2023 MLB Playoff Predictions

The PL Staff and PL+ community try to predict October.

As the postseason starts, the PL staff and PL+ Community have come together to predict October, from every Wild Card series all the way to the championship. Who is coming out on top? Let’s get to it!


Wild Card Round


(6) Blue Jays @ (3) Twins

PL Staff PL+ Community
Blue Jays 49% (18 votes) 68% (21 votes)
Twins 51% (19 votes) 32% (10 votes)

This series has the biggest disparity in terms of the staff and community viewpoint, as it can be looked as a dead-even series between two unpredictable teams or maybe it will be time for Toronto to finally showcase its superior roster and start a deep playoff run.

These teams do have something in common dating to last year’s playoffs, as both were quickly eliminated in disappointing fashion. However, factoring Minnesota’s hard-to-believe 18 consecutive postseason losses adds a layer of urgency that could give them an edge.

With the Twins taking full advantage of its seeding, they get to host the series despite winning fewer games than the Blue Jays, and that could mark a huge difference. Minnesota had the fourth-best home record in the AL, and will certainly feature a raucous crowd as they try to snap their infamous playoff futility.

The Twins are facing a diminished offense with Royce Lewis, Carlos Correa, and Byron Buxton coming off injuries, while Toronto will try to finally get Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and playoff virtuoso George Springer firing on all cylinders. As both teams feature strong pitching staffs, this series will probably be tight and go the distance.


(5) Rangers @ (4) Rays

PL Staff PL+ Community
Rangers 30% (11 votes) 32% (10 votes)
Rays 70% (26 votes) 68% (21 votes)

Despite the close seeding, the voting reflects just how much the Rangers have fallen in the last couple of months. Texas came into the final weekend with the division title in their power, and even a win in the final day would have secured the AL West and a first-round bye.

This means that even with their first postseason berth since 2016 and the satisfaction of a successful rebuild finally paying dividends, there is a sour note for the Rangers, with several pitching concerns. The bullpen blew a key save during the final weekend, while neither Aroldis Chapman nor Will Smith have settled on the closer position.

On the other hand, the Rays may have lost some ground following their 13-0 start and have to play as a wild card, but their team looks much more well rounded for October. Despite losing three starting pitcher to the IL, Tampa can still count on Tyler Glasnow to lead the staff, while unheralded hitters like Isaac Paredes and Brandon Lowe should provide enough power.

And, of course, the return of Randy Arozarena to the playoff spotlight can be the X-factor. With the franchise finally announcing a new stadium to secure their place by the Bay, a deep playoff run may be the cherry on the top.


(6) Dbacks @ (3) Brewers

PL Staff PL+ Community
Dbacks 27% (10 votes) 39% (12 votes)
Brewers 73% (27 votes) 61% (19 votes)

This may be a closer series than what the voting reflects, looking more like the PL+ Community’s expectation. There are several factors that should play in Milwaukee’s favor, starting with home-field advantage and playoff experience, while also having the upper hand in terms of starting pitching and bullpen.

At the same time, the Brewers remain short of impact bats, needing throwback at-bats from Christian Yelich and enough pop from the likes of Rowdy Tellez and Willy Adames to break through.

Arizona’s ascendance may be overlooked when compared to the turnaround of the Orioles, but this is still a team that lost 110 games in 2021 and is now back in the playoffs. Their youth movement went through fits and starts during the season, fighting for the division deep into the summer, only to struggle to even get a wild card by September.

In the end, surefire Rookie of the Year Corbin Carroll and Cy Young candidate Zac Gallen carried the team, as this season may just be a stepping stone towards a bright future in Arizona. However, the Brewers are heavily favored to advance, and they should set up a playoff rematch with the Dodgers.


(5) Marlins @ (4) Phillies

PL Staff PL+ Community
Marlins 19% (7 votes) 13% (4 votes)
Phillies 81% (30 votes) 87% (27 votes)

Disclaimer: I voted for the Marlins, but it was mostly a gut feel to avoid going all-chalk in my predictions. In the end, it is easy to see why the Phillies are heavily favored to advance and start another deep playoff run.

Their lineup can still look top-heavy with Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, and JT Realmuto, but the supporting cast has also stepped up its game. Aaron Nola and Taijuan Walker may look shaky as starters #2 and #3, but they at least have playoff experience.

Craig Kimbrel has been bumped from the closer role, but José Alvarado may be the superior option anyway. And so it goes for Philadelphia, who will also have a passionate home crowd to boot (though they have the worst home record among NL playoff teams).

How can Miami pull the upset? Their -56 run differential was the fourth-worst in the NL, and they just lost Sandy Alcantara to the IL, needing a late Cubs collapse to even reach this point. And yet, this is a franchise that is almost built and inspired by chaos. This is only their third playoff appearance over a full 162-game season, and they won the whole thing on the previous two.

