Miami Marlins news: 2023 MLB season predictions
By Neil Raymond
As much as I would love to have picked the Miami Marlins, it's unlikely to happen. The Atlanta Braves winning the division for the SIXTH straight season is the most likely scenario. They have a solid pitching staff and the best lineup in the division (it's not even close in fact). Every hitter in their starting lineup can realistically hit 20 home runs. Think about that for a second. This is a loaded team that will be contending this season.
I know, I know. This is insane right?! Hold on though, the rotation is truly elite. Sandy Alcantara is the reigning NL Cy Young award winner; Jesus Luzardo is coming off of a 3.32 ERA/3.11 FIP season; Trevor Rogers is an ace when he's healthy (and he wasn't in 2022 until late in the season). Oh and he has an elite K-BB rate this Spring Training. I think that Jorge Soler's health will improve at DH and that he will have a big contract year. Bryan De La Cruz is a middle of the order bat and Jazz Chisholm Jr. just needs to stay healthy and I believe that he can. If 2B Luis Arraez is not far off from his AL batting champ performance in 2022 and the defense is stable, this is a good team. The bullpen could be the wild card here. Call me optimistic but anything can happen.
I explained my position on them before. Yes they won the pennant last season. If last season was played under the rules that we had in 2021 and before that they wouldn't have made the playoffs. Instead of talking about them as the NL champions, we'd be talking about how they haven't made the playoffs in over a decade. Yes, they signed SS Trea Turner. They also won't have RF Bryce Harper for months and just lost 1B Rhys Hoskins for the entire season. Fangraphs projected them to match their lowly 86 win total from 2022, when they just barely sneaked into the Postseason as the third Wild Card team. That was while Hoskins was still playing. Of course they can finish ahead of Miami, but I'll be optimistic and say that more things go right for us than them.
I wrote about them before as well. If you've been following this great game for years, then you should know by now that the hype means nothing and that plenty of 100 win teams crash the following season. In fact the Chicago Cubs went from 103-58-1 in 2016 to 92-70 in 2017; the Boston Red Sox went from 108-54 in 2018 and winning the World Series to 84-78 and missing the playoffs in 2019. You know what Boston has in common with the Mets? They both lost their previous season's closer. Edwin Diaz was the best closer in the game in 2022, he's now injured for the season.
The Mets rotation is anchored by two 40 year old aces. That's almost completely unprecedented. Max Scherzer just pitched his lowest inning total in a full season since the beginning of his career. His strikeout rate has been declining annually since 2019 too. Justin Verlander mostly missed 2020-2021 before a miraculous comeback last season. Maybe it's time for him to answer to Father Time, it would be a repeat of a similar event. Jose Quintana is a already injured for months and Kodai Senga is completely unproven. The lineup is honestly not impressive.
Let's ask Fangraphs... C Omar Narvaez? .223/.300/.320. 3B Eduardo Escobar? .234/.290/.401. LF Mark Canha? .240/.339/.364. CF Brandon Nimmo? .269/.368/.428. RF Starling Marte? .267/.324/.420. DH Daniel Vogelbach? .216/.348/.399. Yes they have 1B Pete Alonso, SS Francisco Lindor and 2B Jeff McNeil. That's not enough. They were projected for 91 wins by FG prior to the Diaz injyry. Most importantly, this is the New York Mets and they always disappoint.
They're really bad and I doubt anyone will argue that they're finishing last.
NL Central is next...