The good, the bad, and the ugly of the Guardians west coast road trip
Mike Zunino behind the plate
While Mike Zunino with a bat in his hand has been a welcome sight for Cleveland, it is when he is crouching behind the plate that has been an issue. For several seasons the Guardians have enjoyed elite defense from the catcher position with lackluster offense, this year has seen a massive dropoff in the defensive department.
Through 41 innings there have been seven wild pitches with Zunino behind the plate, that is a wild pitch for just under six innings for Zunino. Last season the combination of Austin Hedges and Luke Maile only totaled 41 for the year (1,353 innings), or one wild pitch for every 33 innings.
Expecting Zunino to turn into an elite defensive catcher is not likely, it would be nice to see him close the gap between where he sits currently and what Cleveland has seen previously.
Zach Plesac's poor season debut
This has been beaten to death, but Zach Plesac was awful in his first start of the season. Plesac was very hittable against an Oakland lineup that is not particularly good. Turning in a Cy Young performance was not the expectation from Plesac, but no one expected batting practice either. It was just one outing and maybe at year's end this is an outlier, however his body of work over the last two seasons suggest to expect relatively uninspiring pitching overall. There will be better performances from Plesac, but plenty that are less than stellar as well.
Josh Bell's lackluster start
With two hits in 29 plate appearances and seven strikeouts, 2023 has not been kind to Josh Bell thus far. When Cleveland signed Bell in free agency to supplement their power production they were expecting more than two singles, one of which would have been a double-play ball if it did not deflect off of Oakland's Adrian Martinez.
This would be less of a concern if Bell has not been in a freefall since being traded to San Diego last season. Bell was pretty much a non-factor for the Padres last year and that continued into this spring. Even though the stats in Arizona mean absolutely nothing, seeing something positive would have alleviated any concerns about Bell. The extended period of struggles is not necessarily providing a lot of faith in his bat at the moment.
Again, this is extremely early and a very small sample size. The fact that Bell does have six walks is a positive and shows that a big time turnaround could be coming. Until that happens it is more than fair to be concerned about exactly what Bell will be able to provide at the plate and at this current time it is not much of anything.