3 Guardians who must bounce back in 2024

Cleveland Guardians Photo Day
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The Cleveland Guardians are looking to shake off the bad taste from last season and get back on track toward being a contender, not just in the American League Central but the entire American League. In order for that to happen, there are going to be more than a few people to bounce back from their performances last season and become meaningful contributors in 2024.

Honorable Mention: Emmanuel Clase

On the surface, Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase had a fantastic season in 2023. Clase finished the season with a 3.22 ERA and 1.156 WHIP and would go on to lead all of baseball in saves for the second straight season with 44 (a career-high) and games finished 65 (second-most). All of this is well and good, but there are two areas that Clase needs to improve upon to ensure that the back end of Cleveland's bullpen is rock solid. Strikeout rate and blown saves.

Clase finished with 64 strikeouts in 72.2 innings of work last season, leading to a career-low 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings. This was only the second time in his career that this number fell below 9.5, the other being the 8.1 mark, which came during his 21 appearances with the Texas Rangers in 2019.

Concerning blown saves, this was a huge problem for Clase last year. The soon-to-be 26-year-old blew a major league-high 12 saves last season. This is simply an unacceptable amount of games that the Guardians were in position to win but were unable to do so. If Cleveland is going to genuinely be back in the division race and make an impact in the postseason, Clase needs to return his form during the previous two seasons and not 2023.