What MLB fans of all 30 teams can be thankful for this Thanksgiving: Playoff
A talent-laden outfield. Almost too talent-laden, if that’s possible. Jake McCarthy and Daulton Varsho are established big leaguers, top prospect Corbin Carroll is set to assume an everyday role in 2023, and fellow top prospect Alek Thomas got his feet wet in 2022. There are more outfielders in the high minors too, so much so that the Diamondbacks are expected to trade one or two to address other roster needs this offseason. Point is, the D-Backs have an excellent young core in place in their outfield. It’s the kind of high-end talent contenders are made of.
Signs of progress. The 2022 Orioles were the first team since the 1899 St. Louis Perfectos to post a winning record a year after losing 110 games. Adley Rutschman is already one of the best catchers in baseball, top prospect Gunnar Henderson wowed during his September call up, and top pitching Grayson Rodriguez is poised to make an impact in 2023. After a rebuild that took entirely too long, the O’s are finally a team on the rise.
A full season of Brayan Bello. The Red Sox have not had a homegrown starting pitcher — a player originally signed and drafted by the Red Sox — post even a 2-WAR season since Clay Buchholz in 2015. Bello is poised to end the drought in 2023. The club’s top pitching prospect debuted in July and impressed with his stuff more than his results. Still, he figures to be a member of the Opening Day rotation next year. Upper-90s sinkers and wipeout sliders will take you far in this game.
The pitching pipeline. Arguably the single biggest reason the 2016 Cubs were not the start of a dynasty was the failure to develop pitching. No arms came up through the system to bolster the rotation when Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester started to decline, or to fill out the bullpen. That is no longer the case. Lefty Justin Steele emerged as a keeper in 2022, righty Hayden Wesneski impressed in September, and righty Caleb Kilian should assume a larger role in 2023. The Cubs have gotten the hang of pitcher development now.