MLB 2023 End of Year Recap

Rangers Shocked Baseball World To Win First Title

Who Woulda Thunk It…

It would be a fair assessment to say that the 2023 MLB season was a surprising one. From the horrible seasons by the New York Mets, New York Yankees and San Diego Padres to the exciting breakouts of the Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks — as well as the first-ever World Series championship for the Texas Rangers — this past MLB campaign was about as unpredictable as it gets.

Of course, it was not particularly shocking to see the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros have incredible regular seasons but none of those teams did much in the MLB playoffs when teams like the Diamondbacks, Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies took center stage.

There were also tons of incredibly exciting young players who almost immediately went from prospect to superstar, adding even more high-end talent to a league that already seemed to be chock full of star-caliber guys — often with multiple such players on the same MLB team. In terms of a 2023 MLB recap, there’s a lot to cover.

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Stats Geeks, Here You Go!

And, from a statistical perspective, while there was no Aaron Judge home run chase like in 2022, the race to be among the 2023 MLB home run leaders was a fascinating one.

Matt Olson was only +350 to lead the Majors in longballs at the end of June but he wound up comfortably leading the way with 54 home runs, seven ahead of No. 2 Kyle Schwarber, eight ahead of No. 3 Pete Alonso and 10 ahead of No. 4 Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani seemed like a shoo-in — he was +175 in the middle of the summer — until late August, when his power declined and he got hurt.

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Corbin Carroll was the clear NL favorite for the Rookie of the Year pretty much from the start of the season so him winding up with the title felt preordained.

But, the race was much tighter in the AL where the Texas Rangers’ Josh Jung was +175 in June while Masataka Yoshida of the Boston Red Sox was +235 and the Baltimore Orioles’ Gunnar Henderson was +550. Henderson and the Orioles were dominant in the second half of the season in the MLB standings, though, which propelled him to a surprise Rookie of the Year award.

You Knew it All Along

Despite his Los Angeles Angels not contending in the MLB Wild Card standings for much of the season, Ohtani was far and away the only legitimate choice to win the AL’s Most Valuable Player Award.

There wasn’t a ton of suspense there and even less betting value as it was clear that Ohtani should win his second unanimous MVP title, which is exactly what he did.

Next up in the 2023 MLB recap is the NL MVP battle. It was a four-player race — between the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman and Braves’ Matt Olson and Ronald Acuña Jr. — for much of the year until the final two months, when Betts and Acuña Jr. separated themselves from the pack.

Still, in early August, Acuña Jr. was as close to a lock (at -1000) as possible as he was en route to a wild 41-homer, 73-stolen base campaign with Betts (+4000) pretty far behind.

Then, Betts had a month, becoming the third baseball player since 1900 to have a .450+ batting average, 50+ hits, and 10+ home runs in a month (the other two were Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig). With the Dodgers going 24-5 in August to boot, Betts closed the gap significantly and was at even money to win NL MVP at the start of September with Acuña Jr. at -140. But, after Betts cooled off down the stretch and Acuña Jr. kept raking, it became obvious that the Braves’ outfielder deserved his first MVP award.

And This one…

The AL Cy Young race — won by Gerrit Cole unanimously — had been decided for awhile as it was clear that the Yankees’ ace was going to lap the field. The NL race was closer but, by the beginning of September, Blake Snell (-190) had become the definitive favorite ahead of the Chicago Cubs’ Justin Steele (+200) and Spencer Strider (+450).

At the start of the season, not many people expected Snell to pick up his second Cy Young Award in a league with Strider, Zac Gallen, Zack Wheeler, Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom to name a few. Of course, the baseball season has a way of whittling down the field of awards contenders in somewhat-interesting ways.

No 2023 MLB recap would not be complete, however, without acknowledging the team that eventually won it all. In the middle of June, the eventual champion Texas Rangers were only +1400 to take home the Commissioner’s Trophy, behind the division rival Houston Astros (+700).

The Tampa Bay Rays (+550) and New York Yankees (+1200) also had better MLB odds in the AL than the Rangers while the Atlanta Braves (+550) and Los Angeles Dodgers (+600) had better odds in the NL.

And to Think, No Scherzer No deGrom!

Of course, the odds could not have predicted that the Rangers — despite playing roughly .500 baseball for the final four months of the MLB season — would cruise through the first two rounds of the postseason, come back from a 3-2 series deficit in the ALCS against Houston, and get matched up with a talented yet very young Diamondbacks team in the World Series.

Even though they didn’t have Scherzer or deGrom for most of the playoffs, Texas was able to persevere to stun the baseball world.

If you were smart (or fortunate) enough to grab the Rangers at +1400 in June, you’re sitting pretty right now. Yet, cause it’s baseball, don’t expect it to happen quite the same way next season!

For MLB betting news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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