The Cleveland Guardians were absolutely fantastic in 2022.
They exceeded preseason expectations and won 92 games.
They even won a playoff series.
If we had to name one weakness, though, we would have to say they lacked some punch, or some power in the middle of their lineup.
It’s not that they lacked power hitters, it’s that it looked at one point like they were one or two home run hitters short of putting on a serious challenge for the American League pennant.
They went to work during the offseason and brought in first baseman Josh Bell and catcher Mike Zunino in an attempt to supply that missing power.
It’s just spring training, but the early returns on the Bell investment are extremely exciting.
Look at this blast:
Josh Bell, oh my 😳 pic.twitter.com/juflP4IfWe
— MLB (@MLB) February 28, 2023
Bell welcomed starter Jordan Lyles to Kansas City with a mammoth two-run shot to give the Guardians the lead in the first inning.
It was a hanging breaking ball that Bell had no problems whatsoever driving to his pull side.
Bell, a big guy who sometimes seems to underperform his raw power, certainly put all of the wood on this one.
He hit just 17 home runs in 156 games last year with the Washington Nationals and the San Diego Padres, but had 27 the year before and 37 in 2019.
It’s unlikely he returns to his 2019 total, because it came with the “juiced” ball, but it’s not unrealistic to expect 25-30 long balls from the talented slugger.
If anything, he will bring on-base ability to a lineup that needs it.NEXT: Terry Francona Had A Rough Start To Spring Training