Red Sox vs D-backs

The 2023 baseball season is inching closer, but first we must celebrate Spring Training. The offseason has been a fun one, with plenty of megadeals, and we will have the World Baseball Classic in March. 

Here’s the complete lowdown on who’s coming to the Valley for Spring Training.

Arizona Diamondbacks: 2022 record — 74-88

The Arizona Diamondbacks have been trending in the right direction. They turned a 2021 52-110 season into a more respectable 74-88 record in 2022. The team boasts some of the brightest youth in the game, and 2023 could be the year the D-backs see results from their young core.

Leading the pack is the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball, Corbin Carroll. The outfielder entered the league at the back half of the 2022 season and became an instant star in the Valley. His lightning speed, combined with an electric bat and glove combination, makes him the perfect storm for the D-Backs to build around. (See related D-backs feature.)

Chicago Cubs: 2022 record — 74-88

After a mediocre 2022 season finishing with a 74-88 season, the Cubs made a plethora of offseason moves to spring back to 2016 World Series form. They brought in stars like Dansby Swanson from the Atlanta Braves and former MVP Cody Bellinger from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Filling in the depth are players like New York Yankees pitcher Jameson Taillon, Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles designated hitter and first baseman Trey Mancini, Boston Red Sox first baseman Eric Hosmer and Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Brad Boxberger.

The key loss for the team was three-time all-star catcher Willson Contreras, who signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in free agency. The team has lightly addressed the issue with former Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart. A career .245 batting average player, Barnhart will look to bridge the gap for the Cubs on their return to success. 

Chicago White Sox: 2022 record — 81-81

Derailed by injuries in 2022, the team drastically underperformed their preseason projections of 89 wins, finishing at 81-81. They had World Series hopes just one year ago, so they’re hoping to get the train back on the tracks this year. 

In the offseason, the White Sox remained fairly dormant. However, they brought in players who could make an impact: former Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees outfielder Andrew Benintendi and San Diego Padres pitcher Mike Clevinger. 

The team is star-studded when it is healthy. Players to watch out for are Luis Robert, Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez, who are all proven benefits to the team. In the predicted starting rotation, the White Sox have morphed into one of the best in the league: Dylan Cease, Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Mike Clevinger and Michael Kopech.

The team did, unfortunately, lose one of its biggest pieces. Star closer Liam Hendriks was diagnosed with cancer and will likely miss most of the season. That weight will fall on the hands of Kendall Graveman, who the White Sox acquired last season from the Seattle Mariners.

The team also lost a former MVP and their face of the franchise, Jose Abreu, to the World Champion Houston Astros. Gavin Sheets, Andrew Vaughn and Benintendi are expected to pick up the slack.

Cincinnati Reds: 2022 record — 62-100

The Cincinnati Reds are coming off a dismal 2022, finishing the year at 62-100. Rebuilding, the team is anchored by a young core and hoping for breakout players to come out of Spring Training.

The Reds offseason offered some help for the young core, bringing in the San Diego Padres’ Wil Myers, Seattle Mariners catcher Curt Casali and Cleveland Guardians catcher Luke Maile. 

The focus is offensive improvement. The team batted .235 last year and struck out more than 1,400 times. It could be sparked by up-and-comers, like top 10 prospect infielder Elly De La Cruz. If he has a good Spring Training, he could crack the opening day roster, bringing in a .285 batting average to the roster. Another infielder to watch is the No. 29 prospect in baseball, Noelvi Marte, who brings in help in the average and power departments. 

Cleveland Guardians: 2022 record — 92-70

The Guardians were the surprise of the American League in 2022, as they outperformed preseason expectations and clinched the top spot in the AL Central with a 92-70 record. The team pushed into the American League Division Series, after sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays, 2-0, in the Wild Card round. They gave the New York Yankees all they could handle, losing the series 3-2. 

The team is littered with talent across the board but anchored by a solid pitching rotation. Headed by former Cy Young winner Shane Bieber, the rotation is well-rounded with names like Triston McKenzie, Cal Quantrill, Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac. The group was one of the tops in the league, with a 3.47 ERA on the year.

