Teams across Major League Baseball are just weeks away from beginning the 2023 season with the same record. What will become of them after that, only the baseball gods know.
What we can do right now is size up where teams are going into the year, for which the categories can’t be as simple “good” or “bad.” We’ve instead fit all 30 teams into one of eight tiers that, while not exactly scientific, generally get at where they are heading into 2023:
These are mostly self-explanatory, save for the first and sixth ones. The former addresses the one team in MLB that’s not actively tanking or rebuilding, but which is nonetheless in a bad place. Fans of the American League Central and National League Central won’t want to hear it, but the latter is for the top contenders in those divisions.
We’ll hit the tiers one by one and rank teams from No. 30 all the way down to No. 1 as we go.
- 1. Please Excuse Whatever It Is We’re Doing
- 2. Please Excuse Our Tanking
- 3. Please Be Patient with Our Rebuilding
- 4. .500-ish No Man’s Land
- 5. Wild Card Hopefuls
- 6. Big Fish, Small Divisions
- 7. World Series Hopefuls
- 8. World Series Favorites
30: Please Excuse Whatever It Is We’re Doing
The Teams, Ranked
- 30. Colorado Rockies
The Rockies lost 94 games last season and are now generally expected to be even worse in 2023. The DraftKings Sportsbook puts the over/under for their win total at 65.5, which is in line with projections from FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus.
Which is remarkable, given that losing a whole bunch of games isn’t technically the plan.
Rockies owner Dick Monfort was so, uh, confident in his team that he predicted .500 ball back in January. Bold talk for a guy who spent all of $10.5 million in free agency to improve an obviously flawed roster, and now matters are even worse after Gold Glove-winning second baseman Brendan Rodgers dislocated his shoulder.
The best Rockies fans can hope for is that 2023 will provide a promising look at the future, mainly courtesy of well-regarded shortstop Ezequiel Tovar and outfielder Zac Veen, whose general profile is “Loads of Fun.” Otherwise, this year will be a rough one.
29-28: Please Excuse Our Tanking
The Teams, Ranked
- 29. Washington Nationals
- 28. Cincinnati Reds
Between the two of them, the Nationals and Reds lost 207 games in 2022 and subsequently spent the winter hunting for buy-low veterans to refurbish into trade chips.
The Nationals might do so with Jeimer Candelario and Dominic Smith, while the Reds took worthwhile fliers of their own on Wil Myers and Luke Weaver. But even if all goes well, they’ll only get half a season’s worth of games from these guys before shipping them elsewhere at the trade deadline. After that, the 100-loss threshold will loom once again.
Nats fans are better off watching to see if right-hander Cade Cavalli lives up to the hype of being MLB.com’s No. 58 prospect and if the club’s more established youngsters make strides. Shortstop CJ Abrams and left-hander MacKenzie Gore, both erstwhile San Diego Padres prospects, are the best bets there.