2023 MLB Season: Five Non-Playoff Teams That Could Make The Jump Including Carlos Correa and the Twins

In just a few days, Major League Baseball’s exhibition season will officially begin. That means we’re approaching the point of spring where forecasters are trying to fill the inner void by making predictions about anything and everything esports has to offer. This week we’re trying to figure out which teams will see a turnaround going into the playoffs.

While the new playoff format is too young to draw any conclusions about the average year-over-year turnover rate, we know from the past that this has been common at least Three and an average of five teams fall out of the bracket. There is no guarantee this will continue in the future, but until we have further evidence we will continue to use this as a guide.

With that in mind, below is our ranking of last season’s five non-playoff teams that we think have the best chance of cracking the field in October. These teams are ranked by perceived likelihood, and we’ve included a brief synopsis of what’s happened over the last year; why this year could be different; and what top projection systems (Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA, FanGraphs’ ZiPS, and SportsLine) are saying about their odds.

What happened in 2022: The Twins had a share of the number one spot on AL Central for more than 100 days, including one night in September. They finished their last 10 streaks 2-8 en route to 78 wins and a third place finish.

Reason for optimism in 2023: Carlos Correa is unexpectedly back after a stellar first year in Minnesota leading the Twins in OPS+. A rotation that finished 19th in ERA last season should benefit from the addition of Pablo López and get full years from Tyler Mahle (after-hours acquisition) and Kenta Maeda (Tommy John operation). Speaking of injuries, it’s generally safe to assume that teams that have been extremely lucky (or unlucky) in health will fall back to the mean in this regard. It can be argued that the twins will prove exceptional – they employ Byron Buxton and Royce Lewis, both of whom tend to waste time; Plus, after this winter, it’s hard to ignore the possibility that Correa’s ankle is giving him problems – but there’s plenty of leeway between a spotless injury record and what they did last season, when they had the second most days of any club against the IL have lost .

What projection systems say: AL Central has crowned a different champion in each of the last three years. PECOTA (88 wins, first place) and ZiPS (83, same first place) give the Twins good chances of extending that streak. SportsLine gives Minnesota a 20.7% chance of making the postseason.

What happened in 2022: The Brewers won the most games (86) of any NL team that didn’t make it into the postseason. This inconvenient truth brought her streak of consecutive playoff appearances to four, the longest in franchise history. Top manager David Stearns resigned from his position after the season, although his decision reportedly had nothing to do with it.

Reason for optimism in 2023: The Brewers didn’t see Stearns’ call as a sign to reset. They retained shortstop Willy Adames and starters Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes (although they have since done so angered Burnes over an insignificant sum of money). They’ve moved Hunter Renfroe and Kolten Wong, their most prolific hitters of the last season, and they’ll look to replace their performance with newcomers Jesse Winker and William Contreras. To its credit, Brewers has the capacity for internal growth. Youngsters Brice Turang and Garrett Mitchell should start the year on the big league roster, and in due course Milwaukee could promote a few more high-profile outfielders, including former first-round pick Sal Frelick and top-five contender Jackson Chourio. (Chourio is more of a late-season signing, if anything this year.) The Chicago Cubs have improved this winter, but the NL Central still looks like a two-team race.

What projection systems say: PECOTA and ZiPS once again have the Brewers at the heart of the Central race. The former has seen her win 88 games, good for a divisional crown; ZiPS expects 84 wins and one second place. SportsLine gives Milwaukee a 52.8% chance of making the postseason.

What happened in 2022: The Angels missed the postseason for the eighth straight year. What’s more, they are yet to record a successful season while employing both Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.

Reason for optimism in 2023: Well, the Angels continue to employ Ohtani and Trout, which should give them a wider berth than the regular team. General manager Perry Minasian again spent the winter building a competent supporting cast. This time it meant Hunter Renfroe, Brandon Drury and Gio Urshela were added to the lineup, as well as Tyler Anderson and Carlos Estévez to the pitching staff. Will it be enough? That’s the eternal question for a franchise used to the answer “no.” Here’s another reason to believe in better times: A well-established statistical observation is that teams that do particularly well or poorly in one-run games tend to even themselves out the following year. The Angels had one of the worst records of the majors in one-run games last season, playing as a 63-win club in those competitions.

What projection systems say: This, the hiking season of Ohtani, could be the year. At PECOTA, the Angels win 86 games and finish second in the AL West, while ZiPS forecast 83 wins and a third-place finish. SportsLine gives LA a 21.1% chance of making the postseason.

What happened in 2022: Rangers disappointed after a winter frenzy in which they inked two of the best free agents out there in Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. Texas finished fourth with a 68-94 record. General manager Jon Daniels and skipper Chris Woodward were fired.

Reason for optimism in 2023: Rangers responded to their dismal season with another busy winter. They added Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney and Jake Odorizzi while keeping Martín Pérez to improve on baseball’s sixth-worst rotation. Those five pitchers are at high risk of injury (not to mention Jon Gray), but the Rangers could get added depth in the form of top prospects Jack Leiter, Kumar Rocker, Cole Winn and Owen White. Here’s something else worth keeping an eye on: Rangers were the unluckiest team in the majors last season, winning nine fewer games than expected, according to FanGraphs’ BaseRuns. You’re right to take on teams with this kind of bad luck (and it’s not always the case Only luck) are fair bets to win more games in the following season.

What projection systems say: The good news is that a substantial improvement is indeed expected at Rangers. The bad news is that taking their first postseason trip since 2016 might not be enough for them. ZiPS has them win 83 games, PECOTA says 78. That’s third or fourth place, depending on your preferred scenario. SportsLine gives LA a 26.7% chance of making the postseason.

What happened in 2022: The Orioles hatched a year earlier than expected thanks to a combination of their incoming young talent, their eye for picking and bolstering undervalued or underutilized talent, and the changes they made to the left-field wall (“Waltimore” ) have made. They won 83 games, the most of the franchise since 2016, and finished just a few games short of the final wildcard spot.

Reason for optimism in 2023: Adleyrutschman and Gunnar Henderson are likely to be joined by some more talented youngsters this season, including Grayson Rodriguez and Colton Cowser, among others. The Orioles should get left starter John Means back sometime this summer and improve their rotation. Their growth will continue to have to be internally funded because they’ve taken a rather indifferent approach to the offseason – only adding Kyle Gibson, Cole Irvin, Adam Frazier and James McCann. Still, even if they’ve left chicken on the bone this winter, it’s hard to beat the core they’re building or their aforementioned ability to find contributors cheaply.

What projection systems say: In both PECOTA (74 wins) and ZiPS (78 wins), the Orioles retire and end up in last place. In other words, if we had done without projection systems exclusively for this piece, we would have had the Boston Red Sox – and not the Orioles – as one of those five teams. SportsLine gives Baltimore a 4.4% chance of making the postseason.

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