Opening Day for the 2023 MLB season is finally here! All 30 teams are set to compete Thursday, March 30, starting at 1:05 p.m. ET... but before first pitch, it's time to set our 2023 MLB season predictions in stone.
Here, I'll break down my predictions for each division in the American League, including projected records, playoff seedings and more.
Projected Record: 94-68
Postseason? Yes (Division Winner, 2-seed in AL)
The Blue Jays possess a young core of players who were damn near teenagers when they made the major league roster. With a few seasons under the belts of Valdimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, and even a couple of playoff appearances—Toronto looks ready to take that next step, which is winning this division.
I love the addition of Chris Bassitt to a staff that already has Kevin Gausman and Alek Manoah amongst a couple of other notable arms. They also added former all-stars Whit Merrifield & Brandon Belt, as well as a two-time gold glove winner in Kevin Kiemaier this offseason. Oh yeah, and they still have George Springer and Matt Chapman. This team looks insanely good on paper.
Projected Record: 88-74
Postseason? Yes (Wild Card #2, 5-seed in AL)
Sorry Yankee fans, but the division will not be yours in 2023. The injuries to Frankie Montas, Carlos Rodón and Luis Severino will leave 3/5 of New York’s projected starting pitching rotation off of the Opening Day roster.
While Anthony Volpe making the roster and hopefully replacing Isaiah Kiner-Falefa full-time is something to get excited about, this lineup has questions when it comes to who is playing where. They are also paying Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks close to $32 million this year… to sit the bench (because they should not be starting).
Projected Record: 84-78
The Rays somehow always find a way to be competitive every year and have been one of the most underrated teams in the league over the last five years or so. A young team with a lot of prospects headlined by shortstop Wander Franco—the Rays are a well-coached and well-run franchise that is the perfect example of how modern-day baseball is played. That pitching staff is also VERY GOOD.
Always near the bottom of the league in payroll and attendance, but usually near the top in wins—Tampa is interesting. The Rays take a slight step back in 2023, missing out on the postseason for the first time since the 2018 season.
Projected Record: 82-80
As cool as it would be to watch the Baltimore Orioles win the AL East in 2023, that just won’t happen. A very fun and easy team to root for that’s full of guys who have proved they belong, including one of the best young catchers in the game right now—Adley Rutschman. The Orioles also have Gunnar Henderson, who was named MLB’s number-one prospect heading into 2023. Unfortunately for Baltimore, the AL East will be really good again this year and they will finish in fourth place with a winning record for the second consecutive season.
Projected Record: 75-87
Boston added Japanese outfielder and recent World Baseball Classic Champion, Masataka Yoshida, have Chris Sale returning from injury and have a solid manager in Alex Cora, so they could surprise some.
Then again they just lost two of their best hitters to the NL West (Xander Bogaerts to the Padres, J.D. Martinez to the Dodgers), and that pitching rotation is just not good enough. In my opinion, Boston is undoubtedly the worst team in this division.
Projected Record: 85-77
Postseason? Yes (Division Winner, 3-seed in AL)
Tony La Russa is out. Because of that, the White Sox should be taken seriously. The lineup is definitely not the same after the departure of their best offensive player José Abreu, but the remaining talent is undeniable, especially in the pitching rotation.
Dylan Cease and Lucas Giolito could become a two-headed monster in south Chicago, while Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert could become the superstars they are expected to be. This team is dangerous and somehow no one is talking about them.
Projected Record: 83-79
The youngest team in baseball within a game of the ALCS last year! That won’t be the case this season. Cleveland has some great players, including José Ramírez and Andrés Giménez, but I think this team as a whole doesn’t reach the heights they reached in 2022.
I know they have the shortest odds to win this division (AKA, are favored to win the AL Central), but the White Sox will be better, the Twins will be better and the American League in general will be more competitive. While they finish above .500 and maybe in the Wild Card hunt, Cleveland misses out on the October fun.
