MLB
Updated July 6, 2023
BY Bryan Zarpentine
Reviewed By Alex Murray

Ranking the 10 Worst MLB Teams in 2023

When talking about sports the debates we hear are usually about who the best player or the best team is in any given year, but what about the opposite end of the spectrum? Instead of the best of the best, let’s debate the worst of the worst.

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Since it’s so rare to see discussions about the worst teams in baseball, we thought we’d have one here. Why are these teams so awful? What went sideways for them to end up in the basement of the MLB? Are these tough times part of the process towards improving or a sign of more bad things to come?

The fortunes of MLB teams can change in the blink of an eye thanks to trades and free agent signings, so our list of the worst MLB teams won’t just be the teams with the worst records last season—though that will surely be one of the deciding factors—but the teams we expect to have the toughest time competing in the upcoming 2023 season. So without further ado, here are our rankings for the 10 worst MLB teams for the 2023 campaign.

If you plan on betting on any of these teams, consult our MLB predictions.

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10. Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are one of the biggest names in North American sports, but they were pretty disappointing last season. They finished last in the strong AL East at 78-84 and despite some solid offensive output, they really struggled to keep the opposition off the basepaths. They had the sixth-worst ERA (4.53), allowed the fifth-most hits (1,411), the eighth-most homers (185), and the 10th-most walks (526). 

After losing all-world third baseman Xander Bogaerts to the Padres, Boston bolstered their solid lineup with the big signing of star left fielder Masataka Yoshida as well as Justin Turner, who just turned 38 but still has a ton of life left in his bat. However, they have yet to improve their starting rotation, instead signing solid relievers in Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin. 

9. Arizona Diamondbacks

After a 110-loss season in 2021 that saw the Arizona Diamondbacks go 3-24 in the month of June and lose 17 straight games at one point, their 74-88 record in 2022 was quite the improvement. But when you’re the worst team in the league, it usually takes a few seasons to get back into playoff contention, and we’d expect that to be true for Arizona too. They struggled to stay above .500 all year, only getting as far as three games above .500 at the peak of their season.

The Diamondbacks had an overload of young, quality outfielders going into this offseason, so they sent one, Daulton Varsho, up to the Great White North in exchange for a solid young catcher in Gabriel Moreno and veteran outfielder Lourdes Gurriel. That’s what we call a nice piece of business. The Diamondbacks are likely to have another tough season, but things will be looking up for them very soon.

8. Miami Marlins

The drop in quality is pretty large from here on out. The Miami Marlins were one of the worst hitting teams in the land in 2022, managing just 586 runs all season, which is fewer than every team but the Tigers and the A’s. That’s not the kind of company you want to be keeping at the plate. However, unlike most of the other teams on this list, the Marlins have been somewhat proactive this offseason in fixing their issues.

In January, they went out and traded for infielder/designated hitter Luis Arraez from the Twins. Arraez was the best shortstop at the plate last year in the AL, as evidenced by his Silver Slugger award. The Marlins had the fifth-highest strikeout rate in 2022, so picking up Arraez, who hit .316 and had a ridiculously low 7.1 strikeout rate, should help fix that problem.

Unfortunately, Arraez struggles on defense and does not bring anything to the table in terms of hitting power, which the Marlins desperately need after finishing with the third-lowest slugging percentage (.363) last season. They also had to give up a quality starting pitcher in Pablo Lopez as well as their No. 5 ranked prospect, Jose Salas, to get Arraez. They also signed infielder Jean Segura in December, but they’ll need to bring in a lot more than that to make this team whole.

7. Kansas City Royals

We haven’t really heard a peep from the Kansas City Royals all offseason, which is concerning considering they just wrapped up a 97-loss campaign. That would be a big deal for some franchises, but considering the Royals track record since back-to-back World Series appearances in 2014 and 2015, they have been one of the worst teams in baseball, failing to finish above .500 in seven straight seasons.

That includes two 100-loss seasons in 2018 and 2019, so 2022 doesn’t even seem that bad in comparison. 2022 was pretty brutal in its own right, though. Andrew Benintendi was their only All-Star, and he was sent off to the Yankees before the season was over. There really is a dearth of talent here, especially on the mound, where they finished with a 4.70 ERA on the season, fourth-worst in the MLB.

The numbers paint a picture of a pitching staff with little to no control on their pitches, finishing with the third-fewest strikeouts (1,191) as well as the second-most walks (589). They weren’t anything special at the plate either, finishing 26th with 138 home runs and 24th with 640 runs. They need a lot of help, and they haven’t gone out and gotten it yet this offseason.

6. Colorado Rockies

In nine of their last 11 full seasons, the Colorado Rockies have lost 87 or more games, including a 68-94 record in 2022. This shows that despite making moves to try and rebuild several times over the past decade, they have been unable to build a quality roster. That doesn’t inspire confidence for their future.

The Rockies were actually in the top half of the league in terms of scoring runs in 2022, but their pitching was so atrocious it didn’t even matter. They gave up 873 runs over the season which was the most by a long shot, and they also gave up more hits (1,516) than any team in baseball while allowing the highest batting percentage to opponents (.272). The Rockies staff also threw the second-fewest strikeouts (1,187) while giving up the eighth-most walks (539) and ninth-most homers (184).

