The 2023 Major League Baseball season is almost here and Sportsnaut’s MLB predictions offer projections for the standings with an outlook for all 30 teams across the league.
While Sportsnaut’s MLB games today provide the full schedule from Opening Day 2023 through the final out of the World Series, fans love projections. Just as we did last year, our MLB predictions take a look at rosters and farm systems to forecast what could happen this season in baseball.
Injuries and trades will certainly deliver a lot of surprises, no one saw the Philadelphia Phillies winning the National League in 2022. However, these MLB projections will be locked in before Opening Day, with our postseason predictions receiving updates for how we see things unfolding in October after every big move and injury.
Let’s dive into our 2023 MLB predictions before Opening Day, with forecasts for the National League and American League standings and stat leaders.
MLB predictions 2023: Projecting the American League
AL East predictions
|New York Yankees||95||67|
|Toronto Blue Jays||93||69|
|Tampa Bay Rays||85||77|
|Boston Red Sox||75||87|
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees haven’t won a World Series since 2009. New York’s 13-year championship drought is one of the longest in franchise history and a growing source of frustration for fans. Unsurprisingly, the Yankees spent aggressively this offseason with Aaron Judge becoming one of the highest-paid MLB players and Carlos Rodón lasting a $162 million contract. New York now boasts an outstanding playoff rotation, complemented by one of the best lineups in baseball and a dependable bullpen. Pair that with incoming top prospects Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez and Oswald Peraza, it gives the Yankees their best shot at a World Series in years.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays haven’t won a playoff game since 2016, with last year’s results sparking more offseason additions. Toronto fortified its rotation with Chris Bassitt, giving it a four-man trio that at its peak can win a series. There are questions about the No. 5 starter, but the Blue Jays added to their bullpen and the additions of Daulton Varsho and Kevin Kiermaier should significantly improve the defense. If you’re looking for a darkhorse World Series team, it’s Toronto.
Related: World Series odds 2023
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tyler Glasnow injury served as a reminder of the volatility at the front of the Tampa Bay Rays rotation. Tampa Bay also struck out on several free-agent targets, meaning this lineup will largely look the same as the one that ranked 25th in OPS (.686). Four consecutive playoff appearances suggest it’s risky to bet against Tampa Bay making it to October, but the Rays are a few tiers below their AL East rivals and the competition in the American League is stronger than last year.
After finishing with a sub-.500 record for five consecutive years, the Baltimore Orioles broke through with a 32-game improvement last season. It’s a sign of the franchise’s bright future, led by Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson and Cedric Mullins. However, only marginal additions were brought in and that leaves a lot of reason to believe the Orioles are at least another year away from contending for a Wild Card spot.
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Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox have finished last in the AL East four times since 2014. Ownership slightly made up for letting Xander Bogaerts walk by extending Rafael Devers, but offseason signings like Justin Turner, Masataka Yoshida, Adam Duvall and Corey Kluber hardly move the needle. Thanks to the Trevor Story injury and the injury-prone Adalberto Mondesi, we might just see Boston finish in the cellar for the second consecutive season.
Related: MLB free agents 2023-’24
AL Central predictions
|Chicago White Sox||81||81|
|Kansas City Royals||66||96|
Injuries have played a significant role in the Minnesota Twins missing the playoffs each of the past two seasons. Considering the lineup is led by Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco, durability and upside are just the theme in Minnesota. It’s the same for the pitching staff, with Pablo López, Tyler Mahle and Sonny Gray all high-end starters when healthy, but that’s far from a guarantee. With that said, the talent in the everyday lineup and in the bullpen is undeniable. Minnesota can win the division and it’s worth betting on them in 2023 because of the wealth of bats and pitching.
The Cleveland Guardians are never going to make the aggressive moves necessary to win a World Series in today’s era of baseball. However, their scouting and development give them a shot for a winning record every season. José Ramirez will be an MVP candidate once again, with Amed Rosario and Andrés Gimenez providing outstanding complementary pieces around him. If Steven Kwan repeats his success from the 2022 season and Cleveland gets full seasons from Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie and Aaron Civale, then the Guardians win the AL Central.
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Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox effectively wasted the 2022 season with manager Tony La Russa, but a lot of things also went wrong for this club last season. José Abreu is gone, replaced in the lineup by Andrew Vaughn’s extremely high ceiling. We expect the outfield to be significantly improved in 2023, thanks to Andrew Benintendi and Oscar Colas, but the number of stars with durability concerns (Eloy Jiménez, Luis Robert Jr, Tim Anderson, Yoán Moncada, Lance Lynn) and Lucas Giolito’s inconsistency will likely be what prevents the White Sox from hitting their ceiling.
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Expectations were relatively high for the Detroit Tigers last season and the ramifications of falling short brought much-needed changes to the front office. There are still pieces of this team to like, especially if former top prospect Spencer Torkelson rebounds and Riley Greene takes a step forward. However, the rotation is a real weakness, the Javier Báez contract backfired as expected and Detroit might need to retool again.
