Major League Baseball’s top contenders
As we approach the official season’s start, reviewing rule changes and preseason is key
The Major League Baseball (MLB) season is just around the corner. As spring training continues, it will be interesting to see which teams stand out and continue to impress going into the regular season and which teams are able to adapt to the new rule changes within the game.
The MLB starts almost every season with new rule changes, and this year is no exception. The rule change that has started during the preseason included a pitching clock, which has made the pace of the game significantly faster. The preseason statistics have shown that games are now 25 minutes faster, and that there are more singles, stolen bases, and runs being seen in each game.
This all speeds up the game and adds a new dimension to the pace moving forward. It will be interesting to see which teams adapt well to the new rules, and which teams may fall behind due to the increase in speed. In understanding which teams may adapt better, it is important to break down the top teams in the MLB. Here is a breakdown of the top teams going into the regular season.
Last year, the Houston Astros won the World Series after the Philadelphia Phillies took a 2-1 lead in the series. This was the Astros’ second World Series win in six years. However, the Astros 2017 World Series championship has brought much controversy in the past few years, since it was alleged that the Astros cheated by sign sealing during the postseason.
Sign stealing in baseball is considered cheating because the batter will then know the type of pitch being thrown at them. In response to the allegations against the Astros, fans were not the only ones who were upset, as many players from other teams felt anger and frustration towards the Astros. Baseball fans and players still have a bitter taste in their mouth when it comes to the Astros and their World Series wins.
This new reputation has not altered the Astros’ playing abilities or capabilities. However, the Astros have lost some of their key players this offseason. Although the Astros’ roster has been impacted, the roster remains strong in almost all aspects of the game. Their only major concern going into the season is their depth at the pitching position, since injuries and players leaving have plagued the team going into spring training. However, the Astros are still considered the top contender going into the 2023 season.
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees also look strong going into spring training. The Yankees have a strong roster going into the regular season, with a potential battle at shortstop to ensue. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Oswald Peraza, and Anthony Volpe are all contenders for the starting shortstop position going into the regular season. The Yankees have also seen strength in its Minor League players, who have been able to contribute to the team in recent seasons.
Jasson Dominguez is a player the Yankees are keeping an eye on going into the season, and has been a non-roster invitee for the Yankees during the Major League camp. Infielder DJ LeMahieu appears healthy after undergoing surgery in the offseason for a broken bone in his foot that he sustained during the second half of last season. LeMahieu’s health will be an important factor for the Yankees and their depth in the infield. The difficulties for the Yankees positionally will be figuring out who to play in left field, since the options are currently limited. This will add more pressure to Yankee Manager Aaron Boone in determining who will be the most effective in left field.
The Yankees will only be adding two newcomers from last year’s roster, Carlos Rodon and Tommy Kahnle. The few roster changes will help the Yankees stay more consistent since they know the strengths and weaknesses of their teammates going into the season. The New York Yankees are still top contenders for the 2023 season and hope to improve from last year when they lost in the American League Division series 4-0 to the Houston Astros.
New York Mets
The Mets have seen massive moves this offseason, never before seen in Major League Baseball history, as the Mets committed $361 million to winning the World Series. Mets owner Steve Cohen has come out defending the historic spending spree, saying that the idea to spend a lot this offseason was a way to bridge strategy in keeping the organization competitive until the Mets’ Minor League team can develop sustainable and future talent.
When asked about the offseason moves at Clover Park, Cohen said “I made a commitment to the fans. It wasn’t a short-term commitment. When I do something, I don’t do it halfway. When I’m in, I’m all in. I don’t accept mediocrity well. And so, I have a certain high expectation. If it requires me to invest in this club, I’m going to do it.”
The Mets are currently looking for a president to replace Sandy Alderson who is now an advisor to Cohen. One of the Mets’ big moves included the team acquiring pitcher Justin Verlander, who played for the Astros from 2017-2020 and in 2022. The Mets look strong heading into the season, with several superstar players filling the vacancies of several previously key players.
It’s extremely hard to predict the World Series champion in baseball considering that each team plays 162 games a year, 81 at home and 81 away. The risk of long-term player injuries to key players during the season is likely. However, it will be interesting to see how this season plays out. The 2023 Major League Baseball season will begin on March 30 with the San Francisco Giants versus the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves versus the Washington Nationals.