The Cleveland Guardians return a solid starting staff, led by Cy Young winner Shane Beiber, Aaron Civale, Zach Plesac, Triston McKenzie, and Cal Quantrill. The bullpen has a very good closer in Emmanuel Clase. There is uncertainty, though, as to how the rest of the bullpen takes form. Does James Karinchak regain his 2021 early season form? Can Anthony Gose turn potential into positive results? Will middle relief be an effective bridge to get to Clase?
As far as the everyday lineup, can the Guardians fill an outfield with productive bats outside of Myles Straw? Can Josh Naylor return from a serious injury to be productive and what position would be best for him? Can Bobby Bradley cut down on strikeouts and increase his RBI and HR production?
Jose Ramirez once again will be the cornerstone of this team, and most likely will be in the running for AL MVP again. Amed Rosario had a very good 2021, and looks to be very dependable at the 2 spot in the lineup. He's not a great fielder, but we Cleveland fans have been spoiled by Omar Vizguel and Francisco Lindor. Rosario, though, overall, is a good fill at shortstop. 2nd base is wide open, with a half dozen candidates that could grab that spot. Will Bradley or Naylor be the everyday first baseman? Austin Hedges will be the regular catcher, and although he may not have a highly productive bat, provides solid defense just as Roberto Perez did for many years.
Pitching will once again be the stable part of this team, and hopefully the Guardians can add more punch in their lineup, especially the outfield. Questions abound of course with several positions up for grabs, that being 2nd base and the outfield. The bullpen is not solidified but could end up being formidable.
The White Sox look to be the heavy favorite in the division, but the Guardians could be very competitive if they can show more offensive punch. Hopefully the starting pitching can avoid any long term injuries that kept the team from any winning momentum last season.