Every season, it seems like some MLB team surprisingly breaks onto the scene as contenders.
In 2022, those teams were the Cleveland Guardians and Seattle Mariners, both of whom broke into the playoffs and made themselves heard.
Now, as free agency gets fully moving and big pieces start falling into place, who could do that in 2023?
Here is an early look at two teams that have that ability.
2. Baltimore Orioles
In 2022, the Baltimore Orioles shocked much of the baseball world.
While many expected them to be a cellar team, they put together an above-.500 season.
This seemed virtually impossible heading into the season, but the team was ignited by their youth movement.
Now, that injection of youth is not only continuing, but is getting even stronger.
Welcome to the show, Gunnar Henderson! His first hit is a homer!!! pic.twitter.com/degCCLZTHP
— MLB (@MLB) August 31, 2022
They will also call up Grayson Rodriguez, a pitcher with the potential to become an ace some day.
Put all of this together and you have a recipe for a repeated year of success.
If they can add the right pieces, there is no reason that the Orioles don’t shock the league once again.
1. Chicago White Sox
If you asked people before last season if the Chicago White Sox were contenders, there wouldn’t have been any doubts.
However, the team took a severe step back in 2022.
This has put them into an underdog role heading into next season, as they look to get back to the top of the AL Central.
They still have their strong core of talented players coming back, and will now have a new manager in Pedro Grifol.
The team has also already signed Mike Clevinger to bolster the rotation.
OFFICIAL: The #WhiteSox and free agent right-handed pitcher Mike Clevinger have agreed to terms on a one-year, $12-million contract, which includes a mutual option for the 2024 season. pic.twitter.com/3aWTmeXRML
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) December 4, 2022
Now, the White Sox look to turn the corner in 2023 and play to their fullest potential.
Because of this, there is reason to believe that they can be that next team to breakout as contenders this season.