2023 MLB season: Five non-playoff teams who could make leap, including Carlos Correa and the Twins
In just a few days, Major League Baseball’s exhibition season will officially begin. This means that we are approaching the moment of spring when forecasters are trying to fill the inner void by making predictions about everything and everything the sport has to offer. This week, we’re trying to find out which teams will change fortunes in the playoffs.
While the new playoff format is still too young to draw conclusions about average annual turnover, we know from the past that this has been a common occurrence. at least three teams drop out of the grid and an average of five teams. There is no guarantee that the case will stand, but until we have more evidence, we will continue to use this as a guideline.
With that in mind, below you’ll find our ranking of the five teams that didn’t make the playoffs last season that we think have the best chance of making it to the field this October. These teams are ranked in order of perceived likelihood, and we’ve included a summary of what happened last year; why this year might be different; and what are the top projection systems (PECOTA baseball avenue, ZiPS by FanGraphs And SportLine) talk about their chances.
1 Minnesota Twins
What happened in 2022: The Twins owned a share of the number one spot in AL Central for over 100 days, including a night in September. They finished 2-8 in their last 10 series on their way to 78 wins and third place.
Reason for optimism in 2023: Carlos Correa makes a surprise comeback after an outstanding first year in Minnesota leading the Twins in OPS+. The rotation, which finished 19th in the ERA last season, should benefit from the addition of Pablo Lopez as well as gaining full years from Tyler Male (trade deadline acquisition) and Kenta Maeda (Tommy John surgery). Speaking of injuries, it’s generally safe to assume that teams that are very lucky (or unlucky) in healthcare are regressing towards the median in this regard. You might argue that Gemini would be an exception—they employ Byron Buxton and Royce Lewis, both prone to time skipping; Also, after this winter, it’s hard to ignore the possibility that Correa’s ankle is giving him problems, but there are many differences between an intact injury log and what they did last season. when they lost to IL with the second most number of days among all clubs.
What projection systems say: AL Central has crowned a new champion in each of the past three years. PECOTA (88 wins, first place) and ZiPS (83, tied for first place) give the Twins a good chance to extend this streak. SportsLine gives Minnesota a 20.7% chance of making the playoffs.
2. Milwaukee Brewers
What happened in 2022: The Brewers have won the most games (86) of any National League team that failed to make the playoffs. This inconvenient truth ended their streak of four consecutive playoff berths, the longest in franchise history. Top manager David Stearns resigned from his position after the season, although his decision to do so was allegedly irrelevant.
Reason for optimism in 2023: The Brewers didn’t see Stearns’ call as a sign to reset. They left shortstop Willie Adams and starters Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burns (although they have since annoyed Burns for a trifling amount of money). They have moved Hunter Renfro and Colten Wong, their highest-scoring hitters last season, and will look to replace them with rookies Jesse Winker and William Contreras. To the Brewers’ credit, they have the potential for internal growth. Young players Bryce Turang and Garrett Mitchell should start the year in the big leagues, and in due course Milwaukee could promote some more quality fielders, including former first-round pick Sal Frelik and top-five prospect Jackson Churio. (Churio is likely to show up late in the season, if at all this year.) The Chicago Cubs have improved this winter, but NL Central still looks like a two-team race.
What projection systems say: PECOTA and ZiPS keep the Brewers in the middle of the race again. In the first they won 88 games, which is good for the division crown; ZiPS predicts 84 wins and second place. SportsLine gives Milwaukee a 52.8% chance of making the playoffs.
3. Los Angeles Angels
What happened in 2022: The Angels missed the playoffs for the eighth year in a row. Moreover, they have yet to win the season by hiring Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.
Reason for optimism in 2023: Well, the Angels keep hiring Ohtani and Trout, which should give them more room than a regular team. General manager Perry Minasian once again spent the winter trying to build a competent supporting cast. This time, that meant adding Hunter Renfro, Brandon Drury and Gio Urshela to the lineup, as well as Tyler Anderson and Carlos Estevez to the pitching team. Will it be enough? This is the eternal question of the franchise, accustomed to answering no. Here’s another reason to think better times are coming: A tried and true statistic is that teams that are particularly good or bad at peer-to-peer usually balance the following year. Last season, the Angels had one of the worst single-run records of any Major, playing as a club with 63 wins in that competition.
What projection systems say: It could be Otani walking season. The Angels won 86 games against PECOTA and finished second in the AL West, while ZiPS predicted 83 wins and third. SportsLine gives Los Angeles a 21.1% chance of making the playoffs.
4 Texas Rangers
What happened in 2022: The Rangers are frustrated with spending money over the winter when they signed two of the best free agents on the market, Cory Seeger and Markus Semien. Namely, Texas finished fourth with a score of 68-94. General manager John Daniels and skipper Chris Woodward were fired.
Reason for optimism in 2023: Rangers have responded to a dismal season with another busy winter. They added Jacob de Grom, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney and Jake Odorizzi and left Martin Perez to improve baseball’s sixth worst rotation. There’s a lot of injury risk between those five pitchers (not to mention John Gray), but the Rangers could have some extra depth in the form of prospects Jack Leiter, Kumar Roker, Cole Wynn and Owen White. Here’s something else to keep in mind: The Rangers were the most unlucky team in the majors last season, winning nine games less than expected. according to BaseRuns by FanGraphs. You would be right in assuming that teams with such bad luck (and this is not always only luck) is a fair bet on winning more games next season.
What projection systems say: The good news is that the Rangers really need to improve significantly. The bad news is that the first postseason outing since 2016 may not be enough for them. In ZiPS they have won 83 games, PECOTA says 78. That’s third or fourth place, depending on your preferred scenario. SportsLine gives Los Angeles a 26.7% chance of making the playoffs.
5. Baltimore Orioles
What happened in 2022: The Orioles hatched a year earlier than expected thanks to a combination of incoming young talent, their ability to identify and empower underappreciated or untapped talent, and the changes they made to the left field wall (“Waltimore”). They have won 83 games, the most since 2016, and finished just a few games away from last wildcard place.
Reason for optimism in 2023: Adli Ratchman and Gunnar Henderson are likely to join more talented youngsters this season, including Grayson Rodriguez and Colton Kauser. At some point in the summer, the Orioles should bring back left starter John Means, which will improve their rotation. Their growth will have to continue with internal funds because they took an indifferent approach to the off-season – adding only Kyle Gibson, Cole Irwin, Adam Frazier and James McCann. However, even if they left the chicken on the bone this winter, it’s hard to break the core they’re building or their aforementioned ability to find members on the cheap.
What projection systems say: In both PECOTA (74 wins) and ZiPS (78 wins), the Orioles took a few steps back to finish in last place. In other words, if we ditched projection systems exclusively for this part, we would have the Boston Red Sox, not the Orioles, as one of those five teams. SportsLine gives Baltimore a 4.4% chance of making the playoffs.