Cleveland Guardians suddenly have one of the best offenses in baseball
Over the first six games of the 2022 season, the Cleveland Guardians have one of the best offenses in all of baseball.
They say not to read too much into the early part of the season, but where’s the fun in that?
And as of now, six games into the year, the simple fact is that the Cleveland Guardians have one of the best, most explosive offenses in baseball.
After Wednesday’s 7-3 win over the Reds, the Guardians have now hit nine home runs as a team and have put together a collective .308/.383/.524 line. Cleveland’s team wRC+ is a ridiculous 158 and they’ve somehow already hit five triples to go along with their 12 doubles.
Any way you slice it, the Guardians are absolutely mashing the baseball right now.
It’s a far cry from the first two games of the season, when most people assumed the offense would sputter along like usual. But a few tweaks to the lineup appear to have unlocked something that, while probably unsustainable, is certainly going to be fun to watch while it lasts.
The most promising element in all of this is that third baseman José Ramírez is off to a torrid start himself – .480/.536/1.040 with three home runs and 14 RBIs already – and he hasn’t even been the storyline everyone has gravitated towards, and the Guardians haven’t had to solely rely on his production to rattle off four straight wins.
The main story so far has been rookie outfielder Steven Kwan, who reached based 18 times in his first five games and FINALLY swung and missed at a ball against Cincinnati Wednesday. His immediate ascension to the two-hole in the order has ignited a murderer’s row of high-contact hitters that are really making pitchers work.
And still, among all of this, Owen Miller has hardly gotten much recognition at all for his own scorching start at the plate. With two home runs Wednesday, Miller is now slashing .524/.545/1.048 with seven extra-base hits in his 21 at-bats. It’ safe to say he has taken the first-base job and run away with it for the time being. After a disappointing first run in the majors last season, Miller has looked like a completely different player to begin 2022.
Oh, by the way, have we mentioned that Myles Straw is hitting .360 to start the season?
These are all video game numbers, and a team BABIP of .359 will fall back to earth eventually, but it’s not often – especially for Cleveland – that so many hitters get off to such blazing starts. Call it luck, call it the presence of new hitting coach Chris Valaika, call it the maturation and emergence of some younger players, but whatever it is, the Guardians offense has found an incredible groove.
The hitting profiles of many guys in the lineup suggests that while nobody is hitting .500 for the entire season – probably – there is a good chance the Guardians could have some offensive breakouts on their hands. The organization has made it a mission to identify and develop high-contact hitters with great pitch recognition, using that exceptional base to mold more power out of their overall approach.
The plan appears to be paying off early this season. And while the lineup will go through plenty of ups and downs throughout the year, the Guardians are putting themselves in a good position to weather any storm through a hot start and a lineup that might not necessarily need to rely on just one guy at all times.
It’s possible fans could be watching a rapid maturation of one of the youngest rosters in baseball. Proceed with caution in your expectations, but enjoy the ride as long as it lasts.