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2023 MLB Preview: Where do all 30 teams stand?

by Noah Phalen

Opening Day is finally here and with it, comes a fresh start and a renewed sense of optimism for all 30 teams.

As is customary each year, just about all of the major media outlets take their shot at ranking every team to predict their ultimate outcome. Though I could be proven wrong over the next 162 games, here’s where I believe each team stands heading into the new season.

Note: These rankings are based on last season, as well as any moves the team might’ve made in the offseason.

30. Oakland Athletics

The Oakland A’s lost 102 games in 2022. In the offseason, they dealt away star catcher Sean Murphy to Atlanta and starting pitcher Cole Irvin to Baltimore. While they did add a couple of intriguing arms on one-year deals and some veterans to stabilize the position player group, this team is in the midst of a rebuild.

They won’t compete for a playoff spot, especially in the AL West. They will, however, compete for the top pick in the 2024 draft. The good news for Oakland fans is that they may not have to endure this for much longer, as Rob Manfred says MLB is focused on talks of moving the team to Las Vegas.

29. Cincinnati Reds

A relatively quiet offseason was expected for the Reds, and it most certainly was quiet for them. They brought in veterans Chad Pinder, Wil Myers, and Curt Casali on short-term deals, and traded 2022 starting shortstop Kyle Farmer to Minnesota. While there are a couple promising you arms that should get an extended look, and they still have former 2021 Rookie of the Year Jonathan India and future Hall-of-Famer Joey Votto, the Reds are not going to be competing for any playoff spots this season. They have a top-10 pick in 2023 and should have a decent shot at a top pick again in 2024.

28. Washington Nationals

It’s not all bleak for the Washington Nationals. After landing an absolute haul in July after trading Juan Soto to the Padres, and drafting fifth overall in 2022, the Nationals and their fans have to be excited about the future. As far as 2023 goes, however, it may be grim.

A full season of center fielder Abrams and Mackenzie Gore should keep Nats fans entertained, but overall, the team should find themselves in the lottery once again when the season ends. To make matters worse, they’re still paying Stephen Strasburg a lot of money to not pitch.

27. Pittsburgh Pirates

There’s reason to believe this Pirates team will be improved in 2023. Their lineup isn’t half bad top to bottom, and they’ve got a lot of intriguing young talent on the team.

Oneil Cruz looks like a future star, and Ke’Bryan Hayes might be the best defensive third baseman in baseball. The Pirates will also have the first overall pick in the 2023 draft. This team isn’t ready to compete though, and with uncertainty surrounding the situation of star outfielder Bryan Reynolds, the lineup could be taking a big blow in the near future. Pitching may also be a problem, but they’re hoping the promising developments of Roasny Contreras and Mitch Keller in 2022 will carry over.

Overall, they won’t contend this year, but the future looks bright in Pittsburgh.

26. Colorado Rockies

It’s hard to find an analyst out there that can explain what the Rockies are doing. The Rockies front office might not even be able to explain what the Rockies are doing.

The club signed Kris Bryant to a big contract last year and then did basically nothing to supplement that move. They have too much talent to be the worst team in baseball, but they’re not particularly close to being good either. This is the tier in which they choose to reside. Losing former top-5 pick Brendan Rodgers possibly for the season is going to push them toward the former.

25. Kansas City Royals

A new general manager and skipper have signaled the start of the next chapter of the Royals, and it began with the trades of Adalberto Mondesi to Boston and Michael A. Taylor to Minnesota. There’s a lot of young talent to like down on the farm, and much of it should be breaking into the major leagues in the next couple of years. A few savvy veteran additions should keep the Royals from being bottom-of-the-league bad. They may be the worst team in the AL Central though, depending on the health of key pieces in Detroit.

A full season of Bobby Witt Jr. at shortstop should be a treat to watch, and Kansas City is hoping Zack Greinke’s presence is fruitful for the development of Brady Singer and Daniel Lynch. The Royals aren’t ready to make noise in the AL Central yet, but they aren’t too far away.

24. Detroit Tigers

Coming into 2022, some thought the Tigers were going to be a problem in the AL Central. With two former No. 1 overall picks in Spencer Torkelson and Casey Mize, plenty of other up-and-coming talents, and a World Series-winning manager in AJ Hinch, the Tigers looked primed to take a step forward. But they didn’t.

