Bryce Harper says he felt great in his spring training debut and is humbled by his standing ovation from the Phillies’ fans. (1:07)
It seems hard to believe given that Manny Machado and Bryce Harper only recently signed with their new teams, but baseball’s stateside Opening Day is just over two weeks away. There are still a few quality free agents out there — Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel, Gio Gonzalez, to name three — but most of this winter’s free agents who move the needle are already signed. Blockbuster trades are relatively rare in the spring, so while we won’t know for sure how the season shakes out until October, we can at least make educated guesses about how much teams have improved since the start of the winter.
To get an idea of which teams did the best with the hand they were dealt this offseason (at least in terms of projected 2019 performance), I consulted the ZiPS projection system to calculate the 10 teams that improved the most, relative to their rosters after free agents officially hit the market. Remember, this assumes that the Washington Nationals start without Harper and the Houston Astros without Keuchel because that was literally the starting point from which front offices made their offseason decisions.