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2023 MLB Postseason Preview

Photo Credit: Gregory Fisher

With the arrival of October, Major League Baseball’s regular season has come to an end, and it will all come down to the top twelve teams and their battle to claim their spot in history as World Series Champions.

Which Teams are in?

American League: Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros

National League: Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Miami Marlins

American League Predictions

  • Wild Card: Rays beat Rangers in 3 games.
  • Wild Card: Blue Jays beat Twins in 2 games.
  • ALDS: Rays beat Orioles in 4 games.
  • ALDS: Astros beat Blue Jays in 5 games.
  • ALCS: Astros beat Rays in 6 games.

National League Predictions

  • Wild Card: Phillies beat Marlins in 3 games.
  • Wild Card: Brewers beat Diamondbacks in 3 games.
  • NLDS: Braves beat Phillies in 3 games.
  • NLDS: Brewers beat Dodgers in 5 games.
  • NLCS: Braves beat Brewers in 5 games.

World Series Prediction

The Houston Astros will reach the World Series for the fifth time since 2017 to take on the powerhouse Atlanta Braves in a rematch of the 2021 World Series. Atlanta will continue their dominance from this year and will win the series within five games.

Playoff Schedule

  • Wild Card Series: Oct. 3-5
  • Divisional Series: Oct. 7-14
  • Championship Series: Oct. 15-24
  • World Series: Oct. 27-Nov. 4

American League Teams

Baltimore Orioles

Photo Credit: Gregory Fisher

The Orioles surprised many people with their success in the regular season this year as they had the combination of an explosive offense and some of the best pitching they have had in years. Part of the reason for the Orioles being so good was the impact of the young players on the team. Adley Rutschman has established himself as arguably the best catcher in the league in just his second season in the MLB, Cedric Mullens has continued to play great defense in center field while having a solid bat, and Gunnar Henderson has been electrifying in his rookie year as he had 82 runs batted in (RBIs) and 28 home runs and shows an excellent glove at shortstop. Baltimore’s pitching has been pretty good this year with the highlight of the group being Felix Bautista. Bautista, also known as the “The Mountain,” was the best closing pitcher in the league this year as he posted 33 saves before he injured his UCL in late August. Bautista is a key player in the Baltimore bullpen, but there has been recent news that showed he will not be able to return for the Postseason due to his Tommy John surgery.

Playoff Prediction: Even though the Orioles have some of the best talent and were able to claim the number one seed in the American League, they don’t have many players that have much experience in the Postseason. In addition to their lack of experience, Baltimore lost a key part of their team in Felix Bautista. Due to these reasons, I can see the Orioles taking an early exit in the ALDS.

Texas Rangers

The Rangers took a big step in the right direction this season as they went from a below .500 team to having a .563 year in which they will take the second seed in the American League side of the postseason. Their success has come in large part due to them having some very impactful young players and bringing in some of the best free agents over the past few seasons. Marcus Semien and Corey Seager have finally started to become the middle-infield duo that the Rangers expected when they signed big deals in free agency two years ago. They were both selected as all-stars this year and hit over 30 home runs and 90 RBIs. Jonah Heim, Josh Jung, and Adolis Garcia also made a big leap this year as they have boosted the youth impact on the team and were all-stars this season. The Rangers success can also be credited to the coaching of Bruce Bochy, the three-time World Series winning coach with the San Francisco Giants, who has completely flipped around their production in his first season coaching the team. The Rangers also showed that they were going all in this season as they traded for Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery to add more starting pitching depth after the season-ending injury to Jacob deGrom. However, Max Scherzer suffered a UCL injury late in the season and looks unlikely to pitch in the postseason.

Photo Credit: Gregory Fisher 

Playoff Prediction: The Rangers look to be a very solid team that can make a good postseason run this year. However, recent injuries to key players on the team have caused them to go on a losing streak late in the season. If they are able to reverse their momentum from the last stretch of the season, the Rangers can be led by their coaching staff who have had plenty experience in the postseason and by their star-studded lineup. Overall, I expect the Rangers to take an early exit by losing the wild card round to the Rays.


Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays were able to continue their usual regular season success in the 2023 season as they finished with the second-best record in the American League. They were top five for both pitching and hitting stats in the whole MLB. As usual, Tampa Bay was able to get great production from their starting pitchers as Zach Eflin, Tyler Glasnow, and Shane McClanahan all ended with 3.50 or lower ERAs. The Rays offense showed no lack of power throughout the season as seven players on the roster hit over 20 home runs. Randy Arozarena and Jose Siri continued their growth in the MLB while Isaac Paredes, the 24-year-old third baseman that the Rays acquired in the Austin Meadows trade with Detroit, had a breakout year with a team-leading 31 home runs.

