With the announcement of MLB’s major awards last week, we can finally put the 2023 season to rest. From a Yankees perspective, that’s a bit of a relief, after all the frustration that this campaign caused.
It also means we can tally up the scores for our annual predictions contest. Last year, Joe LoGrippo, who has since moved on to social media work with the YES Network, took the crown. How did we do this year?
Here’s how we tallied the results. We awarded one point for each correct slot in the standings. For numerical predictions, we awarded two points for the closest guess, and three getting it right on the money. Correct guesses on player awards and leaders received two points. We also offered a bonus point if you happened to sweep the category.
2023 AL standings
Swing and a miss! The Yankees won the 2022 AL East going away, something almost none of us oversaw, and this year, we overcorrected, with nearly all of us calling for a division repeat. Instead, the Orioles and Rays dominated the division, with the Yankees plummeting to fourth. Hey, at least most of us foresaw a last-place finish for the Red Sox!
There, at least some of us had the division winner pegged in the Central. Estevão, Sam, and Noah all did well to peg three teams in the correct spots here, while almost half of us correctly had the Twins as the division champs. In retrospect, I’m almost a little surprised to see so many of us chose the Twins, with Minnesota having finished 14 games back of first-place Cleveland in 2022.
The AL West has been one of the easier divisions to predict in recent years; putting Houston first and the A’s last has always been a good place to start. But even if the Astros once again prevailed, things were topsy-turvy for a while there, with all of the Astros, Rangers, and Mariners duking it out until the season’s final days.
2023 NL standings
The Braves absolutely dominated the NL from wire to wire during the regular season, which makes it easy to forget there was plenty of consternation regarding who would prevail in the NL East prior to the season. Nearly half of us had a team other than Atlanta, something that feels preposterous now but was actually reasonable some eight months ago. Also, kudos to the Nationals for playing directly to form.
Among the biggest disappointments of the 2023 season were the Cardinals, our consensus pick to repeat as NL Central champs, only to fall out of contention almost immediately. St. Louis’ failure somehow makes the Yankees’ struggles look quaint; at least the Yankees didn’t lose 91 games while their manager seemingly mangled his relationship with his own players! The Reds also qualify as one of the biggest surprises, in a positive direction, as most of us saw them remaining in the cellar, rather than hanging in the playoff race all year.
The Padres, along with the Cardinals, Mets, and Yankees, bring up the rear as the last high-profile, expensive failure from 2023. It brings up another sentiment that feels distant because of how the season played out; most of us were a little down on the Dodgers heading into the year! LA cruised to another 100-win season, while the Padres needed a late sprint to get to 82-80, though of all the disappointing teams from 2023, San Diego’s underlying numbers suggest they were a little hard done by.
2023 Yankees leaders
Well, we got Yankees home run leader right, though I’d hazard a guess that if you’d told us how much time Aaron Judge would miss this year, we’d have changed our answers. Gerrit Cole, finally a Cy Young winner, didn’t necessarily shock us this year, but it highlights how impressive he was that none of the Yankees’ relievers could post an ERA lower than he did across 33 starts.
Miscellaneous Yankees statistics
For the most part, I think we were pretty well calibrated here. Most of us were in the ballpark on the games played and innings pitched totals, as well as Cole’s strikeouts. However, we didn’t see Nestor Cortes’ blow-up coming, and we were all far too high on DJ LeMahieu’s batting average, which came in 49 points below his career average.
2023 MLB leaders
The leaders in the middle two categories were pretty surprising, with Matt Olson exceeding his previous career-high home run total by 15, and Blake Snell lowering his ERA by more than a full run to lead the league. No surprises on the WAR leader, nor was Luis Arraez’s league-leading .354 average a particular shock.
Miscellaneous MLB statistics
About half of us expected the Yankees or Padres to pace the league in total wins, a reality we sadly did not come close to experiencing. A good chunk of us saw Oakland’s disastrous season coming, but no one foresaw Gabe Kapler being the first manager to be ousted, with the Giants skipper being shown the door in the final week of the season.
2023 MLB awards
Well done by Andrew and Jeff, who both swept this category. We sadly did not get to see the an Anthony Volpe RoY campaign, though the shortstop did at least secure a Gold Glove for his efforts this year.
It wasn’t too hard to see Corbin Carroll coming, but it certainly wasn’t easy to see Blake Snell securing his second Cy Young award. It’s a point that’s been made elsewhere, but Snell has one of the weakest track records of any player with multiple major awards, having run a just fine 104 ERA+ over 413 innings and four seasons in between his two triumphs. It seems almost surprising that only three of us picked Ronald Acuña Jr., but it’s worth remembering that the superstar’s 2023 really was a massive bounce back, with Acuña having posted “just” a 115 OPS+ and 15 homers and 29 steals in 119 games in 2022.
2023 playoff results
Most of us called for NYY/HOU round 4 in the ALCS, and boy, did we not get it. Not a single one of us predicted Arizona or Texas to make the World Series, though that’s fair enough, as hardly anyone was picking those teams to make it all the way prior to the season.
(yellow background = 1 pt, silver background = 2 pts, gold background = 3 pts)
Overall staff results
Congrats to Estevão for taking the cake this year! And thanks again to all of you for following along during this wacky, oftentimes annoying season. For all of those who made predictions of your own, how did you do in 2023?
Thanks to Andrew for tallying this year’s results.