Our long national nightmare is almost over. We’ve survived another offseason, and Yankees baseball is just 24 hours away. The team hasn’t exactly made it through the winter and spring training unscathed, having suffered myriad pitching injuries the last couple months, but no matter. No amount of injury can put a damper on Opening Day, which will feature Gerrit Cole vs. Logan Webb tomorrow at 1 pm EST.
To get you fully primed for the upcoming season, we’ve lined up our comprehensive Yankees and MLB predictions. These are sure-fire, lock-it-in predictions, so avert your eyes if you want to avoid spoilers.
Our old friend Joe LoGrippo, who you can now find at YES Network, won the contest last year, so we’re guaranteed to have a new winner this year. Who will come out on top? Stay tuned to find out.
2023 AL Standings
Let’s hope we’re right about the AL East, as our consensus has the Yankees once again in first (and the Red Sox delightfully in last). The Blue Jays and Rays figure to be strong challengers, but the Yankees still look like favorites, even after a wave of spring injuries struck the pitching staff. It’s a stark contrast to last year, when more than half of us had the Yankees finishing third.
The AL Central crown stands as one of our toughest calls, as three different clubs earned at least three first place votes. The survey says Guardians, ultimately, but don’t be surprised if the Twins, or even the top-heavy White Sox, manage to come away with the division (do be surprised if the Royals or Tigers do).
Out west, it’s not quite a sweep for the Astros, with a few of us casting votes for the Mariners, and the Rangers even earning Malachi’s trust. Houston’s roster may be just slightly weaker than last year’s iteration after letting Justin Verlander walk, but they’re still clear favorites in the AL West and, as always, a serious threat to win it all.
2023 NL Standings
As anticipated, it mostly comes down to the Mets and Braves in the NL East, though a few of us are riding with the Phillies as they try to defend their NL title. There is zero disagreement, however, on the fourth and fifth place slots here.
Going into this exercise, I thought that all three of the NL divisions may come down to complete toss-ups between each of the division’s top two clubs. That didn’t quite come to pass in the East, but it did in the rest of the Senior Circuit. We lean Cardinals in the Central, with the majority of us pegging them to edge out the Brew crew. Dan bravely predicts the moribund Reds to climb all the way to third.
Another toss-up, though this one goes to the Padres, and not the reigning NL West champ Dodgers, who only failed to win the division once in the last decade, when the Giants won 107 wins to their 106 in 2021.
Yankees leaders: AVG, HR, ERA, and WAR
You heard it here first: expect Aaron Judge to have an impact on the Yankees’ fortunes in 2023. Of these categories, the toughest to call is the ERA leader; one could make a compelling case for at least a half-dozen different hurlers.
Misc. Yankees predictions
As usual, respect to Kunj’s principled, annual prediction for Judge to break the all-time MLB home run record. After last year, that call suddenly seems a little more plausible. Our average prediction for Gerrit Cole’s strikeout total has him nearly breaking the franchise record of 257 he set just last year.
MLB leaders: AVG, HR, ERA, and WAR
A season after Judge lapped the field in terms of WAR, just three of us call for him to repeat the feat. We do at least mostly expect him to take the home run crown again. However, we call for Shohei Ohtani to return to top the WAR leaderboards, once you combine his contributions as both hitter and pitcher.
Most team wins & losses, first manager fired
While the Yankees didn’t secure the most votes for highest win total, they are our top pick to win the 2023 World Series. That may seem like a discrepancy, though the electorate may just be factoring in the Yankees’ difficult division, and their early-season injuries, into the equation. If the Yankees get to October healthy, they certainly could be the favorites.
Just as most of us expect Ohtani to generate the most WAR, so do we foresee a second AL MVP award in his future. We do tab Anthony Volpe for AL RoY, a thrilling development if it did come to pass in reality. In fact, we tab two Yankees for major awards, calling for Gerrit Cole to capture his first Cy Young.
Corbin Carroll didn’t burst onto the season with quite the ferociousness of a Julio Rodriguez or Spencer Strider last year, but he still has his rookie eligibility after running a 133 OPS+ in his 2022 cameo. He looks to be a strong NL RoY pick, while we see Juan Soto rebounding from his down (for him) stretch after being traded to San Diego last year.
Our consensus World Series matchup? A 1998 rematch between the Yankees in Padres. 25 years after that fateful showdown, one that featured one of the great Yankee teams of all-time, it’d be fitting if we could get a reprisal.
So that does it. There’s the script for the 2023 season. Do you disagree with how we’ve laid it out? Play along in the comments below!