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2023 baseball preview

The Boston Globe staff predicts the 2023 baseball season

Can Xander Bogaerts lead the Padres to the postseason?Steph Chambers/Getty

Who will win it all?

Here’s how seven Globe Red Sox reporters and columnists see the 2023 season playing out for the Red Sox and MLB:

Read on to see their analysis.

Peter Abraham

AL East: Yankees. April might be rocky after an injury-filled spring training, but their lineup will be devastating over six months.

AL Central: Guardians. Cleveland has finished first or second the last seven seasons. That success will continue.

AL West: Astros. Deep pitching and Dusty Baker is a winning combination.

AL wild cards: Blue Jays, Twins, Rays. The AL East produced two wild cards last season and should again. Minnesota sneaks past Seattle.

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ALCS: Astros over Blue Jays. Make it three pennants in a row for Houston.

NL East: Mets. Losing Edwin Díaz was a blow but hardly a fatal one for such a deep roster.

NL Central: Cardinals. St. Louis could win the division by 10 games.

NL West: Padres. As the Dodgers regroup, the Padres pounce.

NL wild cards: Braves, Dodgers, Phillies. It will be six straight postseasons for the Braves, more winning for Dave Dombrowski, and the Dodgers find a way.

NLCS: Mets over Dodgers. Mets win a seven-game classic against the Dodgers.

World Series: Mets over Astros. Justin Verlander beats his former team in Game 6 to deliver the Mets their first title since 1986. Money can buy happiness.

Chad Finn

AL East: Yankees. They’re carrying on as if rookie Anthony Volpe is the next Jeter. Does that mean Marcelo Mayer is the next Nomar?

AL Central: White Sox. Tony La Russa was a 1980s manager for a 2020s roster. Pedro Grifol will get much much more out of a talented bunch.

AL West: Angels. They feature three of baseball’s finest: Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani (hitter), and Shohei Ohtani (pitcher). Say, can Trout pitch?

Can Trout and Ohtani make a push for the playoffs?Michael Reaves/Getty

AL wild cards: Astros, Blue Jays, Mariners. The surprising Red Sox will come oh-so-close.

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ALCS: Astros over Yankees. Team Trash Can reaches the World Series for the fifth time in seven seasons.

NL East: Mets. No truth to the rumor that 65-year-old Jesse Orosco will be their new closer after the Edwin Díaz injury.

NL Central: Cardinals. Bet you didn’t know that Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt have combined for 614 major league home runs. That’s a lot.

NL West: Dodgers. Those new bases are so big that manager Dave Roberts might be able to swipe one or two as a pinch runner.

NL wild cards: Padres, Braves, Phillies. Ronald Acuña’s all-time most similar batter statistically is Juan Soto. One or the other will be NL MVP.

NLCS: Padres over Dodgers. It sure is going to be bittersweet watching Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts battle it out to reach the World Series.

World Series: Padres over Astros. Because it’s a rule that Bogaerts wins a World Series every five years (2013, 2018, 2023).

Christopher L. Gasper

AL East: Blue Jays. The Jays have won 91 and 92 games the last two seasons. Now, they win the division.

AL Central: Twins. Minnesota gets Carlos Correa back and goes back to the playoffs for the first time since 2020.

AL West: Astros. No more Justin Verlander, no problem for the world champion Astros, who win division title No. 6 since 2017.

AL wild cards: Yankees, Mariners, Rays. The Rays Way works, just not for the Red Sox.

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ALCS: Mariners over Blue Jays. Julio Rodriguez delivers what Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Ichiro couldn’t.

NL East: Mets. New York led the majors in strikeouts and added Justin Verlander, the active leader in Ks.

NL Central: Brewers. Power rotation, power bullpen, power bats.

NL West: Padres. No one has upped this division’s talent level more than the Sox with Mookie Betts a Dodger and Xander Bogaerts in San Diego.

NL wild cards: Dodgers, Braves, Cardinals. Wow, big-market teams that can develop players and contend simultaneously.

NLCS: Mets over Padres. Dominant pitching wins this Battle of Outrageous Fortunes Spent.

World Series: Mets over Mariners. Baseball’s Bobby Axelrod, Steve Cohen, turns his billions into the best team money can buy.

Julian McWilliams

AL East: Yankees. They have their core group of players returning and a rookie in Anthony Volpe who seems as if he will solidify the gaping hole at shortstop.

AL Central: Twins. Last year was a weird one for them, but they brought Carlos Correa back and upgraded at catcher in Christian Vázquez. A winning culture is clearly taking shape.

Christian Vázquez is helping change the culture in Minnesota.John Raoux/Associated Press

AL West: Astros. They are the kings of their division, having won five titles in the last six seasons. Hard seeing anyone knocking them off.

AL wild cards: Blue Jays, Rays, Mariners. The AL East is stacked. The Blue Jays and Rays will squeeze themselves in. The Mariners, too, after taking a huge leap last year, clinching a playoff berth for the first time in 21 years.

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ALCS: Astros over Yankees. The Astros are the Yankees’ daddy.

NL East: Braves. They have become the model of consistency and player development in the division.

NL Central: Cardinals. Even without Yadier Molina, St. Louis will continue to do what it does. The organization is one of the league’s pillars and knows how to win.