The offense is almost just as talented, as they cashed in on breakout players, outfielders Steven Kwan and Oscar Gonzalez, two young players who contributed heavily in 2022. Led by perennial star third baseman Jose Ramirez, the Guardians added ex-Washington National and San Diego Padres first baseman Josh Bell and former Tampa Bay Rays all-star catcher Mike Zunino.

Colorado Rockies: 2022 record — 68-94

The Colorado Rockies are coming off of a disappointing 2022, finishing the season at 68-94, placing them in dead last of the National League West. The roster has a couple solid players, but the lineup is far from complete. This year, they’ll try to crack a .500 record. 

The team added depth to its pitching, after ranking last in ERA as a staff. They allowed more than five runs per game on average. New faces include Pierce Johnson from the San Diego Padres and Connor Seabold from the Boston Red Sox. 

The offense was the bright spot for the Rockies in 2022, though, as they ranked in the top half of the league in team OPS. They must rely heavily on players like Kris Bryant, Ryan McMahon, C.J. Cron, Charlie Blackmon and Brendan Rodgers to repeat their success last year to have a chance to crack the .500 mark on the season. Young star Ezequiel Tovar could be a name to look for in 2023.

They also lost key pieces to their limited success last year, including pitchers Alex Colomé, Carlos Estevez, Chad Kuhl and Chad Smith as well as three key role players in Garrett Hampson, Sam Hilliard and Connor Joe.

Kansas City Royals: 2022 record — 65-97

After ending the year at the bottom of the American League Central with a 65-97 record, the Kansas City Royals roster doesn’t look like it will be contending in 2023. They are anchored by a very young core of blossoming stars, however.

The aforementioned young stars the Royals boast are shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., designated hitter MJ Melendez and first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino, who all had great seasons in 2022 and are primed to continue it in the new year. They are vital to the organization if the Royals plan to contend.

The Royals did lose stars of their own. They traded career Royal and fan favorite Whit Merrifield to the Toronto Blue Jays. Michael Massey must perform in the wake of Merrifield’s absence. 

The Royals’ biggest hole is in their pitching, though, as they ranked in the bottom five in the league in staff ERA. Led by young star Brady Singer, the rotation doesn’t provide much help. Bringing in Ryan Yarbrough from the Tampa Bay Rays, as well as the combination of the aging Jordan Lyles and Zack Greinke, the rotation still lacks any consistency. 

Los Angeles Angels: 2022 record — 73-89

The Los Angeles Angels started the 2022 season hot, but limped their way to a disappointing 73-89 record after loads of preseason hype. This year could be different for the Halos through a plethora of offseason moves.

2022 was outlined by injuries, so Angels general manager Perry Minasian built the right foundation in anticipation of this season. Among those added to the team are pitchers Tyler Anderson from the Los Angeles Dodgers and Carlos Estevez from the Colorado Rockies. Anderson will join a rotation that was among the top 10 in the league in staff ERA, and Estevez will be a key piece in the Angels’ bullpen.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Angels added infielder Gio Urshela from the Minnesota Twins, Hunter Renfroe from the Milwaukee Brewers and Brandon Drury from the San Diego Padres. Couple them with a lineup that consists of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, the result could be magical. 

Offseason drama was twofold. The Angels organization was posted for sale by owner Arte Moreno, but he later changed his mind. The other is the impending extension of Ohtani. 

Los Angeles Dodgers: 2022 record — 111-51

The Dodgers are coming off yet another season in which the team’s fans are beginning to know all too well — a stellar regular season, but nothing to show for in the playoffs. 

They won the National League West title with a franchise-record 111 games but fell in four games to the San Diego Padres.

The “Boys in Blue” have question marks looming for a team that has won nine out of the last 10 National League West Division titles.

Most notably, the team lost star shortstop Trea Turner in the offseason, after he opted to sign an 11-year/$300 million contract with the National League-champion Philadelphia Phillies. 