Miami’s 33-13 record in one-run games may be looked as sheer luck for some, but it also could be the sign of a team that knows how to lock down tight games with just enough offense.  They also had the upper hand in the season series, beating the Phillies 7 times in 13 games.

For all the flair of Philly’s stars, the Marlins can counter with Jazz Chisholm Jr., while hitting savant Luis Arraez is ready to ply his trade in the biggest stage. This series should be much tighter than expected.


Division Series


Winner of Rays/Rangers vs (1) Orioles

PL Staff PL+ Community
Rays/Rangers 40% (15 votes) 32% (10 votes)
Orioles 60% (22 votes) 68% (21 votes)

The consensus here reflects the trust in Baltimore, fresh off a 101-win season that seems ahead of schedule. With a full week of rest, they appear to have a clear advantage, although this format has not provided a clear sample to gauge the benefit of setting up your rotation compared to being in rhythm and with the high of a playoff series win.

Regardless, the Orioles look better on paper than either rival, especially as Kyle Bradish has emerged as a true ace and will get the game 1 assignment.

What may hamper Baltimore’s hopes is the lack of experience, as their lineup and rotation is full of 20-somethings that are getting their playoff debuts. On the other hand, the Rays would be an intriguing division matchup, while the Rangers have 3-time champion Bruce Bochy leading the club. In any case, Camden Yards will be rocking, with the team’s first home playoff game since 2014.


Winner of Blue Jays/Twins vs (2) Astros

PL Staff PL+ Community
Blue Jays/Twins 30% (11 votes) 29% (9 votes)
Astros 70% (26 votes) 71% (22 votes)

The Astros entered the final weekend at risk of even missing the postseason altogether, and somehow ended up securing the 2-seed (???). This is the same team that was swept at home by the Royals a week ago, the same team that gave José Abreu 594 plate appearances to “slug” .383, the same team that saw Justin Verlander fall into its proverbial lap following the Mets’ utter collapse.

For casual fans, it may seem unfair that the vilified Astros are again in this position, but the voting begrudgingly reflects that they are still favorites to make noise in the playoffs.

For Toronto or Minnesota to overcome the inevitable, they will need to trust in their superior pitching staffs and find just enough offense. The defending champs are certainly dangerous, but their regular season showing posts the possibility that this version is weaker than last year’s, while any remnant of national sympathy may be lost now that Dusty Baker finally has a ring.


Winner of Marlins/Phillies vs (1) Atlanta

PL Staff PL+ Community
Marlins/Phillies 3% (1 vote) 26% (8 votes)
Atlanta 97% (36 votes) 74% (23 votes)

The PL Staff has made it clear – there is just no way that Atlanta does not make the NLCS. On the other hand, the community is still giving the benefit of the doubt to the winner of Phillies-Marlins. It is easy to see why, especially considering that Philadelphia eliminated their division foe during last year’s playoffs and tends to have memorable, high-scoring games when facing Atlanta.

Following last season’s letdown, Atlanta has vowed to hold a better preparation during their bye week, including simulated games with people in the stands.

Even in this inevitable NL East showdown, Atlanta had the upper hand during the season (9-4 versus the Marlins, 8-5 against Philly), and appear to have the best combination of power and athleticism to make quick work of any matchup. Betting odds reflect Atlanta’s status as a heavy favorite, so this should be only the first step towards a memorable October.


Winner of Dbacks/Brewers vs (2) Dodgers

PL Staff PL+ Community
Dbacks/Brewers 27% (10 votes) 38% (11 votes)
Dodgers 73% (27 votes) 62% (20 votes)

The voting sees the Dodgers as heavy favorites as a whole, but the numbers would probably change drastically if their rival was already known.

Facing Arizona, a team they have dominated in the recent past, should be a favorable matchup for Los Angeles, while seeing the Brewers and their vaunted pitching staff would be a very different challenge. Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman may be the best 1-2 combo in the playoffs, but the rotation is still full of question marks.

The Dodgers have made it a habit of winning 100+ games during the regular season only to run out of gas in the playoffs, with some of their most famous exits coming in the NLDS (like in 2019 versus Washington or last season facing the Padres). To avoid a similar letdown, manager Dave Roberts must focus on getting maximum value of his pitching staff, including the proper usage of Clayton Kershaw.


The Pennants


ALCS Winner

PL Staff PL+ Community
Orioles 16 votes 13 votes
Astros 7 votes 11 votes
Twins 1 vote 0 votes
Rays 8 votes 2 votes
Rangers 3 votes 1 vote
Blue Jays 2 votes 4 votes

ALCS Loser

PL Staff PL+ Community
Orioles 5 votes 7 votes
Astros 18 votes 11 votes
Twins 4 votes 1 vote
Rays 5 votes 5 votes
Rangers 1 vote 3 votes
Blue Jays 4 votes 4 votes

Getting to the ALCS, there is general trust in the top 2 seeds. This makes sense, considering that they will be fresh off bye weeks and with the benefit of setting their rotations in the best possible way. Just last season, the first under this expanded playoff format, the AL saw the Yankees and Astros advance to the Championship Series, although New York needed 5 games to get there.

