It’s the time of year when hope springs eternal and everyone is undefeated. For three teams – the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks, there may be a little more hope, as these three teams are poised to increase their win totals over 2022.
Every player gained (or lost) is an incremental change in your team’s chances of winning and baseball is a game where luck plays a huge role.
That combination of talent and luck in the right proportion makes a winning team and can make a difference over a 162-game regular season.
The Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks stand out as candidates for increased win totals in 2023
Here’s a look at three teams that are poised to improve on last year’s win totals.
Not all one-run or extra-inning losses result from “bad luck”. There are elements of luck, of course. Missed calls, bad hops, seeing eye singles and a myriad of other things happen during a baseball game.
On the other hand, bad situational hitting, a shaky bullpen, iffy baserunning and bad managerial decisions can also result in close losses.
The Texas Rangers went 68-94 last season and somehow managed to lose 35 of 50 one-run games and 9 of 15 extra-inning affairs.
It’s not rocket science to say with a little bit better luck the Rangers could find themselves approaching 75 wins this season.
They’ve also added Jake Odorizzi, Andrew Heaney and some guy named Jacob deGrom to their pitching staff, while hiring Bruce Bochy to run the show from the dugout.
There are still holes for sure and no one sees the Rangers as a threat to the Astros in the American League West, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this team ends up closer to 79-83 in 2023.
At one point last season the Yankees were on track to eclipse, or at least approach, the all-time regular season mark of 116 wins by the Seattle Mariners.
Then reality set in, everything fell apart and the homerun or bust lineup turned into bust as the Astros much more pragmatic approach of putting the ball in play (and pitching your brains out) showed to be superior.
Never has a 99-win regular season seemed like more of a failure than the Yankees in 2022, but that’s the price you pay when you’re the Bronx Bombers.
A good bit is gone from last season, at least at the time of this writing. Benintendi, Carpenter, Chapman, Chad Green, Marwin Gonzalez and 14-game winner Jameson Taillon.
Why do I think the Yankees will end up with around 104 wins with the Blue Jays and Rays in their division?
There are fewer division games this season and while that means they’ll see some good teams more often, it also means they’ll play fewer Jays and Rays and more dregs.
I’m also betting they don’t go on an extended slump like in 2022 and Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo are back.
We saw the flaw in the Yankee’s game last post-season, but this projection is for the regular season and I see the Bombers passing the century mark comfortably.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are in the unenviable position of residing in the National League West with the Dodgers, Padres and Giants, so no, they will not suddenly rise up and win the West.
However, they have a decent chance of improving upon their 74 wins from 2022, despite the spending spree of their competition as this is another team that could benefit from playing fewer games in their division.
The Diamondbacks have a core of young players that could bring a haul on the trade market, so a lot depends on how that shakes out, but given what we know at this minute guys like Zac Gallen, Josh Rojas, Christian Walker, Kyle Lewis and Daulton Varsho could be enough to push Arizona to 77 wins, especially since the team went a putrid 17-29 in one-run games in 2022.
Three wins may seem like a modest gain, but let’s face it, when you’re competing against the big-monied teams from California every win counts.
There’s a long way to go to opening day, rosters will change between free agency, trades, and injuries, but given what we know now these teams are primed to increase their regular season win totals in 2023.