Colorado has yet to make any type of major move to address the issues in their pitching staff both with the starting rotation (5.22 ERA, 29th), and the bullpen (4.85 ERA, 30th). There is some hope considering the Rockies can put numbers up on offense, including the seventh-most hits (1,408) in 2022, but without quality pitching it will be another long season for the Rockies.

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5. Oakland Athletics

The highest ranked 100-loss team on our list, the Oakland Athletics have fallen hard and fast since their three playoff appearances from 2018-2020, putting up their first 100+ loss season since 1979. They only had one All-Star (which is the minimum, every team must have at least one) and it was pitcher Paul Blackburn, who wasn’t exactly lighting it up with a 7-6 record and a 4.28 ERA for the season.

They traded one of their best players, catcher Sean Murphy, to the Braves in a three-way deal early in December, and the package they got in return left a little bit to be desired. They received veteran backstop Manny Pina and unproven pitcher Kyle Muller in the deal as well as a few prospects: outfielder Esteury Ruiz and pitchers Freddy Tarnok and Royber Salinas. 

If those three prospects turn into quality everyday major leaguers, it’s a decent deal for the A’s, but if they don’t, it looks pretty bad giving up a player like Murphy who’s likely entering the prime of his career. The A’s only scored 568 runs last season, second-worst in the MLB, and after trading away Murphy, it doesn’t seem like they’ll be much better at the plate this season.

4. Detroit Tigers

When the Detroit Tigers brought in new general manager Scott Harris, many in the fanbase were expecting him to make some big-time moves this offseason. Instead, all he’s done is trade away pitcher Gregory Soto—one of only two Tigers to make the 2022 All-Star Game—for Nick Maton and Matt Vierling. The Tigers seemingly sold low on Soto, as Maton and Vierling are versatile but far from sure things at the plate.

The move gave off a bit of a whiff of desperation, which isn’t surprising considering the state of the team by the end of the 2022 season. They were below .500 for the entire season following their opening day win. They were shutout a whopping 22 times during the campaign and scored the fewest runs in the majors (557). 

They also hit fewer home runs (110) and earned fewer walks (380) than any team in the MLB and were bottom six in hits, doubles, and stolen bases. That shows that they’re not only having trouble hitting for power, but they’re having trouble hitting at all. There isn’t much to look forward to here other than Miguel Cabrera’s swan song. Maybe that can galvanize the team to improve, but it’s doubtful.

3. Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds tied for the third-worst record in baseball at 62-100 last season, the first time since 1982 that they lost 100+ games in a campaign. They had a lot of trouble keeping opponents off the scoreboard in 2022, finishing as one of just five teams to allow 800+ runs and putting up the third-worst ERA in the majors at 4.86.

Despite those struggles, the Reds haven’t made any significant changes to their pitching staff, which means they’re hoping for a couple of guys to turn things around and a couple of prospects to turn into quality players, both of which are far from certainties. Not to mention that with the new schedule rules the Reds will play fewer games against what looks to be a weak NL Central and more games against the AL and its top teams. 

There are a ton of players gone from last season’s roster, including the expensive Mike Moustakas, who was released in January. That can be viewed as a good thing or a bad thing. On the positive side, it means the roster that contributed to the worst season the franchise has seen in the last four decades has largely been dismantled. 

2. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates had the MLB’s third-worst record last year, losing 100+ games for the second straight season. They were also the only team in the majors to score fewer than 600 runs and allow more than 800, which resulted in the second-worst run differential in baseball at -226. Even after an abysmal season like that, the Pirates have not made any significant moves this offseason.

In fact, the biggest news from their offseason dealings so far is the fact that one of their top players, outfielder Bryan Reynolds, asked the team for a trade in December. Whether that happens remains to be seen, but considering the fact that the Pirates are in prime rebuilding mode, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 2021 All-Star shipped out sooner rather than later. That would net the Pirates more quality prospects, which is exactly what they’re looking for right now.

The jury is still out on third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, who signed a massive deal last April but has been hampered by injuries the last two seasons. Despite all the negativity, Pittsburgh has improved their winning percentage for three straight years, so there is a very distant light at the end of the tunnel.

1. Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals were downright awful last season, and we expect that to continue on into 2023. They haven’t had a winning season since their World Series-winning campaign in 2019, and since then, their winning percentage has gone down with each passing season to .340 in 2022, their worst record since the team moved from Montreal to Washington 18 years ago. 

A big reason why we have them atop these dubious rankings is the fact that they’ve made no major moves to bolster their suspect roster so far this offseason. They traded Juan Soto, their only 2022 All-Star and the reigning Home Run Derby champ, in August last season along with thumper Josh Bell which means they’re clearly in the middle of a rebuild. 

They could really use one, because not only did they have the worst record in the MLB last year, but they also scored the fifth-fewest runs (603), allowed the second-most (855), and had the worst run differential in the big leagues (-252). There are some bright spots with the young CJ Abrams-Luis Garcia infield pairing and reliever Hunter Harvey possibly moving into a more secure closer role, but there’s not much else to be excited about here.


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Comments (1)
@rush2112
4/22 9:49 PM
0
The Pirates are 15-7 so please take your head out of your ASS.
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