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ALLCITY Network 2023 MLB Season Preview: Picks and predictions for MVP, World Series and more

Ryan Herrera Avatar
March 29, 2023

With four baseball beats in three different cities around the country as part of the ALLCITY Network, an All-Star cast from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) have the picks for the 2023 MLB season.

Here is the quartet who have predicted each division, Wild Card winner and end of year award winners:

Patrick Lyons (@PatrickDLyons) of DNVR Rockies (@DNVR_Rockies)

Jesse Friedman (@JesseNFriedman) of PHNX Diamondbacks (@PHNX_Dbacks)

Ryan Herrera (@ryan_a_herrera) of CHGO Cubs (@CHGO_Cubs)

Vinnie Duber (@VinnieDuber) of CHGO White Sox (@CHGO_WhiteSox)

National League division winners and Wild Cards

PatrickJesseRyanVinnie
NL EastATLATLATLATL
NL CentralSTLSTLSTLSTL
NL WestSDSDSDLAD
NL Wild Card #1LADNYMLADNYM
NL Wild Card #2PHILADNYMSD
NL Wild Card #3MILMILPHIPHI

Lyons: So many teams got better in the NL, including the Pirates. They won’t sniff the postseason, but teams like them and the Diamondbacks have a lot of young talent coming together at the same time. The Dodgers are very interesting. Will they be able to get their roster to play up? Are they somewhat punting on 2023 to reset financially in order to make a play for Shohei Ohtani next offseason and, if they are lackluster, take advantage of the 2024 MLB Draft with a higher draft position than they’ve had in a decade? 

Friedman: The Mets are old, the Dodgers got worse and the Padres’ rotation is not World Series material. I really like the Atlanta Braves — and the idea of a full season of Spencer Strider — in 2023. The National League playoff picture as a whole looks to be fairly stagnant, with five postseason teams from last year (Dodgers, Padres, Mets, Braves and Cardinals) seemingly locked into playoff spots from the get-go.

Herrera: I’m just now realizing I’ve picked all six 2022 NL playoff teams to return, which seems unlikely, but it’s what I’m going with. I think five spots go to some combination of the Dodgers, Padres, Braves, Mets and Phillies. The Cardinals might not be clear favorites in the NL Central, but I think their strong lineup wins out. And when it’s all said and done, the all-in-for-a-title Padres take the pennant.

Feb 27, 2023; Peoria, Arizona, USA; San Diego Padres infielder Xander Bogaerts against the Los Angeles Dodgers during a spring training game at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Duber: The NL East will be ridiculously difficult to win this year, so I’ll give it to a Braves team that has done it before. But the Mets will make Steve Cohen proud, particularly his two future Hall of Famers at the front of the rotation. The Dodgers are still too big to fail in the NL West, and the Cardinals have perhaps the two MVP frontrunners on the same infield, with young talent all around them.

American League division winners and Wild Cards

PatrickJesseRyanVinnie
AL EastTORNYYNYYTOR
AL CentralCLECLEMINCHW
AL WestHOUHOUSEAHOU
AL Wild Card #1NYYTORTORSEA
AL Wild Card #2LAASEAHOUTB
AL Wild Card #3TBTBTBBAL

Lyons: The baseball gods will help out Ohtani and Trout once again put the Los Angeles Angels in the postseason for the first time since 2014. Let’s also go ahead and the folks of Cleveland have something nice with their first World Series since 1948, ending the longest drought in all of baseball.

Friedman: I count only four American League teams — Red Sox, Royals, Tigers and A’s — for whom making the playoffs looks unrealistic in 2023. One could make a fairly convincing case for any of the other 11, including the Twins, Rangers, Angels, Orioles and White Sox. It’s impossible to figure out how this will all pan out. I really liked the Toronto Blue Jays’ offseason, though, and I’ve got them taking on the Atlanta Braves in the World Series.

