Chicago Cubs and 2023 MLB standings predictions

Washington Nationals v Chicago Cubs
Washington Nationals v Chicago Cubs / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages
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Seby Zavala, Dylan Cease
Detroit Tigers v Chicago White Sox / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

One American Central team will look to redeem the letdown of 2022 and another will look to defend their title.

1. Chicago White Sox: 87-75

It's reasonable to think the Sox rebound and win the Central. With that said, it is going to take some things going right. The big changes in the offseason included hiring Pedro Grifol to replace Hall of Famer Tony LaRussa to run the dugout and adding OF Andrew Benintendi to solidify left field. The big key for the Sox is the health of young stars CF Luis Robert and DH Eloy Jiménez
. If they play to their potential, with rebound performances from 3B Yoán Moncada
, All Star SS Tim Anderson and C Yasmani Grandal. The top of their rotation is very good on paper with Dylan Cease, Lucas Giolito, and Lance Lynn. They have lost the face of the franchise, José Abreu, veteran Johnny Cueto, and closer Liam Hendricks is battling cancer treatment (prayers for his recovery). The team has holes and chinks in the armor, but still has the talent to be a playoff team. Feels like all or nothing for the Sox this year.

2. Cleveland Guardians: 85-77

Doubting them again? Well the team showed last year they can win with the talent they develop within. Their pitching development in particular continues to be great, and in 2023 will once again boast the likes of star starter Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie, and CP Emmanuel Clase. Their rotation and pen as whole shapes up pretty well. 1B/DH Josh Bell was added to the lineup with All-Star 3B José Ramirez, CF Myles Straw, 1B Josh Naylor, IF Andrés Giménez, and rising star Steven Kwan. The dugout still features one of baseball's best managers in Terry Francona. Cleveland plays the game very well, one just might wonder if they maintain the same success they had in 2022, but they sure have what it takes to win again.

3. Minnesota Twins: 80-82

This team is so strange. In an unexpected chain of events, star SS Carlos Correa returned on a multi-year deal. They acquired SP Pablo López
from Miami in exchange for Luis Arraez and signed veteran slugger Joey Gallo, C Christian Vázquez, OF Michael A. Taylor, and IF Kyle Farmer. Arguably the biggest question is if star CF Byron Buxton will be healthy. His presence makes a big difference but has had a hard time staying on the field. The rotation underneath López features veterans Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, and Kente Maeda. On paper a solid rotation. Last year the bullpen had some issues holding leads and could have some questions going into 2023. Keep an eye on pitcher Jhoan Duran.

4. Kansas City Royals: 73-89

The Royals are filled with inexperience, with much of the projected Opening Day roster being 22-26 years old and under two years of service time. Rising star IF Bobby Witt Jr. is the centerpiece of this next phase in Kansas City. Other young players to keep an eye on include OF MJ Melendez and 1B Vinnie Pasquantino. The veteran production in the lineup will come from 3B Hunter Dozier and of course C Salvy Perez. Most of the rotation includes veteran guys, including Zack Greinke, Jordan Lyles, Brad Keller, and Ryan Yarbrough. They did also add reliever Aroldis Chapman to the bullpen. It's not going to be a very good team but has some promising young pieces.

5. Detroit Tigers: 71-91

Detroit is handing over this rebuild project to new president Scott Harris who looking to get the plan back on track. They will need 2020 first-overall pick Spencer Torkelson to make a big step forward this year, with 2019 fifth-overall pick Riley Greene (who showed promise in 2022) to do the same. The lineup will feature former Cubs star SS Javier Baez, veteran Jonathan Schoop and former Rays OF Austin Meadows. They brought back P Matthew Boyd and added Michael Lorenzen to a rotation of Eduardo Rodriquez, Matt Manning, and Spencer Turnbull. This team could be better than last year's, but they are still far from being legit.