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Top MLB Highlights of 2023: Unforgettable Teams and Plays

Explore the most remarkable teams and memorable plays of the MLB 2023 season. From the Texas Rangers’ historic win to the A’s season and record-breaking plays, dive into the year’s most talked-about baseball feats.

Key Takeaways

  • Despite challenges, the Rangers clinched their first-ever World Series title.
  • Marked as possibly the worst team witnessed, the A’s season was a tough one with record-breaking losses.
  • 2023 saw some of the most extraordinary plays, including the longest home run and the fastest strikeout pitch.

The Texas Rangers: MLB’s Strangest Champions of 2023

The Texas Rangers, managed by Bruce Bochy, embarked on a ‘Strange But True’ journey to win their first World Series in franchise history.

Despite a mid-season slump, losing more games than teams like the Tigers and Reds, and having a bullpen with more blown saves than saves, the Rangers made a dramatic comeback.

Their postseason success was marked by a rare 11-game road winning streak and overcoming the odds, including injuries to key players like Adolis García.

The Oakland A’s – A Season to Learn From

The 2023 season for the Oakland A’s was nothing short of challenging. Described by an AL team executive as “the worst team I’ve ever watched,” the A’s suffered a devastating start with a series of losses, leading to a -339 run differential.

Despite not reaching the depths of the ’62 Mets, the A’s used a record number of starting pitchers and ended the season with 112 losses, marking a year of introspection and rebuilding for the team.

Top Plays to Remember from 2023

Hardest-Hit Ball and Home Run

Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves: With a stunning 121.2 mph shot, Acuña Jr. secures the title for the hardest-hit ball of the year.

Longest Home Run

Shohei Ohtani, Angels: Ohtani’s 493-foot home run stands as a testament to his dual-threat prowess in the league.

Fastest and Slowest Strikeout Pitches

Jhoan Duran, Twins: Showcasing a blazing 104.0 mph pitch, while Luke Raley’s 50.0 mph eephus offers a stark contrast.

Most Movement on a Strikeout

Mitch Keller, Pirates & Devin Williams, Brewers: Demonstrating extraordinary movement on their pitches, creating unattainable targets for batters.

Fastest Inside-the-Park Home Run and Triple

Bobby Witt Jr., Royals & Elly De La Cruz, Reds: Showcasing incredible speed, both Witt Jr. and De La Cruz set records for their rapid base running.

Best Defensive Plays

Patrick Bailey, Giants & Nolan Jones, Rockies: Making waves with their exceptional arm strength and defensive prowess.

The 2023 MLB season was a testament to the unpredictable and thrilling nature of baseball. From the Rangers’ unexpected World Series triumph to the A’s difficult season, and the individual players setting new records, it was a year that kept fans on the edge of their seats. The season offered a blend of resilience, determination, and extraordinary talent, encapsulating the spirit of baseball.