Kansas City Royals
Bobby Witt Jr. proved he is a superstar in the making and the presence of MJ Melendez and Vinnie Pasquantino provides the Kansas City Royals with some exciting pieces to build around. With that said, the Royals have one of the worst rotations in baseball and flaws like that become costly in a 162-game season. The biggest storyline for the Royals in 2023 might be the possibility of Salvador Perez being traded, a move that would provide necessary reinforcements to the farm system.
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AL West predictions
|Los Angeles Angels||75||87|
The Houston Astros are the reigning World Series champions and six consecutive ALCS berths are more than enough to believe in this World Series contender until its window closes. Losing Justin Verlander is a significant blow and the lingering Lance McCullers Jr.’s elbow injury raises further questions about this rotation. However, the Astros’ lineup should be even better in 2023 and Dusty Baker keeps proving he knows how to get the most out of his ballclub.
If the McCullers injury wasn’t bad enough, Houston is now without Jose Altuve for the foreseeable future. The Astros still have a quality lineup, but the removal of Altuve’s bat from the lineup for the first month-plus of the season shaves off multiple runs and could keep the AL West even closer than some might expect.
The Seattle Mariners ended their two-decades-long playoff drought in 2022, now it’s time to take the next step forward. Seattle upgraded its lineup this offseason with Teoscar Hernandez and Kolten Wong will be a significant improvement at second base. Pair that with improvements from Julio Rodriguez and arguably one of the most underrated rotations in baseball, you have a team that can at least challenge the Astros in 2023.
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Los Angels Angels
We’ve seen this story before with the Los Angeles Angels. Everyone goes into spring training and there is new excitement surrounding some of the offseason additions. Tyler Anderson improves the rotation and adding both Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Drury makes the Angels’ lineup considerably deeper. However, few organizations in recent memory are more snake-bitten than the Angels and if either Mike Trout or Shohei Ohtani goes down, that’s a wrap on the Angels’ season.
The Texas Rangers were aggressive once again in free agency, this time adding Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi and Andrew Heaney to their starting rotation. It’s a gamble because all three starters have durability red flags, but this could be one of the best pitching staffs in the AL if everyone stays healthy. Even if that happens, though, there isn’t nearly enough talent and consistency in the lineup for Texas to seriously challenge for a Wild Card spot.
Oakland deserves so much better than the Athletics. It’s very possible A’s owner John Fisher suddenly becomes more willing to invest in the franchise when the team relocates. Until that happens, the Athletics are one of the worst teams in MLB. Unfortunately, it’s even difficult to believe in the farm system and player development considering how little Fischer invests in it.
2023 MLB predictions: National League projections
NL East predictions
|New York Mets||93||69|
The Atlanta Braves are poised to be a World Series contender for a long time with so much of their core signed to long-term deals. Atlanta boasts the rotation and bullpen necessary to dominate in October, its roster has plenty of World Series experience and we should see the MVP version of Ronald Acuña Jr. again this season. Throw in Matt Olson, Austin Riley, Michael Harris II, Sean Murphy and a version of Eddie Rosario with better vision than he had in 2022, the Braves might be the best team in baseball.
New York Mets
The Steve Cohen tax isn’t going to prevent the New York Mets from doing whatever it takes to try and win the World Series. Yes, this would be the favorite to win it all if the Carlos Correa deal didn’t fall through. Without him, New York is still as good as anyone out there. The Mets’ pitching staff is the best in baseball from the rotation to the bullpen, Pete Alonso is an MVP candidate and Omar Narváez is an upgrade at catcher. While we’d like to see more pop in the lineup, that could show up when Francisco Alvarez debuts.
Unfortunately for New York, the World Baseball Classic left a devastating blow on this pitching staff just before Opening Day. With Edwin Díaz lost for the season, New York loses the best closer in MLB and there is simply no effective way to replicate what he does for New York’s bullpen. The effects might not show up every week, but they will be evident in a 162-game season and especially in October.
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Not only did the Philadelphia Phillies snap their 10-year postseason drought, but they also went all the way to the World Series. It was a magical run and ownership proved its willingness to spend whatever it takes to keep the window open. However, the uncertain timeline for Bryce Harper’s return and concerns with rotation depth after Andrew Painter went down are the main areas of concern heading into the 2023 season.
Related: MLB rotation rankings 2023
The Miami Marlins lineup was so bad in 2022 that the organization overpaid to acquire Luis Arráez. It’s very possible Arráez challenges for the NL batting title this season, he and Jean Segura aren’t remotely enough to help this team produce even above-average statistics. So, you’ll have something eerily similar to previous years where Miami’s great pitching is let down by the batting order.
A sale of the Washington Nationals might be one of the few good things that happen for the team in 2023. There are intriguing, young standouts on the roster – CJ Abrams, Keibert Ruiz, Cade Cavalli and MacKenzie Gore – but all of them have lost some of the luster that made them top prospects. One small bright side, Washington will only have Stephen Strasburg under contract for three more seasons after this.
