The Cleveland Guardians came into the 2022 season looking to rebound from an 80-82 finish in 2021.
Preseason projections weren’t exactly kind to Terry Francona‘s club, however.
Cleveland won 92 games and secured a division title, their first since 2018, thanks in large part to the players that the team had drafted and developed.
On Twitter, a fan of the Chicago White Sox, who had been projected to win the Central, called on the team’s general manager Rick Hahn to follow the example of the Guardians and take note of the way they draft and develop their players.
If I were Rick Hahn right now, I would be pouring all my energy and effort into learning how the Cleveland Guardians develop players and emulate it. With Reinsdorf as an owner and (let’s face it) his limited skills as a tactician, player development is the only way out.
— Patrick Nolan (@SoxMach_pnoles) December 11, 2022
How The Central Was Won
Cleveland won the Central thanks to their homegrown talent.
Kwan won a Gold Glove and finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.
Gimenez, who was acquired from the New York Mets in the Francisco Lindor deal, earned All-MLB second-team honors after being selected to his first All-Star Game over the summer, while Gonzalez picked up some clutch hits in the postseason, fueled by the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song, which he chose for his walk-up music.
The young outfielder hit a walk-off home run against the Tampa Bay Rays to clinch the Wild Card Series for the Guardians.
Just a week later, the slugger had another walk-off hit, this time a two-run single off of New York Yankees reliever Clarke Schmidt, which put the Guardians up 2-1 in the ALDS after being down to their last strike.
These stars were developed by the Guardians and immediately played key roles in the team’s success.