It’s time to play ball as the 2023 Major League Baseball season returns. Last season was wild, and the Houston Astros can finally raise a World Series trophy that won’t be tarnished by allegations of cheating. The 2023 campaign should bring a faster, more exciting game as changes and new rules are being implemented that all fans, and teams, will have to get used to. There were massive deals and huge roster moves so let’s break it all down and get you caught up with our 2023 MLB Predictions AL East preview.
What Happened in 2022:
The New York Yankees owned the East in 2022, winning 99 games and the division by seven games. However, a new, young team that has been knocking on the door finally showed off their talent in a big way as the Toronto Blue Jays won 92 games and finished second in the division. They were followed by the Tampa Bay Rays and then the Baltimore Orioles who went from worst team in the league to an impressive 83 wins in just one year. As the typical cycle goes, the Boston Red Sox finished last which means they might win a World Series this season.
Players to Watch:
Blue Jays – 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – His 2022 stats were down a bit from the previous season, but he still hit 32 home runs and drove in 97 runs with an OPS of .818. He is one of the best young talents in the game and will look to improve this year in a lethal lineup.
Red Sox – 3B Rafael Devers – He was given a massive contract extension to be the new face of the Red Sox moving forward. The team has let other stars walk over the last few years, but they clearly valued Devers. A season of 30 homers and 100 runs batted in should be expected.
Yankees – RF Aaron Judge –Will he stay, or will he go? It’s what all fans wanted to know this offseason and it was even reported that he was heading to San Francisco, but Judge is coming back to rule Yankee Stadium after his MVP season. Is another 60-home run season expected?
Orioles – C Adley Rutschman – It won’t be long before he is the top catcher in baseball and Orioles fans are stoked to have him in the heart of their lineup. The former #1 overall prospect will look to prove himself in his first full season after being injured at the start of last season.
Rays – LF Randy Arozarena – It’s impossible to expect the magic he displayed in the 2020 postseason. However, he did hit 20 home runs and drove in 89 runs in only his second full season. He is a force to be reckoned with as his star continues to ascend.
Biggest Additions and Subtractions:
The biggest subtraction from the division was Xander Bogaerts who got a massive deal from the San Diego Padres which lured him away from the Red Sox. In return, the Sox were busy, signing a talented Japanese outfielder and adding Kenley Jansen to their pen. The Yankees pulled out their wallets and inked pitcher Carlos Rodon to a six-year deal. The other major moves, well, there weren’t a ton.
Aaron Boone is still the manager of the Yankees which certainly gives me pause. However, I can’t overlook how much talent the Blue Jays have in their order. If their pitching rotation can keep it together, I think we see a new team at the top of the standings this season thanks to a lackluster offseason in Tampa Bay and an Orioles team that is a year or two away. Division Winner: Blue Jays, 100-62