In many ways, the 2023 campaign was a weird one for the Cleveland Guardians.
Not only did they miss the postseason with a losing record, but some star-level performers just weren’t that good last year.
Andres Gimenez, Emmanuel Clase, and James Karinchak were among the ones who took a slight step back.
That doesn’t mean they were bad, but they just weren’t as good as they were in the 2022 season and the team felt that.
Karinchak in particular found himself in the minor leagues a couple of times.
Usually a bonafide setup man and even a closer, he saw his ERA rise to 3.23 after posting a 2.08 mark in 2022.
That 3.23 ERA is very solid, but fans know he can be much, much better.
In 2023, Karinchak had some control issues, with 6.46 walks per nine innings.
He appears to have taken his mediocre campaign very seriously.
While many players are still resting, Karinchak has been working out at Cressey Sports Performance Center, in Florida, according to Guardians Prospective.
— Guardians Prospective (@CleGuardPro) January 3, 2024
In one of the replies, Guardians Prospective posted a short clip of one of Karinchak’s bullpen sessions.
If he is throwing bullpen sessions, he is close to reaching peak form, which is exactly what Guardians fans want to hear.
He might not be the most consistent when it comes to year-to-year performance, but a healthy, locked-in Karinchak is one of the most difficult pitchers to hit in high-leverage situations.
He is expected to open the season as one of the Guardians’ main setup men, as Emmanuel Clase handles the ninth inning as usual.
If by any chance Clase is traded, Karinchak could find himself in the mix for saves.