Instead, they got absolutely rocked with injuries, and their big offseason signing, Javier Baez, struggled. They’ll hope for a rebound in 2023 from key players, but with Mize likely out for the entire season, it’s hard to envision them keeping pace with some of the other teams in the Central.

The Tigers have been long in need of a new voice, and the hiring of Scott Harris as GM is a step in the right direction for an organization still looking for a long-term vision.

23. Arizona Diamondbacks

  • 2022 Record: 74-88

The Diamondbacks have one of the most intriguing farm systems in baseball, and a few of the exciting names should see a good portion of big league time in 2023.

Corbin Carroll just signed a huge extension with the club, and will likely open the season as the betting favorite for NL Rookie of the Year. Alek Thomas showed off elite defense in 2022 and will be looking for more consistency at the plate in 2023. Former second-round pick Ryne Nelson impressed in a short big-league stint last season and should crack the major league rotation.

The Diamondbacks are coming, and they could be a sneaky solid team in 2023. They’re not quite ready to compete yet though.

22. Miami Marlins

It feels like the Marlins have the same problem every year. They have a pitching staff that can compete with most teams in baseball, but they never have enough offense to get the job.

An off-season that saw the free agent additions of Yuli Gurriel and Jean Segura, as well as a trade for the 2022 AL batting champ in Luis Arraez, is a step in the right direction for this Miami team that is desperate for upgrades on offense. One can’t help but feel like they could’ve done more though, and to even marginally upgrade the lineup, they had to hurt the pitching staff.

This feels like another year of a Miami team that has talent just not being quite good enough to compete, especially in a loaded NL East.

21. Boston Red Sox

  • 2022 Record: 78-84

After an ALCS appearance in 2021, finishing six games under .500 was awfully disappointing for the Red Sox in 2022. What followed was a confusing offseason in which they spent a lot of money on an unproven outfielder from Japan, and then let a franchise superstar walk in Xander Bogaerts.

A few other veteran additions in Corey Kluber, Justin Turner, and Adam Duvall should help keep this team somewhat competitive, but it’s hard to see a major bounce back happening in a loaded AL East. If everything goes right, this team could compete for a wild card spot in the American League, but more likely, another season hovering near .500 is in the cards. A couple crucial injuries and this team could be the clear AL East bottom feeders.

20. Chicago Cubs

The Cubs were not quiet about their desire to spend money this offseason, and spend they did. The team brought in Dansby Swanson, Cody Bellinger, Eric Hosmer, Trey Mancini, Tucker Barnhart, and Jameson Taillon, as well as a couple relievers, all via free agency.

While Swanson is obviously the big prize, these savvy additions should be enough to keep the Cubs competitive in 2023, and insulate them from injuries nicely. The North Siders will be improved in 2023 no doubt, but whether or not they have enough to play October baseball remains to be seen.

There’s a world in which the Cubs make the playoffs this year, but an awful lot would have to go right. A record closer to the .500 mark is likely a more realistic goal.

19. Baltimore Orioles

After a surprising 83-79 finish in 2022, many around the league suspected the Orioles would be big spenders this offseason in hopes of supplementing their young core. It was not to be though, as the Orioles were fairly quiet except for a couple mid-rotation starters and infielder Adam Frazier. For that reason, not too much improvement should be expected.

Adley Rutschman could be a sleeper MVP candidate, and a full year of Gunnar Henderson along with the debut of Grayson Rodriguez, will give Orioles fans plenty to be excited about. However, this team doesn’t seem to be much more than a second Wild Card contender.

The future is bright in Baltimore though, and next offseason could feature a spending spree.

18. Los Angeles Angels

The Angels are a team that consistently finds themselves in the middle. They’re never good enough to make the playoffs, but they’re never bad enough to get a top draft pick. With Shohei Ohtani set to hit free agency following the 2023 season, the team is extra motivated to win now.

The addition of Tyler Anderson to the starting rotation, as well as Gio Urshela, Hunter Renfroe, and Brandon Drury to the lineup have given them some much-needed depth. The vibes around the Angels, and with many observers around the league, indicate that this year is different.

