MLB Season Preview 2023

MLB season preview 2023
Published by NYSB Staff
Last Updated: 21. Sep 2023.

The 2023 Major League Baseball season is fast approaching, and our MLB Season Preview delivers fearless projections for all 30 league teams. A new schedule format and expanded playoffs will make the upcoming season memorable.

The MLB schedule begins March 30 and is loaded with unique storylines. And, for the first time since 1968, every team will be in action on Opening Day. From division winners to league batting champions, our MLB Season Preview has the inside scoop.

If you want to bet on the MLB and you're looking for projections on how the 2023 season will unfold, you have come to the right place. The reigning World Series champions, the Houston Astros, will seek their third Commissioner's Trophy in five seasons. But loaded squads in Atlanta, New York, San Diego, and St. Louis also have title aspirations.

Projected American League Division Winners

AL West

Houston Astros (95-67)

The reigning World Series champions have claimed five division titles in six seasons while advancing to the American League Championship Series every year since 2017. Despite the departures of Justin Verlander and several other free agents, the cupboard remains full in H-Town. Jose Abreu was added to a lineup that features Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Jeremy Pena. Southpaw Framber Valdez headlines a talented starting rotation, and the Astros are poised to win back-to-back World Series championships.

Seattle Mariners (83-79)

Seattle ended a 21-year playoff drought last season and upset the Toronto Blue Jays in the Wild Card Series. AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez joins Ty France and Eugenio Suarez at the top of the lineup, including newcomers Teoscar Hernandez, Kolten Wong, and A.J. Pollock. Two-time All-Star Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert, and Robbie Ray form a robust front end of the pitching rotation, and the Mariners should qualify for the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Texas Rangers (82-80) 

The shopping spree continued in Texas for the second straight offseason, with free-agent hurlers Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi, and Andrew Heany joining left-hander Martin Perez and Jon Gray in one of the league's top starting rotations. The Rangers also hired veteran skipper Bruce Bichy and have a slew of talented hitters in Corey Seager, Adolis Garcia, Marcus Semien, Nathan Lowe, Jonah Heim, and top prospect, Josh Jung. Could this be the year Texas returns to the playoffs? 

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (78-84) 

Los Angeles endured another underwhelming campaign in 2022 and suffered their seventh consecutive season with a losing record. Injuries limited Anthony Rendon to just 47 games, while Mike Trout and Jared Walsh missed a combined 87 games. Two-way standout Shohei Ohtani and outfielder Taylor Ward enjoyed banner seasons. The team added free agents Gio Urshela, Hunter Renfroe, Brandon Drury, Tyler Anderson, Matt Moore, and Carlos Estevez. The Angels have talent but will miss the playoffs for the ninth straight year.

Oakland Athletics (69-93)

Oakland suffered their first 100-loss season since 1979 a year ago and projects to be one the worst teams in the majors in 2023. The A's will not lose 100 games, but this squad still needs to improve. Seth Brown is the top hitter for a lineup that added free agents Jesus Aguilar, Jace Peterson, and Aledmys Diaz. Japanese right-hander Shintaro Fujinami and Korean League standout Drew Rucinski join Paul Blackburn, James Kapriellan, and southpaw Ken Waldichuk in the starting rotation.

AL East

New York Yankees (93-69)

New York captured their second division title since 2019 but hasn't won a World Series in 13 years. Reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge was re-signed to a massive contract, and top prospect Anthony Volpe is the front-runner to open the season at shortstop. Carlos Rodon has been added to a starting five that features Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortez, and Luis Severino. The Yankees have a top-notch pitching staff but too many injury-prone sluggers, and winning the AL East will be challenging.

Toronto Blue Jays (91-71)

Toronto was swept by the Seattle Mariners in the Wild Card series and hasn't won a playoff game in six years. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. headlines one of the league's top offensive units, which includes George Springer and Bo Bichette. The team signed free-agent hitters Dalton Varsho, Brandon Belt, and Kevin Kiermaier, while Chris Bassitt joins Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman in a solid starting rotation. The Blue Jays will contend for the division crown and a World Series title.

Tampa Bay Rays (87-75)

Tampa Bay qualified for the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season in 2022 and should be even better this year. Wander Franco was limited to 83 games last season, and Brandon Lowe had a down year. Free agent Zach Eflin was added to a top-5 pitching staff anchored by Shane McClanahan, Drew Rasmussen, and Jeffrey Springs. The Rays are a model franchise that will contend for another Wild Card berth this season.

Baltimore Orioles (83-79)

Baltimore posted their first winning season in six years in 2022 and became the first team in over a century to have a winning record after losing 110 games the previous season. Former top prospects Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman headline one of the league's youngest lineups, including outfielder Cedric Mullins. The Orioles added Kyle Gibson and Cole Irvin to a rotation that showcases top prospect Grayson Rodriguez and should be in the hunt once again for a Wild Card spot.

