MLB Power Rankings: What’s the best division in baseball? The Easts reign supreme entering 2023

Spring training continues, and aside from all the injuries, it remains a necessary and fun undertaking that benefits every baseball season. However, we are not going to release weekly official strength rankings based on spring performances. These games do not count and have very little value or impact on the regular season. Instead, we find ways to keep ranking things like offenses, rotation or WBC teams.

This time we won’t even rank the teams. We will focus on each division and rank them. It’s not a division ranking by ballpark (NL West, maybe I got it out of my head?), and it doesn’t matter which divisions I watch the most. No, we will be ranking how strong each division will be in the upcoming season in terms of team strength. Top-down can make a difference, as can having multiple World Series contenders. First of all, it’s just a feeling: in which division would you most/least like your favorite team to play.

Here, too, there is an additional wrinkle. For a long time, MLB used an “unbalanced” schedule. This season it is more even. For full details, we tell you here. To start, let me say that the number of games in the division for each team has been reduced from 76 to 52. The more games outside the division, the bigger the question of which divisions are stronger in the regular season than in past years, especially with three wild cards in every league.

With that in mind, let’s rank the divisions for 2023.

1. American League East

The Boston Red Sox were 52-34 last season when they didn’t have to play a team in their division. This means they played as a 98-win team when they weren’t dealing with their division mates. And yet they finished last. They’re probably a little worse than last season, but they’re not that bad. They’ll probably have better luck this time against their AL East brethren, and now they’re getting fewer of those games, but more out of the division.

Why do I talk so much about the Red Sox? Because most people would call them the worst team in East Alabama before the start of the season, but they’re also probably playoff contenders. Personally, I think the Orioles are the worst team here, but they won 83 games last season and shouldn’t take a big step back.

The thing is, there are no trifles here, and you can argue that there are five contenders for the playoffs. The Yankees, Blue Jays and Rays would be reasonable picks to win the division, which means they wouldn’t be terrible picks to win the AL or even the World Series.

This thing is loaded.

2. National League East

Perhaps the NL East is harder at the top than the AL East. The Braves and Mets won 101 games each last season and look like the two best teams in all of baseball again. The Phillies made it to the World Series and looked better this time, even without Bryce Harper’s half-season. By the end of the year, it is best to assume that there will be three World Series contenders in this division.

Marlins aren’t bad either. They can file a claim and the front office has done their best to find any infringement. You might argue that the Marlins are on par with the Red Sox and/or Orioles. If you were an NL East player, I would see this argument too: Braves/Mets/Phillies > Yankees/Blue Jays/Rays. If you did that, and also wanted the Marlins to hang in the Red Sox and Orioles area, I think you might… oh wait. We are missing something, right?

Yes, the Nationals are really dragging things out here, and this is the main dividing point between the AL and the NL East.

As for the predictably boring “East Coast bias” nonsense that’s sure to come from somewhere: feel free to object to any East being here, but I encourage you to do it on merit, not geography. Good luck.

3. Western National League

This unit has been pretty heavy over the past few years and will probably stay that way. The Padres look like one of the best teams in baseball, and the Dodgers have proven themselves to such an extent that it would be foolish to bet against them. One could argue that this division has the best 1-2 hit in baseball, but that’s not what we’re doing here.

The Rockies look like one of the worst teams in baseball.

The Giants took a huge step back last season, going from an MLB-best 107 wins to 81. However, if you look at their lineup, it looks like they should have lost a lot more games. They just never feel like they have to be as good as their track record says, whether they’re good, bad, or somewhere in between. Somehow they find a way to be relevant. I have no doubt that this will be the case this season as well. At worst, I have them reliably average.

The Diamondbacks remain. I don’t think they will be good. I don’t make them fight for a place in the playoffs. But they are interesting and have a “high-end” potential. Once you get into the fourth team of the Central Division, you can’t say that. I don’t know if the fourth-place D-Backs are good enough for promotion – the Red Sox or Orioles would be a much better choice – but they certainly aren’t a hindrance.

4. American League West

The current Astros champion was my team is #1 in my pre-season strength rankings and I can’t imagine that I would move them a little from that place. They dominated the AL West last year (51-25 head-to-head), but played as a team with 103 wins outside the division. To put it more succinctly: they are amazing and changing the schedule won’t make a difference.

On the other hand, the “A” may be the worst team in baseball.

As for the other three, there is a lot of talent and a lot of questions.

The Mariners had an amazing history last season and may have gotten better. It is possible that a pullback is coming and if we compared them to the NL West, they are far less reliable than the Dodgers or Padres.

Angels are the opposite of Giants. Where we could look at the star power of the Angels and freak out, the Giants just seem boring, you know? And yet, even last year, when the Giants didn’t fare well, they still won 81 games. The Angels were in first place back on May 16 and then fell apart after losing 89 games. I said the Giants are reliably average. There is nothing reliable in angels. When it comes down to it, I’d rather see how the Angels play and they might turn out to be better than the Giants, but if you had to bet your life on one of these teams winning this year, you would definitely take the Giants, right?

I mentioned Rangers earlier. a big plus is that their rotation. This could be the best rotation in baseball, and if everything works at the right time, they could even win the World Series! But they’re already dealing with injuries to just about everyone in the rotation, and the season hasn’t even started yet, which is a melancholy reminder of just how deep this group can go.

In fact, the Rangers are somewhat like the AL West rankings. If anything goes wrong for the Mariners, Angels and Rangers, this division has every chance of being the best in baseball. If anything goes wrong for these three, we’re talking about a division in which the Astros are far from the worst.

In between everything that goes right or wrong lies the fight against the NL West for third place.

5. Central National League

The Reds have a couple of young players who will turn out to be a pair of aces, possibly as early as the second half of this season. The Pirates have Oneil Cruz, and he’s a must-see on TV in just about every game. However, I expect both teams to be among the worst in baseball this year.

This puts the Cubs in third place in that division. Just for comparison with the top two divisions in this ranking, that would put them up against the Rays and the Phillies. Not close, right? I expect the Cubs to do better than they did last year and maybe last a little bit on the playoff fringe, but they’re mostly mediocre.

So, two bad teams and one mediocre team. Let’s move on to the positive!

The Brewers and Cardinals would be good teams. The cardinals have one of the best fouls in baseball while the brewers sports one of the best rotations.

Of course, we should note that last year the Cardinals had 20 games over .500 in the division and 45-41 out of it. The Brewers were 44-42 out of division. Things change from year to year and both of these teams are good but again I think it will affect the overall wins for the whole season with this new schedule. Beating Pirates, Reds and, to a lesser extent, Rookies in a decent amount of games will move the needle.

6. Central American League

The Guardians were out of the division 45-41 last season, but thanks to dominance over AL Central they won 92 games. By no means is four games over .500 a bad number, but they played as a team with 85 wins outside of the division and they won this thing by 11 games. For the millionth time, it’s another year and everything will change, but there hasn’t been a significant enough movement to believe that everything will change. What a lot of.

Looking at the projection systems and just using my vision/intuition test, it would be hard for us to see a team with 90 wins here, and maybe the total number of wins in the mid-80s would take that. Not only that, it seems like there are two terrible teams, and while the White Sox have a lot of potential, their lack of depth makes them think they have a chance of bottoming out.


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