Projected Record: 79-83
Okay so for the Twins to be competitive in 2023, one simple thing needs to happen. Byron Buxton must stay healthy. A dynamic player both in the field and at the plate, Buxton is one of the best when he’s actually playing. Since the 2018 season, Buxton has played in a total of 307 games for the Twins. The Twins played 708 over that span. By doing lazy math in my head that definitely less than half. Speaking of health concerns, Minnesota let Carlos Correa walk, Watched two teams sign him and then change their minds due to concerns following a physical. And still gave him $200 million guaranteed. Weird things happening in Minnesota. But hey, at least the bullpen will be better!
Projected Record: 72-90
Seems like everyone has been waiting for the Tigers to call up the abundance of young prospects and talented phenoms before giving a take on Detroit’s baseball team. Most of those prospects have made their MLB debut, and whether it be because of injury or just simply underperforming, they haven’t made much noise. But I'm all in on the Spencer Torkleson-Riley Greene-Casey Mize era in Detroit. It may be baseball legend Miguel Cabrera's last season before retirement, but this is a team that just needs experience playing with each other and in games that matter. This is a growing year for the Tigers and a farewell tour for Miggy, not a playoff season.
Projected Record: 69-93
The Royals are still some years away from being in this discussion. They are definitely building something in Kansas City with Bobby Witt Jr., M.J. Melendez and others transitioning from prospects to stars. There’s a lot of veteran leadership on this team as well in guys like Salvador Perez and Zack Greinke and ya know what everyone says about having veteran leadership with young talent.
Projected Record: 99-63
Postseason? Yes (Division Winner, 1-seed in AL)
Best team in baseball. The defending World Series champs are the favorites to run it back and no one should be surprised. Calling Houston a dynasty at this point is no hot take, making the World Series 4 out of the last 6 seasons and winning two (with a smidge of scandal). This team has only gotten better since last year, too, with the addition of José Abreu.
Unfortunately for the Astros, the AL West — a division Houston has largely dominated — is getting better! The Mariners ended their playoff drought and even won a playoff series last year. The Angels have Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout which is fun! And the Rangers have the highest payroll in the division after signing 2-time Cy Young award winner Jacob deGrom. Still, the Astros are like the Patrick Mahomes of baseball—on a level by themselves.
Projected Record: 91-71
Postseason? Yes (Wild Card #1, 5-seed in AL)
The Mariners made history last year, and ironically it came by ending something historic. The longest playoff drought in any of the four major american came to an end at 21 years when Seattle punched their ticket by winning a wild card spot. These aren’t the Mariners of old and should be taken seriously in 2023. It’s a team easy to like with reigning AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez and a fan base that rallies around their team just as well as anyone. It’ll be a fun summer in Seattle as the M’s finally have the pieces in play to make a deep run in October.
Projected Record: 86-76
Postseason? Yes (Wild Card #3, 6-seed in AL)
Shohei Ohtani is the best thing to happen to the sport of baseball since… maybe ever? Fresh off a World baseball MVP award and championship, the hottest thing is baseball is ready to show the world what he can do once again. The Angels unfortunately are an organization that has made the postseason just once in the past 10 years despite having Mike Trout! Ohtani is coming off of one of the most historic seasons of all-time and it would be good for baseball to have the Angels making the postseason. Hopefully, it can happen.
Projected record: 82-80
I want to believe in the Rangers. I really do. They have made it pretty clear that their intentions are to win now after spending over $750 million over the past two offseasons. They will take a step forward in 2023, but it’s hard to imagine them being better than the Astros, Mariners and even the Angels.
Still, there's a lot of star power on this team with Corey Seager and Jacob deGrom at the top of that list, and Texas improved their rotation tremendously as well. They're definitely a team to watch... but also a team who has a ceiling of a third wild card finish while playing slightly above .500 ball.
Projected record: 61-101
Postseason? Hell No
No doubt in my right mind that Oakland will be the worst team in baseball this season. I’m talking 100+ losses level of bad. Attendance is also a big problem for the A’s, and as talks of moving the franchise out of the Bay Area continue, Las Vegas will be ready to welcome them with open arms in a few years. Raiders fans are already having flashbacks.