The Cleveland Guardians have a shot to win the AL Central but the team has three major concerns.
The Cleveland Guardians are far from done, despite not making any moves during the MLB Trade Deadline. The team is looking at going ahead with the squad they have, which is mostly made up of younger guys. Guys who are in their second, third, or even first years at the Major League level. That means the team is going to have inconsistencies and growing pains, sure.
Yet, despite the fact that growing pains are expected, the team has some issues that have plagued them all year or a newer issue that was very expected.
That doesn’t mean the team is going to fall into these issues all year, and it’s possible that each of these three issues gets worked out between now and the end of the year. This is merely pointing out the three biggest concerns that could hold the team back from securing a playoff bid.
The three biggest concerns for the Cleveland Guardians for the rest of the year
Triston McKenzie and Cal Quantrill’s home-run affliction
This used to be just a Triston McKenzie issue but now Cal Quantrill is also giving up the home run ball at an alarming pace. The two starters are not only key to success in the 2022 season but beyond, and both have shown to have ace stuff. Yet, the season and their future expectations will continue to be hampered if they keep getting beat deep with pitches that were left hanging for too long.
Zach Plesac’s inconsistencies
The issues surrounding McKenzie and Quantrill appear to be the inability to avoid getting hurt by the home run ball. If they don’t give up a home run, they’re usually fine. Zach Plesac on the other hand has been awfully inconsistent all season. Sometimes he pitches like an ace and gets one run of support, other times he’ll give six runs of support and give up eight runs. It’s been maddening and he needs to figure his stuff out.
Nolan Jones bottoming out
This was a concern I had when he was called up, that Nolan Jones was simply having a hot start to his Triple-A season, and that calling him up may have been a rushed move. After having a strong start to his MLB career, Jones has cooled off, hitting just .267 with two home runs and 13 RBIs in his 20 pro games. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but he was hitting .311 in the minors, and it was the first time in his career he was hitting over .300 this late in a season. Jones bottoming out would be a catastrophe for a number of reasons, but mostly due to how relied on he’s going to be for the next two months. He may not hit worse than .260 and if that’s the case, great. If he continues to dip, however, then this may be among the biggest issues the team needs to iron out in 2023.