We're just past the quarter mark of the 2023 season, and that means it's time to hand out some team grades based on what's unfolded thus far.
This is no way predictive and the grades assigned aren't meant to suggest that a given team will continue playing as they have thus far. Broadly speaking, these grades reflect performance to date in the context of preseason expectations. Exceed expectations, and you'll get high marks. Fall well short of them, and you'll get branded with a D or F. You know how this works.
Fully outfitted in schoolmarm's garb, let us proceed.
|Grade: A. Losers of 110 games in 2021, the D-Backs' rise to relevance from such depths continues. They're within range of the mighty Dodgers in the NL West and currently in the top wild-card position in the NL.
|Grade: A. The juggernaut Braves are well on their way to a sixth straight division title, and right now they boast the NL's top run differential. In related matters, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Sean Murphy have arguably been the top two players in the NL in 2023.
|Grade: A. No thanks to the front office and ownership, who effectively sat out the offseason, the Orioles are off to a strong start in 2023. They're solidly in second place in the brutal AL East and on pace for their first 100-win season since 1980. Adley Rutschman has a case for being the AL's top catcher.
|Grade: B. Coming off a last-place finish in 2022, the Red Sox are above the .500 water line thus far in 2023. That's despite playing the toughest schedule in MLB to date. The pilloried-at-the-time Masataka Yoshida signing has turned out to be a canny one thus far.
|Grade: C. On the one hand, they're ahead of the Cardinals in the standings. On the other hand, they're on pace for a third straight losing season and barely ahead of last year's pace. Dansby Swanson and Cody Bellinger thus far look like wise investments, and Marcus Stroman and Justin Steele have been a formidable rotation front.
|Grade: F. Only having the Royals as AL Central label-mates has spared the Pale Hose from last place in baseball's weakest division. Somehow White Sox second basemen this season have combined for a slash line of .139/.181/.205. Given the state of things in the majors and on the farm, the Sox probably need to pivot to a rebuild leading up to the trade deadline.
|Grade: C. They're not in last place for the moment, so that's something. The offense has been undone by a lack of power, and the team ERA right now is north of 5.00. While young ace Hunter Greene has yet to truly take the next step, he's done enough to maintain his promising long-term outlook.
|Grade: D. Sure, they're in second place, but that qualifies as "damning with faint praise" in the AL Central. The Guards have a run differential that's solidly in negative territory and a losing record. The main offender has been an offense that ranks 14th in the AL in runs scored and last in home runs, total bases, and OPS.
|Grade: C-. Little was expected from Colorado this season, and a bit less than "little" hath been provided. Despite playing home games at a mile above sea level, the Rox offense ranks just 11th in the NL in OBP and ninth in slugging percentage. A fifth straight losing season seems quite unavoidable.
|Grade: B. Detroit right now is in the vicinity of the .500 mark, which is better than expected. As well, they rank third in MLB in strength of schedule thus far. Eduardo Rodriguez's resurgence has been particularly impressive, and he's a name to monitor as we work our way toward tradin' season.
|Grade: C. The Astros are above .500 but in second place. That qualifies as disappointing for a team that won 106 games and the belt and the title last season. Injuries have hit Dusty Baker's club pretty hard so far in 2023, but matters should improve once star second baseman Jose Altuve returns soon.
|Grade: F. In 2023, there's no more stinging indictment of a team than being reasonably close to the A's in the AL standings. So it is with the similarly miserable Royals. In particular, the rotation has been an absolute wasteland. We'll close with something positive and point out that Salvador Perez is still producing at a high level.
|Grade: C+. The Angels at the moment are above the .500 mark, which constitutes progress for a team that hasn't finished with a winning record since 2015. However, they're once again out of playoff position despite once again getting strong production from tandem stars Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.
|Grade: A. It was a quiet offseason for L.A., but that's yet to exact a toll in the standings. Right now, they look bound headlong for an 11th consecutive postseason berth and yet another division title. They're also on pace for what would very likely be their fifth straight 100-win season had the 2020 campaign not been abbreviated because of the pandemic.
|Grade: B. The Marlins are right around the .500 mark, which is better than anticipated. However, they're also lugging around the NL's worst run differential, which drops their grade out of "A" territory. Offseason trade acquisition Luis Arreaz has been tremendous thus far, but reigning NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara has struggled.
|Grade B+. Things are trending in the wrong direction for Craig Counsell and company, and the loss of Brandon Woodruff for a significant chunk of the season is a real blow. Even so, the Brewers for the moment are atop the NL Central standings, and that's the heart of the matter insofar as their quarter-point grade is concerned.