NL West: Padres. They knocked off big brother Los Angeles last year in the playoffs and have the swagger and the talent. Oh, and Xander Bogaerts.

NL wild cards: Dodgers, Brewers, Mets. The Mets and Steve Cohen will make sure there’s at least wild card baseball. The Brewers will do the same. The Dodgers will be at the top of the pack, though.

NLCS: Padres over Braves. A battle between homegrown talent and acquired, established superstars. Always go with the superstars.

World Series: Padres over Astros. Like Dusty Baker last season, longtime manager Bob Melvin will win his first World Series.

Dan Shaughnessy

AL East: Yankees. Twenty-nine consecutive seasons over .500. Not a single fan cares about payroll flexibility.

AL Central: Guardians. Terry Francona pads his Hall of Fame résumé. Why can’t we get managers like that?

AL West: Astros. No need to cheat.

AL wild cards: Blue Jays, Mariners, Twins. All jealous of Chaim Bloom’s payroll flexibility.

ALCS: Astros over Blue Jays. Yordan Alvarez is the new Willie McCovey.

NL East: Mets. $364 million doesn’t buy what it used to buy, but it’ll get you the NL East.

NL Central: Cardinals. No Pujols, no Molina, no problem.

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NL West: Padres. Larry Lucchino re-emerges with Padres, named NL Executive of the Year.

NL wild cards: Dodgers, Phillies, Braves. Dave Dombrowski acquires Chris Sale in mega-trade with last-place Red Sox at deadline.

NLCS: Padres over Phillies. Xander Bogaerts is NL MVP. Why can’t we get players like that?

World Series: Padres over Astros. Tom Werner takes credit for laying the foundation in San Diego, leads parade with chant of “Let’s Go, Padres!”

Alex Speier

AL East: Blue Jays. In the ornithological community, blue jays are known for aggressive, bullying behavior and a proclivity to attack in mobs. Toronto’s flock appears ready to descend upon its AL East antagonists with perhaps the deepest ensemble of top-end talent in the division.

AL Central: Guardians. Their biggest offseason crisis — the disappearance of Terry Francona’s scooter — was quickly resolved.

What does 2023 hold for Terry Francona and the Guardians?David Dermer/Associated Press

AL West: Astros. At this point, it feels as though they simply let elite free agents walk (Justin Verlander this time) to try to stave off boredom as they keep rolling atop the division.

AL wild cards: Yankees, Twins, Angels. Shohei Ohtani seemed to have so much fun in the WBC that he might just decide to play eight positions — sure, Mike Trout, you can play center — and pitch four days a week to ensure a shot at postseason play.

ALCS: Yankees over Astros. At some point, Wile E. Coyote has to catch the Roadrunner.

NL East: Braves. An organization case study in how farm system rankings can be irrelevant: Some now have them ranked 30th, but they have a core locked up through the end of the decade.

NL Central: Cardinals. Somehow, on a team with Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, Lars Nootbaar is now the foremost global sensation. Grind the pepper.

NL West: Padres. Xander beats Mookie.

NL wild cards: Mets, Dodgers, Phillies. There’s a very real chance that the three teams that are best built for the postseason are the NL wild cards.

NLCS: Mets over Padres. Max Scherzer, out of the bullpen, will ring up Bogaerts on a slider on the corner for the final out of the clincher and immediately scream, “That’s for 2013!”

World Series: Mets over Yankees. The real drama will come when Roger Clemens, invited to throw out a ceremonial first pitch in Yankee Stadium, instead hurls a bat shard at Mr. Met.

Tara Sullivan

AL East: Yankees. A year after his home run barrage, Aaron Judge returns as the captain and leads the way.

AL Central: Guardians. Balanced schedule might lead to more wins, but it won’t get Cleveland far in the playoffs. East and West are too good.

AL West: Astros. Still the class of the division, but here’s hoping the potential Mike Trout/Shohei Ohtani last go-round together gets to the postseason.

AL wild cards: Blue Jays, Rays, Angels. AL East is still stacked, with the plucky Red Sox and growing Orioles looking to sneak by the big boys.

ALCS: Yankees over Astros. Yankees finally get some satisfaction at the hands of the nemesis Astros, ending the chance of a repeat champ.

NL East: Braves. Like a clock that keeps on ticking, Atlanta just keeps reloading, not rebuilding.

NL Central: Cardinals. Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt lead the lineup, but again, playoff road is going to be tough going.

NL West: Dodgers. Justin Turner will do well with the Sox, but ultimately he’ll be stuck watching his old team win again.

NL wild cards: Mets, Phillies, Padres. Steve Cohen keeps spending to make his Mets a winner, but the loss of closer Edwin Díaz at the WBC still stings.

NLCS: Dodgers over Phillies. Dodgers’ talent pool is still impressive despite a relatively quiet offseason.

World Series: Yankees over Dodgers. The old-school matchup of coastal elites secures and cements Judge’s legacy.


Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him @PeteAbe. Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him @alexspeier. Chad Finn can be reached at chad.finn@globe.com. Follow him @GlobeChadFinn. Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him @byJulianMack. Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at daniel.shaughnessy@globe.com. Follow him @dan_shaughnessy. Tara Sullivan is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at tara.sullivan@globe.com. Follow her @Globe_Tara. Christopher L. Gasper is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at christopher.gasper@globe.com. Follow him @cgasper and on Instagram @cgaspersports.