The 2023 World Series begins tonight in Arlington as the Texas Rangers host the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1.
The Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, and the defending World Champion Houston Astros en route to the Fall Classic, while the D-backs knocked of the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Philadelphia Phillies.
The Cincinnati Reds, who overachieved in 2023, are well-positioned to follow in the footsteps of the Rangers and D-backs heading into next season.
The Reds have some similarities to the World Series contenders
Both the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks lost over 100 games two years ago. Sound familiar, Reds fans? The Rangers lost 102 games in 2021 while the D-backs went 52-110 two seasons ago.
Both the Rangers and the D-backs, however, reached the 2023 World Series in different ways. Texas invested a lot of money in players like Corey Seager, Jacob deGrom, and Marcus Semien while also trading for Max Scherzer and bringing in soon-to-be Hall of Fame manager Bruce Bochy.
The Diamondbacks took an approach similar to what fans have seen from the Reds. Arizona stayed the course with their manager Torey Lovullo, who's been leading the D-backs since 2017, and brought along some of their top young talent like Corbin Carroll and Gabriel Moreno.
After pitching very well in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Arizona's top young pitching talent, Zac Gallen, faced adversity in 2021. However, the right-hander bounced back in 2022 and has turned into the team's ace this season.
The D-backs also happen to have a team-leader in Ketel Marte who swings a mean stick, though his defense isn't as crisp as everyone would like it to be. Remind you of anyone, Reds fans?
Arizona also has one of the best young talents in the game. The likely unanimous NL Rookie of the Year, Corbin Carroll, has eletricfied the Snakes with speed on the base paths and power in his bat.
The Reds have some flaws that need to be addressed in order to make the 2024 World Series
While there are certainly some similarities between the Cincinnati Reds and the two World Series participants, there are some stark contrasts as well. The first being the overall team defense.
According to Fielding Bible, both the Arizona Diamondbacks (4th) and the Texas Rangers (7th) rank in the Top 10 in terms of defensive runs saved (DRS). The Reds rank a paltry 28th.
The Reds also lack a veteran, frontline starter. The Rangers have several in Max Scherzer, Nathan Eovaldi, and Jordan Montgomery. The D-backs have Merrill Kelly. Cincinnati would do well to snag a top-notch starting pitcher this offseason to pair with their young, inexperienced rotation.
Both teams have some veteran leadership as well. Texas has Robbie Grossman, Marcus Semien, and Mitch Garver on the roster while Arizona picked up Tommy Pham at the trade deadline to add to the veteran core of Christian Walker and Evan Longoria.
So while the Cincinnati Reds may be close, president of baseball operations Nick Krall needs to make some additions to the roster this offseason in order to put the team in a better position to make a run at the World Series in 2024.