March 30, 2023

G1: Orioles at Red Sox, 2 PM ET

Orioles - 
Red Sox -
Kyle Gibson / Corey Kluber

All 30 major league teams will play their first game of the 2023 season today. It's the American League's 123rd season and the National League's 147th campain.

As you may know, I have been displeased with most, if not all, of the changes Commissioner Shithead has made to fucking demolish and make a mockery of the game in recent years, but I'm planning to watch games over the next few weeks with an open mind (until they go into extras, that is).

I'm confident I'll like the pitch clock (spring training games were, on average, 26 minutes shorter), although there was already a rule covering this issue and C. Shithead could have simply told all of the umpires: "Hey, enforce 5.07(c)". But that would not have been simple because – judging from the continued employment of several umpires whose headache-inducing and blood-pressure-rising incompetence has lasted for years – it appears that C. Shithead is afraid to give orders to the umpires and possibly annoy their union. 

I was kind of planning on writing something (or gathering opinions) about the different rules and whatnot, but I never got around to it. Maybe I'll do some of that when I report on seeing all this new stuff in action.

The 2022 Orioles finished 83-79 – their first season above .500 since 2016 – which was five games better than the Red Sox. That hurts. . . . Uh-oh.


This is the third time in four seasons that the Orioles and Red Sox have opened the season at Fenway Park. In 2020, the Red Sox won 13-2. In 2021, Baltimore chicagoed Boston 3-0.

Manager Alex Cora has not enjoyed an Opening Day win as manager of the Red Sox. This will be his fifth attempt.

Probable lineup:

Alex Verdugo, RF
Rafael Devers, 3B
Justin Turner, DH
Masataka Yoshida, LF
Adam Duvall, CF
Triston Casas, 1B
Christian Arroyo, 2B
Reese McGuire, C
Kiké Hernández, SS

Who Left, Who Arrived:

Gone: Xander Bogaerts (SS), J.D. Martinez (DH), Eric Hosmer (1B), Tommy Pham (OF), and pitchers Nate Eovaldi, Michael Wacha, Rich Hill, Matt Barnes, Matt Strahm

Hello: Justin Turner (DH), Masataka Yoshida (OF), Adam Duvall (OF), Adalberto Mondesi (SS), and pitchers Kenley Jansen, Corey Kluber, Chris Martin, Joely Rodríguez, Richard Bleier

Ian Browne (, on the lineup, Corey Kluber, the bullpen, and various injuries:

Boston is quietly excited about its lineup. Manager Alex Cora believes this combination of hitters will get back to grinding out at-bats and mainly just swinging at strikes. The Sox have been trying to fill the leadoff spot since Mookie Betts was traded. Alex Verdugo will get a shot against righties. Rafael Devers is one of the most feared hitters in the game, and the Red Sox are hoping a rejuvenated Turner can give him the protection he needs. Yoshida, fresh off 13 RBIs in the World Baseball Classic, adds intrigue. . . . 

Kluber, the veteran right-hander and two-time Cy Young Award winner, isn't the elite pitcher he once was, but Kluber has done a nice job reinventing himself by going with a more craftsman approach. Last season, Kluber threw his cutter 34.2 percent of the time and his curve 27.3 percent. He also used his sinker a lot and threw just 36 four-seam fastballs all season. Kluber isn’t going to light up a radar gun. He typically tops out in the tops out at 88-89-mph at this point of his career. . . .

They have a new closer in Jansen, and that's not a new name to baseball fans. Jansen has 391 career saves, which ranks eighth all-time. The setup crew will be led by another former Dodger in righty Chris Martin, a strike-throwing machine. John Schreiber broke out to become a force last year. . . . Ryan Brasier, the longest-tenured member of the bullpen, is out to prove he can still pitch after an erratic 2022 season. Richard Bleier opens the season as Boston's lead lefty with Joely Rodriguez on the injured list. . . .

Shortstop/second baseman Trevor Story will miss at least half the season as he recovers from an internal bracing procedure on his right elbow. Adalberto Mondesi, one of the players brought into fill Story's void, is still recovering from a torn left ACL he sustained last season, and won't be back until at least May. Three starting pitchers – Garrett Whitlock, Brayan Bello and James Paxton – are all beginning the season on the injured list. Whitlock should be back by around April 11. Bello is about a week behind that schedule. Paxton won't return before May. Rodriguez's timetable is unclear as he recovers from a Grade 2 strain of his right oblique.