There’s no question they have talent, after all, they have arguably the best two players in baseball on their team. Did they do enough to put a competitive team on the field and FINALLY get Ohtani and Trout to the postseason? Maybe, but we all could use a little bit of convicing.

17. Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers have made headlines the past couple of offseasons with their big spending. Last year, they signed both Marcus Semien, and Corey Seager to big contracts, and they followed it up with landing Jacob deGrom this year.

The pitching staff really struggled in 2022, but the additions of deGrom, Heaney, and Eovaldi, provide them with a much more serviceable five. The lineup should be decent. Seager and Semien are all-star type players, and Nathaniel Lowe is one of the more underrated players in the game.

Personally, I’m bullish on the Rangers this year. I think they’ve got a really good shot to play meaningful games in September, but I can see how injuries and some regression could easily derail the train.

Whether or not this team is ready to be serious World Series contenders yet remains to be seen, but they should be much-improved.

16. San Francisco Giants

A magical 2021 season that saw the Giants de-throne the Dodgers for the division title came to a crashing halt as the Giants were never able to get going in 2022. Unfortunately for Giants fans, the 2023 iteration of the team is probably not much different.

Mitch Haniger and Michael Conforto will provide a nice boost, but one can’t help but wonder how much better the lineup would look with Carlos Correa in it. Losing Carlos Rodon will also hurt the rotation a decent amount, but this team won’t be too bad. They’ll be competitive, but still don’t seem to have a realistic shot at the division.

San Francisco could be in the running for a wild card spot, though don’t put any money on the Giants playing October baseball.

15. Minnesota Twins

It’s not often that a non-rebuilding team trades the defending batting champion, but that’s exactly what the Twins did, sending Luis Arraez to Miami for All-Star righty Pablo Lopez. There’s no question that pitching has been the achilles heel of this team, and Lopez will help big time.

Health will be crucial to the Twins success, especially the health of center fielder Byron Buxton, who is an MVP-caliber player when he’s on the field, but has never really been able to stay healthy. This team has pretty high upside, but could also easily be a flop if the injury bug hits hard again and some regression happens. Let’s start with them here in the middle, but if things go right, they could be dangerous.

14. Chicago White Sox

A 2022 season marked by injury and underperformance saw the White Sox finishing at .500 after being chosen as the heavy favorite to win the AL Central. Many expected large scale changes in the offseason, but the 2023 iteration of the club is largely the same. The biggest differences are the departure of Jose Abreu, and the addition of Andrew Benintendi.

The White Sox will also have almost a whole new coaching staff in 2023, and will be looking to unlock untapped potential in some of their players, as well as better luck on the injury front. Top to bottom, this is probably still the most talented roster in the AL Central, but they’ll need to prove themselves.

This team could definitely be a force if a lot goes right. But they could just as easily come up short again. Middle-of-the-pack seems like a good starting point.

13. Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are one of those teams that never seem to have a great roster on paper, but always find ways to win. They develop pitching incredibly well, and their offense always seems to do just enough. This year’s Rays shouldn’t be any different.

Shane McClanahan is a legitimate Cy Young contender, and Tyler Glasnow can be dominant when healthy. They also signed Zach Eflin to the largest free-agent deal in their franchise history (yes, you read that correctly). Their lineup isn’t great, but they’ll be able to hit the ball out of the ballpark, and Wander Franco has all the makings of a superstar.

Overall, the roster isn’t going to halt the presses on paper, but this team always finds a way to contend, and they should again in 2023. Look for the Rays to be playing meaningful games into September once again.

12. Milwaukee Brewers

There may not be a better “top three” to head a rotation than the one in Milwaukee this season. Former Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes is a nightmare matchup for any hitter, and Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta have filthy stuff as well. Even Eric Lauer showed top-of-the-rotation flashes in 2022. The question about the Brewers is whether they’ll get enough offense to make it to October.

Christian Yelich hasn’t been the same guy since his MVP award, and other bats in the lineup like Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez have been good at times, but need to be more consistent. Unlocking 2021 Jesse Winker after a 2022 full of injuries would be huge for the Milwaukee lineup.

Overall, the Brewers are a pretty good team, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t compete for the NL Central crown, though they shouldn’t be considered the division favorites.

11. Cleveland Guardians

Picked by many to finish third in the AL Central, the Guardians shocked many by winning 92 games and running away with the division. The team will be largely returning in 2023, with minor tweaks.