|Grade: B+. On the upside, they're in first place. On the downside, they're in first place in the AL Central. The Twins are the only team in the division with a positive run differential, and it's probably not a coincidence that they're also the only team in the division that actually tried to get better over the winter.
|Grade: D-. We know about the sky-scraping payroll and the similarly lofty World Series aspirations. At this quarter point, though, the Mets are below .500 despite having played one of the weakest schedules in MLB, as measured by opponents' average winning percentage. Core veterans Max Scherzer and Starling Marte have been particularly disappointing.
|Grade: C+. The Yanks are solidly above .500, but they're in fourth place and quite a bit behind the pace-setting Rays. Health concerns in the rotation have hurt them, and the offense is sorely lacking for depth. They remain good bets to make the postseason, but 2023 will be a disappointment if it doesn't yield a spot in the World Series.
|Grade: G. No, "G" is not a grade in a traditional manner of things, but for the A's we need something lower than a rather pedestrian "F." This G is entirely a reflection of ownership's calculated decision to trot out a base humiliation of a roster all to advance the goal of getting a raft of corporate welfare from Las Vegas. Owner John Fisher and his chief enabler, team president Dave Kaval, deserve shame and scorn for as long as they infect the sport. As for the team on the field, with malice aforethought they're on pace for almost 130 losses this season.
|Grade: C-. Honestly, the reigning NL champs probably played a bit over their heads down the stretch last season and into the playoffs. That said, a .500-ish record and a negative run differential are disappointing. Trea Turner, their flagship winter addition, has yet to find his level at the plate. On the upside, Bryce Harper is back, and the rotation has been improving after some severe early struggles.
|Grade: A-. Yes, the shine has definitely been coming off lately after the team's stirring 20-8 start to the season. The Pirates will probably wind up at or near the bottom of the NL Central standings over the long haul, but this is about overall results so far. That they're above .500 one-fourth of the way through the season is indeed a pleasant surprise. It's also good to see Andrew McCutchen's Pittsburgh reunion go swimmingly thus far.
|Grade: F. The Cardinals have undeniably been trending upward of late and are right among the hottest teams in baseball. That said, the depths of their 10-24 start to the season won't be easily overcome, and that current reality informs this grade. Things, however, are looking up as Nolan Arenado and the rotation are improving. It won't be entirely shocking if the Cardinals wind up winning the division, but overall the first quarter of the season has been a major letdown.
|Grade: F. A full season of Juan Soto, the signing of Xander Bogaerts, and the return of Fernando Tatis Jr.? That's a large part of why the Padres on paper looked stronger than even the Dodgers coming into the season. Right now, though, they're below .500 and closer in the standings to the last-place Rockies than the second-place Diamondbacks.
|Grade: C. The least interesting non-terrible team in baseball? Yes, it says here. As expected, the Giants are not good without being, you know, terrible. They'll very likely finish ahead of the Rockies in the NL West but behind everyone else, which is about what everyone thought would happen. LaMonte Wade Jr. has been outstanding thus far. With that, we have run out of things to say about the 2023 Giants.
|Grade: C+. Coming off their first playoff berth in more than two decades, the M's have been a bit slow to launch in 2023. That said, they haven't buried themselves in the standings, and their run differential suggests they've been a bit unlucky to date. At this writing, the Seattle staff boasts the lowest ERA in all of baseball. And they also have a soaringly beautiful team-name anagram.
|Grade: A+. While a rotation waylaid by injuries raises concerns moving forward, the present reality is that the Rays are on pace for 120 wins this season. Wander Franco is looking like he's ready to take the next step toward (super)stardom.
|Grade: A. The Rangers' front office did a canny job of addressing the team's rotation needs this past offseason, even if they did so in a high-risk fashion. Bruce Bochy's club is in first place despite the fact that injuries have limited the contributions of Jacob deGrom and Corey Seager.
|Grade: B. Even though they've played the healthy majority of their games to date on the road, the Jays are solidly above .500 and doing their best to remain within range of the Rays. On the downside, the catching position has been surprising weak spot to date, at least offensively. Alek Manoah and George Springer have yet to find their levels. All that said, a second straight trip to the playoffs seems likely.
|Grade: B-. Yes, the stripped-down Nats are in last place in the NL East and on pace for 91 losses. However, they looked every bit like a 100-loss team coming into their first full season of the post-Juan Soto era. In that context, they've been a bit better than expected.