2023 MLB Preview: National League

2023 MLB Preview: National League


National League Previews and Predictions

by Trey Kristensen | Published: March 29, 2023


            With the MLB's Opening Day right around the corner its prediction season in baseball. We're here to break down who will be first, and who will be worst in the National League.


#15. Washington Nationals
Predicted Record: 57-105
   
                 Its hard to believe that the Nationals won the World Series four years ago considering there are just five remaining members of the 2019 championship team still in Washington. The Nats have exactly three players that will be intriguing to watch this season. Pitching prospect MacKenzie Gore (above), former World Series MVP coming off an injury Stephen Strasburg, and Washington's best hitter last year 31-year old rookie Joey Meneses. Beyond that Washington has almost nothing to offer and playing in arguably the most competitive division in baseball does not help.


14. Pittsburgh Pirates
Predicted Record: 59-103

                The Pirates are finally escaping the "laughing stock" banner and moving on to the slightly better "lovable losers". Yes, they are terribly managed, yes, they have a bad roster, and yes, nobody goes to Pirates games but... they have Oneil Cruz. Cruz and 3rd baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes are the only "hopefuls" on this team after Pittsburgh botched Bryan Reynolds' contract extension. The Pirates have basically no pitching (43-year old Rich Hill, anyone?) and have a supporting cast akin to a AAA team. At least Cruz will be fun to watch.


13. Cincinnati Reds
Predicted Record: 61-101

                I feel like I've been a bit harsh with my Reds prediction. Cincinnati is young and exciting with a good veteran presence. This prediction is simply made because they need time to develop. The Reds crafted a good young core that could progress into being a consistent playoff team. Tyler Stephenson, Hunter Greene, Alexis Diaz and Jonathan India all have bright futures. Cincinnati is well put together and now just needs a few added pieces to this developing roster. But for now, they will have to endure another season of losses.


12. Colorado Rockies
Predicted Record: 67-95

                Colorado has no hope. Sorry to all the Rockies fans out there, but it needed to be said. This team is mismanaged and hasn't seen any real success in over 15 years. They don't have any new up-and-comers that could make a difference either. The only interesting thing about Colorado games this year this year is seeing Kris Bryant try to revive his career. He hit well in the short time he played with the Rockies last year but even if this team had 2016 Kris Bryant they would still be hopeless. There is nothing to say about the Rockies beyond "they'll be bad".


11. Miami Marlins
Predicted Record: 73-89
    
                Miami is looking to finally break into the upper echelon of the ultra-competitive NL East. The Marlins have enough great players to keep their games interesting and exciting like Jazz Chisholm (above) and Sandy Alcantara. However they do lack the depth to achieve any major success this year. The addition of Jean Segura is a good one as he will provide veteran leadership to a young team. The Marlins realistically have a shot at their first 80-win season since 2010. Even if they don't reach that mark, 73 wins (as I predicted) is still a big step in the right direction.


10. Arizona Diamondbacks
Predicted Record: 73-89

                Arizona hasn't seen playoff baseball in over 5 years and that doesn't look like it'll change this year. Just like last season they have just about nothing to look forward to. The team doesn't have any hot, young up-and-comers and the closest thing they have to a star player is probably Starting Pitcher Zac Gallen. Beyond him the team is incredibly thin and the trade of Daulton Varsho does not help. All in all, Diamondbacks fans should look forward to another year of slightly below average baseball.


9. Chicago Cubs
Predicted Record: 79-83

                Give the Cubs credit, they're trying really hard to build a new championship team. They've just added Dansby Swanson, Eric Hosmer and Cody Bellinger in the off-season. Despite all that, Chicago is not a team that should be expected to win now. They've built a great core and now need to either wait for success to come to them, or risk it all and make a move to try to win now. That decision lies in the hands of the front office.

8. San Francisco Giants
Predicted Record: 83-79

                Just two years ago San Francisco was one bad call away from advancing to the NLCS. Now they are a team that looks like it was cobbled together from other teams rejects. Wilmer Flores, Michael Conforto, Mitch Haniger, J.D. Davis, Joc Pederson and Alex Wood all fit that description. All their previous teams allowed them to walk away, and they all ended up in San Francisco. The Giants don't have the talent to keep up in the NL West. They don't have any obvious weaknesses, but rather have the problem of having no strengths.


7. Milwaukee Brewers
Predicted Record: 84-78

                The Brewers are always a hard team to predict. They have quietly stuck in the 85-95 wins range since 2017 and always seem to find their way into the playoffs. They've made great off-season decisions like acquiring Catcher William Contreras in a trade and they've made some bad decisions like stiffing Corbin Burnes on his contract extension. They have the potential to win 90 games this year, but they also could realistically win less than 70. If the Brewers stay healthy and get hot at the right time they could secure themselves a playoff spot, but that doesn't look likely.


6. San Diego Padres
Predicted Record: 92-70

                While I have San Diego finishing 2nd in the NL West, they might be the #1 most exciting team in baseball. Manny Machado, Juan Soto, Xander Bogaerts, Jake Cronenworth and the controversial young phenom Fernando Tatis Jr make up the core of this exciting offense. All this excitement may not translate to regular season success though. The team has problems, mainly Tatis being suspended until at least April 20th, due to testing positive for a banned substance. The Padres struggled with inconsistency last season as well. Its up to San Diego to stay consistent and, much like Tatis, live up to their potential.


5. St. Louis Cardinals
Predicted Record: 94-68
    
                Last year the Cardinals’ success as a team in the regular season took a backseat to Albert Pujols’ chase for 700 Home Runs. In the background the Cardinals won a division title. They have retained most core players, only losing team legends Yadier Molina and Pujols to retirement. Molina was quickly replaced by 2022 All-Star Willson Contreras. With Contreras and the #1 and #3 MVP vote getters last year in Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado respectively, The Cardinals offense looks ready to mow down the NL again. The only concern would be their pitching, which caused some problems last year.


4. New York Mets
Predicted Record: 96-66

             The Mets have had a tumultuous 365 days. They went from a big-money franchise trying to take down their homegrown divisional rivals in the Braves. Then they found themselves dominating their division and on pace for an easy regular season. Then, in typical Mets fashion, they blew it and lost in the Wild Card. This updated Mets squad with new Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, are looking to break the apparent curse that has been placed on the Mets, and finally stop repeatedly crushing Mets’ fans dreams.


3. Philadelphia Phillies
Predicted Record: 96-66

                The Phillies surprised everyone last year with their NL Pennant win. However the Phillies don’t seem ready to rest on their achievements yet. As they are known to do, the Phillies made another big name signing, American Hero Trea Turner. Turner is coming off a Silver Slugger season with the Dodgers and more recently and incredible performance in the World Baseball Classic. The addition of Turner to an already stacked, pennant-winning lineup could propel the Phillies to the victory they didn’t get to taste last season.


2. Atlanta Braves
Predicted Record: 99-63

                
The Braves had a disappointing end to their 2022 campaign but look ready to bounce back in 2023. Losing star short stop Dansby Swanson hurts this team and this fan base a ton, but with the addition of Sean Murphy and the return of Ozzie Albies and Mike Soroka, the 2021 world champions are ready for a 6th straight NL East title.


1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Predicted Record: 102-60

                There is no reason for the Dodgers run of Regular Season dominance to end. Losing Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner to free agency and losing Gavin Lux to injury does hurt the teams chances, but they still look poised for another 100-win season anchored by their core of Will Smith, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers player development is second-to-none so watch out for a new star to be born in Los Angeles this year.

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