Happy Opening Day/Week to all who celebrate.
Today, I would like to enlighten all of you with my ability to predict the future about baseball things. Introducing all of the 2023 MLB award winners.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - Toronto Blue Jays
It’s simply time. Vladdy had a textbook MVP season in 2021… only problem is some guy named Shohei Ohtani literally recreated baseball and HAD to win the award. After an injury-riddled, underperforming 2022, Guerrero still finished in the top-20 MVP voting. This year, I think Vlad, along with the Blue Jays, will take that next step toward a division title and October run while securing his first of many MVP awards.
Shohei Ohtani - Los Angeles Angels
I mean, c’mon. This dude is going to be in the MVP conversation as long as he is an active player in the MLB.
Mike Trout - Los Angeles Angels
Mike Trout is the second best player in baseball behind his teammate and the aforementioned Ohtani. He will remind everyone of that in 2023.
Dylan Cease - Chicago White Sox
Cease emerged as one of the best American League pitchers last year despite many not even considering him the best pitcher on the White Sox. Cease has quietly put together some decent big league seasons, drastically improving every year—something ya love to see. After finishing second in the AL Cy Young award voting, Dylan was named Opening Day starter for the White Sox.
Framber Valdez - Houston Astros
With the departure of Verlander, he is the ace for Houston. Benefitting from the offensive juggernaut that is the Astros lineup, Valdez will get more than enough run support to rack up the wins in his starts.
Kevin Gausman - Toronto Blue Jays
This has a very good chance of happening. Kevin Gausman has evolved as a major league pitcher and is peaking at the right time for the Blue Jays. Expectations are high in Toronto and Gausman is at the top of a very talented pitching staff.
Gunnar Henderson - Baltimore Orioles
The 21-year-old top prospect in all of baseball resides in Baltimore and he is good. Henderson is described as a five-tool player in baseball language, which simply means he can do everything there is to do on a baseball field and do it well. The Orioles are on the verge of becoming serious competitors in the American League and with other young perennial talent in the organization like Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez, Henderson shouldn’t feel too much pressure in his first full big league season.
Josh Jung - Texas Rangers
Jung only played in 19 games last season, making him rookie-eligible for 2023. In those 19 games he had three homers and an OPS of .967. I know it’s a small sample size but it has to mean something, right?
Anthony Volpe - New York Yankees
Yankees fans have been talking about Volpe like he’s the second coming of Derek Jeter. He is their top prospect and has officially made the Opening Day roster. It shouldn’t be too long before he takes the starting shortstop job from Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
Phil Nevin - Los Angeles Angels
Please, Phil Nevin. For the love of baseball fans everywhere. Win American League Manager of the Year. Because if you do, that means the Angels are good. And if the Angels are good, that means we get to potentially see Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout in the postseason. That’s a need. Not a want.
Brandon Hyde - Baltimore Orioles
Who doesn’t love the Orioles? Brandon Hyde has done an exceptional job turning the corner with that franchise and is a big reason why the O’s will be taken seriously in 2023. Hyde was the Manager of the Year runner-up in 2022 and if the O’s churn out another winning season, he’s a premium candidate.
John Schneider - Toronto Blue Jays
Schneider took over in Toronto initially as an interim manager after Charlie Montoyo was fired last season and did a good enough job to be named full-time skipper. The Blue Jays have such a loaded roster that it would take a disaster to happen for John Schneider not to lead Toronto to the postseason.
Francisco Lindor - New York Mets
I feel like people are forgetting how good Lindor is. Yes, I’m a Mets fan so excuse the bias, but after an uncharacteristic 2021 season in which he slumped terribly at times, Lindor bounced back in 2022. To be fair, I expected there to be some sort of transition period going from playing in Cleveland on a rookie deal to playing in New York City on a $341 million deal. I think he is officially comfortable in Queens and will carry that Mets offense (which can struggle at times) while solidifying his place as a top-3 shortstop in the game right now.
Ronald Acuña Jr. - Atlanta Braves
Probably the most dynamic player in the league, Acuña is at the top of the list of guys with 40/40 potential (40 home runs, 40 stolen bases in a single season). To put something into perspective, only four players in the history of the MLB have recorded a 40/40 season. If Acuña does it, he’s MVP.
Trea Turner - Philadelphia Phillies
After a 2022 season in which he played 160 out of 162 regular season games with the Dodgers, Turner returned to the NL East where he started his career and secured the bag from the Phillies. Despite the Dodgers being eliminated in their first playoff series last year, Turner was phenomenal. He was even better for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. If he keeps playing like that, look out.
Zack Wheeler - Philadelphia Phillies
Let’s not forget Wheeler finished second in the 2021 Cy Young voting and still put together a solid 2022 while battling injuries. It’s safe to say Wheeler likes Philadelphia as he’s easily put together the best years of his career and is a big reason why the Phillies have become one of the best teams in baseball.
Zac Gallen - Arizona Diamondbacks
Everyone knew Gallen had the talent, but wow did he explode onto the scene in 2022. Gallen will continue to prove he belongs in the conversation of best pitchers right now and continue to be a reason people watch the Diamondbacks.
Max Fried - Atlanta Braves
Fried is the ace on what could be the best team in the National League this year. I know Spring Training games don’t mean much — they actually don’t mean anything at all — but Fried didn’t allow a single earned run in 14.1 innings pitched while striking out 19 batters. He’s the Opening Day starter and will get the chance to stay hot.
Jordan Walker - St. Louis Cardinals
Walker went into 2023 Spring Training looking to hopefully earn a major league roster spot as the Cardinals' top prospect in the organization. He proceeded to absolutely ball out and gave the Cardinals front office no choice but to add him to the roster at the end of Spring Training. They would not do that if they weren’t planning on playing him right away, so he has a very interesting situation where he could make his major league debut on Opening Day and get a full season of playing everyday.
Kodai Senga - New York Mets
While Senga isn’t necessarily a rookie (played 11 seasons in professional Japanese leagues), he’s new to the MLB and is a rookie by the rulebook. That will be an advantage to him. Baseball in Japan is no joke and yields a ton of talent, so if this guy is proven at the Japanese level it won’t have a difficult time transitioning to the MLB.
Corbin Carroll - Arizona Diamondbacks
The favorite to win this award, Corbin Carroll will benefit from a depleted Diamondbacks outfield that will give him plenty of opportunity to make an immediate impact.
Bob Melvin - San Diego Padres
Melvin may benefit from having a ridiculously good team that will lead to him getting more credit than deserved. The Padres have the potential to win 100+ games and no team is able to do that unless the manager is solid. Bob Melvin is a former player which current players love in a manager and a great baseball mind. He’s proven that, winning American league manager of the year in 2018. This year will mark Melvin’s 20th season as a major league manager and what better way to celebrate than with the Manager of the Year award.
Brian Snitker - Atlanta Braves
Another Bob Melvin situation, Snitker is a damn good manager with a damn good team. And like Melvin, Snitker also won the award in 2018 with the Braves and is undoubtedly one of the best in the game at handling a big league club.
Skip Schumaker - Miami Marlins
A rookie manager on a young team in Miami? This could either go very good or very bad. If it goes well, 42-year old former player Skip Schumaker will find himself in the Manager of the Year conversation. Also, ‘skipper’ is a baseball term to refer to a team’s manager. His name is Skip. That’s fun.