Baseball is unpredictable. Especially for those of us who are unpredictable.
But as the new year rolls around, it’s only natural to look at the landscape and speculate what’s going to happen in this ridiculously beautiful, ridiculously beautiful sport.
So let’s take a look at some of the storylines tapped for 2023 and speculate on how they might play out.
Will the Mets live up to the hype (i.e., win them all)?
First of all, the debate over the Mets roster as I write this is complicated by the unresolved Carlos Correa story. , they still don’t seem to be the best team in the NL East on paper (the Braves are still to me). Investments in the likes of Justin Verlander, Edwin Diaz, Brandon Nimo, and Ancient Senga have only kept the Mets at the high level they reached in 2022, but haven’t been able to improve.
Correa will change that – again, on paper. Still, the Mets would risk joining a long list of teams that won the winter championship but ran into unforeseen problems such as injuries and poor performance. (In 2023, the Mets will become just the sixth team in history to aim for the first time in 21 years to get at least 20 starts from each of their five starters over the age of 30.) The league targets them every night of its 162-game schedule. Tested by.
Certainly we’re not talking about the 2012 Marlins, for example. The 2012 Marlins were completely over skiing when multiple hot he splashed the stove. The Mets already have a great team core, and I’m not crazy enough to think they can’t make it to the postseason. But given the sheer size of this headcount, this is a “World Series or Bust” situation unlike anything we’ve seen before. big winter splash.
Will Aaron Judge be the MLB home run champion again?
No one in their right mind should expect the Judges to completely repeat one of the greatest individual seasons of all time. His American league record of 62 home runs should be safe from himself.
But repeating as MLB Home Run Champion is a more modest goal. Judges said he wasn’t just the 2022 Home Run Champion. He was a home run champion… with 16 homers! It seems as silly as putting it.
But a fresh season is a fresh page. It’s not like a judge can start a campaign with a 16-home run lead on the field. Jose in 2010-11 will likely continue the trend of not repeating his MLB home run championship since Bautista.
So who will beat the Yankees captain? A healthy Mike Trout could do it (he has a career-best 8% home run percentage in an injury-shortened 2022 season). . Jordan Alvarez, Kyle Schwarber, Pete Alonso…all good possibilities.
But I’m talking about 2021 MLB Home Run Champion Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He didn’t quite hit the high bar he set for himself this season, but he was in the 96th percentile for average exit speed and he was in the 99th percentile for maximum speed. He is 94th in exit speed and hard hit percentage. (Translation: He hits the ball – and it booms.) Plus, he’s only 24 on day one.
Shohei Ohtani traded?
Another way to put this question is “Will the Angels be competitive at the trade deadline?” My answer to that, surprising even myself, is yes.
The Angels haven’t had an amazing winter, but they’ve exceeded most industry expectations for what the team can accomplish while on sale. Despite having two superstars, they did what they could to improve and improve their competitiveness within the club which was a huge disappointment. All his Halos need to be viable – aside from the health of that prominent pair – is just the ability from the supporting cast, their Otani front rotation more than most of last season realized Excellent and now we have Tyler Anderson. Hunter Renfro and Brandon His Drury lineup has more depth and power than it did at the end of the season.
I don’t think this is a surefire playoff team, but I think it’s one that should be able to avoid falling off the face of the earth by the end of July. Since it’s nearly impossible to get, it’s only a clear mathematical mess that will force the Angels to trade Ohtani mid-season.
Hey, the next owner might do something crazy – hear me out on this one – extend Ohtani! But let’s not move on…
Will the Astros Own the AL… Again?!?
The Astros have reached six consecutive League Championship Series appearances, winning four of them. Even after losing Verlander, he’ll at least enter 2023 as the clear favorite of the AL pennant. With the return of Michael Brantley and the addition of José Abreu, their line-up is as strong as ever. With Flamber Valdes and Cristian Javier stepping into bigger roles and Hunter Brown a breakout contender, the starting staff could be as strong as ever.
So the general story of AL is a gathering of teams trying to catch up to Houston. A story within the division as the aforementioned Angels try to make the most of their last season dominating Ohtani, with the Rangers spending a lot of money rushing to rebuild and the Mariners trying to build from his first October. is. entry in one generation. The Yankees and Blue Jays, in particular, are ramping up their rotations to increase their chances of promotion in October.
On paper, the Astros are still better than all teams. As a result, they are going to win his AL West. Also.
But you’re not here for bold predictions like “the Astros are still good.” And this is another opportunity to take a contrarian stance. So Houston, who has been 18-5 combined in his ALDS over the past six years, will finally be humbled in the top five. (Winners will be announced soon.)
Did the Padres overtake the Dodgers?
Prediction: Yes…that’s right.
The Dodgers’ dominance in the NL West was in its infancy when AJ Preller became the Padres’ GM prior to 2015. It’s amazing given all the moves the Padres have made since then in their tireless effort to reach Dodgers level — including ill-fated acquisitions like Matt Kemp, James Shields and Justin Upton. Prior to 2015, subsequent rebuilds (accelerated by trading Fernando Tatis Jr. and Shield), signing Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado, Mike Clevinger, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Josh Hader, Juan Soto, Josh’s blockbuster trade bell.
Unfortunately, while proving playoff contenders, the Padres have gone 16-32 aggregate against the Dodgers over the last three regular seasons.
But finally in the 2022 NLDS, the Padres beat the Giants on the heels of the Dodgers’ franchise-record 111-win season.
With Xander Bogaerts serving as the latest big-ticket addition to the Friars team and a big win in the best-of-five, the Padres could be a popular pick to overtake the Dodgers in the last-162. Although they finished 22 games behind in 2022.
And here it says, yes, the Padres will win the NL West. It’s time.
However, it’s October that gets goofy. The seeding will be such that the Padres won’t even get a chance to face the wild card winning Dodgers as they are eliminated in his NLDS (winner will be announced soon). It will be his NL West team with only underdog LA left by the time the LCS begins.
Will the central team finally reach the LCS?
All three previous NLCS rounds have been between East and West teams. It’s gotten even worse in the AL, where Central hasn’t qualified for his LCS stage since 2016. 1995.
An additional problem that the central clubs have to overcome is a new, more balanced schedule. If recent history is any indication, it will have a negative impact on the win totals of Central’s top teams. Reduces the probability that a winner will come from Central.
So the odds seem to be stacked against the middle squad.
But we’re here to go out on a limb – and let’s go out on a limb saying the middle skids die here! The Central winners, the Cardinals and Guardians, have significantly improved their offenses this winter. And both will play in his LCS after successfully defending the division title. The Guards will beat the Astros, and the Cards will drive the Padres out.
The 2023 LCS matchups are Cardinals vs. Dodgers and Guardians vs. Yankees.
So… who wins it all?
The Dodgers won 111 games last year, but it’s not a hot item on the menu. They usually run out in October, so while abstaining from the top end of the FA market, they’ve lost a significant part in the FA, making them less popular picks than they used to be.
Their inaction creates opportunity – and I take it. Let the underdog Dodgers win it all. Because — breaking news — they’re still very good. Possibly young, but very good, as prospects like Miguel Vargas, James Outman and Bobby Miller are starting to step into big-league roles. With a nudge towards the return of the month, they can enter October well prepared to overcome the grief of the postseason past. In the World Series, he would eventually beat the Yankees team over the ALCS hump.
Dodgers than Yankees. It is written so, so it will be. (Eh, maybe not.)