Your Cart is Empty

April 01, 2023 3 min read

2023 MLB Opening Week: Expert Predictions and Players to Watch this Season




As Major League Baseball swings back into action, fans can expect a season loaded with potential breakout stars and fierce competition. With numerous talented rookies, Cy Young contenders, and potential MVPs in the mix, let's dive into predictions collected from a panel of 28 MLB experts, including writers, analysts, and editors at ESPN.com.


American League MVP: Shohei Ohtani Leads the Pack


Shohei Ohtani is a favorite among MLB experts to clinch the AL MVP title. Ohtani's exceptional skill as both an elite pitcher and hitter positions him as the leading candidate for the award. Anticipate a remarkable season from the two-way star with the Angels.


American League Rookie of the Year: A Close Race Between Henderson and Yoshida


Baltimore Orioles' Gunner Henderson and Red Sox's Masataka Yoshida are considered top contenders for the AL Rookie of the Year by numerous analysts. Henderson's athleticism and versatile game receive high praise, while Yoshida's bat-to-ball skills and power establish him as a formidable contender.


American League Cy Young: Gerrit Cole Stands Out


NY Yankees Gerrit Cole has been frequently mentioned as a potential AL Cy Young winner by MLB experts. His raw pitching talent and consistency put him at the forefront of this race. However, LA Angel’s Shohei Ohtani received votes from ESPN’s panelists as a potential AL MVP and Cy Young winner, making this an exciting race to watch.


National League MVP: Ronald Acuña Jr. Takes the Lead


Atlanta Braves Ronald Acuña Jr. has been a popular choice among MLB experts for the NL MVP. Acuña's all-around performance and strong hitting make him a force to be reckoned with this season. However, Juan Soto and Trea Turner are also frequently mentioned, the race for the NL MVP promises to be a showdown in the diamond.


National League Rookie of the Year: Corbin Carroll Shines


Many experts predict that Corbin Carroll of the Arizona Diamondbacks will take home the NL Rookie of the Year award. Carroll's impressive performance during the 2022 season, along with his ability to hit for average, slug, and play elite defense, make him the frontrunner in this category.


National League Cy Young: A Wide-Open Race


There is no clear favorite in the NL Cy Young race, but Milwaukee Brewers' Corbin Burnes has been a popular choice among MLB experts. Burnes' command on the mound and impressive stats make him a strong contender. However, Julio Urias, Spencer Strider, and Sandy Alcantara have also been mentioned as potential victors, making the NL Cy Young race one of the most captivating this season.


NL Champion Prediction: San Diego Padres - Primed for Success

AL Champion Prediction: Houston Astros - Consistent Contenders

World Series Champion: Split Decision


The Padres: The San Diego Padres, an intriguing and potent team, have the potential to rise as the league's best by late October. They boast a strong rotation, an exceptional closer, a proficient manager, and perhaps the most formidable lineup in baseball. The Padres' success largely hinges on Fernando Tatis Jr. Assuming Tatis excels in right field and as a dynamic leadoff hitter, their top five lineup would consist of Tatis, Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, and Jake Cronenworth – an undoubtedly impressive combination.


The Astros: In contrast, the Houston Astros have proven themselves as a dominant force in the league, consistently competing at a high level. Their experienced roster features a reliable starting rotation, a solid bullpen, and an impressive lineup blending power and contact hitting. Players like Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Yordan Alvarez anchor the Astros' lineup, providing both stability and offensive firepower. As the Astros continue to display their prowess on the field, they remain a serious threat to other contenders, such as the Padres. Ultimately, the competition between these two teams will be defined by the Padres potential to rise to the occasion and the Astros ability to maintain their consistent success.




As the 2023 MLB season begins, fans have plenty to look forward to. From Shohei Ohtani's potential dual MVP and Cy Young victories to the nail-biting races for Rookie of the Year, the season promises a thrilling ride. In addition to the Padres and Astros, there are several other notable teams to watch out for this season, including the Atlanta Braves, who made a deep postseason run last year, and wildcard teams like the Philadelphia Phillies, who have a talented roster and the potential to surprise. The expert insights from ESPN’s panel provide a valuable glimpse into the season's possible outcomes. So, grab your peanuts and Cracker Jacks, and let's play ball!