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Power Rankings: Top 10 contenders

March 21, 2023

2022 Offensive and defensive rankings. (Theo Au-Yeung)

1. Houston Astros – Record prediction: 102-60

The defending World Series champs — and, more infamously, known cheaters in the 2017 World Series — will return to the MLB for another year as the league’s presumptive top team. Designated hitter/left fielder Yordan Alvarez is a serious MVP candidate as one of the best hitters in the league. Pair him with outfielder Kyle Tucker, another potential MVP candidate, star veteran second-baseman Jose Altuve, star third-baseman Alex Bregman and newly acquired first-baseman Jose Abreu, and you’re looking at possibly the most dangerous lineup in the league. Losing CY Young winner Justin Verlander in the starting pitching rotation will hurt, but Cristian Javier has emerged as a star and a potential CY Young candidate this season. Framber Valdez and his incredible ability to induce ground balls will prove to be crucial for Houston alongside a top 3 defense in the league [figure 1]. There’s no doubt the Astros will be competing for yet another title. But don’t place your bets yet: The competition has gotten better in the American League, and it won’t be an easy path in the regular season or postseason for Houston.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers – Record prediction: 104-58

Holders of the highest payroll in the league, the Dodgers will look to win their first World Series since 1988 after years of dominance (we’re not counting that Mickey Mouse 2020 season where they won the World Series in a 60-game season). Trea Turner is gone, Cody Bellinger is gone and Justin Turner is gone, three relatively reliable players in the Dodgers lineup that contributed to the best offense in baseball last season (figure 1). Still, let’s not forget that the Dodgers pay a ridiculous amount of money to hold the best roster in the league, stacked with star talent all the way from the heart of their lineup to their bullpen and all the way down to their coaching and front office. Expect them to be in a competitive race for the NL West title alongside the Padres, though we suspect that Los Angeles will edge out San Diego with more than 100 wins as they have done frequently  the past 5-7 years. So expect the regular season kings to work their magic again this year — but don’t be surprised if they choke in the playoffs as usual.

2022 Pitching rankings (ERA and FIP). (Theo Au-Yeung)

3. Atlanta Braves- Record prediction: 95-67

The Braves are a perennially underrated team in the MLB, but these days, most people have realized that Atlanta are among the cream of the crop. Outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. has had his last few seasons marred by injury, but if he can stay healthy this year, he’s a very legitimate MVP Candidate. Also in the lineup is star first-baseman Matt Olson, who has done a nice job in Freddie Freeman’s place, newly acquired catcher Sean Murphy, second-baseman Ozzie Albies, third-baseman Austin Riley and center fielder rookie of the year Michael Harris Jr. There’s enough starpower in this lineup to believe they can go far regardless of whether or not their pitching is elite. 

4. San Diego Padres – Record prediction: 91-71

The Padres are looking at possibly the most ferocious lineup in all of baseball. Last season was marred by the season-long suspension of star player Fernando Tatis for hemorrhoid cream — and then Tatis’ string of  motorcycle accidents, but this year promises to be different. Tatis will finally return (hopefully) to take his place in a lineup with young superstar Juan Soto — who has the highest odds to win NL MVP this year — aging star veteran Manny Machado and newly acquired shortstop Xander Bogaerts. A consistent starting pitching rotation will be key, with the likes of Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish. The Padres have all the pieces, it will be just about keeping players healthy. 

5. New York Mets – Record Prediction: 92 – 70

I know the Mets lost Jacob deGrom, probably the best pitcher in the league, but his constant injuries were more of a hindrance for New York anyway. In place of deGrom, they’ve signed star veteran pitcher and reigning CY Young winner Justin Verlander from the Astros to pair with Max Scherzer in the starting rotation. The Mets are a fun team, but could be very boom or bust. They’ll either have a great season, or easily miss the playoffs in a competitive National League.

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Theo Au-Yeung, Staff Reporter

Theo Au-Yeung is a senior at Burlingame and this is his first year in Journalism. Theo also plays baseball for Burlingame, and in his free time, he enjoys...

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