The Cleveland Guardians are a throwback when it comes to their offense.
Unlike most teams, who focus on power and do not mind strikeouts, the Guardians are a different animal. They have built a roster designed on making contact and speed for their offense, with the likes of Jose Ramirez and Josh Bell their most logical power sources. Mike Zunino was brought in as well, but that move seemed to be as much for his defense as his power potential.
Cleveland Guardians ready to take advantage of MLB rule changes
Major League Baseball will look a bit different this year. Defensive shifts in the infield have been banned. There is a pitch clock now, limiting how long a pitcher can hold the ball before having to deliver to home plate. Bases are larger, increasing by three inches in diameter in an attempt o minimize injuries and collisions.
These changes also incentive action in general. Players that make contact may be able to find more room for a ball to get through for a hit, especially left handed batters. Speedy baserunners, or those with the wherewithal to steal bases, will benefit from those larger bases. In fact, teams may be more willing to give the green light in general.
Then there are the Guardians. They already have a team in place that makes contact and can steal bases. Five players in their lineup stole between 18 and 21 bases last season, including Ramirez. Putting these rules in place for a team that has the likes of Steven Kwan, Andres Gimenez, and even Myles Straw, could be a boost for their production.
The Guardians went into the offseason knowing that they needed to address their lineup. The pitching staff is clearly good enough to go on a deep postseason run, something that was evidenced in their performances against the Rays and Yankees. It is just a matter of the lineup doing their part. These rule changes could lead to those improvements.
Several rule changes are coming to Major League Baseball in 2023. The Cleveland Guardians may be in the best position to take advantage of them.
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