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Biggest Surprises So Far of the 2023 MLB Season

With the 2023 MLB season approaching the halfway mark, it’s hard to believe where some of the teams are standing at this point. Many teams that were not expected to perform well have been at the top of their respective divisions, and vice versa. Here is a breakdown of some of the biggest surprises of the 2023 MLB season.

Tampa Bay Rays

Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

The Rays are a team that for the past few years has always been projected to compete and finish near the top in their division. However, they usually are overshadowed by the big powerhouse Yankees. They’ve certainly changed that narrative this season. This season, the Rays are at the top of the league in some of the biggest offensive categories. They are leading the league in wins, OPS, slugging percentage, stolen bases, and wins. They currently sit at the top of the AL East with a record of 50-22 and haven’t shown a sign that they are slowing down yet.

Texas Rangers

Photo by AP Photo/Reed Hoffman

Coming into the season, the Rangers were predicted to perform well considering they revamped their lineup and starting rotation. However, they have certainly exceeded expectations. The Rangers have emerged as a serious contender this season. They’ve seemed to pull it together and have balanced their offensive production up and down their lineup. Their lineup is deep, the starting pitching has performed well, and their bullpen has been solid. Currently the Rangers are leading the league in a ton of offensive categories such as hits, batting average, runs batted in, on base percentage, and runs scored. They are currently 3.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros, sitting in first place in the AL West division.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks came into this season with a lot of optimism about their team, especially in regards to their young talent. However, nobody expected big miracles in a division with the Padres and Dodgers. This season, Arizona has overcome some shaky pitching by showing up offensively. The Diamondbacks have seen great production from underrated ace Zac Gallen and Rookie of the Year candidate Corbin Carroll. Arizona currently sits in first place in the NL West division with a two game lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Baltimore Orioles

Photo by Julio Cortez/AP Photo

Entering the 2023 season, the Orioles didn’t have the highest expectations. Competing in a division with the Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays was always going to be a roadblock for the O’s. However, with their young talent and excellent bullpen, the O’s have had no problem rising up throughout these first three months of the season. The Orioles making their way onto this list is nothing new for them. Last year, the Orioles were the league’s biggest surprise and so far they are exceeding expectations once again. Relying on their young talent to make major strides has clearly worked so far this season as the O’s are sitting in second place in the stacked AL East division, only 5 games behind the juggernaut Tampa Bay Rays.

St. Louis Cardinals

Photo by Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the 2023 season, expectations were set very high for St. Louis. With reigning MVP Paul Goldschmidt and all-star players Nolan Arenado and Willson Contreras seeing significant regressions in their hitting, the Cardinals have not seen much production in their lineup. The pitching staff has also seen struggles in preventing run scoring and maintaining leads in their games. The defending NL Central champs currently sport a 27-42 record and sit in last place of their respective division.

New York Mets

Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The Mets sky-high payroll surely meant they would be at the top of their division once again, right? Describing the Mets as one of the league’s most disappointing teams so far is fair to say. Their slow start this season has many factors behind it. Injuries have hampered their depth as well as abysmal offensive production from some of their top performers last season. On top of all of that, the team’s aces Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander have struggled mightily as well. The Mets have fallen back 10.5 games behind the first place Atlanta Braves, with a 32-36 record to show for it.

With everything that has occurred so far, I think it’s safe to say that the season has not gone the way anyone could have anticipated so far.

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