Predictions for the 2023 MLB season: Who Will Win the World Series?
The 2022 MLB season was one for the ages. After a pulsating regular season, 12 teams made it to the postseason. In the end, it came down to the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies to fight for the World Series. The Astros entered the World Series as AL Champions while the Phillies came via the Wild Card round as the sixth seed. The Phillies had a 2-1 lead after the first three games but the Astros roared back to win the next three games and win their second World Series title.
Now the Astros will be keen to defend their title in 2023 but it will not be easy. They will face strong opposition from a lot of other formidable sides from the AL as well as the NL. Here is a list of some of the favorites to win the MLB World Series in 2023.
Let’s start with the defending champions, the Houston Astros. The Astros won their first World Series in 2017 and made two trips to the World Series in 2019 and 2021 before getting their hands on their second title in 2022. The Astros will be the team to beat this year as well. Having said that, history is against them as no side since the New York Yankees of 1998-2000 has successfully defended their World Series title.
New York Yankees
In 2009, the New York Yankees were the champions of the World Series, but they have not won the American League pennant in over a decade. Despite being the most successful team in MLB history, they have become accustomed to only making short trips to the playoffs recently.
Nevertheless, with the inclusion of Carlos Rodón, a potential Cy Young winner, in their starting rotation, their pitching prowess has significantly improved for the postseason. Additionally, the Yankees have a strong farm system that enables them to acquire a powerful hitter before the MLB trade deadline. Overall, in 2023, this team is expected to be one of the top-performing teams in the MLB.
The Atlanta Braves were unable to defend their title in 2022 and were eliminated in four games during the NLDS. Nevertheless, they retained their core players after winning 101 games the previous season. Ronald Acuña Jr., who was recovering from an ACL repair last season, will be back to full health in 2023, and the team’s pitching remains strong.
Although losing Dansby Swanson as their shortstop was a setback, acquiring Sean Murphy will greatly benefit the Braves’ catching position. Additionally, Vaugn Grissom exhibited some promising performances last year. The team’s combination of talent, youth, and experience makes them a worthy World Series contender, and betting on them would be worthwhile.
San Diego Padres
In the NLCS, the San Diego Padres were defeated by the Philadelphia Phillies in five games, but only two of the four losses were by more than two runs. Although they were unsuccessful in acquiring Aaron Judge, the Padres have bolstered their lineup depth significantly by adding Matt Carpenter and Nelson Cruz.
Furthermore, to make up for the absence of Fernando Tatís Jr. due to suspension, perennial All-Star hitter Xander Bogaerts will take over at shortstop. Tatís Jr. is expected to return to his best form well before the playoffs, giving the Padres a lineup with multiple potential NL MVP candidates and great depth, supported by a strong rotation and an excellent bullpen.
New York Mets
During the offseason, the New York Mets spent a significant amount of money from owner Steve Cohen’s pockets. However, their plans were derailed when pitcher Jose Quintana required rib surgery and closer Edwin Diaz suffered a season-ending torn patella tendon while celebrating a World Baseball Classic win. To compensate for Jacob deGrom’s departure, the Mets signed Justin Verlander, which increased the staff’s Cy Young awards from five to six, as Max Scherzer also owns three, like last year’s AL winner.
Although Verlander is 40 years old, his impressive stats, such as a 1.75 ERA (lowest in MLB) and a RV of 66.3, make him an essential asset. The Mets also signed Japanese righty Kodai Senga and leadoff hitter Brandon Nimmo, who are in their prime. With Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, NL batting champ Jeff McNeil, and Starling Marte, the Mets look to lead the MLB in batting average (.259) once again. Lindor is expected to hit .270 with 26 home runs and 107 RBIs, while Alonso aims to hit 40 home runs with an NL-high 131 RBIs.
The Philadelphia Phillies, the reigning NL champions, have encountered a setback as Bryce Harper, who underwent elbow surgery, is expected to be out of the lineup until the All-Star break. However, once he returns, he will be reunited with his former Washington Nationals teammate, Trea Turner, who signed an 11-year, $300 million free-agent contract. The team has several power hitters, including Kyle Schwarber, the NL home run champion who hit 46 home runs, J.T. Realmuto, and Rhys Hoskins.
The bullpen, which was once a weakness, has improved with the addition of Serathony Domínguez, Craig Kimbrel, Gregory Soto, and Jose Alvarado to secure wins for Aaron Nola, as well as Zack Wheeler.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Although the Los Angeles Dodgers were surprisingly defeated by the Padres in four games during the NLDS, their impressive regular-season performance, with 111 wins, has not diminished their prospects in the eyes of oddsmakers for the upcoming offseason.
Although the Dodgers have not made a significant acquisition that observers are accustomed to seeing, they have kept their longtime ace, Clayton Kershaw. Furthermore, they have recently signed J.D. Martinez, a seasoned hitter, and Noah Syndergaard, a right-handed starter, on one-year contracts.
Based on last year’s success, we believe that the Seattle Mariners can repeat their playoff formula in 2023. Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray, and Logan Gilbert form a formidable trio in the rotation, providing a solid foundation for regular-season victories. Although the Rangers could be a surprise this year, the Mariners have a clear path to reach October baseball, following the Astros in the AL West.
There is growing confidence that Seattle can make it to the wild-card round again this year, and from there, anything can happen. Their dramatic win over the Blue Jays was one of the most incredible postseason comebacks in MLB history. With the addition of Kolten Wong and Teoscar Hernandez, the Mariners’ batting order has improved, and when combined with their excellent rotation and bullpen, they have a strong team.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are one of dark horse picks after an offseason in which they seemingly addressed all their shortcomings and modified the Rogers Centre dimensions to fit their lineup’s strengths. The team has added Daulton Varsho, Brandon Belt, and Kevin Kiermaier to its roster, providing more left-handed bats to their already impressive lineup. Additionally, Chris Bassitt has joined the team as a reliable top-of-the-rotation arm.
The Blue Jays require Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi to strengthen the back of their rotation, and if they can perform consistently, a World Series championship is a realistic goal. Toronto led the AL in wOBA (.331) and wRC+ (117) during the regular season, and if they can replicate similar numbers this year, they have the potential for an October run. It is worth taking a chance on John Schneider’s squad to make some noise in 2023.
Although the Texas Rangers are not currently viewed as a real contender, they are a tempting prospect to surprise the baseball world this year. Despite being in a tough AL West division, the Rangers have overhauled their pitching rotation, giving them a projected top three of Jacob DeGrom, Nathan Eovaldi, and Andrew Heaney.
Last year, the team’s offense was below average in both wOBA and wRC+, so the Rangers will need to rely on their run-prevention unit to win games. However, having elite infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien could translate to 60 or more home runs and 175 or more RBIs, so there is a chance that the Rangers will surpass their preseason expectations.