This time, our voters are also showing some love for the Rays as an underdog, while giving the Blue Jays some credit as a solid long shot.

On the other side of the fence, the Twins and Rangers became afterthoughts, owing to their late-season woes and maybe even to their longer status as cursed franchises.

The Twins need to win one game to get rid of the pressure and maybe make some noise in the nobody-believes-in-us sense, while Texas could look much better if the unthinkable happens and Max Scherzer returns around the ALDS. In any way, the voting looks reasonable, while also hoping that someone breaks Houston’s hearts.

NLCS Winner

PL Staff PL+ Community
Atlanta 27 votes 15 votes
Dodgers 7 votes 4 votes
Brewers 2 votes 4 votes
Phillies 1 vote 8 votes
Marlins 0 votes 0 votes
Dbacks 0 votes 0 votes

NLCS Loser

PL Staff PL+ Community
Atlanta 9 votes 7 votes.
Dodgers 20 votes 14 votes
Brewers 6 votes 5 votes
Phillies 0 votes 1 votes
Marlins 0 votes 0 votes
Dbacks 2 votes 4 votes

A wild guess? The PL+ Community has several Philadelphia diehards. There may not be a better explanation for the disconnect between both of our panels, as the staff is leaning heavily towards Atlanta and the Dodgers, while leaving everyone else far behind.

While it is true that Atlanta is a juggernaut and carries the burden of last year’s disappointment, the same can be said for the Dodgers, while the Phillies and Brewers have well-rounded rosters that seem primed for an extended October run.

Discounting the Marlins and Diamondbacks makes sense on paper, as they would never have home-field advantage and have uneven lineups, but there is a chance that the NL playoffs have similar chaos to what we saw last year.

In 2022, the NLCS became a 5 vs 6 matchup, in what is both a feature and a bug of this format. Don’t expect this kind of outcome again, but also be wary of a heavy favorite in baseball.

World Series Winner

PL Staff PL+ Community
Atlanta 21 votes 8 votes
Orioles 6 votes 5 votes
Dodgers 4 votes 4 votes
Astros 0 votes 2 votes
Brewers 1 vote 2 votes
Twins 0 votes 0 votes
Phillies 1 vote 6 votes
Rays 3 votes 2 votes
Marlins 0 votes 0 votes
Rangers 0 votes 0 votes
Dbacks 0 votes 0 votes
Blue Jays 1 vote 2 votes

Writing about Atlanta’s dominance has become a habit at Pitcher List. They earned the top spot in our power rankings during the last three months, while our writers tend to wax poetic about the likes of Ronald Acuña Jr. and Spencer Strider.

Getting more than 50% support on a 12-team bracket is truly remarkable, even as the community is not so sure about it. All in all, the top-2 seeds received 50 out of 68 votes, as if this were the NFL, and that doesn’t sound right when everyone tends to agree that the playoffs are a crapshoot.

For Marlins, Rangers, Dbacks, and Twins fans it may be disappointing to see they are getting no love, but it would be really fun to see either of them shock the world.

In more realistic terms, maybe the Brewers or Rays finally add a trophy to their display cases, or the Phillies mimic the 2014-15 Royals and win it all after losing the World Series. Regardless of the final outcome, it will be fun to circle back to these predictions after a champion is crowned.

World Series MVP

PL Staff PL+ Community
Mookie Betts 0 votes 4 votes
Ozzie Albies 3 votes 2 votes
Ronald Acuña Jr. 11 votes 1 vote
Adley Rutschman 3 votes 5 votes
Matt Olson 4 votes 5 votes
Bryce Harper 0 votes 2 votes
Randy Arozarena 1 vote 1 vote
Gunnar Henderson 1 vote 0 votes
Kyle Schwarber 1 vote 1 vote
Clayton Kershaw 1 vote 0 votes

If you are already sick and tired of hearing about Atlanta, here is a final nugget, as Ronald Acuña Jr. has already been crowned by our staff to become the World Series MVP. The community went to the other extreme, deeming some of his teammates as better choices.

In any case, we can all agree that predicting the MVP is a fool’s errand. Past winners include luminaries like David Eckstein and Steve Pearce, which is probably why we received truly inspired votes. Kudos to those who picked Harold Ramírez, Yandy Díaz, William Contreras, and Mark Canha (!!!).

As we all expect, the baseball gods may give us something like Josh Donaldson as World Series MVP, just to make fun of Yankee fans.

Pablo Figueroa

Pablo Figueroa is a Baseball Writer here at Pitcher List, with experience as a writer since 2013. He lives in Aguascalientes, Mexico - proud home of Los Rieleros. When he´s not thinking about baseball , he's a husband, owns two dogs, watches random episodes of The Sopranos , plays padel, and works on his day job to pay the bills.

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