MLB Preseason Prediction

The 2023 MLB Season is just around the corner

Jonathan Sakaguchi, Sports Editor

Spring Training and the World Baseball Classic are almost complete, so the remaining players are fighting for a starting spot in the lineup or just making the 26 man roster to go back to the teams home city. These new rules and surprises coming to the teams, including the addition of the pitch clock, and wider bases. MLB will also see every team will play each other once for the first time ever in the Interleague play era, including a classic rivalry with the Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs playing 2 games in London this year.

So lets start braking it down division by division.

American League

A.L. East: 1. New York Yankees, 2. Tampa Bay Rays, 3. Baltimore Orioles, 4. Toronto Blue Jays, 5. Boston Red Sox

It kills me to put the Red Sox at the bottom of this division, but in the entire American League, the East is the toughest of them all. The Yankees have retooled their lineup. With the departure of Jamison Taillon, they brought in Carlos Rondón and resigned Anthony Rizzo and the new A.L. Home Run Champion Aaron Judge. The Bronx Bombers are reloaded and ready for another shot at a World Series Run.

A team to watch out for this year is the Baltimore Orioles. Even with the departure of Jesus Aguilar, the O’s have some wild cards in the minors that could make a surprise and bolster their lineup. Along with former Pittsburgh Pirate Adam Frazier, backup catcher James McCann should help to get another shot of returning to the post season. Adding Playoff Pitcher, Kyle Gibson, to the rotation should help the pitching staff.

A.L. Central: 1. Cleveland Guardians, 2. Minnesota Twins, 3. Kansas City Royals, 4. Chicago White Sox, 5. Detroit Tigers

The Guardians look to get back to the World Series for the first time since they faced off with the Cubs back in 2016. Led by Jose Ramirez, the Guardians added Josh Bell to help out at first base and provide the extra power after Bo Naylor left in free agency. They have a solid rotation, led by Shan Bieber, and the bullpen with All-Star Closer Emmanuel Clase.

The Team to watch out for is the Kansas City Royals, as they added Jordan Lyles and Aroldis Chapman, along with the young talent of Bobby Witt Jr., Hunter Dozier, and Kyle Isbel. The Royals are a team that could shock the entire MLB.

A.L. West: 1. Houston Astros (Defending World Series champions), 2. Texas Rangers, 3. Seattle Mariners, 4. LA Angels, 5. Oakland Athletics

The Astros have been a power house in the West for the last few years. The Stros’ Dynasty looks to run it back to October Baseball for their fourth championship in the last 10 years.

The Texas Rangers took a complete overhaul of the roster that saw them bringing in Cy Young Nominee and All-Star pitcher Jacob DeGrom, with Nathan Eovaldi, and Andrew Heaney to their rotation with Ian Kennedy as the Closer. They join with Marcus Semien to help out with a veteran presence in the clubhouse and bring the Rangers back to the postseason.

Moving to the National League.

N.L. East: 1. Atlanta Braves, 2. New York Mets, 3. Philadelphia Phillies, 4. Miami Marlins, 5. Washington Nationals

The N.L.East is the most open division this year. The Mets, after loosing DeGrom, picked up World Series champion Justin Verlander and José Quintana, but will have to solve the problem of who is going to be the closer. Edwin Diaz went on the injured reserve list after getting hurt in the WBC after Puerto Rico win in Pool play. The Metropolitans also brought in Tommy Pham to help out and will the potentially call up top prospect, Brett Baty.

This could make things more interesting in the N.L. East. The Braves who also look to go back to the Fall Classic, have some surprises in camp. The team needs to stay healthy, if they want to make a run in the playoff this year.

Don’t sleep on the defending N.L. Champion Phillies. The Phils added World Series Champion shortstop, Trea Turner, who has had an amazing spring with team USA in the WBC. They also added Josh Harrison and Matt Strahm, and resigned Craig Kimbel. The Phillies will be fighting to get back into the post season and make a run for the N.L. East title.

N.L. Central: 1. Milwaukee Brewers, 2. St. Louis Cardinals, 3. Pittsburgh Pirates, 4. Chicago Cubs, 5. Cincinnati Reds

The Brewers brought in some exceptional talent to the roster, including All-Star Catcher William Contreras, Jesse Winker, and Brian Anderson. The Brew Crew will also get to see the likely Opening Day debut of top prospect, Garrett Mitchell. Milwaukee will look to get back to the post season and fighting to get past the NLDS.

The Cardinals look to do a quick rebuild, but stay competitive. With their core of Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols retiring, they signed Wilson Contreras (Brother of Williams) and Tommy Edman. With the solid rotation and bullpen, the Cards will likely make a run for one of the N.L. Wild Card spots.

Pittsburgh will be a shocker this year for many. The Pirates have the roughest start to the schedule. With only three off days between opening day and May 3, the battling Bucs will have to find a way to win as many games as they can in that first month of the season. Adding to the rotation is long time MLB journey man, Rich Hill, as well as Vince Velasquez and add in in Austin Hedges to the catching core, helps with the problems behind the plate. The return of Andrew McCutchen to the Pirates helps Hayes and Suwinzki. The Bucs also have some young talent that could impact the roster with four of their top prospects in the MLB top 100 Preseason Prospects including Quinn Priester, Henry Davis, Mike Burrows, and Endy Rodriguez. Maybe we can see a visit from Mike Kranick, once he can come back healthy. But this season the Pirates will make a run for another taste of the postseason action.

N.L. West: 1. Los Angeles Dodgers, 2. San Diego Padres, 3. Colorado Rockies, 4. San Francisco Giants, 5. Arizona Diamondbacks

The Dodgers, as the Defending N.L. West Champs, look to go back to the post season for the fourth time in 5 years. The Dodgers lost a big key in the middle infield when the Turner Brothers went to free agency. LA is looking to try one of their top prospects in Miguel Vargas at Second Base, Max Muncy at third, with Miguel Rojas at shortstop. LA also brought in Cy Young Nominee and All-Star, Noah Syndergaard, and the debut of MLB’s 3rd best prospect, Bobby Miller, to the pitching rotation to back up Clayton Kershaw .

The San Diego Padres, who were picked as a favorite to make the Fall Classic last year, limped into the playoffs with injuries and saw Fernando Tatis Jr. get an 80 game suspension (still suspended at the start of this season). The Fryers added long time DH Nelson Cruz, and Matt Carpenter, along with infielder Xander Bogarts, who had a great WBC for the Netherlands and great spring with the Padres. Juan Soto and Manny Machado still bring the thunder from last year and look to continue where they left off and push for the post season.

Opening Day is Mar. 30 for the locals. The Pirates open the season in Cincinnati before coming home on Apr. 7 to open up in PNC Park at 12:15 p.m.