Chris Sale believes this team could surprise people in the way the 2021 club did, winning 92 games and  getting two wins away from the World Series.

I think more so than anything, the talent is obviously there, but the excitement is there. The drive, the focus [are there]. We're very disciplined. . . . [Alex Cora] holds people accountable, and people respect him. As much as people want to go out there and do well for us, we don't want to let him down either.

Matthew Kory (Sox Outsider; subscribe, it's free) also thinks a 2021 uprising is possible . . . or not:

This is the first time in a while where it feels like the team could make the playoffs and go on a 2021-type run, or they could bottom out by June, and we could be looking at full scale organizational turnover by August.

Will Aaron Judge Stay Hot With Homers In 2023?

Sure . . . as long as MLB continues its questionable practice of sending special baseballs (juiced baseballs, to be clear (yes, you heard right)) to Yankee games . . . which happened last year, especially as Judge closed in on Roger Maris's American League single-season record of 61 dongs.

To paraphrase the Bard, when you think that your hatred and disgust for Rob Manfred is as strong as possible, you find out you can always hate him a little more.

Regardless, 2023 will see the much-anticipated return of Perennially-Injured Judge.

(I admit to enjoying Arson Judge. A great nickname, borne from a typo!)

March 29, 2023

Entries For 2023 W-L Contest

It's Opening Day!

Here are the entries for the 2023 W-L contest. The picks:
1. 2023 W-L Record
2. Tiebreaker: Time of Boston's Quickest Nine-Inning Game
3. Tiebreakest: Masataka Yoshida's On-Base Percentage
             W-L     Time     OBP
Jacob L. 96-66 1:23 .393 Jeff M. 94-68 2:17 .421 Elliot S. 88-74 2:02 .387 Rich G. 87-75 2:19 .368 Jere S. 87-75 2:03 .399 Michael G. 86-76 2:23 .434 Ben B. 86-76 2:12 .377 Allan W. 85-77 2:12 .350 Warren S. 85-77 2:33 .358 Brett H. 84-78 2:02 .325 Ray P. 83-79 2:01 .365 John G. 80-82 2:40 .380 David F. 79-83 2:37 .406
Note: I hope no one feels the choose-your-own-prize-(within-a-price-limit) idea is lame. I looked at some baseball books coming out this spring (including one by Joe Kelly; a sample I read was okay, but). Nothing really grabbed my attention.

2023 Predictions: ESPN, The Sporting News, The Athletic, CBS, Yahoo,, USAToday, FiveThirtyEight

Gathering 2023 predictions from around the web:


According to 28 ESPN writers, analysts and editors:

AL East: Yankees (16 votes), Blue Jays (11), Rays (1)

AL Central: Guardians (15), White Sox (7), Twins (6)

AL West: Astros (26), Mariners (2)

AL Wild Cards: Mariners (20), Rays (17), Jays (16), Yankees (13), Angels (10), Texas (3), Astros (2), Twins (2), White Sox (1)

AL Champion: Astros (11), Yankees (8), Jays (6), Mariners (3)

NL East: Atlanta (21), Mets (6), Phillies (1)

NL Central: Cardinals (25), Brewers (3)

NL West: Padres (16), Dodgers (12)

NL Wild Cards: Phillies (22), Mets (21), Dodgers (16), Padres (11), Atlanta (7), Brewers (5), Cardinals (1), Giants (1)

NL Champion: Padres (11), Atlanta (10), Mets (5), Dodgers (1), Phillies (1)

World Series Champion: Padres (7), Atlanta (7), Yankees (5), Astros (4), Mets (2), Dodgers (1), Phillies (1), Blue Jays (1)

AL MVP: Shohei Ohtani (25), Yordan Alvarez (1), Julio Rodriguez (1), Vladimir Guerrero (1)

NL MVP: Ronald Acuña (8), Juan Soto (6), Trea Turner (5), Manny Machado (4), Freddie Freeman (2), Mookie Betts (1), Nolan Arenado (1), Matt Olson (1)

AL Rookie of the Year: Gunnar Henderson (11), Masataka Yoshida (11), Anthony Volpe (6), Hunter Brown (1)

