The 2023 MLB season has been one of the most fun and exciting seasons as of late, and we are getting close to the trade deadline. Each division has major storylines to pay attention to, so here I will look at each division and predict the winner while looking at each and every team heading towards the trade deadline. Let’s get into it!
AL East: MLB’s surprising bloodbath
The AL east has long been the division where the Yankees battle the Red Sox while another team occasionally contends with them for the top. This year, as of July 27th, the Yankees and Red Sox are in the last two spots in the division.
Who would’ve thought?
The Baltimore Orioles, who had been a bad team for years up to this point, are contending to win the division with a resurgence in pretty much everything. I fully expect to see them finally make the post-season. The Rays and Blue Jays are also competing to pass the Orioles to make the playoffs. The Rays started the year very well, but have struggled to keep the success going. The Blue Jays have been consistently competitive, but have overall stayed below the top of the division. Who knows if the talented core will be able to make the push to the post-season.
Division winner prediction: Baltimore
AL Central: MLB’s laughing stock
The AL Central may be the worst division in baseball. With 3 teams below .500 and 2 teams hovering around .500, it’s pretty clear the teams here aren’t great, or even good. The Twins and Guardians are battling for the division barely staying above .500. The Twins are the only team in the division that have a chance of being buyers at the deadline and making a real push for the playoffs. The Guardians have been even more inconsistent, and I doubt they’ll make any moves for the playoffs. They could shock everyone by taking it from the Twins, but I doubt they’d make noise in the playoffs.
The Tigers and White Sox have been somewhat below average, and while they have an outside shot of the playoffs if they somehow win the division, neither should look to be buyers at the deadline for anything but prospects to come on down the pipeline. They’ll probably have to sell some of the extra slack instead. The Royals are actually one of the worst teams in all of baseball. There is no hope for them this year. The AL Central will not likely produce a strong team this year, but at least the division race is somewhat entertaining.
Division winner prediction: Cleveland
AL West: MLB’s surprising race
The AL west is home to a surprising divisional race. Before the season, the contenders of the division were the Mariners and Astros with an outside shot of Shohei Ohtani and the Angels becoming a strong team. Now at the deadline, the contenders are the Rangers and Astros, with the Angels looking to make a push for the postseason as well.
This is a bit of a surprise. No one expected the Rangers to be anything more than mediocre, and at the deadline, they look like they could be buyers. The Mariners, who were expected to be a playoff team, are 7.5 games behind as of July 28th, and have been a massive disappointment all year long. The Angels are still the Ohtani show, and it appears as though they will become buyers to move into the AL Wild card. The Astros continue to show that they are a contender, but not being in first place should be a wake-up call for Houston. The A’s are a floundering mess during a season overshadowed with potential relocation. Stay in Oakland.
Division winner prediction: Houston
NL East: MLB’s upper class
The NL east has baseball’s best team, highest payroll, and a team that made the world series last year. These are all separate teams in the same division. The Braves are a true World Series contender, and Ronald Acuna Jr is one of the sport’s best stars. The Phillies started off the season slow, but are slowly looking like the team that took the NL pennant last year. The Marlins are flying under the radar as a potential wild-card team, and if they don’t buy at the deadline, they’ll stay under the radar.
The Nationals are struggling to do anything in this rebuilding year. Maybe their rebuild will help them in a few years, but for now they are irrelevant. The New York Mets? They are one of the most laughable teams in the sport. With stars such as Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and more, you’d think this was a team competing for the pennant. The Mets are 4th in their division and well below .500. Yikes.
Division Winner prediction: Atlanta
NL Central: MLB’s Secret Weapon
The NL Central is probably the most under the radar division there is. The Milwaukee Brewers are still a solid team, as they have been for years, but they aren’t a truly scary contender. They still will most likely win the division, but the Brew Crew seem more like another slightly above average squad. The Reds are the big surprise. A lot of younger prospects have come up through the ranks, especially new star Elly de la Cruz, and the return of Joey Votto has only helped the team. The Reds have more than just new life, they have emerged as a potential wild card contender for the first time in years.
The rest of the division is mediocrity. The Cubs are a young team that is still developing, but after the all-star break they have gotten hot enough to make a legit push for the post-season. Could they make it? The Cardinals are not good, this is probably the first season in a long rebuild. The Pirates hot start has completely fallen off, and they now sit at the bottom of the division. Happiness is impossible to have with Pittsburgh baseball.
Division winner prediction: Cincinnatti
NL West: MLB’s Tightest Race
The NL west is a tight race between the Dodgers, Giants, and somehow the Diamondbacks. The Dodgers are still a strong team as usual, but haven’t looked the same as past years. Not being in first for a good chunk of the season is a sign they might be weakening. The Giants are a team that lays low and wins. Their solid core has a chance to make a splash in the playoffs, but it’s possible they still don’t have enough in the tank. The Diamondbacks led the division for a long time, but have fallen from the throne. Is this just a bad stretch, or a bad sign for the rest of the season?
The bottom of the division is just sad. The San Diego Padres were supposed to be world series contenders, and buyers at the deadline. Now 10 games back, they have little to hope for, unless a miracle stretch happens to help them out. The Rockies claimed to be playing “.500 ball” this year. As of now, they are far below that.
Division winner prediction: San Francisco
The trade deadline is one of the most intriguing times in baseball, and with a season that has completely flipped any expectations on their head, we should all be paying attention to the deals. The final stretches where we will see who is a contender and who is a pretender are here. As always, keep it here to get your news and predictions. This will be a wild 2 months in baseball.
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