The team also lost starting pitchers Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney to the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers, respectively. The Dodgers also lost bullpen contributors Craig Kimbrel, Chris Martin and Tommy Kahnle to free agency. 

Perhaps the most morale-crushing loss — for both the team and its fans — was losing All-Star third baseman Justin Turner and 2017 Rookie of the Year and 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger. The Dodgers declined their club options for 2023 and the two signed with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, respectively.

To fill the hole at shortstop, the Dodgers traded for Miguel Rojas from the Miami Marlins. Rojas, who came up with Los Angeles in 2014, struggled at the plate in 2022, but provides Gold Glove-caliber defense at a premium position. 

Resigning future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw to a one-year deal, a full season of Dustin May and the eventual return of Walker Buehler will keep the rotation afloat. 

Despite losing bullpen pieces, the Dodgers still boast depth in the way of Evan Phillips, Daniel Hudson and Alex Vesia, among others. They also brought in longtime D-backs outfielder David Peralta, who last played for the Tampa Bay Rays at the end of the 2022 season.

A huge question mark for this team heading into the season will be whether Max Muncy and Chris Taylor can bounce back from their down years in 2022. 

Contributions from infielder Gavin Lux and potential Rookie of the Year infielder Miguel Vargas will be important, too.

At the end of the day, the Dodgers still have a star-studded roster, headlined by outfielder Mookie Betts and first baseman Freddie Freeman, so this team will undoubtedly be one of baseball’s best in 2023.

Milwaukee Brewers: 2022 record — 86-76

The Milwaukee Brewers are coming off of a solid season in 2022, finishing the campaign with a 86-76 record and missing the playoffs by one game. 

Their roster has the capability to be playoff contenders next year in a tough National League Central division. 

The Brewers are anchored by a pitching rotation that features three of the league’s premier pitchers in former Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta and Brandon Woodruff, all of which are capable of giving them quality outings three out of every five days. 

On offense, though, the Brewers did shake things up. Hunter Renfroe and Kolten Wong went to the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners via trade, respectively, and lost catcher Omar Narvaez to the free agent market. 

Through their series of trades, the Brewers brought back minor and major league talent, including Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro, and most notably former Atlanta Braves catcher William Contreras in a three-way deal including the Oakland Athletics as well.

They also have young talent that is on the way, in the form of two top 30 prospects: the No. 8 prospect in baseball, Jackson Chourio, and the No. 30 prospect, Sal Frelick, both of whom could be in action in the Cactus League. 

Oakland Athletics: 2022 record — 60-102

The Oakland Athletics were the worst team in baseball in 2022, finishing with a 60-102 record. The team is spiraling out of control currently, without a path back to the playoffs, and with some of their offseason losses, it might be even bleaker for the A’s in 2023.

Oakland’s offseason headline was the loss of one of the better catchers in baseball, Sean Murphy, who was traded to the Atlanta Braves. To add insult to injury, they have had one of the worst offseasons in the league. The A’s fell to the sixth pick in the MLB Lottery from their projected top three pick, didn’t receive enough for Murphy and brought in lackluster players.  

The team only had two “mainstay” hitters in Tony Kemp and Seth Brown, as they were the only players on the roster with over 400 plate appearances, and both were relatively ineffective for the team.

On the flip side, the A’s only had one pitcher who pitched over 100 innings break the 4.00 ERA slot — Cole Irvin, who was traded to the Orioles. 

They’re looking to their top prospects Tyler Soderstrom and Ken Waldichuk to make a difference.

San Diego Padres: 2022 record — 89-73

The San Diego Padres were one of the most electric teams in baseball in 2022. They pushed deep into the playoffs on the back of an 89-73 season, making it into the National League Championship Series, where they fell short to the eventual World Series runners-up, Philadelphia Phillies. 

The team is bound for another successful year with the hopes of another deep playoff push, if all goes according to plan.

The Padres made a splash in free agency, landing former Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, a true game changer for the organization. 