Boston Red Sox (78-84)

Boston finished in the division's cellar for the second time in the past three seasons, and the outlook for 2023 is not too promising. An aging starting rotation and a lack of quality depth should lead to another last-place finish in Beantown. Rafael Devers inked a $313.5 million contract extension, but All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts was one of several veterans that were not re-signed. The Red Sox added many free agents, including Justin Turner and Masataka Yoshida.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox (87-75)

A rash of injuries to key players derailed Chicago's hopes of back-to-back AL Central titles a year ago. However, optimism reigns as new skipper Pedro Grifol has all the pieces needed to make the playoffs. Staff ace Dylan Cease headlines a solid starting rotation, and free-agent outfielder Andrew Benintendi was added to a potent lineup that boasts Tim Anderson and Luis Robert. Despite the departure of Jose Abreu, the White Sox will rebound and win their second division crown since 2021. 

Cleveland Guardians (83-79)

Cleveland enjoyed a Cinderella season in 2022, capturing their first division title in four years. The Guardians will contend for another division title but will fall short this season. Jose Ramirez continues to post All-Star numbers, while Andres Jimenez and Amed Rosario have blossomed into solid hitters. Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie, and closer Emmanuel Clase are the top arms for a staff that finished fifth in the league a year ago with a 3.46 ERA.

Minnesota Twins (82-80)

Minnesota has missed the playoffs for two straight years, but the AL Central will be up for grabs again this season. Carlos Correa was re-signed after free-agent deals with two other teams were nullified, and reigning AL batting champion, Luis Arraez, was traded for Pablo Lopez. The Twins also inked free-agent sluggers Joey Gallo and Christian Vazquez. Still, a woeful bullpen and little depth behind the starting rotation will lead to another disappointing season in the Twin Cities.

Detroit Tigers (71-91)

Detroit was one of the worst-hitting teams in the big leagues in 2022, and the future remains cloudy for a squad that has not qualified for the postseason since 2014. Javier Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez have been huge disappointments, while former top prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene offer hope for the rebuilding franchise. Southpaw Matt Boyd arrives back in town on a one-year deal, but the Tigers need more talent to compete in a subpar AL Central.

Kansas City Royals (63-99)

Kansas City has a few promising young players, but a bottom-five pitching rotation will make ending a seven-year playoff drought impossible. Bobby Witt Jr. is on the cusp of stardom, while Vinnie Pasquantino and MJ Melendez possess excellent potential. Salvador Perez continues to produce with the lumber. Still, former first-round pick Brady Singer is the only viable arm that new manager Matt Quatraro can depend on. The Royals have too many weaknesses to be competitive.

Projected National League Division Winners

NL East

Atlanta Braves (103-59)

Atlanta claimed its fifth consecutive division crown in 2022 but lost in the Division Series. However, a slew of talented hitters and one of the league's top pitching units have the 2021 World Series champions eyeing another deep playoff run this season. Ronald Acuna Jr. is looking to rebound from an injury-plagued campaign, while corner infielders Autin Riley and Matt Olson combined for 72 homers. The Braves are the measuring stick in the senior circuit and the favorites to win the NL pennant.

New York Mets (95-67)

New York and its eye-popping $355 million payroll will challenge the Braves for NL East supremacy after fading down the stretch last season. Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor headline a top-notch batting lineup, while the addition of 2022 AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander upgrades an already elite pitching staff. The loss of All-Star closer Edwin Diaz to a knee injury at the World Baseball Classic was a severe blow, but the Mets are poised to make some noise in the playoffs this fall.

Philadelphia Phillies (85-77)

Philadelphia caught fire at the right time last year and reached its first World Series since 2009. Kyle Schwarber erupted for 46 long balls last season, and ownership added free-agent Trea Turner to a solid offensive group. However, Bryce Harper will miss the first half of the season recovering from off-season Tommy John surgery. An under-rated starting rotation and a deep bullpen make the Phillies a Wild Card contender again in 2023.

Miami Marlins (73-89)

Miami upgraded one of the worst batting lineups in the majors a year ago but will need more time to earn a playoff spot in the rugged NL East. 2022 AL batting champion, Luis Arraez, joins Yuli Gurriel and Jean Segura as much-needed reinforcements. Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara is the main man on a solid pitching staff, but the Marlins will miss the playoffs for the 19th time in the past 20 years.

Washington Nationals (56-106)

A dark cloud continues to hover over a Washington franchise that projects to have the worst record in the majors for a second straight season. 30-year-old rookie Joey Meneses impressed in 56 games in 2022, and former top prospects CJ Abrams, MacKenzie Gore, Cade Cavalli, and Keibert Ruiz will get a chance to prove they belong in the big leagues. Free agent additions Corey Dickerson, Dominic Smith, and Jeimer Candelario will not help the Nationals avoid another season at the bottom of the NL East.

NL West

San Diego Padres (97-65)

San Diego is in a win-now mode and is poised to capture their first division title in 17 years. The addition of Xander Bogaerts to a lineup that boasts Manny Machado, Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis gives the mid-market club one of the most feared quartets of hitters in MLB history. Free agent Michael Wacha joins an elite pitching staff that includes Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Blake Snell, and closer Josh Hader. The Padres have all the ingredients to win the World Season in October.

