Chicago Cubs and 2023 MLB standings predictions
The American League West runs through the defending champions.
1. Houston Astros: 97-65
Coming off their World Series run, the Astros are once again in a prime position to win another title. Every year they seem to lose a big piece, this year it's Justin Verlander, but it does not matter as they find replacements and end up just fine. They added former White Sox star José Abreu at 1B/DH to a potent lineup of star OF/DH Yordan Alvarez, 2B Jose Altuve, 3B Alex Bregman, RF Kyle Tucker, SS Jeremy Peña, and DH Michael Brantley. It's a lineup that can hit, slug, get on base, and come through in the clutch. The top three in the rotation aren't bad either, with Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, and Lance McCullers Jr. all coming back. This franchise knows how to produce talent and win, and is the team to beat until proven otherwise.
2. Seattle Mariners: 90-72
Long-suffering Mariners fans got to see their team play in October for the first time in 21 years last season. The excitement young star CF Julio Rodríguez brought to Seattle should translate into 2023 and beyond. The additions of OF Teoscar Hernández, OF/DH AJ Pollock, and 2B Kolton Wong should provide useful for them, and they will have a full year of Luis Castillo in the rotation. The lineup should also get some pop from 1B Ty France, C Cal Raleigh, and veteran 3B Eugenio Suárez. Do not rule out Jarred Kelenic being a factor either. This should be a fun team to watch in 2023.
3. Los Angeles Angels: 81-81
People watch the Angels because of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, two of the most exciting and beloved players in baseball. Trout has been the best player in baseball for a solid decade now, and Ohtani can hit 40+ homers at the plate while also striking out 200+ batters on the mound. They have not had a supporting cast around them sadly. The Angels did add RF slugger Hunter Renfroe, 2B Brandon Drury, and UT Gio Urshela to the lineup while adding P Tyler Anderson to the rotation. They will also be begging for 3B Anthony Rendon to be healthy this year. On paper, it's a better team than last year, but it still probably lacks what is needed to contend for a division title.
4. Texas Rangers: 77-85
This team has brought in a lot of big names over the past two years. This year they are adding former Mets star pitcher Jacob deGrom to the rotation, along with P Nathan Eovaldi and P Andrew Heaney. The lineup has some power in SS Corey Seager, 2B Marcus Semien, 1B Nathaniel Lowe, 3B Josh Jung, and OF Adolis García. Each of these guys can hit 20+ homers and slug .450+. It will be important to have deGrom healthy this season, along with Seager. This team can be intriguing, but they will have to make a big jump from 68 wins last year. Regardless, they are moving in the right direction with added talent and a top-10 farm system.
5. Oakland Athletics: 66-96
Que the Moneyball memes, it is shaping up to be another long season in Oakland. They have sold off many pieces over the past year, including their latest casualty All-Star catcher Sean Murphy. UT Tony Kemp and LF Seth Brown are still around, and Brown is one of the few candidates to slug over .420 on the season. They filled some gaps with veteran journeymen 1B Jesús Aguilar, IF Jace Peterson, DH/IF Aledmys Díaz, and C Manny Piña. Do not expect Billy Beane to be calling in Scott Hatteberg this season.