed glimpses of being a quality arm last year. If the Guardians can add two more solid relievers before the 2022 season gets underway, this could be one of the better bullpens in baseball.

Final Verdict: Can the Guardians Win the American League?

Cleveland’s chances of winning the AL are fairly low, according to the majority of sportsbooks. It really comes down to the offense.

We know this team is going to pitch at a high level as long as the arms stay healthy. But the Guardians featured one of the worst offenses in the game last year, so they need to make a couple of moves to bolster the lineup.

Getting Josh Naylor back from injury is a step in the right direction, and we are likely to see Nolan Jones at some point in 2022. If Cleveland could scoop up another slugging outfielder or two off the open market once this lockout comes to an end, the Guardians could shock the MLB world and win the American League in 2022.

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