|Daulton Varsho - CF||Mike Yastrzemski - CF|
|Carson Kelly - C||Wilmer Flores - 1B|
|Jake McCarthy - RF||J.D. Davis - DH|
|Christian Walker - 1B||Joc Pederson - LF|
|Josh Rojas - 2B||Evan Longoria - 3B|
|Pavin Smith - DH||Brandon Crawford - SS|
|Corbin Carroll - LF||Thairo Estrada - 2B|
|Sergio Alcantara - 3B||LaMonte Wade - RF|
|Geraldo Perdomo - SS||Joey Bart - C|
|Zach Davies - RHP||Sean Hjelle - RHP|
The Arizona Diamondbacks made the following roster moves:
- Selected INF Jake Hager (No. 16) from Triple-A Reno.
- Placed INF Emmanuel Rivera on the 10-day injured list (fractured left wrist).
With four games left, here are the big winners and lovers in terms of win totals, between last year and this.
- Baltimore: +30
- Arizona: +21
- New York (NL): +21
- Cincinnati: -23
- San Francisco: -28
- Oakland: -30
It's no surprise to see the Orioles and D-backs at the top. It's a lot easier to improve from 110 losses, because almost the only way to go from there is up. On that basis, the Mets may be the most impressive uptick, since they were at 77 wins last year. They could win a hundred games in 2022... and still not lead their division, sitting one behind the Braves right now. At the other end, the drop-off by the Giants is among the worst by a 100-win team in history. Between that and the A's, not a good year for Northern California fans. They are also still living in Northern California.
But I want to look a bit more at the Orioles, since they were our cellar-mates in misery last season. They did a better job of bouncing back, staying in post-season contention until October. How did they do it? And are there any lessons the D-backs can learn from them? To start with the first, the improvement was mostly on the pitching side. While Baltimore's runs scored per game ticked up from 4.07 to 4.20, their runs allowed were cut by more than one and a half, from 5.90 to 4.26. The rotation was largely rebuilt: the four most regular starters last year (96 starts) made just three in 2022. Dean Kremer improved massively, getting support from Austin Voth.
However, the real improvement was the bullpen, who went from worst (‐8.0 WAA) in the American League to first (+4.1). They turned failed starter Jorge Lopez (3-14, 6.07 ERA in 2021) into a lock-down, All-Star closer. He had a 1.68 ERA, before being flipped at the deadline to the Twins for four prospects. Rookie Felix Bautista took the job over, and had a 2.19 ERA. All told though, let's compare Baltimore and Arizona relief corps in a few key metrics:
- Record: 40-28 vs. 29-39
- ERA: 3.52, 9th vs. 4.60, 25th
- fWAR: 4.4, 10th vs. -0.5, 30th
- WP: +534%, 7th vs. -552%, 29th
Basically, the 2022 Orioles are the 2022 D-backs with a decent bullpen. Now, it's worth noting that both teams will be watching the playoffs this year, and will finish fourth in their division. [A wild-card spot seems the most likely route into the post-season for them in the near future] Both have Top 5 farm systems, per mlb.com. But a big difference is that the Orioles have almost no money committed: their biggest guarantee for 2023 is John Means's $2.98 million. If they want to make some big signings this winter, they certainly could. It will be interesting to compare the two teams going forward and see how their respective rebuilds go. Might be worth a small investment in a parlay of Arizona and Baltimore making the post-season in 2023.