Statistically Speaking: Are the Cleveland Guardians Legitimate Contenders in the 2024 Season?

Statistically Speaking: Are the Cleveland Guardians Legitimate Contenders in the 2024 Season image

📖 Published on: May 15th, 2024

✍️ Updated: May 17th, 2024

⏳ 9 mins read


If there’s one thing that has shocked many fans in the 2024 MLB season, it’s the impeccable rise of the Cleveland Guardians to the top of the MLB standings at this point in the campaign. But are they going to be considerable contenders in the coming months as the season stretches to more competitive strides?


What Has Changed for the Cleveland Guardians?


The Cleveland Guardians have started out strong in the first three months of baseball action for the 2024 season, beating unexpecting contenders in the game and coming up with an impressive stride in their early games of the season. Currently, the Guardians sit third in the American League with a 26-16 record, smashing the defending World Series champions Texas Rangers in a 7-0 affair to claim their 26th win of the season, showing fans and critics how well they have improved to begin the season and are embracing their new identity so far.


The Cleveland Guardians have shocked fans to start the 2024 MLB season image


Cleveland is one of the MLB clubs that hasn’t won a World Series title since the 1948 season, which just says a lot about how the team has managed to stay alive in the past few years and decades. The team has only tallied 11 AL Central division titles, and their most recent AL Pennant coming back in 2016. If we are going to see how the Guardians have turned out over those years, it does seem that they are really overdue for a World Series run.


The Guardians are looking like early playoff contenders image


But that all depends on how well they can sustain their presence in the league, and eventually build a strong case for the playoffs in the long run. With the way the past few years have turned out for the Guardians, it does seem hard to expect anything that will go right for the team at this point in time, which is why many fans will have to keep their fingers crossed in the coming months to find out whether they would get to see a promising World Series push.


A New Power in the American League: How Did the Guardians Start Strong?


Cleveland is hittinig their strides amidst roster issues image

We are all stunned by the way they played in their games to start off the 2024 season. What’s shocking is that the Guardians didn’t really change anything much to improve their team at a significant level in the offseason, but still, one can say that the Guardians have managed to find its way in the season without having too much issues in their games. This goes without saying that the team didn’t have some of their key stars due to injuries. Original rotation pieces such as Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie, and Gavin Williams are all injured – which has definitely hampered their pitching side. This just says a lot about the versatility in their squad, and the high level of talent that they have, and no one can deny the fact that their roster is pulling off impressive feats.


So how the Guardians have managed to start strong in their season?


A Fresh Perspective in Vogt

Perhaps the only big change that the Guardians made this offseason is to bring in a rookie manager in Stephen Vogt. He replaced Terry Francona, who was arguably the winningest manager in the history of the history of the Guardians. Francona went on to retire after the 2023 season, giving Cleveland a chance to reset and weigh its options for a chance to become a contender even with a lot of injuries that have grounded them. The leadership that Vogt has offered has given the team a massive lift in their games, even becoming the first Cleveland manager to have a winning record in his first 40 games.

Stephen Vogt's fresh perspective is a good thing for the Guardians image


So far, Cleveland has thrived under Vogt’s guidance. The rookie manager may have a lot thrown at him in his first three months as a coach, but one thing that the fans should take note of is the fact that he is also a former MLB star, playing for a total of eight clubs. He was also the 45th manager to be hired in the history of the club, and yet he is already the winningest among these tacticians in the game. The fresh perspective that Vogt brings to the table is what gives the Guardians a massive push in their winning games so far.


Bigger Offensive Strides

Cleveland's offense is one of the best jumps this season image

Despite having an injury-riddled staff that has seen them run their pitching squad out of the picture, the Guardians are winning a huge chunk of their games this season, with the team above the .500 mark so far as of the time of writing. This is a club that has the same group as last year, but a bigger and better offensive stride in hits. Compared to their 4.09 runs per game in 2023 which was ranked 12th of all AL teams, the Guardians now are scoring with an average of 5.57 runs per game – a massive jump to the second spot in the league overall.


Offense is something that we are all focusing on for the Guardians – which is not expected from a team that has a lacklustre squad on the pitching side. The team has even made its jump for the on-base percentage at 10th last year to second overall in the league. Slugging has also made a leap from 14th to second, with the OPS and runs scored, both from 12th to second. This has been a bigger stride in player production that has allowed bigger wins for the team so far.


An Elite Turnaround in Production


One can also credit the increased level of production for Cleveland, which has been focused in their home runs. It is quite considerable that the Guardians have finished dead last or second last in the American League when it comes to home runs in three of the last four years. This season? The Guardians are ranked seventh overall in the whole league. This just says a lot about the hitting power that Cleveland has dedicated themselves to so far, and no one can deny the fact that their winning record is proof of that success.


Elite production turnaround has been key for the Guaridians' success image


In fact, the Guardians have thrived in games where they were faced with a lot of uncertainties. They are 6-2 in games with extra innings, and going 6-6 in games decided by a single run. This defines the grit that the Guardians are putting up in their games this season, and this elite turnaround in production says a lot about how the team is making the most of its chances as a squad to beat amongst the biggest clubs in the MLB.


What to Expect in Cleveland’s Sudden Rise?


Still, it is too early to speculate that the Cleveland Guardians will end up with a World Series title by the end of the season. No one can deny the fact that they have played a lighter schedule to begin the season, but we can give them the benefit of the doubt with their success against some of the elite teams in the MLB. For now, fans are enjoying their big strides, and we will all have to wait until October to see if this spark by the Guardians will turn out to be either a one-hit wonder, or a promising sign of things to come.


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