The 2022 MLB season has crossed the midway mark and it's starting to become clear which teams are contenders versus which teams are pretenders. The Cleveland Guardians have outperformed expectations and are in the playoff race, yet they are being disrespected by ESPN's first-half grades.
Cleveland Guardians News
David Schoenfield gave the Guardians a B-, which ranks behind an AL Central rival in the Minnesota Twins (B). Keep in mind this is a team that was expected to hover around .500 all season long and not be in contention for a division title. Cleveland sits just 2.0 games back with a 46-44 record, though.
The emergence of second baseman Andres Gimenez alone should push this grade closer to an A. The 23-year-old earned his first All-Star nod this season and is slashing .296/.357/.478 across 79 games. No one expected him to improve this quickly when he was acquired via trade in 2021.
Third baseman Jose Ramirez and closer Emmanuel Clase both joined Gimenez in Los Angeles, which goes to show the level of talent Cleveland has on the roster. It's a balanced attack, too. The Guardians rank ninth in the league with a .249 batting average and 10th in the league with a 1.238 WHIP.
There's no denying that Manager Terry Francona's team has shown a lot of fight this season. In fact, the Guardians have won thee games when trailing by 3+ runs in the ninth inning or later. That cannot be overlooked considering Cleveland entered the year with the third-lowest payroll in all of baseball.
The Guardians have odds set at +10000 to win the World Series, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
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