Los Angeles Dodgers (90-72)

Los Angeles has reigned supreme over the division in nine of the past ten years but will open the 2023 season playing second fiddle to the Padres. Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman headline a dangerous lineup, and a pair of southpaws, Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urias, form a 1-2 punch at the front end of the rotation. The Dodgers are still a talented team but do not have the massive payroll this season that allowed them to dominate the NL West for the last decade. 

San Francisco Giants (82-80)

San Francisco whiffed on free agents Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa during the offseason and has missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons. Mitch Haniger and Michael Conforto were added to a lineup that lacks star power, but two-time All-Star Carlos Rodon inked a massive deal with the New York Yankees. The Giants have a solid pitching staff but do not have enough offensive firepower to battle the Padres and Dodgers.

Arizona Diamondbacks (79-83)

Arizona made significant strides in 2022, and a real sense of hope is growing in the desert. A group of young playmakers - Corbin Carroll, Jake McCarthy, Alek Thomas, and Gabriel Moreno - will join veterans Ketel Marte, Christian Walker, and Zac Gallen. The Diamondbacks will not be contending for a playoff spot this season, but the foundation for a bright future has already been laid.

Colorado Rockies (63-99)

Colorado finished the 2022 campaign as a bottom-5 team, and a mediocre pitching staff has the outlook at Coors Field even worse this season. Kris Bryant played in just 42 games after signing a $182 million deal, but C.J. Cron and Ryan McMahon enjoyed stellar seasons with the lumber. A lack of offseason moves makes it clear that winning is a low priority for ownership, and the Rockies will contend for the worst record in baseball. 

NL Central

St. Louis Cardinals (88-74)

St. Louis is the favorite to claim its third division crown in five seasons and boasts a pair of MVP candidates. Top prospect Jordan Walker is an exceptional talent, and free agent Willson Contreras was signed to an $87.5 million contract. Miles Mikolas is the staff ace for an improved pitching rotation, and the Cardinals should end their three-year streak of being ousted in the first round of the playoffs.

Milwaukee Brewers (83-79)

Milwaukee failed to advance to the playoffs for the first time in four seasons a year ago, and the new schedule format will make it difficult for the Brew Crew to qualify for the postseason in 2023. The Brewers remain a dangerous squad, but the discord between management and soon-to-be free agents will result in another disappointing season. Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff headline a talented starting rotation, and a slew of new faces are set to play critical roles in the lineup.

Chicago Cubs (77-83)

Optimism is high in Chicago after ownership increased the payroll to inject more talent into a subpar roster. Free agents Dansby Swanson, Cody Bellinger, Trey Mancini, Eric Hosmer, and Tucker Barnhart will join a lineup that includes Patrick Wisdom and Seiya Suzuki. The Cubs pitching staff should also be improved this season, but a playoff berth is outside the cards in 2023.

Pittsburgh Pirates (63-99)

Pittsburgh has lost 100 or more games in the last two seasons and will depend on the development of their young prospects to take a step forward in 2023. A bevy of low-end free-agent hitters was added to a lineup that showcases Bryan Reynolds, Ke'Bryan Hayes, and Oneil Cruz. The Pirates have an embarrassingly low ceiling, and a woeful pitching staff will ensure that Pittsburgh misses the playoffs for an eighth consecutive season.

Cincinnati Reds (60-102)

The slow rebuild in Cincinnati continues this season, and the only bright spot for fans at Great American Ball Park is the parade of coming top prospects. Former first-rounders Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo will headline a bottom-5 pitching staff, and top prospect Elly De La Cruz should arrive sometime in 2023. The Reds are among the worst teams in the majors and will miss the playoffs for the ninth time in the last ten years.

Who Will Win the World Series?

American League Champion: Houston Astros

National League Champion: San Diego Padres

World Series Champion: Houston Astros

Predicted Award Winners

American League MVP: Shohei Ohtani

American League Cy Young: Framber Valdez

American League Rookie of the Year: Josh Jung

American League Manager of the Year: Bruce Bochy

National League MVP: Manny Machado

National League Cy Young: Kyle Wright

National League Rookie of the Year: Corbin Carroll

National League Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin

Predicted Stat Leaders 

American League

Home Runs: Mike Trout – 46

RBIs: Yordan Alvarez – 120

Batting Average: Nathaniel Lowe – .309

Stolen Bases: Cedric Mullins – 42

Wins: Framber Valdez – 21

Strikeouts: Gerrit Cole – 249

ERA: Framber Valdez – 2.26

Saves: Emmanuel Clase – 40

National League

Home Runs: Kyle Schwarber – 48

RBIs: Manny Machado – 122

Batting Average: Freddie Freeman – .312

Stolen Bases: Trea Turner – 39

Wins: Kyle Wright – 20

Strikeouts: Aaron Nola – 244

ERA: Julio Urias – 2.32

Saves: Josh Hader – 44

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