The Young Pitching Is as Solid as It Gets
All season long, the Guardians were carried on the backs of Shane Bieber, Cal Quantrill and Triston McKenzie, all three under the age of 28, and all three pitching at least 180 innings this year. The pitching held its own in the playoffs, holding the Yankees to 12 runs among the three of them across four games. For the reputation that the Yankees had, this is very impressive and surely gives your team a chance at winning given Cleveland’s current lineup.
While this strategy might have proven advantageous in a five-game series, for sustained success, something needs to be added. The Guardians are just not the team that can rely on 2-3 home runs a game and just outscore every team they play. Instead, they showed how important pitching and small ball was to their plan. As solid a trio as Bieber, Quantrill and McKenzie are, they need at least one more solid rotation piece to pull it all together. Not only will the team feel confident in a competent fourth starter, but it will take some of the wear and tear off of those three guys, especially with how young they are.
An addition along the lines of Sean Manaea, Andrew Heaney or old friend Corey Kluber could move the needle for the Guardians moving forward in 2023.