They added Josh Bell and Mike Zunino via free agency, who should both provide some extra thunder to a lineup not known for its power. The Guardians play baseball the right way. They pitch well, play exceptional defense, and get timely hits in the most crucial situations. Future Hall-of-Fame manager Terry Francona can take credit for much of it, as he’s gotten his players to buy in to his style of baseball.

Depending on health and bounce-backs from the White Sox and Twins, the Guardians may not cruise to the division as they did in 2022. But they’ll be pesky, and at this point, they’re the team to beat.

10. Seattle Mariners

For the first time since 2001, the Seattle Mariners played postseason baseball in 2022. They won a very impressive series against the Blue Jays before falling at the hands of the future-champion Astros.

Defending Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez leads a lineup hoping to maintain the breakout it found in 2022. The addition of Teoscar Hernandez only adds another solid power bat to the middle of the order. Could this be the Jarred Kelenic breakout season fans have been waiting for?

On the pitching side, the trio of Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray, and Logan Gilbert is among the best in the league, and the Mariners love the upside of 25-year-old George Kirby.

The AL West is a tough division, but anything less than another Wild Card appearance would be a pretty big disappointment for Seattle fans.

9. St. Louis Cardinals

In what figured to be a two-horse NL Central race in 2022, the Cardinals came out on top. Paul Goldschmidt had a huge year, taking home the NL MVP honors, and Nolan Arenado wasn’t too far off that pace himself. Contributions from some young position players and veteran pitchers powered the Redbirds to October, and although their stay was short, they can’t be upset with the year as a whole.

Bringing in former all-star Catcher Willson Contreras to replace the retiring Yadier Molina was their biggest move of the offseason, and he should be a big boost to the lineup. More big news for Cardinals fans came as the team announced that top prospect Jordan Walker will be making the team. It shouldn’t be long before he’s a force in that lineup.

The rotation features a solid group of returning veterans, including Adam Wainwright, who announced that 2023 will be his final season. The veteran starter’s career began with a World Series in 2006, and the team will have a chance to end it with one in 2023. St Louis should have no problem making 2023 their 16th consecutive winning season.

8. Toronto Blue Jays

After coming up one game short in 2021, the Blue Jays finally got over the threshold and made the postseason in 2022. Their stay wasn’t long-lasted, however, as they ran into a very motivated Seattle team.

The Jays made some roster changes this offseason, notably signing right-handed pitcher Chris Bassitt, dealing outfielder Teoscar Hernandez to Seattle, and trading prized catching prospect Gabriel Moreno to Arizona for Daulton Varsho. Management feels they acquired players who are better fits for their roster. Only time will tell if this is true, but the Blue Jays should have no problem hanging around in a tough AL East division again.

They may not have the amount of lineup thunder that some other playoff teams have, but this is a well-balanced lineup and a good team overall. It should be another fun year north of the border, and it would be relatively surprising to not see this team in October again.

7. Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies went all the way to the World Series in 2022, where they came up short against the Houston Astros. Instead of running it back with the same team, they went out and signed superstar shortstop Trea Turner. They added Taijuan Walker to the pitching rotation as well, and are hoping the good vibes from 2022 will carry over.

Unfortunately, they haven’t had the best luck on the health front in the early going, as star outfielder Bryce Harper underwent elbow surgery that will likely delay the start of his season. Rhys Hoskins also suffered a catastrophic ACL tear and likely will not play in 2023.

The Phillies still have a good team, but early injuries and a very tough division will make repeating 2022 a tall task.

6. New York Mets

Just over two years into his ownership of the New York Mets, Steve Cohen has officially broken baseball. The Mets are spending like no team has ever spent before, and so far, all it’s gotten them is a first-round playoff defeat at the hands of the Padres. That didn’t stop him from spending more, however, as the Mets added Justin Verlander, Jose Quintana, Kodai Senga, Omar Narvaez, brought back Brandon Nimmo and Edwin Diaz, and very nearly added Carlos Correa as well.

The injury plague has hit the Mets early, as star closer Diaz tore his patellar tendon celebrating a win during the World Baseball Classic, likely missing the entire 2023 season. Nimmo also hurt himself sliding into second base in a spring training game, though it seems his absence will be fairly short. Quintana, on top of everything else, is also expected to be shut down until midseason after doctors found a cyst on his lung.