His addition to the already terrific trio of Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and Juan Soto, the star power is off the charts in San Diego. With the depth behind the four stars and if all these players can stay healthy, their offense could become the unstoppable force that will propel them into the World Series.

The pitching group for the Padres is no joke either. Yu Darvish, who recently inked a six-year deal, along with Joe Musgrove and Blake Snell are tough to beat. 

San Francisco Giants: 2022 record — 81-81

Falling from the best team in baseball in 2021, with a 107-55 record, to a flat 81-81 season the San Francisco Giants’ fall from grace has been tough for fans to watch. Missing on key free agents in the offseason, as well as losing key pieces across the board makes the outlook for the Giants a tough one coming into 2023.

It was a roller coaster year for fans and personnel. The main storyline for the Giants was their initial signing of Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa. The megadeal fell through the cracks due to medical issues for Correa, leaving the Giants scrambling in the aftermath. 

The Giants also lost ace pitcher Carlos Rodon, legacy player Brandon Belt, Evan Longoria and Jarlin Garcia, making the offseason bear little to no fruit for San Fran. 

The did try to address other needs in the roster, though, and for the most part succeeded — bringing in outfielder Mitch Haniger from the Seattle Mariners and pitchers Ross Stripling and Sean Manaea from the Toronto Blue Jays and San Diego Padres, respectively. These could be key contributors to their roster.

The pieces that are in place for the Giants are solid contributors. Most notably their young ace, Logan Webb, has been a star in the making over the past few years, compiling an ERA of 2.96 over the past two seasons. He will be backed by Alex Cobb and Alex Wood along with Stripling and Manaea, rounding out an effective rotation. 

The offense is shaky at best, though. They were able to bring back designated hitter Joc Pederson in the offseason, adding him back to the lineup consisting of Mike Yastrzemski, Brandon Crawford, Michael Conforto and Haniger. 

Seattle Mariners: 2022 record — 90-72

The Seattle Mariners broke the curse of their franchise by finally making the playoffs after a 21-year drought. They capped off the 2022 campaign with a 90-72 record and advanced to the American League Division Series after sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays in the Wild Card round. 

The Mariners fell short to the eventual World Series champions, the Houston Astros, 3-0. The Mariners have been knocking on the door for a couple of years in a row, and they have the makings of a roster capable of competing with the best in the game. 

The offseason was plentiful for the Mariners, bringing in Kolten Wong from the Milwaukee Brewers and Teoscar Hernández from the Toronto Blue Jays. These additions will help round out their roster and give them consistency across the board. 

The big story for the Mariners last season was the breakout from young phenom Julio Rodriguez. The AL Rookie of the Year and All-Star is the engine for the Mariners, and the sky is the limit for J-Rod. 

The Mariners rotation has everything they could ask for from a pitching staff. Having veteran leaders like Luis Castillo, acquired last season from the Reds, and former Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, as well as young stars like Logan Gilbert and George Kirby, the Mariners should be stingy in giving up runs. 

The Mariners’ expectations are at a high they haven’t seen since the days of Ken Griffey Jr., and the roster shouldn’t let them down, as they could be contenders in the American League. 

Texas Rangers: 2022 record — 68-94

The Texas Rangers 2022 season was lackluster, to say the least, finishing at 68-94, after signing two of the biggest free agents on the market last year in Corey Seager and Marcus Semien of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Toronto Blue Jays, respectively. The Rangers kept the wallet open this offseason to help them compete in the American League West. 

The free agent signings were fast and furious, and addressed a key need for the team: pitching. They ranked in the bottom 10 in ERA as a staff in 2022, so they wasted no time grabbing the biggest name on the market, former New York Mets pitcher and two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom. Although he has been injured for the past two seasons, when he is on the mound, he is the best pitcher in the sport. Along with deGrom, the Rangers added Andrew Heaney and Jake Odorizzi from the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves, respectively, and re-signed Martin Perez. 

Their offense is shaky at best, though. Aside from the star power of Semien and Seager, the depth of the roster is thin. The Rangers had solid years from Nathaniel Lowe and Adolis Garcia and are banking on them.