MLB predictions 2023: Will Dodgers or Padres win NL West? Will Angels make playoffs?
The Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Lakers are struggling.
Following their Super Bowl victory in 2021, the Rams went 5-12, the worst record in history for a defending NFL champion.
Likewise, the Lakers won a title two seasons ago and now find themselves fighting to even make the NBA playoffs.
Could the Dodgers be next?
Winners of a franchise-record 111 games in 2022 and having made the playoffs in 10 consecutive years, the Dodgers enter the new season with more question marks than ever.
The current roster is without their starting shortstop, their backup shortstop, their third baseman, their center fielder and two starters.
All-Star shortstop Trea Turner signed with Philadelphia, promising Gavin Lux and the heir apparent at short, tore up his knee in spring training and is out for the year. Third baseman and captain Justin Turner signed with Boston and Cody Bellinger, once an MVP and still an elite defender, signed with the Cubs. Walker Buehler (two All-Star games) will likely miss most of the season after Tommy John surgery and Tyler Anderson (15 wins last year) signed with the Angels .
The team has re-stocked only moderately. J.D. Martinez is the new designated hitter and Noah Syndergaard is a middle of the rotation starting pitcher. Both have signed one-year contracts, meaning their money will be off the books in the fall.
But don’t bet against the Dodgers. They have a rare and envious pedigree. Their front office is also among the best in the game.
Here’s the cloudy crystal ball for 2023:
National League West: Padres are dynamite on paper, but can all that glitz transfer to the field? Yes. Dodgers will make the playoffs and finish second.
National League Central: Cardinals. Still the best logo.
National League East: Toughest one to pick. Really like Phillies with Trea Turner in lineup. But Bryce Harper is out until the middle of the summer and slugging first baseman Rhys Hoskins is out for the year after a spring injury. A lot of people like the Mets, but I’ll still pick the Philadelphians.
American League West: Astros will have to overcome the loss of perennial All-Star Jose Altuve for the first two months. But they will and win the West again. The Angels, with their best team in years, will contend but will end up fighting Seattle for a much-needed playoff spot.
American League Central: The Indians, I mean the Commanders or the Guardians or whatever.
American League East: Forbes says the Yankees are worth $7.1 billion, but can they pitch? Toronto is the ultimate swing hard and miss team. They have five players who hit 24 or more homers last year and all five struck out over 100 times. I’ll pick the Blue Jays.
As far as the MVP awards, let’s be honest. Shohei Ohtani is clearly the most VALUABLE player in baseball. Every year. The King of Baseball is a walking Cooperstown display. He pitches like Sandy, hits like Mickey and runs like Rickey.
The National League MVP will be San Diego’s Manny Machado. Complete with the mustard.
Pete Donovan is a Palm Desert resident and former Los Angeles Times sports reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: MLB predictions 2023: Will Dodgers or Padres win NL West? Will Angels make playoffs?