The starting nine of the Cleveland Guardians has a surprisingly high ranking

San Francisco Giants v Cleveland Guardians
San Francisco Giants v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages

It is pretty safe to say that even the most optimistic individuals were still exercising some level of caution regarding the Cleveland Guardians entering the season. There were no real offensive additions of note this past offseason, taking a chance on a former Yankees prospect incapable of cracking an injury-riddled lineup during his time with the organization and bringing back a veteran backstop for defensive purposes and his positive clubhouse presence. But after the Guardians have raced out to a 19-9 start and have been one of the best teams in the sport, Cleveland has found themselves in a surprisingly high spot in a recent ranking of team's starting nines. 

Appearing in the Top-10 of a list put together by Bleacher Report's Tim Kelly, the Cleveland Guardians claim the ninth spot in these rankings. Kelly took note of the lineup being able to produce during a time when one of their best is yet to put everything together at the plate.

"Perennial AL MVP finalist José Ramírez hasn't yet hit his stride, but Cleveland's offense has been much better than anticipated because both Josh Naylor and Steven Kwan have hit at All-Star levels. "

Tim Kelly on the Cleveland Guardians

The contributions of Josh Naylor and Steven Kwan have been able to carry the load, while Jose Ramirez is yet to catch fire. This is the big difference between this year's lineup and last year's. The Guardians were seemingly incapable of stepping up when an essential player in their lineup was not clicking at the plate last season, but that is not the case in 2024. Having Kwan and Naylor do damage while Ramirez is still figuring things out has been a major factor in their early season success.

Despite things going well for the Guardians in the early going, Kelly still has some concerns about their long-term outlook, "It doesn't feel sustainable, but Stephen Vogt's squad is currently second in the American League in runs scored, so it's hard to put them any lower than this.". This sentiment is understandable, given the perception of the lineup before the season, but at some point, that has to be cast aside, and the current results on the field are all that matters. 

Sure, the Guardians are yet to play 30 games, and a lot can change over the rest of the year. However, they are succeeding where they failed multiple times last season, and that is impossible to ignore. There are a ton of games left on the schedule, which will ultimately prove whether their early season start is an accurate portrayal of their talent level or if the skeptics questioning their roster's viability will be proven right.