2023 MLB Power rankings: What teams are favored to dominate baseball next year?
Even as the dust settles on the 2022 MLB season, we take a far-too-early look at the teams who are front-runners heading into 2023.
With MLB’s free agency just on the cusp, and all signs pointing toward it being one of the most volatile in years, it feels almost puerile to look at the front-runners for 2023. But we won’t let that stop us.
Of course, with nearly every team losing key players to free agency, and perhaps standing to gain a few in return, the landscape will look very different come Spring Training. That is not a possibility. It is certain.
Some of the biggest potential changes are the runner-up Philadelphia Phillies, who are reportedly strongly in the running to pick up Trea Turner, which would see them shoot up the list for next season.
Also, a potential sleeper going into the negotiations is the Texas Rangers. They have a new boss in Bruce Bochy, and have made it known that they are looking to revamp their bullpen at any cost. There is more than an outside chance that they could resign Clayton Kershaw, they may well have Jacob deGrom in their sights, and even the tussle for Aaron Judge might see them throw their 10-gallon Stetson into the ring.
But with things as they stand, here is a look at the top five powerhouses in baseball.
1. Houston Astros
Everyone has an opinion on the Astros, and very rarely does it have any relation to the actual landscape, as it stands now. The fact is that the Houston Astros are the best team in baseball. They have been for a very long time and that will likely continue for the foreseeable future.
Debates rage over whether or not they qualify as a dynasty, but any team that makes six straight ALCS is a dynasty, with no further debate needed. Even discounting their 2017 World Series win, they are a machine that chomps up competition. Name any other team that could lose Gerrit Cole, George Springer, and Carlos Correa, and have it not make a single jot of difference.
They are the gold standard for baseball teams; tough, resilient, relentless. They have a development program that is second to none. And most importantly, they are experienced at winning. Quite simply put, they are the best team in baseball right now.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Oddsmakers love the Dodgers, and it is easy to see why. They are an enigma, an anomaly, a bump in the otherwise smooth landscape of orderly standings. They consistently field strong teams, with players that stand head and shoulders above the crowd. Particularly in their bullpen, where they skim off the cream around the MLB on an annual basis.
And their bats are equally prodigious, with a lineup that features either the top or second hitter at the position across the board. When they have a need, they simply fill it.
With more wins than anyone else in the game, year in and year out, the Dodgers are rightfully at the top of most power rankings. But therein lies the rub.
For whatever reason, the Dodgers simply can’t close the deal. Their one World Series win came in the covid-shortened 2020 season, which left little time for the grind of injuries and second winds to come into play. And that is where Los Angeles tends to stumble. In October. The cost of getting all of those wins, of racing to be the first to break 100, takes a bitter toll on that prodigious bullpen.
The Dodgers will be the team to beat all season, of that there is no doubt. But come autumn and they will surprise more than just this writer if they are still holding that top spot.
3. Atlanta Braves
Atlanta is a bona-fide contender. They were on the wrong side of the Phillies’ Cinderella Story this season, but through the long haul, they have many of the same strengths as the Dodgers. Their pitching rotation is one of the best in the league, and they have picked up young talent at below market value thanks in large part to their outstanding farm system.
With five consecutive NL East titles, they are the biggest threat to Los Angeles for the pennant, and even if they wind up losing Dansby Swanson in free agency, they have the pockets deep enough to replace him with a like-for-like player. There is more than a tiny chance that they could pick up ex-Vandy player and Florida native Trea Turner.
4. New York Yankees
For all of the problems that the Yankees have, and they are legion, they still field a formidable side. Focused on not losing the booming bat of Aaron Judge, they may let Anthony Rizzo slip through their fingers. But even if they do, the punch that the pinstripes pack will still be enough to knock out most of the American League.
Their bullpen will need to be addressed and much hinges on how they make out in the free agency negotiations, but even if they lose all of their big cannons, there is little chance that they will not be at or near the playoffs come August.
5. Philadelphia Phillies
On the other side of that coin sits the Philadelphia Phillies. A team who bore all the hallmarks of “rebuilding” back in June, they managed to become a rising power in just three short months. Their offense is formidable, and may just get stronger in the next few weeks.
Jean Segura is headed to free agency and one possible outcome is that they make a hard play for Trea Turner, who can play short or second, which would give the Phillies one of the best middle infields in the game and a top five batting order that would be almost unparalleled.
Their bullpen is unreal and with the addition of a starter or middle reliever, perhaps Will Smith, who was released by Houston, they could be in for a comfortable run at the NL East.
The rest of the best
Rounding out the top ten are:
6. San Diego Padres
7. New York Mets
8. St Louis Cardinals
9. Seattle Mariners
10. Toronto Blue Jays
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