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7 Bold Predictions for the 2023 Season

March 21, 2023

Javier established himself as a top pitcher last season. (Theo Au-Yeung)

1. Cristian Javier wins CY Young 

Cristian Javier will be looking to build momentum off an amazing postseason performance, in which his stellar outings — including throwing 6 innings in a combined no-hitter against the Phillies — helped the Astros to their second World Series. Even in the 2022 regular season, Javier was amazing, dazzling with a 2.54 ERA, eighth best in the league. Javier will have some stiff competition against some good lineups in the American League, and there will be other fantastic pitchers looking to win that CY Young award. However, Javier has one of the best fastballs in the league: batters have just a 0.183 batting average against that pitch. CY Young or not, Javier will emerge as a star pitcher and make the Astros forget about losing Justin Verlander. 

2. Adley Rutchsman’s MVP season carries Orioles to playoff berth

Despite having played just one professional season, Rutchsman might just be the best catcher, both offensively or defensively, in the league. He posted a five- win season in 2022 (5.3 WAR), top 20 of all players in the league last season. Joining him is rookie third-baseman Gunnar Henderson, who will look to take advantage of his first season in the MLB as Baltimore’s top prospect, and expect outfielder Cedric Mullins to stay hot after two solid seasons. The worry for the Orioles will be maintaining consistency in their pitching line-up.

As shown in figure 1, the Orioles are an above average defensive team and have a lot of potential offensively. There’s a lot of hope for Baltimore this season. If they live up to their potential, they may go far. 

3. Shohei Ohtani gets traded at the deadline 

Baseball is probably the only sport in the world where you can have two top-five players in the league (Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout) and still be one of the worst teams in the league year after year. The Los Angeles Angels need money. They can’t really afford to pay two big-time contracts to two big-time players, especially when both are undoubtedly frustrated with year after year of poor seasons with the Angels. If the trajectory of the Angels season is trending towards another disappointment, I think that Los Angeles will lose Ohtani at the trade deadline. Wherever he goes, it is certain that Ohtani will succeed and continue to be the MVP-level player he’s always been.

Kwan was one of the most unique hitters in the league last season. (Theo Au-Yeung)

4. Steven Kwan emerges as a superstar player 

The 2000-2010 MLB era had Ichiro. The 2022 and beyond era will have Steven Kwan. Kwan is what we call a contact merchant. Kwan has the second lowest strikeout percentage in the league, and the second highest contact percentage. He isn’t just a contact hitter though — he has amazing plate discipline as well, sporting a .373 on base percentage, 13th best in the league. Kwan’s play style has truly been a breath of fresh air for a league that has predominantly consisted of high power, high strikeout types of players. His rookie season was very solid, but I think he will make a huge jump this year. 

5. Two Japanese players win Rookie of the Year

Two Japanese phenoms — outfielder Masataka Yoshida of the Boston Red Sox, and pitcher Kodai Senga of the New York Mets — have made their way to the MLB after being simply too good for the Japanese baseball league. Both are beasts — Yoshida had a .335 batting average last season in Japan, and Senga had a 1.89 ERA. Both are also very nice people, which will make it very fun and easy to root for them. 

Nola has been consistently one of the best pitchers in the league, including an unlucky, outlier 2022 season. (Theo Au-Yeung)

6. Aaron Nola wins CY Young in a massive breakout year

Nola’s 3.25 ERA last year might not jump out as amazing, but keep in mind that he is pitching with the second worst defense in baseball behind him (the Phillies, Figure 2), which has contributed to his higher ERA. In fact his FIP, a ERA metric of sorts that accounts for poor defense, is just 2.58, fifth best in the league. Additionally, Nola sported a WAR of 6.3, highest among all pitchers. Nola hasn’t quite gotten the recognition he deserves, and with Trea Turner joining the Phillies to hopefully add a boost to their defense, that will likely change. 

The A’s continue to be one of the lowest spenders in the league. (Theo Au-Yeung)

7. A’s win less than 50 games

There’s really no way to sugarcoat it: The A’s are awful. This might be the worst roster in all of American sports and the worst franchise/company in the sports industry. Here’s a look at how much the A’s have paid in total in terms of player contracts. They refuse to splash money on star players, and even when they do get capable players on their roster, they trade them away immediately before having to pay them. Five years ago, they created a core of elite level players with the likes of Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Marcus Semien and Liam Hendricks, all who were on cheap or rookie contracts. But the A’s got rid of them as fast as they could, trading them away or letting them sign elsewhere. If you take a look at their roster now, it’s just a bunch of no names. The A’s are going to lose the most games this year in the MLB, and it shouldn’t be close.

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About the Photographer
Photo of Theo Au-Yeung
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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