NL Rookie of the Year: Corbin Carroll (18), Miguel Vargas (5), Jordan Walker (4), Kodai Senga (1)

AL Cy Young: Gerrit Cole (6), Kevin Gausman (3), Shohei Ohtani (3), Jacob deGrom (3), Alek Manoah (3), Cristian Javier (3), Dylan Cease (2), Shane Bieber (2), Shane McClanahan (1), Framber Valdez (1), Michael King (1)

NL Cy Young: Corbin Burnes (6), Julio Urias (4), Spencer Strider (4), Sandy Alcantara (3), Max Fried (3), Justin Verlander (2), Max Scherzer (2), Joe Musgrove (1), Aaron Nola (1), Logan Webb (1)

The Sporting News

The Sporting News projection model:

works by using player projections from Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA and Fangraphs' Depth Charts, along with data on past team performances [and] uses that data, along with park factors, to simulate the 2023 season 20,000 times and logs each team's record and postseason performance. The results of the simulations are used to determine most likely records, division standings, playoff performances and World Series winners. The predicted standings shown in the article are the average wins and losses from the simulations.

AL East

Yankees      90-72
Blue Jays 90-72
Rays 81-81
Orioles 80-82
Red Sox 80-82

There are some who might look at the Red Sox and be surprised by the number of projected wins. After all, this is a team that won just 78 games last year, and will now move forward without Xander Bogaerts. But bear in mind, last year's biggest issue for Boston was its pitching staff. In 2023, the Red Sox will have ace Chris Sale back and added veteran Corey Kluber to help provide some stability to what was a shaky rotation last year. Rafael Devers is one of the league's biggest stars and Masataka Yoshida is expected to have a productive first year in MLB. If Adalberto Mondesi can stay healthy — he has played in just 109 games since 2019 and has never played in more than 102 contests in a season — he could help reduce the blows of losing Bogaerts in free agency and Trevor Story to a long-term injury.

Team        Win division  Make playoffs  First-round bye
Yankees 43.3% 82.3% 37.5%
Blue Jays 40.2% 79.4% 37.2%
Rays 6.7% 34.1% 5.2%
Orioles 5.1% 26.7% 3.8%
Red Sox 4.8% 26.1% 3.3%

AL Central: Guardians (84-78), Twins (82-80), White Sox (81-81), Royals (75-87), Tigers (67-95)

AL West: Astros (90-72), Mariners (84-78), Angels (84-78), Texas (80-82), Athletics (63-99)

NL East: Atlanta (90-72), Mets (89-73), Phillies (87-75), Marlins (74-88), Nationals (71-91)

NL Central: Cardinals (87-75), Brewers (83-79), Cubs (78-84), Pirates (73-89), Reds (73-89)

NL West: Dodgers (89-73), Padres (88-74), Giants (80-82), Diamondbacks (79-83), Rockies (77-85)

AL Playoff Predictions

First-round byes: Yankees, Astros
Remaining playoff teams: Guardians, Blue Jays, Mariners, Angels
Team         Win pennant
Yankees 19.4%
Astros 19.2%
Blue Jays 18.9%
Guardians 7.6%
Mariners 7.2%
Angels 6.7%
Twins 4.9%
Rays 4.1%
White Sox 3.4%
Orioles 2.8%
Red Sox 2.7%
Texas 2.6%
Royals 0.7%
Tigers 0.0%
Athletics 0.0%

NL Playoff Predictions

First-round byes: Atlanta, Dodgers
Remaining playoff teams: Cardinals, Mets, Padres, Phillies

Team         Win Pennant
Atlanta 17.4%
Dodgers 15.1%
Padres 14.6%
Mets 13.8%
Cardinals 11.7%
Phillies 11.3%
Brewers 6.2%
Giants 3.1%
Diamondbacks 2.1%
Cubs 1.8%
Rockies 1.4%
Marlins 0.6%
Reds 0.3%
Pirates 0.3%
Nationals 0.2%
World Series Prediction

Team Win World Series
Yankees 10.5%
Astros 10.1%
Blue Jays 10.0%
Atlanta 9.3%
Dodgers 8.1%
Padres 7.6%
Mets 7.3%
Phillies 5.9%
Cardinals 5.8%
Guardians 3.4%
Mariners 3.2%
Angels 3.0%
Brewers 2.9%
Twins 2.0%
Rays 1.8%
Giants 1.3%
White Sox 1.3%
Orioles 1.2%
Red Sox 1.2%
Texas 1.1%
Diamondbacks 0.9%
Cubs 0.8%
Rockies 0.5%
Marlins 0.2%
Royals 0.2%
Reds 0.1%
Pirates 0.1%
Nationals 0.1%
Tigers 0.0%
Athletics 0.0%

The Athletic

World Series winner?

