The 2023 MLB season is upon us. Well, almost.
There are (somehow) more spring training games and rosters to finalize, but Opening Day is a stone’s throw away. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our best bets for every MLB team.
Mitch Bannon handled our AL best bets, while Ethan Diamandas took on the NL picks.
Best Bets For Every MLB Team: AL East
Baltimore Orioles: Felix Bautista MLB Saves Leader (+1800)
Bautista took over as Baltimore’s full-time closer after the deadline and finished with 12 saves and a 2.49 FIP in his final 18 appearances. That pace over a full season as closer should put him over 40 saves for the season and right in contention for the most in the big leagues.
Boston Red Sox: Masataka Yoshida AL Rookie of the Year (+600)
Maybe this wasn’t an overpay? Yoshida is raking on the big stage, hitting .400 in the World Baseball Classic and setting a new tournament record for RBIs. If he carries that hot streak into the MLB season, the new Red Sox outfielder will walk away with the Rookie of the Year.
New York Yankees: UNDER 94.5 Wins (-120)
Things are already going sideways for the Yankees, with Carlos Rodon and Harrison Bader injuries in the preseason. The Yanks will certainly make the playoffs, but their age and injury risk will prevent them from breaking 95 wins.
Tampa Bay Rays: Shane McClanahan AL Cy Young (+1400)
McClanahan was the AL Cy favorite for most of last year before he ran out of steam and injuries derailed him a bit in September. With a full season of innings now under his belt, he’s the one guy the Rays will let pitch deep into games this year.
Toronto Blue Jays: AL East Winners (+210)
The Yankees are still the East’s team to beat. But, there’s room for New York regression and the potential for a Blue Jays breakout. If the Jays get some stability from the back of the rotation (looking at Berrios and Kikuchi), they’ll be a 95-plus win squad. At these odds, it’s worth a gamble.
Best Bets For Every MLB Team: AL Central
Chicago White Sox: AL Central Winners (+245)
Everything went wrong with Tony La Russa leading the South Siders last year. However, this White Sox squad is very similar to the 2021 team that won the AL Central by 13 games and looked like a legit World Series contender. Even without Jose Abreu, they can get back there.
Cleveland Guardians: AL Pennant Winners (+1200)
The Guardians came one win away from the ALCS last year and got a bit better this offseason (added Josh Bell and Mike Zunino). It’ll take a lot to usurp the reigning AL champion Astros, but with a Bieber/Quantrill/McKenzie rotation and a sneaky-solid lineup, the Guardians can be that squad.
Detroit Tigers: OVER 69.5 Wins (-110)
Maybe Spencer Torkelson breaks out? Maybe the pitching depth doesn’t immediately fall apart? Maybe Miguel Cabrera has a grand finale? You don’t need much to go right to win 70 games, and the Tigers have a few avenues to this OVER.
Kansas City Royals: Vinnie Pasquantino AL MVP (+7500)
This is certainly a long shot but don’t doubt the Pasquatch. In his first 72 MLB games, Pasquantino hit .295 with 10 homers and more walks than strikeouts. Bobby Witt Jr. is the future of the Royals, but Vinnie is the present.
Minnesota Twins: Joe Ryan AL Cy Young (+7500)
Joe Ryan might be the best young strikeout pitcher who’s not on your radar. The 27-year-old has 181 strikeouts in 173 career innings, entering his third year in the big leagues. If he can hover around roughly 10 K/9 and get a full season of starts in 2023, Ryan will certainly be in Cy contention.
Best Bets For Every MLB Team: AL West
Esteury Ruiz steals a @nashvillesounds record 5 bases tonight!— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) September 15, 2022
The @Brewers' No. 8 prospect now has 75 swipes on the season, which leads the Minors. pic.twitter.com/oLNBBUiK3U
Houston Astros: Best Record In Baseball (+575)
The Astros haven’t won fewer than 95 games in a full season since 2016. They’re as good as the Dodgers, Yankees, Mets and Braves but have the edge of playing in a slightly easier division. This bet might be the best value on the board.
Los Angeles Angels: Shohei Ohtani AL Cy Young Winner (+1000)
Ohtani’s already won the Rookie of the Year, MVP, a Silver Slugger, and made two all-star teams. All that’s left is the Cy. He came fourth in voting last year with a 2.33 ERA, 2.40 FIP and 219 strikeouts in 166 innings. If he makes even two or three more starts this year, Ohtani has a legit Cy Young case.
