Ten years ago, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series a year after finishing last in the American League East. So it can happen. There is hope for everyone.
Why do we mention this? With six teams finishing last in 2022, teams that could have gone wrong have gone wrong. And while winning a World Series like the ’13 Red Sox might be the trigger, the nice thing about finishing last is that, as the saying goes: there’s nowhere to go but up. Just finishing fourth is an improvement for these six teams.
So, is it likely to go from bottom to top in 2023? That’s probably at least one man’s guess.
1. Kansas City Royals
2022 Record: 65-97
Considering how much the Tigers’ 2022 championship went wrong, it’s a bit surprising to remember that the Royals were, in fact, worse (by one game). This led to the decks being removed in Off Season: Team Now He has a new manager (Matt Quattraro), a New Head of Baseball Operations (JJ Picollo) and a whole new direction.
There is reason for some hope here. Neither the show nor the lineup is particularly overwhelming, but there is still talent to be had, especially in this lineup. Many teams would be happy to pencil in entrants MJ Melendez, Vinnie Pasquantino, and Bobby Witt Jr. every day. It’s this last name, Witt, that’s the most exciting: a talent like his has the potential to explode into stardom at a moment’s notice. The Royals are likely two years away from competing for the division title, but given that the AL Central lacks a juggernaut, they are a club to watch in 2023.
2. Boston Red Sox
2022 Record: 78-84
Look, there are reasons to hold back for the Red Sox this year. They lost Xander Bogaerts. Trevor Story may miss most, if not all, of the season Recovering from elbow surgery. Chris Sale hasn’t had more than 43 runs since 2019. The rest of that division is stacked up.
But all that said: If you were to make an All-Star team composed solely of players on the six last-place teams in ’22, you could make a strong argument that half the players would be the Red Sox. at least. Nobody on any of these teams is as good as Rafael Devers, and despite Bogaerts’ frustration, they’ve brought in veteran players like Corey Kloper, Nick Pivita, Chris Martin, Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner, Adam Duvall this winterNot to mention curiosity Add Masataka Yoshida from Japan. The other four teams in the AL East should be fine, but the Red Sox, despite the narrative surrounding them, may be a little better than people think.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates
2022 Record: 62-100
For what it’s worth: The Pirates and Reds, in fact link For last place in the NL Central last season. (But the Pirates had a much worse run differential, so we’re putting them here.) Brian Reynolds could potentially be a former Pirate any moment now, and I don’t think anyone has any illusions that Pittsburgh is going to run a World Series anytime soon. But they can get confused in 2023, especially in the second half, when some excellent prospects begin to emerge. And look no further than the emotional factor of Having Andrew McCutcheonnot to mention the strengthening in the field: he’s still a good hitter (especially against lefties), after all.
Much of this may depend on what Oneil Cruz turns out to be: He’s an otherworldly talent, albeit one not always able to translate that talent into on-field success. But you look around, and you kind of wonder if the Buccaneers don’t have the potential to be more of an annoyance to opposing teams than you might immediately expect.
4. Colorado Rockies
2022 Record: 68-94
Historically, the Rockies marched to the beat of their own drummer. Sometimes it pays off, as with the 2007 World Series, or their 91-win season in ’18. It’s just whimsical and imaginative enough to be tougher to come off than you’d expect, especially on this soccer field, which has vexed franchises for decades but tends to irk opponents even more. (As usual, the Rockies already had a winning record at Coors Field in ’22, but they went 27-54 on the road.)
If Kris Bryant is healthy—and that’s a big problem—this offense is deeper than it’s been in the past couple of years, and the rotation is stable, especially since they’ve avoided any temptation to trade in any stalwarts in the past few years. They probably didn’t catch the Dodgers or Padres, and the Giants and intriguing D-backs seem to be out of their grasp, too. But the Rockies never do what you think they will. stay tuned.
5. Washington Nationals
2022 Record: 55-107
Finally, the Nationals are undergoing a long overdue rebuild, and all that said, they certainly look like they did well with the Juan Soto trade. (CJ Abrams could turn into a superstar here, and Robert Hassell III could arrive sooner than we think.) There’s also Keibert Ruiz, who came from the Dodgers in the 2021 Max Scherzer trade, and is something of a catcher who’s in the process of making some All-Star games. . All that said, there is still some time.
6. Oakland A
2022 Record: 60-102
The American League West will be in a dogfight this year. Your Astros are World Series champions. You have the sexy and rising sailors. You have the Rangers, who are spending money left and right to bring the team back into respectability. And you have the Angels, who do their best to support Mike Trout and Shuhei Ohtani, two of the best players in baseball. Then you have the A’s, who have traded away from most of their well known players and will offer everyone who is not a newbie the opportunity to make future trades.