With Opening Day just around the corner, it’s time for predictions, and with that, we asked 87 voters from MLB.com and LasMayores.com to give their opinion on which teams they predict will win their respective divisions. In addition, there are predictions in the wild card spots, pennants of each league and finally, which club will win the World Series in 2023;
Although he will start the season on the disabled list with a strained left elbow, the addition of Carlos Rodon to a starting rotation that already includes Gerrit Cole and Néstor Cortés makes the Yankees look like a more dangerous power in the outfield. -competitive AL East Add to that a lineup headed by reigning NL MVP Aaron Judge, a powerful lineup packed through and through, and we had a team in our sights on more than a division crown.
World Series or flop in the Bronx, as usual. The Yankees have made it to the Fall Classic since 2009, and it’s 14 years since they marked the longest span between appearances in franchise history (1981-1996 is the longest). They will have to overcome injuries, but if they can do so successfully, the Bombers should be in prime position to contain the various challengers within their division and go deep into October.
Central Division: Guards
The Rangers will be in line for the division for the second year in a row. Our voters will see Cleveland finish in the AL Central again, behind a solid pitching staff and an offense that won’t throw many extra-base hits, but will use a high-contact/low-hitter approach to score enough runs and backs. He had taken the stars.
With Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie (who won’t be able to pitch for at least two weeks) leading the rotation, closer Emmanuel Clase hit a 42-game pass last year and perennial MVP candidate José Ramírez in the middle. Off the line, Cleveland will be hard to beat in the Central.
Until they are eliminated, the Astros remain the cream of the AL West. There’s no reason to think they can’t win a sixth division title in seven years. But, like the Yankees, Houston has it all down to winning the World Series or failing to do so.
Club leader José Altuve will open the season on the disabled list after a pitch from Daniel Bard broke his right thumb in the World Baseball Classic. But the Astros’ lineup has plenty of power to make up for his absence, led by 2022 Young Circuit MVP finalist Yordan Álvarez, Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker, Jeremy Peña and newcomer to the club, Cuban veteran Jose Abreu.
With a deep pitching staff, both in the rotation and in relief, Houston will try to become the first team to win the World Series two years in a row since 2000.
AL Wild Card: Mariners, Blue Jays and Rays
After finally reaching the season for the first time in 21 years, the sailors will try again to make the players and our voters believe that they can. Led by reigning AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodríguez — who last year became the fastest player to hit 25 home runs and steal 25 in his career — Seattle hopes to not only advance this fall, but also to transcend the division. The series, after the Astros moved into it in 2012.
The starting rotation includes right-hander Luis Castello and former Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, as well as two rising youngsters, Logan Gilbert and George Kirby. And with the acquisition of Dominican Teóscar Hernández to support J-Rod, Venezuelan Eugenio Suarez, Ty Gallia and Cal Raleigh, the offense was strengthened in 2013.
The Blue Jays remain one of the powerhouse teams in baseball thanks to a dynamic lineup that includes Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and George Springer, along with recent additions like Brandon Belt, Whit Merrifield and Daulton Varsho.
On the pitching side, Toronto has two of the best starters in the majors, Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman, not to mention Chris Bassitt, who arrived during the free season with the Mets in a big way.
The Blue Jays will be looking to avenge their exit from their last-minute slump when they were swept by the Mariners in the Wild Card Series. This year, like Seattle, Toronto is hoping for much more than a playoff berth, seeking its first franchise win since 2016.
Don’t forget the rays. It’s easy for them to lose in the AL East, but just because they didn’t make it to the World Series in 2020 doesn’t mean they’re off the radar. Not with one of the most impressive young players in the game, Wander Franco, looking to play his first full season at the major league level, and the ability to exceed the club’s expectations for ever.
