1. New York Mets (101-61 last season)
The Mets are banking on 38-year-old Max Scherzer and 40-year-old Justin Verlander (18-4, 1.75 ERA and AL Cy Young with Houston) to head the rotation. They signed nine free agents to support 1B Pete Alonso (40 HR, league-high 131 RBI) and 2B Jeff McNeil (NL batting champ) but likely lost closer Edwin Diaz for the season when he suffered a knee injury during a WBC victory celebration.
2. San Diego Padres (89-73)
It's a superstar vibe in San Diego, which landed OF Juan Soto at the trade deadline, will get SS Fernando Tatis Jr. back from his PED suspension on April 20, signed SS Xander Bogaerts for 11 years and $280 million and had 3B Manny Machado finish second in the MVP voting. The rotation looks strong with Michael Wacha joining Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (111-51)
The Dodgers lost some regulars (including Trea Turner, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger) but have a great prospect pool and a deep starting rotation with Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Noah Syndergaard even as Walker Buehler recovers from Tommy John surgery. 1B Freddie Freeman led the NL in hits and runs last season.
4. Atlanta Braves (101-61)
A season after winning the World Series, Atlanta battled injury issues. The Braves need health from 2B Ozzie Albies, RF Ronald Acuna Jr. and starter Mike Soroka. Kyle Wright was the majors' only 20-game winner, Austin Riley hit 38 HR and Michael Harris was NL Rookie of the Year. A key addition, via trade, is Gold Glove C Sean Murphy.
5. Philadelphia Phillies (87-75)
The Phillies made the World Series last season before losing to the Astros. They added SS Trea Turner (11 years, $300 million), but DH Bryce Harper had Tommy John surgery and will be out until midseason. Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler head the rotation, Taijuan Walker was added and so were relievers Craig Kimbrel, Matt Strahm and Gregory Soto.
6. St. Louis Cardinals (93-69)
The Cardinals' fortunes hinge on pitching, and they signed C Willson Contreras to replace retired Yadier Molina to keep that position stable. 1B Paul Goldschmidt (35-115-.317) was the NL MVP and 3B Nolan Arenado (30-103-.293) was third in voting. 3B Jordan Walker could be a rookie sensation.
7. Chicago Cubs (74-88)
After playing in all 162 games last season for Atlanta, SS Dansby Swanson got a seven-year, $177 million deal in Chicago. Other free-agent signings included 1B Eric Hosmer, OF Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF Trey Mancini, RHP Jameson Taillon, LHP Drew Smyly, C Tucker Barnhart and RHP Brad Boxberger. The Cubs will try to build on a strong 2022 second half.
8. Milwaukee Brewers (86-76)
The Crew has three top-line starters in Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta, and keep kicking at the can. They got All-Star C William Contreras in a trade and added OF Jesse Winker. They missed the playoffs for the first time since 2017, finishing one game out of a wild-card spot.
9. San Francisco Giants (81-81)
There was hope among Giants fans that the team would land Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa, but no dice. They also saw top starter Carlos Rodon sign with the Yankees. Two years after winning 107 games, it might be a stretch to approach .500. Logan Webb and Alex Cobb head the rotation, and free-agent signings included OFs Mitch Haniger and Michael Conforto, and pitchers Sean Manaea, Ross Stripling and Taylor Rogers.
10. Arizona Diamondbacks (74-88)
The D-Backs are a popular pick to contend this season. They got strong seasons from starters Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly. They traded Daulton Varsho to the Jays for OF Lourdes Gurriel and C Gabriel Moreno, and have a top rookie in OF Corbin Carroll. 3B Evan Longoria was signed as a free agent.
11. Miami Marlins (69-93)
Sandy Alcantara (14-9, 2.28) led the majors with 228⅔ innings and won the NL Cy Young. Jesus Luzardo and Edward Cabrera are intriguing rotation parts. The Marlins traded for AL batting champion Luis Arraez, and veteran INF Jean Segura was added. All-Star Jazz Chisholm moves from second to center, but the offense is still a big question.
12. Cincinnati Reds (62-100)
The Reds are patching it together again, waiting for the farm system to produce. The everyday lineup will have 2B Jonathan India, DH Joey Votto and 1B Wil Myers, and the Reds hope Hunter Greene (164 Ks in 125 IP) and Nick Lodolo turn into dominant starters.
13. Pittsburgh Pirates (62-100)
The Pirates seem to be turning a corner (they've had one winning season since 2015) with young players such as SS Oneil Cruz and 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes. They were active in free agency (including the signing of 43-year-old LHP Rich Hill). C Endy Rodriguez is the star of the farm system.
14. Washington Nationals (55-107)
The Nats had the worst record in baseball last season. They're relying on players such as Mexican star Joey Meneses, who was a 30-year-old rookie 1B/OF in 2022. Last year's starters combined for a 5.97 ERA. Yikes. Will one-time ace Steven Strasburg ever be healthy enough to pitch again?
15. Colorado Rockies (68-94)
FanGraphs has Colorado projected as the worst team in the NL. The Rockies were 43 games behind by season's end in 2022 and made no bold offseason moves. Outfielders Charlie Blackmon and Kris Bryant appear to be fading versions of their once-stellar selves.