2023 MLB Season Takes Full Swing


Caroline Carmichael '24

The Atlanta Braves playing the Los Angeles Angels in Atlanta, Georgia.

Caroline Carmichael, Sports Editor

Last year’s MLB regular season and postseason both proved to hold tough competition. But will this year be the same? I personally say yes. 

At the end of the season, the Astros beat the Phillies to take home the crown. Was that at all disappointing? Yes, extremely, because I can name some other teams that should have been there instead. (Specifically that I would have liked there instead.) 

The 2023 MLB season starts off in full swing on March 30. Such a happy, happy day. 

There are some new faces in new places and some additional rule changes as per usual, one of them being that every team will play each other at some point in the season and the shift has been officially banned. Additionally, the MLB has implemented a 30-second time limit in between batters, and another time limit in between pitches. With the bases empty, a pitcher must throw the ball within 15 seconds, but with runners on base they get 2o total seconds. 

The American and National League should both have good competing teams with some divisions harder and more competitive than others. The NL East should prove to be one of the toughest divisions to play in the MLB. 

American League 


The biggest signing in the offseason was the New York Yankees hanging on to superstar Aaron Judge. Last season, Judge set the American League record with 62 home runs, and his success means more to the Yankees than any other player does. A healthy Giancarlo Stanton and Harrison Bader could give the Yankees one of the best outfields in baseball. The addition of pitcher Carlos Rodon (Giants)  gives the Yankees another ace to go along with Gerrit Cole and “Nasty” Nestor Cortez. 

The Tampa Bay Rays will have a solid rotation that will be their team’s strength. If they can keep Tyler Glasnow healthy, they could have one of the strongest pitching rotations. Offensively, the Rays are led by 21-year-old Wander Franco. 

The Boston Red Sox have quite the array of new faces this season. They added Kenley Jansen (Braves), Justin Turner (Dodgers), Corey Kluber (Rays), and Adam Duvall (Braves). The Red Sox finished well last year and should, therefore, be able to be competitive once again this season. The key to their pitching staff will be staying healthy, but with four guys over 30 on their pitching staff, it will be impressive if they can manage to stay healthy throughout the season. While Jansen does provide his moments of heart palpitations, he truly will play a significant role in the pitching staff. 

The Toronto Blue Jays made the playoffs last year and with their talent returning, they should be able to do so again this year. They will be led by Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., George Springer, and Dalton Varsho. Their pitching rotation will consist of new signee Chris Bassitt (Mets), Jose Berrios, and all-star Alex Manoah. 

The Baltimore Orioles are getting better. Yay. A good sign. But, the question will be: do they have enough pitching to get them to the playoffs? From mid-May to early June of the 2022 season, the Orioles had one of the best records in all of baseball, but they ran out of gas in the final stretch of the season. This is a really strong division, or the Orioles will be a serious contender for the playoffs. 


The Cleveland Guardians advanced to the playoffs last year for the first time since 2016, and they should have the best team in the AL central again. They are led by Jose Ramirez and new signee Josh Bell (Nationals/Padres). If Tristan McKenzie can repeat his 2022 performance, then Cleveland will have two solid  starting pitchers, with Shane Bieber still considered one of baseball’s best. 

The biggest storyline for the Detroit Tigers will be future hall-of-famer Miguel Cabrera playing in his final season. While Cabrera will turn 40 in April, the rest of the lineup is extremely young and will have to continue to progress for the Tigers to be a factor in the AL central. 

Last year, the Chicago White Sox were expected to be a playoff contender, but injuries and a lack of production created other plans. Their biggest additions are Mike Clevinger (Padres) and Andrew Benitendi (Yankees). They still have a solid pitching  rotation, so if they get some offensive production then they could be back in the hunt for a playoff spot. 

The Minnesota Twins had an active offseason by re-signing Carlos Correa (haha third time’s the charm if you know what I mean), and signing slugger Joey Gallo (Yankees/Dodgers), and starting pitcher Pablo Lopez (Marlins). With a balanced roster and a veteran pitching staff, this team has a path to postseason baseball if they play consistently. 

The Kansas City Royals will once again battle with the Tigers to avoid finishing in last in the AL central. They do have some young talent led by Bobby Whitt, Jr. and Brady Singer, but there is not enough talent to contend for a playoff spot. 


Despite losing the AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, the Houston Astros are still the team to beat in the AL West. Their pitching staff of Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, and Lance McCullers form a deep rotation. Their everyday lineup is also strong, and it is led by Alex Bregman, Jose Altueve, and offseason acquisition Jose Abreau (White Sox). 

Mike Trout recently said that this is a huge year for the Los Angeles Angels, and that it is time to make the playoffs (I’ll believe it when I see it). Trout believes that if the Angels are going to re-sign two-way star Shohei Ohtani that it will be easier to do so after qualifying for the playoffs. Besides Ohtani, the Angels will need their pitching rotation to provide a strong season. 

The Oakland Athletics made three straight playoff appearances from 2018 to 2020, but with such a young roster, a push to the playoffs is an extreme longshot this year. 

Last year, the Seattle Mariners won a wild-card playoff series for the first time in 21 years. Now, they will be expected to make the playoffs again with the additions of Kolten Wong (Brewers), AJ Pollock (White Sox), and Teoscar Hernandez (Blue Jays). Those additions paired with young phenom Julio Rodriguez, mean the Mariners should be in the race all season. 