Despite winning 100 games and a second straight division title in 2021, the Rays were unable to beat the Red Sox in the ALDS, losing to Cleveland in the Wild Card Series last fall. But with Franco, Cuban Randy Arozarena – whose electrifying performance in the Classic could foreshadow for us what’s to come – and left-hander Shane McClanahan leading the shooting team, who had been handed over to the defense, was left untouched. What can Tampa Bay achieve in 2023?
American League Champion: Astros
If there’s one thing we know about Astro, it’s that he has a tall, talented, and experienced roster. Houston has won the AL West in five of the last six years, and has reached the World Series in four of those seasons, winning it twice in 2017 and last year.
Impressive teams often feature a mix of veterans and young talent who aren’t afraid of the big stage. These ingredients abound in the Astros, with Altuve and Bregman leading the old guard, augmented by new generations of Álvarez, Tucker and Peña.
The Braves look to extend their dominance in the NL East with a sixth straight division crown. On paper, they look better than a year ago.
The club acquired catcher Sean Murphy in a trade with the A’s this winter. He and Travis d’Arnaud probably make the best catching combination in the majors.
The Braves are hoping for more production from Ronald Acuna Jr. after suggesting he suffered a setback last season, first from his knee injury. If he can get back on track, the Braves could develop three MVP-winning players, along with Matt Olson and Austin Lee.
The Mets and Phillies are close in the division battle, but Atlanta still holds the crown.
Central Division: Cardinal
After winning the Central Division last year, the Cardinals added even more to their roster by signing Willson Contreras, one of the best offensive catchers in the majors.
Contreras will join Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado for the heart of St. Louis. In addition, the expected prospect Jordan Walker will start the campaign in the big team, after a great preseason.
The ability of the Cardinals is not in doubt, but there are questions about the position. Adam Wasinwright, who turns 42 on August 30, will begin the season on the disabled list. Jack Flaherty, Jordan Montgomery and Steven Matz have all dealt with injuries in recent years. If they are healthy, San Luis Central should take it.
The Padres may have had the best offseason in the league, and our pundits have them ahead of the Dodgers for the NL West.
San Diego agreed with Xander Bogaerts to add him to an already impressive collection of talent, along with Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan José Soto and Machado Manny, who signed a $350 million, 11-year contract extension in February.
Despite entering the year with Joe Musgrove on the disabled list, San Diego’s rotation looks deeper than last year after the additions of Michael Wacha, Seth Lugo and Nick Martinez.
With the Dodgers reluctant to make a signing hit this winter, the Padres have become the favorites to take the division.
NL Wild Cards: Dodgers, Phillies and Mets
Our experts consider the same six teams from last year qualifying for the 2023 season in the National League.
Despite matching a franchise record 111 wins last year, the Dodgers appear to have taken a step back, according to our chart, after losing Trea Turner, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger. Injuries have also affected them, with Gavin Light suffering a knee injury for the season. Tony Gonsolin is also expected to miss time with a sprained ankle.
But either way, the team probably remains in contention for the crown.
After reaching the World Series, the Phillies made a splash by signing Trea Turner this winter. Philadelphia will return with its roster largely intact, but the team has also been plagued by injuries.
Bryce Harper is expected to return for the middle of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Rhys Hoskins is likely to miss the entire year with a knee injury.
But at the end of the day, the Phillies still have enough pieces to make the postseason.
In terms of injuries, the Mets were also affected. Puerto Rican Edwin Díaz could miss the entire season after injuring his knee in the World Baseball Classic. Colombian José Quintana will not return until July, at least. And the additions of Justin Verlander and Kodai Senga, among others, will help them come into the season.
National League Champions: Padres
San Diego hasn’t been to the World Series since 1998. This year’s team seems to have a better chance than last year’s of winning the National League pennant.
World Series Champions: Padres
Our pundits see the Padres as rewards for their big moves. The current job in San Diego shows that he is willing to do what it takes to put the fruits of his labor in the field. Petco Park was dealt with this year, so much power in the Padres’ roster.