We’re through the first week of the 2023 MLB season, and we have a lot of data to digest. Now that we’ve had a bit of time to sift through the numbers, here are seven numbers that stand out after the first seven days of this season.
It’s been an amazing start to the 2023 season for the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays were the lone team in Major League Baseball to remain undefeated, thanks to a balanced offense and a dominant pitching staff. Shane McClanahan, Jeffrey Springs, Drew Rasmussen, and Zach Eflin all shined during the first week, while Wander Franco, Randy Arozarena, and Yandy Diaz have gotten off to hot starts at the dish.
The Rays are shooting for its third division title in four seasons in 2023. It’s still far too early to crown the Rays as division champions, but a strong start can go a long way.
The New York Mets finished 2022 with the sixth-best team OPS (.744) in Major League Baseball. New York brings back virtually the same group of hitters from last season, but the Mets have gotten off to an auspicious start. After the first week of the 2023 campaign, the Mets own the sixth-worst OPS (.634) and sit 20th in the league in total runs scored (20).
First baseman Pete Alonso cracked three home runs in the team’s first seven games, but five of the team’s regulars are batting .227 or less. New York has not made much hard contact in the early goings, and was stymied by Brewers pitching during Milwaukee’s three-game sweep of the Mets.
For as good as the Rays rotation has been to start 2023, arguably the best pitching staff in the league right now belongs to the Twins. Minnesota’s pitching staff owned the league’s best opposing batting average (.188) and team ERA (1.90). Joe Ryan dominated in first game of the season against the Royals, Kenta Maeda struck out nine in his return to the Majors, and newcomer Pablo Lopez sat at a tie for the fifth-most strikeouts (16) entering play on April 6.
Can Minnesota’s pitching staff keep this up? There’s enough talent for this group to do just that — and the Twins will need all the pitching it can get in order to beat out Cleveland for the AL Central title.
No player in the Majors had a higher OPS than Brewers INF/OF Brian Anderson as of April 6. Anderson torched the Mets over the Brewers’ three-game series against New York this week, as the 29-year-old hit three home runs and drove in nine.
Last season, Anderson hit just eight home runs and posted a .657 OPS over 98 games. So far, the new Brewer seems poised to easily surpass those totals.
We documented on April 4 that stolen bases are up in the Major League Baseball, and that trend continued through the first week as a whole. Through the first seven games in the 2023 MLB season, there have 124 stolen bases across the league. That’s a significant jump from 2022, which saw just 61 stolen bases over the first week.
It’s early, but it is also fair to expect this trend to continue. The bigger bases have made it a little less risky to be thrown out at second or third, making it much easier for players with speed to make use of it.
That’s the exit velocity of the hardest hit ball over the first week of the 2023 season. The culprit? Yankees OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton, who drilled a Ross Striping slider to dead center on April 2.
Thus far, Stanton is hitting .200/.273/.500 with two home runs and four runs batted in.
A lot of attention has been given towards Royals LHP Aroldis Chapman, who has been hitting 102 and 103 with his fastball yet again. However, the hardest thrown baseball thus far in 2023 belongs to Cardinals flamethrower Jordan Hicks. It came on March 30 on a pitch that wound up being a ball to Blue Jays infielder Cavan Biggio.