The Mets should be among the top teams in the National League, but if the injuries continue, they may struggle to keep pace with the Phillies and Braves.

5. New York Yankees

  • 2022 Record: 99-63

The Yankees had the best record in baseball for much of 2022 before coming back to earth in the second half. Led by an MVP season from Aaron Judge, New York’s offense mashed the ball all over the field, and the rotation featured two all-stars in Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes.

The signing of Carlos Rodon was the biggest move of the off-season for the Bronx Bombers, and he will help solidify a rotation that will be among baseball’s best when healthy. Unfortunately, it isn’t healthy. Last year’s trade deadline acquisition of Frankie Montas may miss the entire 2023 season, and both Rodon and Luis Severino are likely to begin the year on the injured list. The Yankees pitching depth will be tested early.

On the offensive side of things, the team remains mostly intact from a season ago, but mega-prospect Anthony Volpe is on the cusp of the majors, and he’ll undoubtedly make a large impact in that lineup. Overall, the Yankees should be right in the thick of the AL pennant race once again.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers

This is going to be an interesting season for the Dodgers. They’re coming off a season where they won 111 games, but honestly, they don’t have near the talent they did a year ago.

Ace Walker Buehler will miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and projected starting shortstop Gavin Lux tore his ACL early in camp, and will also miss the entire season. Trea Turner left to join the Phillies, Justin Turner headed to Boston, and Tyler Anderson joined the crosstown Angels.

There’s no question this team’s depth has taken a massive step backward, but the Dodgers seem to always find a way to compete. They’ll find contributors from unlikely places, as they always do, and their quiet off-season was likely by design, as a run at Shohei Ohtani next off-season seems very likely. The Dodgers will contend, and will likely make the playoffs, but it’s hard to consider them the National League frontrunners for 2023.

3. San Diego Padres

Like the Mets, the Padres have had a seemingly endless budget in recent years, loading their lineup with the likes of Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr. An impressive NLDS series win over the Dodgers in 2022 has got the Padres longing for more, and they seem primed to make another deep run in 2023.

The biggest question is whether or not the starting rotation will hold up, as Yu Darvish is aging, Blake Snell can be inconsistent, and both Joe Musgrove and Michael Wacha have dealt with injuries over the past couple of seasons. But with quality depth in the minor leagues and a farm system that is still solid despite big trades, this is the best team in the NL West.

The Padres have never won a World Series in franchise history, and 2023 may be their best chance yet.

2. Atlanta Braves

Just one year removed from a World Series title, the Braves seem to have been forgotten about in the headlines of the Mets and the Padres. Don’t let that fool you though, as Atlanta is still an absolutely loaded club.

The Braves made one of the more underrated moves of the offseason, acquiring Sean Murphy from the A’s for a surprisingly low price. They did lose shortstop Dansby Swanson to the Cubs, but with Vaughn Grissom and Braden Shewmake waiting in the wings, replacing his production may come from within.

This team features a lineup that can do damage from one through nine and a rotation with multiple up-and-coming superstars. They’ll have to compete with both the Mets and the Phillies in the NL East, but this club is as equipped as any to make another deep playoff run.

It should be another fun summer in Atlanta.

1. Houston Astros

As a general rule when making Power Rankings, the team that just won the championship usually starts at the top until they prove they are no longer the best team. In this case, the Astros may be up here for a while. Houston absolutely dominated the playoffs in 2022 and doesn’t seem to be declining anytime soon.

They did lose 2022 Cy Young winner Justin Verlander this offseason, as he signed with the Mets in free agency, but Christian Javier getting to be a full-time starter isn’t necessarily a bad thing for them. Former MVP Jose Abreu joining the lineup will provide them with another good veteran hitter, and having Michael Brantley healthy should give them anothe solid bat.

They will be without star second baseman Jose Altuve for a little while though, as he suffered a broken thumb during the World Baseball Classic. They have plenty of talent to keep them afloat, however, and at this point, they are still the team to beat in the American League.

Now that you’ve made it to the end, thank you for reading! Let’s take another look at this come Novemeber and see how these teams fared.

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Featured Photo: © Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Network

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