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5 MLB teams that could surprise in 2023

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Major League Baseball is full of surprises every year, and this season shouldn't be any different.

Here are five teams that could stun the baseball world in 2023.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the D-Backs heading into the 2023 campaign, as they look like a team on the rise.

Arizona added 22 wins to its 2022 record from the season prior, and the club looks better on paper this campaign thanks to the offseason additions of Lourdes Gurriel Jr, Gabriel Moreno, Evan Longoria, and Kyle Lewis.

However, the biggest reasons for optimism about the D-Backs might be the continued development of budding stars Corbin Carroll, Jake McCarthy, and Alek Thomas, who Arizona is entrusting with full-time gigs.

Add in a solid-looking rotation led by Zac Gallen, what should be an improved bullpen, and 16 fewer games against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, and the Snakes are a team that could be one of baseball's biggest surprises.

Boston Red Sox

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The Red Sox offseason may have turned some heads for the wrong reasons, but the squad doesn't look half bad and could be a surprise in the AL East with so much spotlight on everyone else in the division.

Offseason addition Masataka Yoshida raked at the World Baseball Classic, Triston Casas looks like the real deal in spring training, and Chris Sale is throwing like his old self again.

Boston may have allowed Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez to depart in free agency, but the team is deep with veteran talent and could outperform its projected win totals if it stays healthy. FanGraphs predicts 83 wins for the Red Sox, while PECOTA believes 79 victories is all Boston will muster in 2023.

Chicago Cubs

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The Cubs looked like a team on the rise after completing last season with a strong second half in which they finished nine games over .500. The 2023 version of the club looks better.

President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer locked up Dansby Swanson long term and added rotation help in Jameson Taillon. He also brought in a number of veterans like Eric Hosmer, Cody Bellinger, and Trey Mancini to assist Ian Happ and Nico Hoerner in fielding a winning product.

This team has a lot of offensive potential and looks solid defensively. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Cubbies vying for first place in the NL Central, one of the least-intimidating divisions in baseball.

Miami Marlins

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The Marlins haven't been to the playoffs in 20 years, aside from an appearance during the shortened 2020 campaign. However, there's optimism this year's team could surprise and make a run at the postseason.

It'll be a difficult task for Miami because its division is stacked with contenders. But the club has a strong rotation - even after trading Pablo Lopez - and looks significantly better from an offensive standpoint following the additions of two former batting champs in Luis Arraez and Yuli Gurriel, as well as Jean Segura.

Projection systems like FanGraphs and PECOTA are thinking much higher of the Marlins this season, each predicting Miami to see an 11- and 10-win increase from its 2022 record, respectively.

Texas Rangers

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The Rangers have gone on spending sprees in two consecutive campaigns and look ready to begin their march back toward the top of the AL West.

The heart of the Rangers' lineup features one of the league's most impressive double-play combinations in Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, who'll get added protection from the blossoming Nathaniel Lowe and Adolis Garcia.

The biggest difference-maker for the club this season is an improved rotation featuring new ace Jacob deGrom, as well as Martin Perez, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney, and Jon Gray.

Texas may not look as formidable as the Astros, Mariners, or even the Angels on paper, but there are a lot of gifted players on the Rangers. That could lead to a surprising year-end result for them.

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