The Texas Rangers’ main focus during the offseason was adding pitching. Jacob Degrom (Mets), Andrew Heaney (Dodgers), Nathan Eovaldi (Red Sox), and Jake Odorizzi (Braves) were all signed. The Rangers have surrounded Corey Seager and Marcus Semien with some young talent such as Josh Jung that will need to continue to develop if they want to challenge the Astros or the Mariners. 

National League 


The New York Mets. AKA the team most likely to choke. The 2022 Mets won 100 games, but did not win their division or a World Series championship. They made a strong effort to resign Jacob Degrom and sign Aaron Judge, but they failed on both counts, thus reiterating the choking narrative. However, they did acquire Justin Verlander (Astros), and with a strong offensive lineup, they are capable of winning 100 games again this season (the Braves will indeed win the NL east though, don’t worry). 

The Philadelphia Phillies finished third in the NL east in 2o22, but made it to the World Series. With the addition of shortstop Trea Turner (Dodgers) and reliever Craig Kimbrel (Dodgers), the Phillies believe they have a roster to not only “win” the NL east but also the World Series (wishful thinking if you ask me). However, the Phillies will play the first half of the season without their best player, Byrce Harper, who is recovering from offseason elbow surgery. 

In what most people believe is the strongest division in all of baseball, the Miami Marlins have two of the best players in all of the MLB, yet will have a hard time climbing out of last place. Sandy Alcantara won the NL Cy Young award last season going 14-9 with a 2.28 ERA. Jazz Chisolm, who has battled injuries over the past few years, has shown that when healthy he is one of the best players in the league. 

The Washington Nationals are in a rebuilding mode as an organization. Three out of their five projected starting pitchers are 25 or younger. 

The Atlanta Braves have gone through it the past few years when it comes to losing their face of the franchise. First, it was Freddie Freeman. This year, however, it was Dansby Swanson. Without Swanson, there will be a hole not only at shortstop, but also in the clubhouse (and in my heart). There were no players signed to fix the hole at shortstop or leftfield,  so both positions could be holes. However, the Braves signed catcher Sean Murphy (Athletics). He is currently one of the top catchers within the MLB, so this could be a huge addition and contribution to the team. Arguably, the Braves one through four starters are as good of a rotation as there is in baseball, and there are some qualified pitchers to take the fifth spot. 


The Chicago Cubs traded their entire team away a few years ago, but will they be able to recover this year with their new signees? During the offseason, they added Dansby Swanson (Braves), Cody Bellinger (Dodgers), Eric Hosmer (Padres), and Trey Mancini (Orioles/Astros). These are some big names, but they are all offensive (interpret whichever way you want to because they do contribute offensively, but I am also offended with the Dansby one). Therefore, it all comes down to their pitching. Will they be able to score as many runs as they allow?  

In what is considered the weakest division in the MLB, the St. Louis Cardinals have the roster to win the NL Central by double digits. The pitching staff will be led by Adam Wainwright who is expected to retire after this season. While offensively, they will be led by Paul Goldshimdt, Nolan Arenado, and Wilson Contreras (Cubs). 

The Cincinnati Reds only won 62 games last season, one of the worst seasons in their history. There is a chance they could field the youngest roster in all of baseball, as there is a chance their rookies could be in the lineup early in the season. A key member of their pitching rotation is former TCU pitcher Nick Lodolo. 

The Milwaukee Brewers may not have as much overall talent as the Cardinals. Their offense was more productive last year than people realized. They added William Contreas (Braves) and Jesse Winker (Seattle). Corbin Burnes will lead the Brewers pitching staff.  

The Pittsburgh Pirates have lost 100 games in each of the last two years, so there is no where to go but up. They are another organization with a ton of young talent ready to work their way into the everyday lineup. The Pirates are led by Bryan Reynolds who has been the target in a number of trade rumors. 


There are three teams in this division that can win at least 90 games starting with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Until someone knocks them off, the Dodgers, who have won nine of the last 10 division titles, are still the team to beat. Although they lost two key players, they still have a lineup featuring Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, plus newcomers JD Martinez (Red Sox), David Peralta (Diamondbacks/Rays), and Miguel Rojas (Marlins). Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urias return to lead the pitching staff, and they added Noah Syndergaard (Phillies).  

The San Diego Padres may have the best batting lineup in baseball. With a strong offensive lineup in 2022, they went and picked up Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox) in the offseason. With his bat added to a lineup already featuring Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. (assuming he lays off the substance abuse), their offense will be even stronger. Their pitching staff is led by Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, and Blake Snell. 

The San Francisco Giants lost out on the two free agents that they targeted (Carlos Correa and Aaron Judge). Last season, their pitching rotation was one of the strengths, and it should be strong again despite the loss of Carlos Rodon. Logan Webb and Alex Cobb return to lead their pitching staff, and they are joined by newcomers Ross Stripling (Blue Jays) and Sean Manaea (Padres). Offensively, the Giants will be led by their outfielders Joc Pederson, Michael Conforto, and Mitch Haniger (Mariners). 

After a number of years of rebuilding, the Arizona Diamondbacks will be a factor in this race, but will most likely not be ready to contend for a title. They are still a young team, and their player to watch is rookie outfielder Corbin Carroll. Their pitching staff is led by Madison Bumgarner and Zac Gallen. 

Finally, the Colorado Rockies have the talent to win some games. But in this division, they will have a hard time contending for a playoff spot. 

This year’s MLB season should prove to be a tough race throughout the whole entire year. Each division should hold impressive competition, and the real challenge as per usual will come down to the very end.