As we head into the final weeks of the 2023 MLB regular season, we can begin to assess the bigger picture for each team and how they fared relative to preseason expectations: Did they do about what we thought they would? Are they surpassing even our highest hopes? Or are they the Mets and Yankees?
On this week’s episode of The Bandwagon, we go team by team and decide whether each MLB squad performed below, at or above the level we were anticipating from them this year. For more insight and discussion on each division, check out the episode below.
New York Yankees: Way below
On Opening Day, the Yankees’ playoff odds were 81.2%. That number is now down to 0.5%. The Yankees are really, really bad.
Boston Red Sox: At
The Sox are OK but frustrating. They’re really good when they play the Yankees, the only team worse than them in the division.
Toronto Blue Jays: Below
The Jays are below everyone’s expectations, unless you expected them to do what they’ve done the past couple of years, which is finish below expectations. Something is off with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and this team has an amazing way of being just a little bit worse than it seems like they should be.
Tampa Bay Rays: Formerly above, now at
They were above expectations, but now that the Orioles are ahead of them, it’s hard to say the Rays are outperforming expectations. The team now has a lot of issues caused by injury and Wander Franco, but as far as how the season has gone overall, it’s still a win.
Baltimore Orioles: Above
Wow, they’re so good! Great job, Orioles. Bad job, team owner John Angelos.
Kansas City Royals: At
The Royals are very bad, as expected. But Bobby Witt Jr. has been amazing and looks like a franchise cornerstone.
Chicago White Sox: Below
Not only is the team bad, but also the vibes are terrible. The AL Central as a whole is truly terrible. Of the five teams, only the White Sox ranked higher than 15th in Opening Day payroll. They’re spending more than the other teams, yet they’re still so bad.
Detroit Tigers: At
The Tigers are also bad, but Tigers fans should keep watching for Miguel Cabrera’s last couple of weeks and for the young guys: Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene, Parker Meadows and Kerry Carpenter. Just don’t get your hopes up about Javy Baez.
Cleveland Guardians: At
They’ve had the same problem for eternity: They have 12 good pitchers and no one who can hit, except for José Ramírez. And they’re trying to solve that by not spending money.
Minnesota Twins: At — or is it below?
The Twins did nothing at the deadline, and their postseason odds have gone up because everybody else has gotten worse. They’re at expectations but in a weird, disappointing way.
Oakland A’s: At
They’re as bad as expected.
Los Angeles Angels: Below
The Angels are extremely below expectations. They were supposed to be good, and they’re not. Then again, it’s pretty much exactly what the Angels do every year. Still, the post-trade-deadline stretch has been brutal.
Seattle Mariners: At or above
They weren’t great in the first three months, but they’ve been on an absolute tear since July 1 and are currently on a seven-game winning streak. And Julio Rodríguez has been doing everything.
Houston Astros: At or below
The Astros are the final boss of baseball; they aren’t meeting expectations unless they are winning the division by a mile. They’ve been really good since they got healthy and might still win the World Series, but they’re probably disappointed by this season so far.
Texas Rangers: Way above
Good for you, Rangers.
Washington Nationals: Above
They’re the last-place team in the division, but they’re overperforming expectations. They have a .600 winning percentage in the second half, and their young prospects are doing well in the minors.
New York Mets: Way, way below
The Mets are a huge disappointment. Francisco Lindor has been excellent, and Pete Alonso has hit a lot of home runs, but otherwise, they are already gearing up for next year.
Miami Marlins: Way above
Why are they good? Pitching. Their rotation is very good, and their deadline moves have worked. The fact that they will be playing meaningful baseball in September is a win.
Philadelphia Phillies: At
The Phillies have been really good lately — or at least in the second half. They are meeting expectations and could probably go further in the postseason than their current position would indicate.
Atlanta Braves: At or above
We expected them to be the best team, and they are the best team. But they might even be overperforming expectations. They are 80-44, 12.5 games up on the Phillies, the biggest division lead in baseball. Watching this regular season, it’s hard to see how a team other than the Braves is going to reach the World Series from the NL.
St. Louis Cardinals: Way below
They’re last and mad at everything. No one wants to watch this team.
Pittsburgh Pirates: At
They are not good, and that’s at expectations. Their early run was fun, but it wasn’t real. They’re also extremely young, and it feels like things are going to get better in Pittsburgh.
Cincinnati Reds: Way above
No one thought the Reds were going to be in contention, and they are seriously playing with house money. Their top prospects from the spring are now just … the lineup, and they are very much in the wild-card hunt. Excellent vibes.
Chicago Cubs: At
They’re good. They came out of nowhere after the deadline, but they were also trying to be good, so that’s at expectations. The Cubs got good at exactly the right time.
Milwaukee Brewers: At
They are leading the division, which is what’s always expected for the Brewers. They are Christian Yelich and a bunch of dudes you can’t name on the offense, and then a really good pitching staff with Devin Williams and some other dudes you’ve never heard of.
Colorado Rockies: At or below
The Rockies are probably worse even than what we imagined. They’re super doomed. They’re going to be terrible for years.
San Diego Padres: Way below
The Padres are shockingly disappointing. They are 17.5 games back in the division and 5.5 games back in the wild-card race, even if their playoff odds have remained tenacious (14%). Everything says this team should be solidly in the wild-card race — everything except their actual record.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Above
They’re only half a game back in the NL wild card. They’re beating everyone’s expectations except Zach’s. Corbin Carroll is a star.
San Francisco Giants: At or above
They currently hold the last wild-card spot, half a game below the Cubs and half a game above the Diamondbacks. We didn’t think we’d need to pay attention to them, but we do.
Los Angeles Dodgers: At or above
They’re really good. Again. That’s as expected because they’re the Dodgers. Then again, this was expected to be a sit-back season for the team, and they’ve dealt with a lot of injuries, yet they’re still in first place.