Playoff Prediction: The Rays proved to be a dominant team in the American League as they continued to find hidden gems to boost their hard-hitting lineup. However, the biggest flaw that can be seen is that they will go into the playoffs without some of their most promising players. Shane McClanahan had to undergo Tommy John surgery and Wander Franco will be taking time away from the team after his off the field issues. Even with these key losses, I can see the Rays using their talented lineup to go up to the ALCS before getting knocked out.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins were able to take advantage of their weak division and punch their ticket to the MLB postseason as the number one team in the AL Central. Their main success has mainly come from their starting rotation with Sonny Gray, Pablo Lopez, Bailey Ober, and Kenta Maeda. The additions of Gray and Lopez were great as they were both selected for the American League All-Star team and led the Twins pitching staff to top 10 in the MLB. Jhoan Duran was also great for the team as he solidified himself as the main closer and ended the year with a 2.49 ERA. The best hitters for Minnesota during the regular season were Carlos Correa, Royce Lewis, Max Kepler, and Michael Taylor.

Playoff Prediction: The starting pitching depth that the Twins have is a great advantage for the postseason as it is arguably the most important piece to have go on a run. However, the rest of their lineup can’t compare nearly as well to some of the better teams in the American League. Due to this, I can’t see the Twins making it any farther than the Wild Card round.

Houston Astros

The Astros were able to secure their spot in the postseason in a crazy ending to the regular season that propelled them to the second seed in the American League and a first-round bye. Even though they weren’t the dominant team this time, they usually are in the regular season. Houston still has a stacked team with some standout hitters and pitchers. Some of their better hitters are Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker, Jeremy Pena, and Jose Altuve. They also have some great pitchers on the starting rotation with Framber Valdez, Justin Verlander, and J.P. France. Houston’s incredible pitchers include Hector Neris in the bullpen and Bryan Abreu serving as relievers while Ryan Pressly is the main closer.

Playoff Prediction: Along with the star power that the Astros roster has, they have a major advantage against a lot of the other American League teams due to the amount of experience they have in the playoffs. Houston has been so dominant in the postseason in recent memory. They have been in almost every World Series in the last six years. With this advantage, I believe that the Astros will win the American League pennant but end up losing in the World Series.

Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays competed to the very end of the season and snuck into a wild card spot while becoming the third team in the AL East to get in this year’s postseason. The main surprise from their team this year was that they completely flipped from last year’s great hitting team with decent pitching to this year’s great pitching and decent hitting. The Toronto bats still have the potential to get hot in the MLB postseason with star players like Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer, and Matt Chapman in the lineup. They also have a great starting rotation with Chris Bassitt, Joe Berrios, Kevin Gausman, and Yusei Kikuchi who all have ERAs in the 3.50 range. The Blue Jays bullpen is also solid with Erik Swanson, Trevor Richards, Yimi Garcia, and Tim Mayza serving as relievers while Jordan Romano plays the closer role.

Playoff Prediction: The Blue Jays have a very talented group of pitchers that can prove to be very useful in the postseason as the teams with better pitching usually go far. If some of the big-name players in their batting order can find a way to get hot, Toronto can make a good run this year. If the bats are able to come alive for the Blue Jays offense, I can see them making it to the ALCS before getting knocked out of the postseason.


National League Teams

Atlanta Braves

The Braves continued their dominance as they claimed the top spot in the NL East for the sixth year in a row. Atlanta’s roster proved to be the best in the MLB as they had a league-leading eight all-star players. The biggest name on that roster has been Ronald Acuna, as he returned from his ACL injury and proved all the doubters wrong by being the first player in history to ever make the 40-70 Club (40 home runs and 70 stolen bases) and will likely be the National League MVP. In addition to Acuna, the Braves have the most powerful lineup in baseball with Matt Olson, Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies, Marcell Ozuna, Michael Harris, Orlando Arcia, Eddie Rosario, and Sean Murphy. Atlanta also has a dominant pitching staff to help them make a big run with Spencer Strider, Max Fried, Charlie Morton, and Bryce Elder as their starting rotation.

Playoff Prediction: With the amount of talent that the Braves have on their roster, they are the early favorite to win the World Series. The combination of having some of the best pitchers and hitters in baseball makes a perfect combination for a long postseason run. With the amount of pure talent and success this Braves team has had, I can see them winning the World Series for the second time in just three years.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers have continued their regular season success in 2023 as they had the second-best record in the MLB and were the top team in the NL West. Most of their success has come from their offense as they had some of the best hitting in the MLB. Superstars like Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, Max Muncy, and J.D. Martinez were the key components to that offensive production. The main starting pitcher for the Dodgers will be Klayton Kershaw, the future hall of fame pitcher that put up great numbers in his 15th year in the MLB.

