With the World Baseball Classic now less than a month away, rosters were announced live on MLB Network last night. Which, if you’re like me and have YouTubeTV, you couldn’t watch because they dropped the channel last week. I’m not bitter at all.
When the WBC kicks off on March 8, there will be nine Guardians to keep an eye on, mostly in Canada thanks to Cal Quantrill and Bo Naylor. One notable exception is José Ramírez, who previously expressed interest in participating but didn’t make the cut. Gonna go out on a limb and say it was because he is still recovering from thumb surgery and didn’t want to push it, not that he wasn’t good enough to make the team.
Cleveland Guardians news
Nine Guardians make World Baseball Classic rosters; José Ramírez, Emmanuel Clase not among them | Cleveland
As you can tell by CleCom’s title here, José Ramírez is not playing for the Dominican Republic after all, despite wanting to earlier in the offseason. He will instead join the team for spring training in Goodyear, Arizona.
Here is who is participating from the Guardians organization:
- Enyel De Los Santos (Dominican Republic)
- Dayan Frias (Colombia)
- Meibrys Viloria (Colombia)
- Andrés Giménez (Venezuela)
- Bo Naylor (Canada)
- Cal Quantrill (Canada)
- Cade Smith (Canada)
- Richie Palacios (Netherlands)
- Josh Wolf (Israel)
Guardians Claim Jason Bilous From White Sox | MLB Trade Rumors
The Guardians made another small move ahead of spring training yesterday, claiming right-handed pitcher Jason Bilous off waivers from the White Sox. He will occupy the 40-man spot left vacant by the Will Benson trade.
I struggle to find anything that sticks out about Bilous, who is 25 and pitched in four minor-league seasons. He has some high strikeout totals in the past, but completely imploded last year in Triple-A with 25 earned runs in 22.0 innings — I’ll save you the math, that’s a 10.23 ERA. With that said, though, he has a potential quality pitch in his changeup, and this wouldn’t be the first time the Guardians scooped up a discarded pitcher and turned him into a stud reliever.
Who makes the cut for Guardians’ 2023 Opening Day roster? | MLB
Here’s who Guardians beat writer Mandy Bell thinks will make the Opening Day roster for the Guardians. As our own Quincy Wheeler has been detailing all week long, there are a lot of interesting position battles, though a lot of the big names are set in stone.
Guardians top 20 prospects 2023: Keith Law ranks Cleveland’s minor league farm system | The Athletic ($$$)
I won’t spoil much since this is behind a paywall, but it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Brayan Rocchio is Keith Law’s top Guardians prospect. Obviously, because he was the highest Guard in his top 100, but Law has always been pretty high on Rocchio and his down offensive year hasn’t deterred him one bit.
One surprise is Jack Leftwich at No. 9, who Law sees as at least a No. 4 starter. Jeftwich did not make our community top-20 list, and only earned 4% of the vote for the No. 20 spot.
Caught Between a Walk and a Hard Hit, Guardians Starters Came Out on Top | FanGraphs
Nobody was better at pitching behind in the count than Guardians starters last season. Shane Bieber, especially, stuck out as the best pitcher in three-ball counts, but all of Cleveland’s primary starters were outliers in this very specific situation.
What they did do extremely well as a unit was induce swings. Opposing hitters offered at 65.2% of their pitches in these situations, including 85.9% over the heart of the plate, 67.4% over the shadow, and 30.5% in the chase zone. When they got hitters to swing, Cleveland’s starters had a profound advantage: the -62.1 run value of those pitches was the lowest in the league, as were opposing hitters’ .179 average, .313 slugging, and .211 wOBA.
Introducing Range Defense Added | Baseball Prospectus
From a couple of days ago, but in case you missed it, Baseball Prospectus unveiled their newest defensive metrics, including range defense added (RDA) and deserved runs prevented (DRP). RDA and DRP are part of their replacement for fielder runs above average (FRAA) utilizing all the public measurements not available when FRAA was first developed.
It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Myles Straw leads all of baseball in DRP. Among players with more than 400 innings at their positions, Steven Kwan leads baseball in another new metric, range out score, which as the name suggests is a measurement of a player’s range. With range out score, a zero is average and two is starting to touch elite levels. Kwan finished 2022 with a 5.1.
Give the article a read if you’re interested to learn more, it’s a free article. There are a couple of follow-ups on BP that are also worth a read, though they’re behind a subscription.
Around the league
- There are high expectations for Braves third baseman Austin Riley.
- Jeff McNeill’s story is a fun one.
- The rest of the WBC rosters include some guy named after a fish.
- The Padres handed 36-year-old Yu Darvish a six-year extension worth $108 million.
- ... and they also want to extend Manny Machado.
- The Blue Jays bought out Bo Bichette’s arbitration years.