The Cleveland Guardians have made some big splashes in the offseason but what should the lineup look like now?
The Cleveland Guardians have signed Josh Bell and Mike Zunino to modest but necessary contracts, adding about 60+ potential home runs to the lineup that didn’t exist last year. They aren’t complete hitters, Bell can get a bit streaky and isn’t a high-volume hitter, and Zunino strikeouts simply by sneezing in the dugout, but both men have the ability to tear a hole through space and time with their power.
Their additions are a bit off-brand for the Guards, who focus on not striking out and putting the ball in play, but the power is needed in a lineup that would have streaks. When you rely on three or four guys to drive in one run, you really put yourself at a disadvantage. Remember, failing 70% of the time in baseball makes you an All-Star.
So the Guardians can’t realistically keep this multi-man style of offense going for too long. They need guys who can alter the game with one swing of the bat and those are precisely who the team got.
What should the Cleveland Guardians lineup look like for 2023?
Let’s operate with two key principles, 1) is that I know my lineup will not be the lineup used and that my lineup won’t factor in whose better against left or right and other important criteria when filling out a lineup for a game. 2) I’m operating under the idea that none of the players from 2022 will be dealt in a trade before the season.
So with that, this is how I’d fill out the lineup.
- Steven Kwan
- Amed Rosario
- Josh Naylor
- Jose Ramirez
- Josh Bell
- Andres Gimenez
- Oscar Gonzalez
- Myles Straw
- Mike Zunino
The lineup as I see it should capitalize off of development and expected talent. Moving Josh Naylor to the three-hole should give him more advantageous balls, knowing that Jose Ramirez is behind him in the lineup. Naylor hit a lot in the cleanup spot, but I feel that was out of necessity as there was no other power hitter to protect Ramirez, and in doing so, Naylor didn’t see as many good pitches as he deserved.
Protecting Ramirez will be Bell, whose power should make up for any other issues he may have at the plate. Andres Gimenez has some power, speed, and the ability to get on base, so he fits in well at six. At seven, Oscar Gonzalez makes total sense, as he had just a small sample size and this will help see what he can do over a longer stretch without as much pressure.
Straw needs to get back to his 2021 form and needs to be ready to be moved to the two-spot if Rosario gets dealt.
Zunino has a lot of limitations so putting him at ninth will help limit that.