2023 MLB Playoff Preview - Which Team Will Win The World Series?
In the world of baseball, the playoffs are a time of uncertainty and unpredictability. It's a time in 2023 MLB playoff previewwhen the best team during the regular season doesn't always emerge victorious, and this has been a consistent theme over the years.
In fact, over the 54 seasons since Major League Baseball (MLB) implemented divisions, only 14 times has the team with the best regular-season record gone on to win the World Series. This statistical quirk underscores the unique nature of postseason baseball.
Baseball's egalitarian nature has made it increasingly common for wild-card teams to make deep playoff runs and even win the World Series.
This trend has given hope to all 12 teams that earn a playoff berth each season, regardless of their regular-season records.
In recent years, we've witnessed teams like the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals, who won the championship with an 83-78 regular-season record, prove that anything is possible in October.
In the spirit of this unpredictability, let's examine why each of the 12 playoff teams in the 2023 MLB season could potentially win the World Series in 200 words or less.
Despite their 84-win regular season, the Diamondbacks possess several strengths that could serve them well in the postseason. They excel defensively, boast a strong base-stealing game, and have the power to score big in a homer-heavy October.
With key playerslike Corbin Carroll, Christian Walker, Ketel Marte, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., they have the offensive firepower needed for playoff success.
Their two-headed starting-pitching duo of Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly, along with rookie Brandon Pfaadt, has the potential to keep them competitive. Additionally, the Diamondbacks' bullpen, often criticized, boasted the second-best ERA in baseball during September, indicating improvement in this crucial area.
Their pitching staff allowed the fewest home runs of any playoff team in the final month of the season. While they might not be the favorites, this Arizona team has the potential to make a deep postseason run if they get hot at the right time.
Despite losing star pitchers Sandy Alcantara and Eury Perez to season-ending injuries, the Marlins have shown resilience and potential. Their rotation, featuring breakout pitcher Jesus Luzardo, Braxton Garrett, and Edward Cabrera, has the talent to keep games close.
The offense has shown improvement, with key players like Luis Arraez, Jake Burger, Jazz Chisholm, and Josh Bell contributing. Their impressive 33-13 record in one-run games suggests they can win close contests.
Despite having the worst regular-season record among AL playoff teams, the Twins are a formidable opponent. Their ability to hit home runs and strike out opposing hitters is vital for playoff success.
In September, they had the AL's best record, and their offense is well-balanced with a dozen players hitting double-digit homers. Their pitching is high-end, with Sonny Gray and Pablo Lopez leading the way, backed by a strong bullpen.
While known for their potent offense, the Blue Jays have a strong pitching rotation led by Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, and Chris Bassitt.
They can catch the ball defensively, and their bullpen, though inconsistent in September, showed promise throughout the season.
To win, they need their offense, anchored by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and George Springer, to deliver more power and clutch hitting.
The Rangers boast an explosive lineup that was once among the league's best. With key players like Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, Mark Canha, and Carlos Santana, they have the offensive firepower to outscore opponents. Their pitching, although hampered by injuries, can be solid enough to support their lineup.
The Phillies have a formidable offense featuring Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto, Nick Castellanos, and Trea Turner. They excel at hitting home runs and stealing bases.
Their pitching staff, led by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, is complemented by a strong bullpen featuring Craig Kimbrel and Jose Alvarado. While they strike out often and have defensive weaknesses, they have a winning mentality from their previous postseason run.
As defending champions, the Astros have a history of success. They have a strong rotation, including Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, and Cristian Javier.
Their offense is led by Yordan Álvarez, Jose Altuve, and Kyle Tucker. Their bullpen, which struggled in September, could regain its form in the playoffs.
The Brewers possess an impressive pitching trio in Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta, along with a strong bullpen.
Their defense is among the best in baseball, making them formidable in run prevention. While their offense isn't as powerful as some others, timely hitting could carry them far.
The Rays are known for their run prevention, boasting a strong rotation and a dominant bullpen. Their offense, despite injuries, has been resilient, with players like Yandy Diaz and Randy Arozarena stepping up. Manager Kevin Cash's creative use of the bullpen gives them an advantage in close games.
The Dodgers have a well-rounded team with a deep lineup and strong pitching staff. Clayton Kershaw and Bobby Miller lead their rotation, while Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman anchor their offense. Their bullpen, despite some concerns, can be effective.
The Orioles, despite being considered underdogs, have a promising young pitching staff led by Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez. Their offense and defense are assets, and they could be a dark horse in the playoffs.
The Braves are considered the best team in baseball, with a powerful offense led by Ronald Acuña Jr., Matt Olson, and others. Their starting pitching, even with some injuries, is solid. While their bullpen has been prone to home runs, their overall talent makes them favorites.
In the wild-card round, the predictions are as follows:
- NL: Brewers over Diamondbacks, Phillies over Marlins
- AL: Twins over Blue Jays, Rays over Rangers
In the division series:
- NLDS: Brewers over Dodgers, Braves over Phillies
- ALDS: Twins over Astros, Rays over Orioles
In the league championship series:
- NLCS: Braves over Brewers
- ALCS: Rays over Twins
In the World Series:
- Braves over Rays
As the playoffs unfold, one thing is certain: baseball's unpredictable nature will continue to delight and confound fans, reminding us that in October, anything can happen on the diamond.
The 2023 MLB playoffs are expected to be an exciting spectacle, with 12 teams each with unique strengths and potential to defy expectations.
The underdog story of the Baltimore Orioles, the powerhouse lineup of the Atlanta Braves, and the defending champion Houston Astros all vying for the World Series.
The 54-season statistic reveals that the team with the best regular-season record has won the World Series only 14 times, highlighting the uncertainty of postseason baseball. Every pitch, swing, and defensive play can determine the destiny of champions.
The beauty of the game lies in its ability to surprise and inspire, reminding fans that the final chapter of baseball is written on the field, not in the record books.
Let the games begin and may the best team claim the ultimate prize in this thrilling journey of October baseball.