Padres 19.40%
Atlanta 16.10%
Blue Jays 16.10%
Astros 12.90%
Mariners 9.70%

Also receiving multiple votes: New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals

Jim Bowden: I am a strong believer that you can't buy a championship. However, the Padres . . . They have three strong starters at the top of their rotation with Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove. They have two impact closers with Josh Hader and Robert Suarez. And, most importantly, they have four special hitters — Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, Manny Machado and Xander Bogaerts — stacked in their lineup . . . all four can hit the elite pitching they’ll face in October.

Jayson Stark: Maybe it's because I've seen a lot of the Blue Jays this spring, but they have a lineup that keeps coming at you. They have better left-right balance in the lineup than in the past and the ability to use their legs to exploit the new rules. . . . Easily one of the five most talented teams in the game.

Katie Woo: It's incredibly hard to win back-to-back titles, and it hasn't been done in over two decades. Still, the Astros look poised to repeat. . . . Houston retained the majority of its World Series-winning roster from last season. . . . [T]he Astros are, once again, a team built for the long run.

Sam Blum: For the Mariners, it comes down to the starting rotation. It's a deep rotation with proven pitchers. Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray, Logan Gilbert, Marco Gonzales and George Kirby make up arguably the best rotation in the game. The Mariners also have a superstar in Julio Rodríguez, and a generally decent offense.

Most Overrated Team?

Yankees       25.80%
Mets 19.40%
Dodgers 9.70%
Phillies 9.70%
Padres 9.70%
Cardinals 9.70%
Blue Jays 9.70%
Andrew Baggarly: The Yankees' lineup . . . looks brittle without much depth. And the pitching is already leaking oil in spring training. A team with Aaron Judge plus a healthy Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodón will contend, but that's a pretty low bar for a franchise that hasn't won an AL pennant in 14 years.

Sahadev Sharma: The injuries during spring have me legitimately concerned for their starting pitching group, which could derail their chances this year.

Who will win each division?

AL East
Blue Jays      45.2%
Yankees 32.3%
Rays 12.9%
Orioles 9.7%
Red Sox 0.0%
Chad Jennings: There's a real chance four teams in this division make the playoffs.

Jim Bowden: I think the Blue Jays will win the AL East if they stay healthy. Their starting pitching is now deeper than the Yankees' (due to injuries to the Yankees' rotation), and they're now better defensively at most spots.
AL Central
Guardians      54.8%
Twins 29.0%
White Sox 16.1%
Tigers 0.0%
Royals 0.0%
AL West
Astros         83.9%
Mariners 12.9%
Angels 3.2%
Texas 0.0%
Athletics 0.0%
NL East
Atlanta        74.2%
Mets 12.9%
Phillies 12.9%
Marlins 0.0%
Nationals 0.0%
NL Central
Cardinals      87.1%
Brewers 9.7%
Cubs 3.2%
Reds 0.0%
Pirates 0.0%
NL West
Padres         61.3%
Dodgers 38.7%
Diamondbacks 0.0%
Rockies 0.0%
Giants 0.0%
Shohei Ohtani      58.1%
Julio Rodríguez 9.7%
Mike Trout 9.7%
Aaron Judge 6.5%
Juan Soto          25.8%
Trea Turner 22.6%
Nolan Arenado 12.9%
Manny Machado 12.9%
Ronald Acuña 9.7%
Mookie Betts 9.7%
AL Cy Young
Shane McClanahan   19.4%
Luis Castillo 12.9%
Jacob deGrom 12.9%
Dylan Cease 9.7%
Alek Manoah 9.7%
Shohei Ohtani 9.7%
NL Cy Young
Corbin Burnes      41.9%
Spencer Strider 12.9%
Sandy Alcantara 9.7%
AL Rookie of the Year
Gunnar Henderson   61.3%
Masataka Yoshida 22.6%
Anthony Volpe 12.9%
Triston Casas 3.2%
Chad Jennings: Masataka Yoshida looked good in spring training. Looked great in the World Baseball Classic. The Red Sox believe in his power enough to hit him cleanup.