Herrera: The AL East is loaded with teams that can realistically make a run to the playoffs. When it comes down to it, I’ve got the Yankees and Blue Jays as the last two AL teams standing. Even though they’ll be missing some key pieces early on — inlcuding newly signed Carlos Rodón — I think this Yankees team has a really good shot at going to their first World Series in 14 years. Now, winning the Series is a different story…

Duber: Everyone is overlooking the White Sox, who despite their faceplant last season are still, in my opinion, far and away the most talented team in the AL Central. Not saying that will count much against the Astros or Blue Jays come playoff time, but I have no problem picking them to top their division. Those two will be the kings of the AL come October, with the Jays muscling past their division rivals and the Astros marching to another Fall Classic appearance.

Mar 19, 2023; Peoria, Arizona, USA; Chicago White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease (84) on the mound to start in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners during a spring training game at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

MLB playoff picks

PatrickJesseRyanVinnie
ALCS MatchupCLE-HOUTOR-HOUNYY-TORHOU-TOR
AL ChampCLETORNYYHOU
NLCS MatchupLAD-ATLATL-SDSD-NYMNYM-ATL
NL ChampLADATLSDNYM
World Series ChampCLEATLSDHOU

Bold AL and NL predictions

Lyons: The baseball gods will help out Ohtani and Trout and put the Los Angeles Angels in the postseason for the first time since 2014. Let’s also go ahead and let the folks of Cleveland have something nice with their first World Series since 1948, ending the longest drought in all of baseball. 

It’s very surprising that everyone thinks so much alike. Picking the San Diego Padres to win the NL West doesn’t seem that bold anymore. The Los Angeles Dodgers may lose the division, but they’ll figure it out in the postseason, especially with Walker Buehler returning in some capacity during the second half.  So, how about the New York Mets — and their suffering fans — missing the postseason entirely? Milwaukee is always a dark horse candidate, especially after they’ve had a winning record or gone to the playoffs in each of the last six seasons. 

Friedman: The Los Angeles Angels will take a big step forward this year — but still miss the playoffs. Out in the AL East, the Yankees will narrowly take the division over the Blue Jays, but Toronto will push their way to the World Series. Apparently, I learned nothing after picking the Jays to win the World Series last year and seeing them get swept in the first round.

The 2022 NL champion Philadelphia Phillies will miss the playoffs. I’ve also got the Brewers beating the Cardinals in the Wild Card round, despite St. Louis having a better regular season record. Maybe that’s not so bold … have you seen Milwaukee’s starting rotation?

Mar 21, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich against the Chicago White Sox during a spring training game at American Family Fields of Phoenix. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Herrera: Feeling the World Series hangover, the Astros will make the playoffs as a Wild Card but won’t get past that round. They’ll have one of the top pitching staffs in baseball, and they return most of their World Series lineup (and added José Abreu, too), but there are some hungry teams out there who match up — and ultimately bounce them early.

The NL Central will actually come down to the last day of the season. The Cubs might be competitive for most of the year, but in the end, it’ll be the Cardinals who edge out the Brewers for the division crown — thanks to a Cubs win on Oct. 1 that eliminates Milwaukee from postseason contention.

Duber: Nothing bold about pointing out how loaded the AL East is, but how about the Yankees missing the postseason altogether? They’ll be good, but the division will be so packed with contenders that it might come down to some 2011-style last-day madness to sort it all out.

I wanted to say no playoffs for the Phightin’ Phills, what with Harper and Hoskins on the mend, but Kyle Schwarber and Mr. March Trea Turner will find a way to get ’em in. So I guess I’ll go with fellow NL East-er Max Scherzer winning the NL Cy Young over his old-turned-new teammate Justin Verlander, who will finish second.