Oakland Athletics: Esteury Ruiz MLB Stolen Base Leader (+1000)
Go look at Ruiz’s minor-league numbers last year, I’ll wait. The 23-year-old stole 85 bases in 114 games. EIGHTY-FIVE. The rebuilding A’s have no excuse not to trot him out for 160 games and see how many bases he can nab in The Show this year.
Seattle Mariners: Make Playoffs (-165)
I’m not sure who can bump the Mariners out of the postseason in a world of three wild cards. They won 90 games last year and enter 2023 with a full season of Luis Castillo and some added thump from Teoscar Hernandez. It’d take a big year from two of the Rays, O’s, White Sox and Rangers, and I like Seattle to make the playoffs more than all of those teams.
Texas Rangers: Corey Seager AL MVP Winner (+2500)
Seager was one of the most-shifted players in baseball last year, so he’ll love MLB’s new ban of those defensive maneuvers. His success in an anti-shift world is already showing, with a 1.341 OPS through 14 spring training games.
Best Bets For Every MLB Team: NL East
Matt Olson this spring:— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) March 20, 2023
12 G, 14-for-32 (.438), 2 2B, 6 HR, 3 BB, 13 RBI, 9 R, 1.549 OPS pic.twitter.com/RxyqyJECyp
Atlanta Braves: Matt Olson Hits 40 Homers, Gets MVP (+2500) Votes
It was no small task to fill the shoes of Freddie Freeman, the best first baseman in Braves history, but Olson performed adequately in 2022 (34 homers, .802 OPS). Now settled in with his hometown Atlanta club, the 28-year-old should explode. I’m anticipating an epic year from Olson, who will crank 40 or more bombs, lug his OPS back to .900 and receive a few MVP nods. As such, he’s a sneaky +2500 play in the NL MVP odds race.
Miami Marlins: UNDER 75.5 Wins (-115)
The Marlins are still a tire fire – and I’m not so sure they got better over the offseason. Two of their top three WAR performers (Pablo Lopez and Miguel Rojas) play for different clubs, and while Luis Arraez is a solid pickup, I don’t think his elite contact will be enough to consistently help Miami win. Bet the UNDER on the Marlins’ win total.
New York Mets: Justin Verlander NL Cy Young Winner (+700)
Justin Verlander will flip the bird to Father Time once again and win his fourth career Cy Young Award at age 40. After earning the AL Cy Young last year with a career-best 1.75 ERA, JV, now on the Mets, will regress a bit, but not enough to punt him out of the NL Cy Young conversation. By the end of 2023, Verlander will become the sixth pitcher in MLB history to win a Cy Young in both the AL and NL.
Philadelphia Phillies: Win NL East (+380)
The NL East is loaded, but the Phillies stand a good chance of winning the division, especially once Bryce Harper returns in the second half. I love the additions the Phils made this winter – they added Trea Turner, Gregory Soto and Craig Kimbrel. The Mets and Braves both won 101 games a season ago, but I doubt that happens again, which leaves plenty of wins up for grabs.
Washington Nationals: Joey Meneses Threatens NL Home Run Race At +6000
Recency bias? Maybe, but Meneses put all baseball fans on notice with an emphatic performance for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. The 30-year-old sophomore quietly raked for 13 homers and a .930 OPS in a 56-game rookie season a year ago, making him a shining star on a desolate Nationals roster.
If you think Meneses can shock the world and lead the majors in homers, by all means, don’t let me stop you – that bet exists at +6000 odds.
Best Bets For Every MLB Team: NL Central
Chicago Cubs: UNDER 77.5 Wins (-105)
The Cubs won 74 contests last year, and, after making some fun offseason additions, there is a renewed sense of joy and optimism around the club, right? Wrong. A river of suckage will flow through Wrigley yet again.
Dansby Swanson is a good defensive shortstop, although his offense is a bit questionable, and Cody Bellinger might never rekindle his talents. The depth pieces aren’t buoyant enough to float this Cubbies crew to a commendable season in the NL Central, so I’ll confidently recommend the UNDER 77.5 (-105) on Chicago’s 2023 win total.
Cincinnati Reds: Hunter Greene (+5000) Threatens NL Cy Young Race
I won’t go as far as to say Greene will win the Cy Young (because he won’t) but his +5000 odds should shorten as the season goes on. The fireballing right-hander was snake-bitten by home runs in his rookie year, which softened his overall numbers. With a year under his belt, the 23-year-old’s command will improve, and he’ll blossom into one of the best young aces in baseball.
