MLB 2023 Predictions
Dusty Baker received his long-awaited ring as the Houston Astros won their second World Series in six years, with only two postseason losses at the end of an excellent regular season. Can they become the first team to win back-to-back titles in more than two decades? Before Major League Baseball’s Opening Day in 2023, a lot will have changed. Dozens, if not hundreds, of free agents will be signed, deals will be made, offseason injuries will occur, players will retire, and top prospects will “graduate” to become top Rookie of the Year candidates. Trying to offer some early MLB power rankings at this stage of the year is tricky. However, here are some early projections for next season based on what we know about each team’s rosters.
This offseason will be critical to the way the San Francisco Giants rebuild their outfield. One season ago, San Francisco set a team record with 107 wins before losing in the division playoffs to their archrival Los Angeles Dodgers. Now, it’s a team hovering around .500, out of the playoffs, and performing about league-average in most offensive metrics. Outfielders for the Giants are ranked 18th in WAR, which is where they can be most creative with their spending. They must decide whether to bring back All-Star and World Series champion Joc Pederson. His defensive shortcomings are well recognized, but will his ability to reach base make him valuable enough to keep?
It would be an incredible turnaround for the Rangers to go from a 94-loss team to the playoffs. Call us insane, but we believe it is doable. The Rangers have hired a championship-caliber coaching staff led by three-time World Series champion Bruce Bochy, whose old-school baseball philosophy will benefit this Rangers squad. If the pitching stays healthy and the key offensive pieces produce, this team can win the Wild Card.
The New York Yankees haven’t won the World Series since 2009, a 13-season drought in which they haven’t even won the American League pennant. It’s one of the reasons New York decided to make Judge one of the highest-paid MLB players in 2023. By its own lofty standards, the franchise’s unprecedented streak of futility could end next October. The Houston Astros are a severe threat in the American League, but they recently lost Justin Verlander. New York is on track to win the AL East, with the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays likely a year away.
The Cubs could be among the biggest spenders this winter. They undoubtedly didn’t enjoy losing the last couple of seasons, and they’ve identified some solid building pieces. That means it’s time to start spending money again and compete with the Cardinals at the top of the NL Central. Chicago will be looking to sign a shortstop, and Xander Bogaerts might be a terrific fit. Also, expect them to sign a big-league pitcher, possibly Carlos Rodon.
We’re not predicting a poor season for the Dodgers. They are clearly still one of the finest teams in the game. But we mean that when we look back at which clubs saw the most significant loss in wins from 2022 to 2023, the Dodgers will be at the top of the list. They won 111 games last year, which is difficult to replicate. Especially considering Andrew Heaney, Chris Martin, Cody Bellinger, Joey Gallo, Justin Turner, Trea Turner, and Tyler Anderson are all free agents. That’s a lot of talent leaving, and while newcomers J.D. Martinez and Noah Syndergaard will help, the team will still suffer a net loss. Playoff squad? Without a doubt. However, expect a significant reduction in regular-season win totals as well.
With Yuli Gurriel and Trey Mancini no longer on the roster, Houston needs to find a replacement at first base, and Josh Bell fills that requirement at the plate and in the field. Bell, a switch hitter, was connected to the Astros multiple times at last season’s trade deadline, but he and Juan Soto were eventually traded from Washington to San Diego. However, the Astros will not let Bell slip through their fingers this offseason and will bring the 30-year-old Texas native back to the Lone Star State to bolster their lineup. Don’t be fooled by Bell’s .192/.316/.271 slash line in San Diego following the deal. He can give plenty of pop for the Astros while also fitting nicely in the middle of the lineup.