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Who's Going to Win What in MLB?

Who's Going to Win What in MLB? | Tipico
Who's Going to Win What in MLB? | Tipico
Sasha Yodashkin
Published: 2023-03-28

Opening Day is Thursday, and there’s still time to place preseason futures bets on which teams will win their divisions, make the playoffs as wild cards, advance to the ALCS or NLCS, and even win the World Series.

AL West
The Astros are the obvious favorites. The reigning World Series champions have won their division in five of the past six seasons and finished second in 2020. Houston’s only realistic competition is an ascending Mariners team, but the Astros finished 16 games ahead of the Mariners in 2022.

Houston lost ace Justin Verlander in free agency but still boasts an elite pitching staff and can always fall back on the tried-and-true strategies of banging trash cans and wearing buzzers if the offense needs a spark.

AL East
This was MLB’s deepest division in 2022, with four teams finishing above .500 and the Red Sox coming in only six games under. The Yankees won it last year, but that was just the second division crown for New York in the last 10 seasons.

The Rays find a way to contend year in and year out despite a limited payroll and the Red Sox have a strong lineup, while the Blue Jays and Orioles are both young, talented teams. This race will likely come down to the wire but look for Toronto to claim the division title after finishing seven games behind the Yankees last yeear.

AL Central
The Guardians had the fewest victories of any division winner last season -- 92, an 11-game margin, no less. The Royals and Tigers continue to rebuild, leaving this as a three-team race between the Guardians, White Sox and Twins.

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After the White Sox finished .500 in an injury-riddled 2022 season, a healthier campaign in 2023 could help Chicago bounce back and make the playoffs for the third time in four years by claiming the AL Central crown.

AL Playoffs
If the Astros, Blue Jays and White Sox all win their divisions, that would leave three wild card playoff spots. The Yankees and Mariners should claim two of those and return to the postseason after making it in 2022, while the Red Sox could surprisingly edge out the AL East rival Rays for the final spot. Four of the last five times the Red Sox finished in the basement of the AL East, they went on to make the playoffs the following season.

NL West
The Dodgers should win again. This regular season juggernaut has nine division titles in the last 10 years and at least 104 wins in four of the past six years. The Padres will make Los Angeles earn it, though.

NL Central
This division is also shaping up as a two-team race, with the Cardinals looking to defend their title after edging out the Brewers by seven games in 2022. St. Louis has won the division title five times in the last 10 years and finished second in three of the other five. Look for 2022 NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt to help the Cardinals stay on top.

NL East
This is arguably the most intriguing division. The 2021 World Series champion Braves won the division last year over the Mets on a tiebreaker, but big-spending owner Steve Cohen has New York ready to compete again, even after the team lost star closer Edwin Diaz to a knee injury suffered during a postgame celebration at the World Baseball Classic.

Then there are the Phillies, who finished 14 games back in the division last year but squeaked into the playoffs and made it all the way to the World Series. When the dust settles on the 2023 regular season, the Mets might just come away with their first NL East title since 2015.

NL Playoffs
If the Dodgers, Cardinals and Mets occupy the first three spots in the National League playoffs, that leaves three wild card spots. The Padres should be back in the postseason after making it last season and improving on paper, while the Braves should extend their streak of consecutive playoff seasons to six. A surprise third wild card team could be the Giants, as San Francisco won 107 games in 2021 and could bounce back after a .500 finish in 2022.

LCS, World Series Predictions
Now that we have predicted which teams will make the playoffs, let’s move on to which teams will find success in the postseason. The Yankees and Astros have met in the ALCS thrice in the past six years, and a fourth such matchup is a distinct possibility. The fourth time could be the charm for the Yankees, who have been bedeviled by Verlander over the years but will no longer have to face him after he joined the Mets this offseason.

The Dodgers have been perennial playoff chokers, as they would likely still be in a championship drought dating back to 1988 if they didn’t get to play in a sterile environment without the pressures of fans and travel in 2020. They have made the World Series two other times since 2017, though, and LA could be back there again in 2023. A Dodgers win over the Mets in the NLCS would be a classic Mets result, robbing New York fans of a Subway Series.

Last year, the Yankees peaked too early, posting a league-best 52-18 record through June 24, before injuries and regression caught up to them. Perhaps the reverse will be true in 2023. New York’s already racking up some significant injuries, but the Yankees have enough resources to weather the storm before everything comes together at the perfect moment.

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If the Bronx Bombers vanquish the villainous, Verlander-less Astros in the ALCS, they could ride that momentum to a World Series win over the Dodgers, finally ending a 14-year World Series drought for long-suffering Yankee fans.

Photo Credit: IMAGO / ZUMA wire

Sasha Yodashkin has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.

Who's Going to Win What in MLB? | Tipico


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