The Cleveland Guardians didn’t have a particularly successful 2023 season.
That’s a fact: they went from a 92-70 performance in 2022 to a 76-86 mark last year, missing the playoffs in the process.
Still, people are underestimating their talent as of Friday.
Joel Reuter of Bleacher Report made a power ranking list one month ahead of spring training.
It’s safe to say they, as a website, don’t like the Guards very much.
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) January 25, 2024
They rank Cleveland as the No. 19 squad in the league right now.
That seems low, very low.
It’s a serious, well-done exercise though: they keep things realistic because they rank the Guards as the second-best team in the AL Central behind the Minnesota Twins (10th).
However, a few organizations ranked ahead of the Guardians could finish lower in the standings this year, or with a worse record.
There is a case to be made Cleveland is as good as the 13-18 range: the New York Mets, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cincinnati Reds, the Chicago Cubs, the San Francisco Giants, and the Boston Red Sox.
With an aging rotation and core, the Cardinals should be ranked lower; and the Red Sox haven’t done much to move the needle in the AL East.
In any case, these are all comparable, interchangeable teams until one or more separates from the pack, potentially entering another tier.
For Cleveland, improving their offense would be huge and would probably improve their image around the league and the media.
They still have some time to make some moves.