2024 Cleveland Guardians Season Preview

March 28, 2024

Todd Hall

What Can We Expect Out of the Guardians This Year

1 – Hitting

This has been the most prominent topic all offseason, during Guards Fest, and it has carried into spring training and now opening day. I have learned that in baseball, spring training is no gauge of how it will go, so here’s what we know: 

Jose Ramirez, Josh Naylor, and Steven Kwan will carry the lineup. Having a natural leadoff hitter and two consistent hitters helps a lot.  

I am expecting a solid year from Andrés Giménez, and Bo Naylor playing most days behind the plate will help with his bat along with his play behind the plate.  David Fry, who I love, will help on days when they need some pop at catcher.  

I was happy with Brayan Rocchio’s selection for shortstopand I believe he will hit for a good average.

That leaves rightfield and centerfield, which will be an adventure at times. For now, let’s say it is Will Brennan and Ramon Laureano, but that could change—and I mean daily. 

I believe the Guardians will be better at scoring runs, not regarding power.  

The only question I have is when they will bring up Kyle Manzardo and Chase DeLauter, as both, especially DeLauter, hit the cover off the ball in the spring.  If the Guards struggle with hitting as they did in 2023, the calls for both will be loud at the corner.

2 – Pitching

If you ask me in February, I feel good about the pitching in 2024. Currently, eek! The Guardians’ injuries are mounting already, especially in the bullpen.

The starters should be in good shape, even with Gavin Williams’s early injury. Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie, one would think, would bounce back and should be steady. Tanner Bibee’s second season is exciting, and Logan Allen also has promise. Both are young, but they should be okay.  

And the return of Carlos Cookie” Carrasco as a temporary 5th starter is a tremendous feel-good story. 

The starters should be good; they are not elite or can carry the team like in past seasons, but they are better than most clubs.

The relievers…gulp.  

Let’s start with the positives. Emmanuel Clase and Scott Barlow (via the Enyel De La Santos trade) have no real worries about either.   

Xzavion Curry is questionable to start the season recovering from a virus, but I expect him to be a possible key cog in the bullpen when healthy. The same goes for Sam Hentges, who will not be ready by opening day.

Tyler Beede pitched in Japan last year but has some promise after a good spring, and Hunter Gaddis had a good spring and was up with the club last season. Both Beede and Gaddis bring hope, but they have no proven ability in the pen. 

Then you have Tim Herrin, Eli Morgan, and Nick Sandlin, who all have proven as fans that they make you very nervous when they come out to take the ball.  I am very uneasy about all three.

Cade Smith is the unproven hurler with some buzz coming out of camp, but again, nothing substantial in the big leagues.

So, to start the season, we know what to expect from Clase and Barlow out of the pen; everything else is a mystery or on the injury list.  It could be good with the Guards pen, or it could be…well, you know, grab your favorite rabbit’s foot late in games in 2024 to help with bullpen anxiety.

3 – Defense and speed

This is a forgotten advantage with some about this club; the Guardians have proven gold-glove defensive ability and will help keep runs off the board all season long.   Huge plus!

The Guards are young and, in most cases, fast.  Look for increased stolen bases, and the aggressive base running will help.

4 – Vogt 

And, of course, Cleveland has a new skipper in Stephen Vogt.  You can already tell he is well-liked by the front office and the players.  Tito was also popular, but seeing that likability carry over to a new manager is impressive.  Now, that does not mean wins, and there will be some hills and valleys with a rookie manager. 

Still, from my perspective, I like how Chris Antonetti has made his presence felt in the spring and I like the combination of Vogt and Antonetti, but again, let us see how this translates on the field.


Out of the three teams currently, I enjoy the Guardians the most from a likeability standpoint, and it is not even close.  They are good people, easy to cheer for and support as a fan.  If you don’t like the Guardians, I have difficulty understanding why.

This season, from the beginning of Tito’s retirement, has felt like a transition season, and I still think that way. Can the Guardians make the playoffs in 2024? Yes, it is possible, and it would not be shocking, as playing in the AL Central is a big plus. But a new manager, questions at center and right field, and some early injuries to the pitching staff have me saying wait til next year.

Most sites with over/under on wins for the Guardians are at 79.5, and that is where I am also at, right around low 80s or high 70s with wins.  Take the over, barely with 81-81 for the Guardians in 2024

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