NL Central predictions
|St. Louis Cardinals||89||73|
St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis is the definition of reliable. The Cardinals have reached the playoffs in four consecutive seasons and haven’t put their fans through a losing season since 2007. Heading into 2023, St. Louis now boasts an even better rotation than it had for the majority of last season with two MVP candidates in the lineup and a well-rounded lineup around them. Combine that with a deep farm system, including potential breakout candidate Jordan Walker, you have a team that can control the NL Central for the next three years.
Just days before Opening Day, St. Louis took a sizable hit to its starting rotation with the Adam Wainwright injury. A soft-tissue injury for a 40-year-old pitcher can linger, especially when he already had diminished velocity. It’s an early blow to the Cardinals’ rotation and now leaves the door open for Milwaukee to challenge for the NL Central.
The Milwaukee Brewers aren’t headed in the right direction. Corbin Burnes is angry with the organization and it doesn’t seem like contract extensions are on the horizon for Burnes, Brandon Woodruff or Willy Adames. With marginal improvements made to the roster, Milwaukee looks like a fringe playoff team on its final life before its biggest stars leave for greener pastures in 2025.
The Chicago Cubs spent some money this offseason, bolstering the starting rotation and injecting a lot more talent into the batting order. It certainly won’t be enough for there to be playoff baseball at Wrigley Field, but Chicago seems to grasp the importance of putting veterans around its young core. Things will be even better when Pete Crow-Armstrong, Brennen Davis and Kevin Alcantara arrive in 2024.
The Pittsburgh Pirates would likely be better off trading Bryan Reynolds and further strengthening their farm system, but that doesn’t seem to be the plan. Instead, fans at PNC Park will just have to watch Reynolds, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Oneil Cruz and Roansy Contreras provide a few moments of happiness in a fifth consecutive season under 70 wins. But hey, at least Andrew McCutchen is back for a farewell tour.
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The Cincinnati Reds are in another rebuild, but at least there’s a hint of optimism for tomorrow. Cincinnati boasts one of the best farm systems in baseball, with Elly De La Cruz debuting this year and Noelvi Marte likely just a year away from his MLB debut. The 2023 season will be rough, but at least the fans will get to see some of their future stars provide some highlights leading up to a last-place finish in the standings.
NL West predictions
|San Diego Padres||90||92|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||88||94|
|San Francisco Giants||74||88|
San Diego Padres
While Steve Cohen gets all the attention, the San Diego Padres are a perfect example of a mid-market team that can go far when ownership is willing to spend. Not only did Yu Darvish and Manny Machado receive contract extensions, but the organization also went out and added Xander Bogaerts to the win-now core. This is one of the best MLB teams in 2023 and it wouldn’t be a surprise if there is a World Series parade in San Diego come October.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers essentially used this offseason to reset their books, avoiding any big splashes with the future in mind. It means for the first time in years, Los Angeles isn’t the team to beat in the NL West and its probability of winning the World Series is at its lowest point in several years. A down season, by the Dodgers’ standards, can be excused if it allows them to land Shohei Ohtani next winter.
While the Arizona Diamondbacks are likely a year away from contending for a Wild Card spot, this is the perfect time for fans to get in on the bandwagon early. Corbin Carroll is one of the most exciting, young talents in baseball and he isn’t alone with Gabriel Moreno, Alek Thomas and Zac Gallen as part of the long-term core. There’s enough pitching to stay relatively competitive and top prospects like Brandon Pfaadt, Jordan Lawlar and Blake Walston aren’t too far away.
San Francisco Giants
Not going through with the Carlos Correa deal might be the best long-term move for the San Francisco Giants. However, it’s fair to criticize Farhan Zaidi for failing to land a franchise-caliber talent to build the team around since he took over the Giants’ front office in 2018. While small improvements were made to the lineup (Michael Confort, Mitch Haniger), there are far too many holes in the lineup to believe the Giants will even make the NL West leaders nervous.
As if the Colorado Rockies’ 2023 season wouldn’t be bad enough, they are now without Brendan Rodgers for the majority of the year. It now means Coors Field will have a bottom-tier starting rotation with an alarmingly sub-par lineup. Safe to say the decision to sign Kris Bryant makes even less sense now and the contract will only get worse.
2023 MLB projections: Stat leaders
- Home Runs: Yordan Alvarez – 48
- RBIs: José Ramirez – 118
- Batting Average: Yordan Alvarez – .311
- Stolen Bases: Bobby Witt Jr. – 42
- Wins: Gerrit Cole – 17
- Strikeouts: Dylan Cease – 227
- ERA: Shohei Ohtani – 2.32
- Saves: Jordan Romano – 39
- Home Runs: Pete Alonso – 50
- RBIs: Manny Machado – 114
- Batting Average: Luis Arraez – .317
- Stolen Bases: Corbin Carroll – 35
- Wins: Max Fried – 16
- Strikeouts: Corbin Burnes – 234
- ERA: Justin Verlander -2.39
- Saves: Josh Hader – 40