Before we start, I want to make it clear that I will not be using this article just to remind everyone that in this post last year, I predicted Aaron Judge would win AL MVP.
Although I will remind you that while I, a renowned non-Yankee fan, had faith in the skill set of the big man, many Yankee fans were already saying “Good riddance” to their number 99.
Anyway, I won’t be mentioning my 2023 Judge prediction, and I also won’t be mentioning the Jorge Mateo one…
The Orioles shortstop hit 13 homers with 35 stolen bases. That’s a prediction win if ever I saw one.
And I also won’t be mentioning that back in March 2022 when you thought Lars Nootbaar was the Dutch finance minister, I was suggesting…
There were other predictions that are going down in the “Gav win” column, for instance…
In 2022, Matt Olson‘s strikeout rate jumped from 16.7% to 24.3%, and he hit just .240 (although he did swat 34 bombs).
But as with all bold predictions, there were plenty of swings and misses. For instance, despite being the Mets’ only 30-start pitcher, Chris Bassitt did not get any Cy Young votes and made four fewer starts than the combined total of Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom.
So, onto 2023 Boldish Predictions. Remember, if you agree, disagree, or think you can do better, join the conversation in the Bat Flips & Nerds Discord – THE baseball chat forum. Ask for the joining link.
This is the season that the Astros dynasty comes to an end. Houston stood still while Seattle, Los Angeles, and Texas significantly reinforced their rosters. No team that starts the season with David Hensley, Chas McCormick, Jake Meyers, and Martin Maldonado in the bottom half of their lineup can expect to reach the postseason… and they didn’t
Los Angeles Angels
With new acquisitions Brandon Drury and Hunter Renfroe lengthening the Angels lineup, it is one of the old guards who recaptures his former brilliance to help steer Los Angeles to October baseball. Watch out for a healthy Anthony Rendon reproducing his 1,000+ OPS form of 2019.
Bonus Boldish Prediction: Despite literally hundreds of millions of dollars being left on the table, Shohei Ohtani signs to stay with the Angels.
The much-maligned Athletics fair better than most people expected, thanks in part to superb pitching from Kyle Muller, Ken Waldichuk, James Kaprielian, JP Sears, and Shintaro Fujinami; however, it is speedster Esteury Ruiz who steals the headlines by swiping 60 bags on his way to a top three Rookie of the Year season.
He started the season as a middling middle reliever, but Matt Brash ends 2023 as the most deadly arm in the Seattle franchise. Think 2023’s Spencer Strider, and you’re close.
Such is the level expected from Corey Seager that his 91-run, 33-home-run campaign in 2022 was considered a disappointment. Expect the 28-year-old to once again establish himself as one of the finest hitters in the game with an MVP-calibre season.
Chicago White Sox
2023 is another disappointing season for the White Sox, but the huge bright spot is when star closer Liam Hendriks returns to action before the All-Star break and leads the team in saves by the end of the year.
The top of the Cleveland lineup proves to be the toughest to get out in the American League, with Steven Kwan, Amed Rosario, and Jose Ramirez combining to get on-base nearly 700 times.
In a year away from the glare of overwhelming media attention, first baseman Spencer Torkelson clicks into MLB relevancy with a 30-homer campaign to resurrect excitement about his former Top 5 prospect status.
Kansas City Royals
Shortstop Bobby Witt hits the sophomore slump hard. The 22-year-old’s sub-.280 OBP is the lowest among all qualified hitters.
In the best year of his life, Byron Buxton hits 40 home runs with .400+ wOBA in a season in which he also set a career-high in playing time.
Despite the continual threat of losing playing time to the stacked infield options in the Orioles’ minors, Jorge Mateo keeps the shortstop job and leads the AL with 48 stolen bases.
Boston Red Sox
In yet another spluttering season which sees the Red Sox narrowly miss the playoffs, Tanner Houck establishes himself as a legitimate ace with 30 starts for a sub-3.30 ERA.
New York Yankees
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Failure to keep pace with the rest of the division means that for the first time in franchise history, the Yankees finish bottom in the five-team AL East
Tampa Bay Rays
Continuing his WBC exploits into the regular season, Randy Arozarena enjoys a 30-home run, 30-stolen base season and rivals Jazz Chisholm Jr., Tim Anderson and Ronald Acuna Jr. as the most charismatic player in the game.
Toronto Blue Jays
The five-headed Blue Jays rotation blows the league away, with Alek Manoah, Chris Bassitt, Kevin Gausman, Yusei Kikuchi, and Jose Berrios combining to lead MLB in strikeouts
Corbin Carroll lives up to his billing as one of the most exciting young players in the game and leads MLB with 12 triples… and he even hit two inside-the-park homers
In a year when he was the last major star to sign, Jurickson Profar excels in Colorado’s thin air and finishes the season as their most potent offensive player.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Despite entering the year with just four career saves to his name, Brusdar Graterol becomes the National League’s most dominant closer.
San Diego Padres
Although controversially failing to win the NL MVP, Juan Soto is widely regarded as the best player in the game, and his .480 OBP is a rate not seen since the days of peak Barry Bonds.
San Francisco Giants
In an innovative development, the Giants go with a four-man rotation, using their sextet of 30-something starters (Alex Wood, Jakob Junis, Anthony DeSclafani, Sean Manaea, Alex Cobb, and Ross Stripling) in piggyback pairings, with each pitcher limited to three or four innings per outing.
Marcus Stroman throws a no-hitter in London.
Despite narrowly avoiding another 100-loss season, the Reds are one of the few teams with three starters in the Top 40 (Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft).
First baseman Rowdy Tellez leads the NL with 47 home runs
After years of tempting us with his talent, starting pitcher Mitch Keller makes the leap into the elite starters conversation with a 200-inning, 200-strikeout campaign
St Louis Cardinals
Despite entering the season as the odd-man-out, Dylan Carlson recaptures the form that made him a hyped prospect and finishes the year as the critical member of the Cardinals’ postseason run.
Spencer Strider proved he was no one-season-wonder with another 200+ strikeout season to finish second in the NL Cy Young race.
Rob Manfred becomes so disenchanted with the Marlins organisation that he demands the franchise be sold to more dynamic ownership and relocated to Utah.
New York Mets
Despite a history of booing their own players (Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor), pulling out of signings (Carlos Correa, Kumar Rocker), and slagging off players whose overwhelming desire is to represent their country at the WBC, Mets fans are distraught when they fail to attract trade-deadline talent and slip to third in the division.
Even with Bryce Harper’s and Rhys Hoskins’ injuries, the Phillies enjoy October baseball again, thanks in part to a Cy Young award-winning season from Aaron Nola.
The Nationals overcome preseason pessimism with breakout seasons from their quartet of youngsters: CJ Abrams, MacKenzie Gore, Josiah Gray, and Luis Garcia, to finish fourth in the division.
I am not expecting 30 out of 30 correct predictions, but I expect to be over .500. Give us your BOLDish predictions. Find us on Twitter @Batflips_Nerds or come and join the conversation on Bat Flips & Nerds Discord (ask us for the link).
@GavTramps is one of the writers (and the editor) for Bat Flips and Nerds. If you think you can do better or just want to get involved, follow the “Write for us” link