Milwaukee Brewers: Corbin Burnes MLB Strikeouts Leader (+900)
This could easily become a two-man race between Burnes and Yankees starter Gerrit Cole. In that situation, I’ll back the Brewers righty every time.
Burnes led the senior circuit with 243 strikeouts in 2022 in what could’ve been considered a down year by his swing-and-miss standards. Now one year further into his prime – and thoroughly pissed off by how the Brewers treated him during arbitration – opposing hitters might not stand a chance.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Oneil Cruz Hits 35 Home Runs; Pirates Win OVER 68 Games (-125)
I don’t hate Pittsburgh’s chances of winning OVER 68 games (-125), but a much bolder prediction hinges on the talented youngster Cruz. The 24-year-old shortstop stands six-foot-seven and has a rocket of an arm, but his contact woes and poor discipline at the plate have stalled his development at the MLB level.
I’m counting on Cruz to improve in 2023 as he benefits from a full season in the majors. I doubt his OBP gets much higher than .300, but his power stroke is there, making 35 dingers an attainable goal (he was on a 32-homer pace in 2022).
St. Louis Cardinals: Tommy Edman MLB Stolen Bases Leader (+2000)
Edman isn’t the fastest player in the bigs (his average sprint speed was 75th in 2022), but he might be the smartest. The 27-year-old finished fourth in MLB last year with 32 stolen bases and was only caught three times.
A savvy baserunner such as Edman will take advantage of MLB’s new rules, which include larger bases and a limit on pick-offs for pitchers. If Edman makes a marginal improvement to his on-base ability, the chances to swipe bags will be there, making him a dark horse at +2000 to lead all of baseball in stolen bases.
Best Bets For Every MLB Team: NL West
Arizona Diamondbacks: Corbin Carroll NL Rookie of the Year (+400)
Before Opening Day, the oddsmakers have the NL ROTY as a two-man race between Carroll and the Cardinals’ Jordan Walker (also +400). I’ll bet Carroll, who signed a shocking eight-year, $111-million extension this offseason, builds off his excellent 2022 cameo and wins the hardware. As a result, the Diamondbacks quietly outperform their modest expectations, lining them up for OVER 75.5 wins (-135) in 2023.
Colorado Rockies: Set MLB Record For Fewest Road Wins
There’s nothing to look forward to, Rockies fans. I’m sorry. It’s all darkness.
Credit the Rox for at least trying – they added Kris Bryant last winter and signed Jurickson Profar ahead of 2023 – but it’s a futile effort. The NL West is too strong, and Colorado sucks when playing away from Coors Field. Along those lines, I’ll wager that the Rockies win less than 17 games on the road, outdoing the current record of 17-64 jointly held by the 1963 Mets and the 2010 Pirates.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Trade For Shohei Ohtani At Deadline (+600), Win NL Pennant (+425)
What a splash. I’m predicting the Angels aren’t competitive at the trade deadline and reluctantly decide to sell Ohtani, where the Dodgers can swoop in with a super package to reel in the two-way star.
Los Angeles has seven prospects in the MLB Top 100 (per Pipeline), many of whom will get shipped to Anaheim to complete this mammoth swap. As such, the Dodgers will likely win the NL West (+100), take the senior-circuit pennant (+425) and make a strong run to the World Series (+800).
San Diego Padres: Manny Machado NL MVP Winner (+1500)
It certainly won’t be easy, as teammates Juan Soto (+500) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (+1000) have shorter odds, but I’ll bet Machado builds on his strong 2022 campaign. With the ink drying on an 11-year, $350-million extension signed this winter, the 30-year-old will be the most complete player in the senior circuit and win NL MVP.
San Francisco Giants: Win OVER 81.5 Games (-125) But Miss Playoffs (-225)
It’s been a depressing offseason for Giants fans, who once thought they’d see Aaron Judge or Carlos Correa join their squad but instead got Michael Conforto and another year of Joc Pederson. Whoopie.
Now, the G-Men aren’t all bad – their rotation is pretty good, as is their bullpen led by Camilo Doval. San Fran’s roster is good enough to win more than 81 games (-115) but it’s not strong enough to make the playoffs. If you hate my guts, bet on the Giants to make the playoffs at +185. If that hits, I’ll eat a shoe.