Will the Guardians or Royals Win 100 Games This Season?

The Cleveland Guardians and Kansas City Royals are off to a great start in 2024. Will either of them eclipse 100 wins to win the AL Central?

Josh Naylor and Bo Naylor of the Cleveland Guardians celebrate the team's 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Progressive Field.
CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 22: Josh Naylor #22 and Bo Naylor #23 of the Cleveland Guardians celebrate the team's 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Progressive Field on July 22, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

Could the American League Central be the most exciting division in baseball?

Before the 2024 MLB season, baseball pundits were expecting the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles to do well in the AL East, and for the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, and Houston Astros to duke it out in the AL West — both of which have come to fruition.

But the AL Central is a different story.

Many pre-season rankings had the Minnesota Twins as the favorites for the Central crown but the Cleveland Guardians and (surprise!) Kansas City Royals had more ambitious plans.

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Forget simply the AL Central, the Guardians and Royals are both competing to become the best team in the American League.

Both teams have legit superstars in José Ramírez and Bobby Witt Jr. and formidable rotations, deep bullpens, and good defense.

So it begs the question: Might we see two 100-team wins in the AL Central this season?

All stats were taken prior to play on June 12th

Can the Cleveland Guardians Win 100 Games in 2024?

No team in baseball has a better record at home than the Guardians.

They’re 21-8 at Progressive Field and an equally-impressive 22-15 on the road.

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Coming into the 2024 campaign, the Guardians were well-respected for a team built around pitching but Ramirez is currently tied for the RBI lead in all of baseball with 62, alongside Aaron Judge.
First baseman Josh Naylor is currently 4th in the AL with 50 RBIs and 5th in home runs (17), just one behind his teammate, Ramirez (18).

David Fry and Steven Kwan are among MLB’s 1% in Weighted On-base Average (wOBA), according to Baseball Savant, at .437 and .431, respectively.

As a team, the Guardians pitchers have given up the third-least runs (238), trailing only the Yankees (223) and Orioles (232). As per FanGraphs, the Guardians have the best bullpen in all of baseball, leading the MLB in WAR at 4.5, along with a 20-7 record and an impressive 2.45 reliever ERA.

The Cleveland franchise has won 100+ games only three times in their existence, 1954 (111 wins), 1995 (100), and 2017 (102).

Can they do it again?

Cleveland Guardians 2024 pace: At 43-23 (.652), the Guardians are on pace to win 105 games in 2024.

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Are the Kansas City Royals on Pace to Win 100 Games this Season?

The Royals are off to their fourth-best start in team history, a considerable surprise considering their pre-season projections.

The ZiPS projection system had KC finishing at 73-89 and Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA projections had them at 71-91.

There are several factors playing into Kansas City’s impressive play to this point, perhaps none more-so than 23-year-old phenom Bobby Witt Jr. The star shortstop is battling Judge and Juan Soto for the number one position atop the Wins Above Replacement leaderboard every day.

Witt’s OPS is up nearly 100 points from last season, and he’s projected to end the year with something in the ballpark of 7-8 WAR.

Former first-round pick Cole Ragans has emerged as a legitimate ace, trailing only Garrett Crochet for the American League lead in strikeouts (98 in 79.0 innings).

The only remaining player from the Royals 2015 World Series, 34-year-old Salvador Perez is amid an incredible resurgence. The Venezuelan is hitting .296 with 10 home runs and 42 RBI, good for the second-best-hitting catcher in the AL, behind only Adley Rutschman.

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Mix in Maikel Garcia who’s playing exceptionally at third base with first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino, the Royals also have a very defencively sound infield.

KC has only ever won 100+ once in a season when they won 102 in 1977. They may or may not catch the Guardians in the AL Central but the fact they’re competing into the midway mark of June is impressive.

Kansas City Royals 2024 pace: At 39-29 (.573), the Royals are on pace to win 93 games this season.

Who do you have winning the AL Central? Did you have the Guardians or Royals on your 2024 MLB Bingo card?