As we navigate the holiday season, baseball fans can do so with a rare gift already in place. After a frenetic offseason, the heavy lifting of the hot stove campaign is arguably already complete.
That's almost unheard of for a sport that in recent years has seen offseasons move at a glacial pace, but so far, this has been a glorious one. Teams still have work to do. There are still middle-tier free agents to be signed, some of whom will play valuable roles for their new teams. And you never know when a splashy trade can alter the MLB landscape.
Still and all, with the elite free agents all locked up, it's a perfect time to take a snapshot of the league as we head into the rest of the winter.
These numbers here are a rough cut. Underpinning them are the player projections from Steamer, available at Fangraphs.com. I've made tweaks to playing time forecasts on my depth charts in order to compile a basic win projection for each team, which I used as the basis for running 10,000 simulations of the 2023 schedule.
Some quick notes on what you see:
• Teams are ranked by projected wins, or the average wins during the simulations.
• Playoffs and title odds are self explanatory, except ...
• I also ran simulations based on an estimate of how teams rated based on healthy versions of rosters as they stood before the start of free agency. Following the title odds is a number that tells us how much a team's championship chances have gone up or down or not all based on its offseason work to date.
• I've estimated how much impact new acquisitions will have on the 2023 rosters, based on projected playing time. Since the numbers are rough, rather than sharing that calculation, I've simply indicated how a team ranks in terms of offseason "aggression." This measure is as much about quantity as quality. That's because ...
• Teams also lose players. The "improvement" rank considers the net impact a team's offseason machinations have had on its 2023 outlook. This is a rating on the moves alone, not on the team's overall chances to be better, an assessment that should also consider aging patterns, improvement of young players, regression factors, etc.
Here are the top 30 teams in Major League Baseball, as of today.