The all-star break is the perfect time to start making MLB second-half predictions for 2023. One look at the standings and it’s clear that the first half of the season hasn’t gone as expected.
For instance, the Rays are the best team in baseball. The Reds, Marlins, and Diamondbacks are all in the playoff hunt. Plus, the Mets and Padres are both fourth in their division while the Cardinals are last. In other words, preseason win totals and projections can all be tossed out the window.
MLB second half predictions 2023
With all of that in mind, we thought we’d make some post-All-Star predictions. What’s going to happen when the second half begins? In all likelihood, the second half is going to be as unpredictable as the first. However, let’s be a little bold in making some MLB second-half predictions in 2023.
Rays lose in ALCS
Tampa has undoubtedly been the best team in the American League during the first game of the season. But it’s not that hard to believe that the Rays peaked too soon.
They already had to endure a seven-game losing streak right before the all-star break, so they aren’t the invincible team they looked like in April and May. Also, unlike past seasons, the Tampa bullpen isn’t among the team’s greatest strengths, which is a problem that can be exposed in October.
While the Rays are too good to not find a way to advance past the ALDS, they aren’t going to survive a seven-game ALCS given some of the other teams in the American League.
Orioles win trade deadline
The Orioles have long had one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, which means that they are poised to do some big things at the trade deadline. Even if Baltimore doesn’t trade top prospect Jackson Holliday, the Orioles have plenty of viable pieces that can be moved to improve their roster.
The Orioles are in need of a deeper rotation and players with postseason experience. Look for them to acquire two starters and perhaps a veteran utility player at the deadline, doing more than any other team.
Padres trade Juan Soto
In the midst of a disastrous season, the Padres could pivot and become sellers, shocking the league by trading Juan Soto. While Soto isn’t a free agent until after the 2024 season, he could still be one of the top trade deadline candidates this summer because he wouldn’t be a rental player.
Remember that the Padres traded for Soto before they knew they would have to move Fernando Tatis Jr. to the outfield, so it’s not a given that Soto is an essential part of San Diego’s long-term plans. That could inspire the Padres to trade Soto and start rebuilding their farm system.
A’s lose 120 games
Admittedly, this isn’t the boldest of our MLB second-half predictions for 2023. However, the 1962 Mets in their inaugural season are the only team in the modern era to lose 120 games, so if Oakland were to do so, it would be historic, even if it’s not surprising.
At the break, the A’s are on pace to go 44-118 this season. They aren’t far from being on a pace that would result in 120 losses. Things aren’t likely to get better for Oakland during the second half, especially if the A’s trade a couple more players at the deadline, positioning the 2023 A’s to be the worst team in MLB history.
Mets make Playoffs
The Mets have had a dreadful season, but they still have a chance to make amends and make a push for the playoffs. Francisco Lindor started to come alive offensively before the break while Francisco Alvarez is having a historic season among rookie catchers.
The key is the starting rotation, although Justin Verlander and Kodai Senga have gotten their act together with Carlos Carrasco pitching better and Max Scherzer winning eight games in the first half despite some ups and downs. That group is more than capable of getting its act together, allowing the Mets to steal a Wild Card spot with a late-season push.
Astros miss Playoffs
The Astros haven’t missed the playoffs since 2016, so it would be a shocker to see the reigning champs left out of the 14-team postseason. But this is a distinct possibility for the Astros this season.
Even if the Rangers don’t have a huge lead over the Astros, Texas is clearly the best team in that division and is poised to make meaningful moves at the deadline after already acquiring Aroldis Chapman. That will leave the Astros in a tough Wild Card race with four teams from the AL East, not to mention the Mariners and perhaps the runner-up from the AL Central.
Houston doesn’t have the same rotation depth as in past years. The same is true for the Houston lineup, especially with Alex Bregman and Jeremy Pena underperforming and Jose Altuve on the IL again. In the end, the Astros may not have enough to make it back to the playoffs.
Reds win NL Central
In one of the biggest shocks of the season based on preseason expectations, we expect the Reds to win the NL Central. For once, the Cardinals won’t be a factor in this race, making a two-horse race between Cincinnati and Milwaukee.
Behind Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee certainly has the pitching to win the division title. But the Reds have added some young pitchers from their farm system to go along with a group of young position players led by the dynamic Elly De La Cruz. This will be a fascinating race to watch, but look for the upstart Reds to eke it out in the end.
Gerrit Cole finally wins Cy Young
The race in the American League remains unsettled, and with a strong second half for a team that needs him, Cole will rise above the back. The fact that he’s a step ahead of the pack in strikeouts will eventually help to solidify his case as the best pitcher in the American League in 2023.
Freddie Freeman overtakes Ronald Acuna for MVP
For most of the season, Ronald Acuna Jr. has been the MVP frontrunner in the National League. But his former Atlanta teammate Freddie Freeman could make a second-half push and take those honors away from him.
Freeman isn’t far behind Acuna in batting average and actually has more extra-base hits and RBIs at the break than Acuna. While Acuna’s stolen bases are something that Freeman can’t replicate, Freeman can go on a tear during the second half of the season, helping the Dodgers to win the NL West, becoming the National League’s Most Valuable Player in the process.
Dodgers win World Series
With Freeman having a huge second half, the Dodgers will ride that wave to their second World Series title in the last four years. This has not been the best regular season that Los Angeles has had, but that won’t matter in the playoffs.
With youngsters Bobby Miller and Emmet Sheehan emerging, once Clayton Kershaw and possibly Walker Buehler are healthy, the Los Angeles rotation will be dangerous in October. Stars like Freeman, Mookie Betts, and J.D. Martinez will anchor the lineup, helping the Dodgers to beat the Braves and overcome whatever team comes out of the American League.