NL Rookie of the Year
Corbin Carroll 58.1%
Jordan Walker 29.0%
Garrett Mitchell 6.5%
CBS Sports

RJ Anderson: As always, my goal is to not look stupid rather than to look smart. . . . [T]his is as wide open a field in the National League as we've had in some time, and I'm excited to watch that three-team race in the East play out. . . . I went with the Padres over the Astros in the end, but I can foresee any number of other teams making it to and winning the Fall Classic.

Mike Axisa: I think the Astros are the best team in the AL but, honestly, I'm bored of picking them to go to the World Series every year, so I'm going with Toronto. . . . I like the way they're built for a short postseason series and believe this is the year they break through and advance in October. . . . [Atlanta has] so much youth and upside, plus they're great already. They're the best team in the league . . . I'm expecting and looking forward to a[n Atlanta]-Padres NLCS, and then Atlanta besting Toronto in a 1992 World Series rematch.

Kate Feldman: I have no intention of looking at these predictions again . . . so I'm winging it. I'm also going all in on the Angels. . . . [T]he NL East is by far the most interesting division and I think it's going to come down to the wire again . . .
Dayn Perry: I still default to the Astros being the best team in the AL in absence of additional major injuries. The Padres have the most loaded lineup in baseball once Tatis returns, and . . . they'll be aggressive in fortifying the rotation leading up to the trade deadline. Ohtani will set the tone for his upcoming free agency by topping 40 home runs at the plate and 200 strikeouts on the mound. 

Stephen Pianovich: Is picking the Angels to make the playoffs so we get to watch Shohei Ohtani play meaningful high-stakes baseball again after his thunderous World Baseball Classic wishful thinking?  . . . Probably.

Matt Snyder: So many of these were very close . . . and yes, I'm a sucker for picking the Angels to make the playoffs. I'm aware. They always fail me, but I'm going back to the well. . . . I think the Astros are the number one team in baseball, but it's a bit boring to pick a repeat champ and I have the Padres as number two. 


Hannah Keyser, Zach Crizer, Jack Baer, Chris Cwik and Liz Roscher:

World Series

Hannah Keyser:  Astros over Mets
Zach Crizer: Atlanta over Yankees
Jack Baer: Mets over Astros
Chris Cwik: Blue Jays over Cardinals
Liz Roscher: Astros over Mets


Hannah Keyser:  Wander Franco, Trea Turner
Zach Crizer: Jose Ramirez, Ronald Acuña
Jack Baer: Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts
Chris Cwik: Shohei Ohtani, Ronald Acuña
Liz Roscher: Shohei Ohtani, Trea Turner
Cy Youngs

Hannah Keyser:  Cristian Javier, Aaron Nola
Zach Crizer: Luis Castillo, Zac Gallen
Jack Baer: Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer
Chris Cwik: Shane Bieber, Aaron Nola
Liz Roscher: Jacob deGrom, Aaron Nola

Ohtani HR and ERA

Hannah Keyser:  40 / 2.80
Zach Crizer: 36 / 3.17
Jack Baer: 43 / 3.30
Chris Cwik: 38 / 2.25
Liz Roscher: 35 / 2.60


Masataka Yoshida: AL Rookie of Year (Zach Crizer, Chris Cwik)

Brayan Bello: AL Breakout Pitcher (Keyser, Baer)

"87 voters . . . weigh in on which teams they foresee winning the divisions, the Wild Card spots, the league pennants and, ultimately, which club will emerge as the World Series champion":

AL Divisions: Yankees, Guardians, Astros
AL Wild Cards: Mariners, Blue Jays and Rays

Although he'll start the season on the injured list due to a left elbow strain, the addition of Carlos Rodón to a starting rotation already featuring Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes makes the Yankees even more of a force to be reckoned with . . . It's World Series or bust in the Bronx, with the Yanks not having reached the Fall Classic since 2009 – the 14 years since then is the second-longest period between World Series appearances in franchise history (1981-96 is the longest). They'll have to weather injuries early . . .

