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Which MLB Team Has The Best Roster?

Sebastián Vermut

The New York Yankees traded for Juan Soto in December of 2023.

“Best” is a very ambiguous word. In terms of baseball, this could be the best pitching, best hitting, best defense, best on-base percentage (OBP), best batting average, so and and so forth - but in recent years, winning World Series teams have had the best hitting. The 2023 World Series Champions, the Texas Rangers, boasted a lineup with All-Stars Marcus Semein, Corey Seager, Adolis Garcia, Josh Jung, and Jonah Heim. All of these are hitters. The 2022 Houston Astros were superstar-studded with position players such as José Altuve, Kyle Tucker, Framber Váldez, and Yordan Alvarez. This team was aided by All-Star pitcher Justin Verlander, but most of the winning came from their bats. The 2021 Braves had Ozuna, Riley, and Albies, and the 2020 Dodgers had Betts, Seager, Muncy, and May. The point is, even if your pitcher throws a quality start, unless your offense can put numbers up, you will not win. Let’s keep this in mind as we take a look at the top rosters heading into the 2024 season. 

Starting with the obvious favorite, the Los Angeles Dodgers. With the new acquisitions of Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Shohei Ohtani, and Tyler Glasnow, one almost forgets how good they already were. Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Will Smith combined to produce a total of 18.9 wins above replacement (WAR). This means that if you replaced the three of them with average players, the Dodgers, instead of having won 100 games, would have won 80 or 81. A World Series-caliber team to a team that misses the playoffs. Now consider the three additions (not to mention the trio will cost the Dodger over one billion over the next few years): Shohei had 10 WAR in 2023, Glasnow had two, and Yamamoto, although yet to throw a single pitch in the major leagues, is projected to have close to a four pitching WAR. This team is elite in every sense of the word. 

Next, a team that has a lot to prove. The New York Yankees won just 82 games last year. Plagued with injuries, the Yankees had to find some way to replace the star power that suddenly found themselves on the injured list. Aaron Judge, Nestor Cortez, Anthony Rizzo, and Carlos Rodon were all out for multiple months. The situation was so bad that by the end of the season, manager Aaron Boone decided to call up young players like Jasson Dominguez, Oswald Peraza, and Everson Periera to get some big-league playtime. For a team that aims to make the World Series every year, 82 games is nothing short of a massive failure. This pressured general manager Brian Cashman to make some big changes. The Yankees shocked the press by trading prospects and nearly worthless players to the Padres for young superstar Juan Soto and center fielder Trent Grisham, as well as trading with their rival Red Sox for Alex Verdugo and signing Marcus Stroman to a 2-year contract. Trading for Soto vastly improved their lineup. Soto, along with posting a 5.5 WAR, brings a new sense of youth to a since-aging team filled with veterans like Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton. I have high hopes for the Yankees in 2024.

Perhaps the best team that made hardly any moves this offseason is the Atlanta Braves. They were unstoppable in 2023. Led by Ronald Acuña Jr. and Matt Olson, they seemed like a sure-fire World Series favorite - until they got cold at just the wrong time. Knocked out of contention by the Phillies in the National League Divisional Series for the second year in a row, Braves fans were understandably upset. Even with this letdown, the Braves did not make any significant moves. Even so, they have an absolutely stacked lineup filled with speed, power, and pitching. Another incredible season is almost guaranteed for 2024.

Other teams of note include the reigning World Series-winning Rangers, the Astros, the Baltimore Orioles, and the Philadelphia Phillies. Each team is expected to be top-tier next season. That being said, if you take into account just how endlessly incredible their lineup seems to be, the Dodgers have easily the best lineup by far. But nothing is certain: the Orioles were predicted to have 88 wins but went ballistic in 2023, winning more than 100 games. That is the beauty of baseball. If we knew what was going to happen, no one would watch.


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