The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The improbable 2023 World Series

Storylines to follow for Diamondbacks-Rangers
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
2011 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers.

The 2023 MLB Playoffs have been anything but traditional. Many top-seeded teams struggled out of the gates, calling into question the current format. Still, two Wild Card teams remain, with one ready to take home the World Series Title: the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers. 

Arizona and Texas built their rosters with completely different philosophies, but both teams finished second in their division and ran the table through the Wild Card to make the World Series.

A combined 53.7% winning percentage is Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto’s dream, but it is a clear sign that the two best regular season teams from both leagues are not represented in the Fall Classic. The 174 combined wins is the lowest number in MLB history, excluding shortened seasons. 

Arizona Diamondbacks (84-78)

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Back in 2021, the Diamondbacks went 52-110 and in 2022, they improved to 74-88, but it did not look like they would be competing for a playoff spot anytime soon. What could not have been predicted is the sheer immediate impact that the young players have had for this year’s team.

Arizona’s highest-paid player, Madison Bumgarner, only pitched in 16.2 innings at the beginning of the season before being designated for assignment. After cutting their highly-paid veteran, it was the young players’ full-time to shine. 

23-year-old Corbin Carroll, 23-year-old Gabriel Moreno, 23-year-old Geraldo Perdomo, 23-year-old Alek Thomas, 25-year-old Ryne Nelson, 24-year-old Brandon Pfaadt and 25-year-old Tommy Henry were major contributors to this team’s winning ways. 

The rookie sensation Carroll especially had a major impact. The front-runner to win the NL Rookie of the Year, he finished the year batting .285 with a .362 on-base percentage and .506 slugging percentage, good for an OPS of .868 and OPS+ of 134.

Hitting 25 HR and stealing 54 bases, he had one of the best rookie campaigns in recent memory. 

As a team, the Diamondbacks, in theory, should not have made it this far. They finished with a negative run differential, scoring 746 runs while allowing 761 runs to score. After winning the NLCS in Game 7, they officially became the first team to win the pennant with a negative run differential since 1987. 

Their playoff run was also improbable, first beating the 92-win Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card in a best-of-three sweep, then they swept the NL West-winning and 100-win Los Angeles Dodgers before finally matching up with the 90-win Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS.

Losing the first two games seemed to seal the fate of the Diamondbacks. The Phillies had so much momentum and were defending the NL Pennant after winning it in 2022, but showing fight, they took down their goliath. 

Another interesting fact about their playoff run is their win over the Brewers. Every season since 2019 the team has made the playoffs (all but 2022), the team to eliminate them from the postseason went on to win it all. Adding on to that, the 2008 and 2011 seasons are either a very interesting coincidence or a positive sign for things to come for Diamondbacks fans. 

Texas Rangers (90-72) 

The Rangers’ turnaround was more formulated and was predicted, as they have been big spenders in the past two offseasons. 

Just like Arizona, in 2021, the Rangers lost over 100 games, going 60-102. Knowing they wanted to compete, instead of doing a full-scale draft and development-style rebuild, they turned to free agency and started fishing for the biggest fish. Their first catch(es) was in their half-billion-dollar spending spree in 2021. 

Signing Corey Seager to a 10-year, $325 million contract, Marcus Semien to a seven-year, $175 million contract and Jon Gray to a four-year, $56 million contract, they were easily the league’s biggest spenders, but they were not done.

In the most recent offseason, they signed Jacob deGrom to a five-year, $185 million contract, Nathan Eovaldi to a two-year, $34 million contract, Andrew Heany to a two-year, $25 million contract and re-signed Martin Perez on a $19.7 million contract. 

While deGrom suffered an injury that kept him out for most of the regular season and the entire postseason, they made a trade during the season for another former Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer. 

The front office spent big with a purpose, win the first title in franchise history. After making the World Series in back-to-back years, 2010–11, their only two appearances, they have never felt the taste of winning it all. The 2023 team is talented and very well could finally get the team over that hump, but the young guns over in Arizona will make it a tall task.

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About the Contributor
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.