NL Divisions: Atlanta, Cardinals, Padres
NL Wild Cards: Dodgers, Phillies, Mets

World Series: Padres over Astros



AL: Shohei Ohtani

If not for a historic Aaron Judge season, Ohtani would already have multiple MVP Awards, with a chance for a three-peat this year. . . . Ohtani has been incredible the past two seasons, combining the production of an elite slugger (80 homers, 151 OPS+) and an ace pitcher (156 ERA+, 11.4 K/9) while putting up 9+ WAR in each year. And it's possible we haven't even seen his peak yet. . . . Ohtani was the overwhelming favorite in our poll.

NL: Juan Soto, Padres

Entering his age-24 season, Soto has two Top 5 MVP finishes on his résumé, placing fifth in 2020 and second in 2021. . . . In what was a "down" year for Soto, he still produced a 149 OPS+ with 27 homers and an MLB-leading 135 walks in 2022.


AL: Shohei Ohtani, Angels

If's expert predictions come to fruition, Ohtani would be just the 12th player to win the MVP and Cy Young Awards in the same season, though none of the previous 11 were pulling double duty as a full-time hitter and pitcher. Ohtani made major strides on the mound last season, recording a 2.33 ERA with 219 strikeouts and a 1.01 WHIP over 166 innings. The performance, which included a 1.67 ERA over his final 19 starts, earned him a fourth-place finish in the AL Cy Young voting.

NL: Corbin Burnes, Brewers

Burnes won the NL Cy Young Award in 2021 and has earned votes in each of the past three years, including a seventh-place finish last season. The right-hander reached the 200-inning plateau for the first time in 2022, recording a 2.94 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP with an NL-leading 243 K's.. . . Our voters see this as a close race – Burnes, Max Fried, Sandy Alcantara and Spencer Strider all received at least 10 votes, while Urías and Verlander got eight apiece.


AL: Gunnar Henderson, Orioles

MLB Pipeline’s No. 1 overall prospect, Henderson fared well after making his MLB debut late last season, showing a discerning eye at the plate and demonstrating the ability to consistently produce hard contact. He recorded a 123 OPS+ over 34 games for the O's and is set to hold an everyday role in 2023. With Pipeline's No. 5 prospect Anthony Volpe set to be on the Yankees' Opening Day roster and Japanese star Masataka Yoshida joining the Red Sox, the AL Rookie of the Year race should be competitive, but the majority of our voters like the 21-year-old Henderson to win it.

NL: Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks

A potential five-tool star, Carroll lived up to the hype in his first taste of MLB action after debuting last August. In addition to recording the fastest average sprint speed (30.7 ft/sec) in the Majors, Carroll (MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall prospect) produced 15 extra-base hits (four homers) in 104 at-bats and posted a 133 OPS+. The D-backs were evidently so impressed by his performance that they signed him to an eight-year, $111 million extension.

League Leaders

Batting Average

AL: Yordan Alvarez, Astros

NL: Freddie Freeman, Dodgers

Freeman has hit .300 or better in six of the past seven seasons . . . Freeman came up just short of the NL lead last season, finishing at .325 while Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil led the league with a .326 average. Freeman's constant production at the plate – he led the National League in runs and the Majors in hits last season – was why our voters chose him to top the NL in batting average in 2023.

Home Runs

AL: Aaron Judge, Yankees

NL: Pete Alonso, Mets

Stolen Bases

AL: Bobby Witt, Royals

Witt was the fastest player in the AL last season – tied with [Texas'] Bubba Thompson and the Rays' Jose Siri – with a recorded sprint speed of 30.4 ft/sec. The Royals ran more than most clubs, stealing 104 bases, third most in the league. . . .

NL: Trea Turner, Phillies and Ronald Acuña, Atlanta (tie)


AL: Shohei Ohtani, Angels

Ohtani posted a sparkling 2.33 ERA as part of another outstanding 2022 campaign, but competition for the AL's ERA title was fierce, and it was ultimately Justin Verlander (1.75) who won out. Ohtani's likely to face a similar battle this season as the pool of AL Cy Young hopefuls continues to grow (and now includes Jacob deGrom).

