We’ve already taken a look at our picks for the best rotations in Major League Baseball entering the 2023 season. Now, let’s move on to the lineups. Many of the league’s best teams from 2022 made tweaks throughout the offseason, but which teams have the best groups now that the winter is over? Let’s take a look at our top five, starting with a team that won 101 games last year.
We start off with the New York Mets, a team that can run out an on-base machine in Brandon Nimmo at the top and a middle-of-the-lineup that includes Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor. The Amazins boast impressive depth, as reigning NL batting champ Jeff McNeil, Mark Canha, Starling Marte, and Eduardo Escobar can do damage as well.
Sure, the Mets lineup would be deeper — and better — with Carlos Correa. Nonetheless, New York should be just fine at the plate in 2023. The folks from Queens bring back a lineup that finished second in team batting average (.259) and OBP (.332) in 2022.
Despite the loss of Dansby Swanson this past winter, the Braves lineup should be just fine. Atlanta added Sean Murphy to the lineup, who led all catchers in extra base hits (57) last season. Murphy joins a lineup that already includes Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, and Ronald Acuña Jr., all of whom made our best second base, third base, and right field lists earlier in the winter.
The Braves hit 243 home runs in 2022, second-most behind the Yankees (254). Not to mention, Atlanta led the league in SLG (.442) — not much of a shock given the pop present in Atlanta’s lineup.
3. Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays finished first in the Majors last year in xBA (.257), and in the top three in both OBP (.329) and SLG (.431). That didn’t happen by chance, as the Jays were a dominant offensive team thanks to the likes of George Springer, Alejandro Kirk, Bo Bichette, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. What might be scarier for AL pitching staffs is that the Jays lineup actually looks better this season, as Toronto added left-handed mashers Daulton Varsho and Brandon Belt in the offseason.
Toronto hit 200 home runs as a team last year, a figure that ranked as the seventh-best in all of baseball. Could the Jays eclipse that marker in 2023? It’s very possible.
The defending NL champions put up strong offensive numbers in the regular season, as Philadelphia ranked in the top ten in batting average (.253), OBP (.317), and SLG (.422). The Phillies will have sluggers Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, and Nick Castellanos back for 2023, as well as star catcher J.T. Realmuto. On top of those names, Trea Turner is set to be the leadoff man for the Phillies. Arguably the best hitter at the shortstop position, the addition of Turner may only increase the amount of runs and run scoring opportunities the Phillies will have in 2023.
We can’t have a discussion about the Phillies lineup with Bryce Harper. The star OF/DH will be out until July due to elbow surgery, but this lineup could be quite the show once the 30-year-old comes back this summer in Philly.
The top team on our list is the defending World Series champions. The 2022 Astros featured a dangerous middle-of-the-lineup that included slugger Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Alex Bregman. All three are back for 2023, but there is a new face that may make the Astros lineup even more dangerous. First baseman José Abreu, a former AL MVP, will join the Astros for 2023. Abreu has been one of the game’s more dangerous hitters since his debut back in 2014. Just in the last three seasons, the 36-year-old ranked in the top 20 in both OBP (.367) and extra base hits (151).