2023 MLB Season Biggest Surprises

2023 MLB Season Biggest Surprises

We are about six weeks into the season, so that means it’s time to absolutely overreact to the best and worst performances of the short campaign thus far. Whether it be teams that are overachieving, players that have burst onto the scene, or maybe even certain rules that are more popular than we expected them to be, it’s been a fun start to the season. Here are the biggest surprises thus far this MLB season.

Pittsburgh Pirates

What?? Yes, you are reading this correctly. After losing 100 games last season they are battling for first place in the NL Central. They’ve been so good that they were able to sign Bryan Reynolds, who was disgruntled this offseason and wanted a trade, to a massive contract extension where the financials actually lean in the team’s favor.

Andrew McCutchen returned to the place where he began his career, and he has shown off for the home crowd by hitting six home runs and five doubles thus far. This is a really fun, young group that will be a menace for the next few years if they can keep the roster intact.

Texas Rangers

Sometimes you just need a great manager to get you back on the right track and Bruce Bochy has provided that for Texas who is in first place in the AL West. Their offseason additions from the last few years have been paying off, even if Jacob deGrom is back on the IL

Jonah Heim is emerging as one of the best catchers in the league, currently hitting over .300 with six home runs and 27 RBIs as of this writing. At just 27-years-old, the Rangers clearly have a player they can build around. Rangers fans can breathe a sigh of relief now that Marcus Semien is performing at the level they expected him to after he received his massive contract. He has begun the year by hitting .286 with five home runs and 28 RBIs. With Nathan Eovaldi going into “Nasty Nate” mode for each start, the Rangers are in a great position.

Luis Arraez

Maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised by this because he was great last season, but Arraez is batting over .400 right now and while the Twins are in first place, maybe they regret trading him to Miami. The Marlins haven’t been great, but this guy has been such a bright spot for a struggling organization that you just pray they don’t mess this up. He has a .463 on-base-percentage which is mind-boggling.

The Rule Changes

I never thought I would say it, but I have actually been pleasantly surprised by the MLB rule changes. Through the first three weeks of the season, here is how the game times broke down as compared to the last two years:

  • 2021: 3 hours, 10 minutes
  • 2022: 3 hours, 4 minutes
  • 2023: 2 hours, 37 minutes

That’s a pretty noticeable difference when you also see that there are more stolen bases, more hits and more runs being scored which is making the game more exciting.