NL: Sandy Alcantara, Marlins

Alcantara pitched a Major League-leading 228 2/3 innings and captured the 2022 NL Cy Young Award, but his ERA (2.28) was second in the league to that of the Dodgers' Julio Urías (2.16). Our panel projected Alcantara, whose 2022 ERA was below 2.00 as late as Aug. 21, to claim the NL ERA crown this season. The last eight seasons have seen eight different pitchers lead the NL in ERA; Clayton Kershaw (2011-14) was the last to repeat.

USA Today

Bob Nightengale

AL Divisions: Blue Jays, Guardians, Astros 
AL Wild Cards: Mariners, Rays, Yankees

NL Divisions: Atlanta, Cardinals, Padres
NL Wild Cards: Phillies, Mets, Dodgers

World Series: Guardians over Phillies

AL MVP: Mike Trout, Angels
NL MVP: Trea Turner, Phillies

AL Cy Young: Emmanuel Clase, Guardians
NL Cy Young: Zac Gallen, Diamondbacks

AL Rookie: Gunnar Henderson, Orioles
NL Rookie: Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks

Gabe Lacques

AL Divisions: Yankees, Guardians, Astros 
AL Wild Cards: Rays, Blue Jays, Mariners

NL Divisions: Atlanta, Cardinals, Padres
NL Wild Cards: Dodgers, Phillies, Mets

World Series: Padres over Yankees

AL MVP: Kyle Tucker, Astros
NL MVP: Juan Soto, Padres

AL Cy Young: Kevin Gausman, Blue Jays
NL Cy Young: Spencer Strider, Atlanta

AL Rookie:Grayson Rodriguez, Orioles
NL Rookie: Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks

Steve Gardner

AL Divisions: Blue Jays, Guardians, Astros 
AL Wild Cards: Yankees, Mariners, Angels

NL Divisions: Atlanta, Cardinals, Padres
NL Wild Cards: Dodgers, Phillies, Mets

World Series: Atlanta over Blue Jays

MVPs: Shohei Ohtani, Angels / Juan Soto, Padres
Cy Youngs: Shohei Ohtani, Angels / Aaron Nola, Phillies
Rookies: Gunnar Henderson, Orioles / NL Rookie: Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks

Bobby Nightengale

AL Divisions: Blue Jays, White Sox, Astros 
AL Wild Cards: Mariners, Yankees, Texas

NL Divisions: Atlanta, Cardinals, Padres
NL Wild Cards: Dodgers, Phillies, Mets

World Series: Mariners over Atlanta

MVPs: Shohei Ohtani, Angels / Freddie Freeman, Dodgers
Cy Youngs: Luis Castillo, Mariners / Aaron Nola, Phillies
Rookies: Gunnar Henderson, Orioles / Garrett Mitchell, Brewers

Stephen Borelli

AL Divisions: Yankees, Guardians, Astros 
AL Wild Cards: Blue Jays, Rays, Mariners

NL Divisions: Atlanta, Cardinals, Dodgers
NL Wild Cards: Padres, Mets, Phillies

World Series: Padres over Astros

MVPs: Jose Ramirez, Guardians / Ronald Acuña, Atlanta
Cy Youngs: Gerrit Cole, Yankees / Yu Darvish, Padres
Rookies: Gunnar Henderson, Orioles / Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks

Scott Boeck

AL Divisions: Yankees, White Sox, Astros 
AL Wild Cards: Blue Jays, Angels, Guardians

NL Divisions: Atlanta, Cardinals, Padres
NL Wild Cards: Dodgers, Mets, Phillies

World Series: Padres over Astros

MVPs: Shohei Ohtani, Angels / Manny Machado, Padres
Cy Youngs: Framber Valdez, Astros / Spencer Strider, Atlanta
Rookies: Gunnar Henderson, Orioles / Miguel Vargas, Dodgers

Jesse Yomtov

AL Divisions: Yankees, Guardians, Astros 
AL Wild Cards: Rays, Mariners, Twins

NL Divisions: Atlanta, Cardinals, Dodgers
NL Wild Cards: Padres, Mets, Phillies

World Series: Astros over Padres

MVPs: Julio Rodriguez, Mariners / Trea Turner, Phillies
Cy Youngs: Framber Valdez, Astros / Julio Urias, Dodgers
Rookies: Josh Jung, Texas / Garrett Mitchell, Brewers