National League Awards

PatrickJesseRyanVinnie
NL MVPTrea TurnerJuan SotoJuan SotoJuan Soto
NL Cy Young AwardCorbin BurnesCorbin BurnesMax ScherzerMax Scherzer
NL Rookie of the YearEzequiel TovarCorbin CarrollHayden WesneskiJordan Walker
NL Manager of the YearBob MelvinBob MelvinBob MelvinBob Melvin

Lyons: One of the best stories of the season for the Rockies will be whether or not Ezequiel Tovar will make an immediate impact. I think he’ll be the NL Rookie of the Year, thwarting Corbin Carroll and the Arizona Diamondbacks from their first ever ROY. Corbin Burnes has CYA votes over the last three seasons. He’ll win his second Cy Young and begin to build his Hall of Fame resume. BoMel may have a great roster, but they haven’t been able to gel just yet. If he gets them to do that, he should win Manager of the Year.

Mar 19, 2023; Summerlin, Nevada, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Ezequiel Tovar (14) warms up before a Spring Training game against the Kansas City Royals at Las Vegas Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Friedman: As one of few who has seen basically all of Corbin Carroll’s major league games, I really like his chances in the NL Rookie of the Year race. There are worthy competitors — Jordan Walker comes to mind — but Carroll contributes in so many ways that he’s going to bring a ton of value even if he has, say, an .800 OPS. I’m also expecting a roaring bounceback year from Juan Soto, who remains one of the best young players in baseball despite a bizarrely lackluster second half last year in San Diego.

Herrera: Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander could both take home the NL Cy Young (seriously, the Mets’ rotation is going to be fun), but Scherzer will end up edging out Verlander for his fourth Cy Young. On the other side of the country, Juan Soto will be the best player on the best team in the NL, and he’ll takes home his first MVP at just 24 years old. And the Cubs make these predictions after all, with Hayden Wesneski putting together an impressive first full season to run away with the NL Rookie of the Year.

Duber: Anyone following the NL Cy Young race might not have to leave Queens. Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer are back in the same rotation, and they remain two of the finest arms in baseball. They could easily go 1-2 in the Cy Young vote. I’ll make the unexciting but strong pick of Juan Soto for MVP, though San Diego’s most impressive work will be done by the always impressive Bob Melvin, arguably baseball’s best manager over the last decade-plus.

American League Awards

PatrickJesseRyanVinnie
AL MVPMike TroutShohei OhtaniShohei OhtaniShohei Ohtani
AL Cy Young AwardShane BieberFramber ValdezGerrit ColeFramber Valdez
AL Rookie of the YearLogan O’HoppeGunnar HendersonMasataka YoshidaHunter Brown
AL Manager of the YearDusty BakerJohn SchneiderScott ServaisJohn Schneider

Lyons: Is Ohtani the greatest player in the world? Yes. Greatest player we’ve ever seen? Probably. Barry Bonds could pitch one bit, even on the “clear.” But golf course magnate Mike Trout is healthy and ready to remind people that only his teammate can beat him. O’Hoppe looked great in the AFL in 2021 and followed it up with an impressive season at Double-A. As a catcher, that will play up with voters, especially if he can aid the Angels to the postseason. 

Friedman: It took Aaron Judge setting the AL single-season home run record to pry the AL MVP award away from Shohei Ohtani, and even then, it was a close and controversial race. As long as Ohtani stays healthy in 2023, he’s got a great shot. I also loved what I saw from Gunnar Henderson last year in Baltimore. I’ve got him inching out Masataka Yoshida for AL Rookie of the Year.

Herrera: Shohei Ohtani could win the MVP every year based on what he does on both sides of the ball. That obviously didn’t happen in 2022, but in 2023, his offensive prowess mixed with his elite performance on the mound gets him his second AL MVP award. It won’t get him the AL Cy Young Award, though. That will go to Gerrit Cole, who performs like the best pitcher in baseball on what ends up being the best rotation in baseball at season’s end.

Duber: Shohei Ohtani is one of the best hitters in baseball. Shohei Ohtani is one of the best pitchers in baseball. That should equal MVP on an annual basis. They might need to come up with a separate award just for him so someone else can have a shot. Also, the Astros’ rotation is going to be bonkers — even without Justin Verlander — and claim both the Cy Young (Framber Valdez) and Rookie of the Year (Hunter Brown).

Mar 13, 2023; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez (59) throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

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