Playoff Prediction: There is no question that the Dodgers are one of the most feared teams to go against in the postseason as they have one of the best lineups in the MLB and were on fire throughout the second half of the season. One thing that could be a problem for them going forward is the loss of Tony Gonsolin to Tommy John surgery and Julio Urias to off the field issues. With those losses, it takes away some key pitching talent to the rotation that could give them a disadvantage against a team like the Braves. With all this in mind, I can see an upset where the Dodgers end up taking an early exit in the NLDS.

Photo Credit: Gregory Fisher

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers had a great season this year and surprised many by being the top team in the NL Central, even with a lineup that wasn’t filled with superstar players. One of the key components to the Brewers is their pitching staff. Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta, and Wade Miley highlight the starting rotation while Hoby Milner, Joel Payamps, Bryse Wilson and Devin Williams make up their great bullpen. The best hitters for the Brewers this season have been Christian Yelich, Mark Canha, William Conteras, and Willy Adames.

Playoff Prediction: The biggest advantage that the Brewers will have in the postseason will be the depth of their pitching staff. However, they just don’t have enough great hitters on their lineup to win against the top teams in the National League. For this reason, I can see them exiting the postseason in the NLCS.

Philadelphia Phillies

Even though they weren’t able to take the top spot in the NL East, the Phillies were able to clinch a Wild Card spot as they will look to come back from their World Series disappointment last year. Their success in the regular season can mostly be credited to the number of stars they have in the batting order with Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, J.T. Realmuto, Bryson Stott, and Alec Bohm. With all these players, the Phillies are definitely in the conversation for having one of the best batting orders in the league. The top two pitchers for the rotation are Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler while they have a solid bullpen with Jeff Hoffman, Gregory Soto, Matt Strahm, and Craig Kimbrel.

Photo Credit: Gregory Fisher

Playoff Prediction: The star-studded batting order for the Phillies will be their biggest advantage in their MLB postseason run. With the mediocre starting rotation depth, the Phillies will need to use their high-powered offense to keep their run going. Even with a bit of a disadvantage with their starting pitchers, I can see Philadelphia surprising many and getting to the NLDS before getting knocked out.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks were one of the most surprising teams in the 2023 season as they were one of the hottest teams in the first half of the season with some of the best hitting and pitching production they have had in a while. The highlight player for Arizona this year was Corbin Carroll, the electrifying outfielder that became the first rookie to ever record 25 home runs and 50 stolen bases in one season. Arizona also had some other great power hitters with Christian Walker, Ketel Marte, and Lourdes Gurriel, all hitting for over 25 home runs. They also had a solid duo of starting pitchers with Zach Gallen and Merrill Kelly who were both selected for the National League All-Star team.

Playoff Prediction: The Diamondbacks were one of the best teams in the MLB throughout the first half of the season. However, the first half magic did end up wearing off as they went on a long losing stretch that almost ended up knocking them out of the playoffs. Due to the way they ended the regular season, I can see the Diamondbacks taking a wild card exit.

Miami Marlins

The Marlins were barely able to sneak into a Wild card spot at the end of the season and became the third team in the NL East to make the postseason this year. The standout hitters for Miami are the young duo of Luis Arraez and Jazz Chisholm, with Arraez leading the MLB with a .354 batting average and Chisholm showing off elite power and highlight plays while he has been healthy. Another great hitter to watch out for on the Miami offense is Jorge Soler, as he ended the regular season with 36 home runs and 75 RBIs. The starting pitchers for the Marlins underperformed throughout the year but will look to bounce back with a great starting rotation of Sandy Alcantara, Jesus Luzardo, Braxton Garret, and Edward Cabrera.

Playoff Prediction: Even though there are many great components to this Miami Marlins team, they don’t compare to some of the better teams in the postseason race. They also don’t have a very favorable matchup in the Wild Card as they will face the Phillies. I do expect the Marlins to build on their success for the future, but they will likely take a Wild Card exit.

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About the Contributor
Josh Giuliacci
Josh Giuliacci, Sports Editor
Joshua Giuliacci was born on September 12, 2006, and is currently a junior at Tracy High School. Giuliacci is part of a family of seven that includes his mom, dad, two brothers and two sisters. He is a dedicated student-athlete and has played a variety of sports, which include football, baseball, basketball and soccer. Giuliacci has recently decided to only play baseball exclusively due to his love of the game and dream of one day playing college ball. Sports have always been a huge part of Giuliacci’s life because his dad previously worked for the Golden State Warriors and currently works for the San Francisco Giants. After high school, Giuliacci would like to go to college and study in a field that would help him get a job in baseball, similar to his father. His top career choices in baseball would be coaching, broadcasting or reporting for professional teams.  

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