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MLB Playoff Outlook 2023

MLB logo courtesy of MLB, public domain image.

With just over a month left until October, the MLB playoff picture is still unclear. Certain divisions look stronger than others, with teams like the Braves, Orioles, and Dodgers already having reached 80 wins. With the uncertainty of the Wild Card spots,  there’s lots to talk about. 

First up is the American League (AL) . The strongest and most consistent division in the AL, has been the AL East. Every team in the division has a winning record, with the exception of the Yankees, who stand at (69-69) in their underwhelming season. On the other hand, the Orioles (86-51) have a 2.5 game lead over the Rays (83-55), who have been on a downward trajectory after

losing shortstop Wander Franco to a personal conduct investigation. The other two teams in the division, the Blue Jays (76-62) and Red Sox (72-66), are both contenders, but do not currently have a Wild Card Spot or the depth to go far into the playoffs.

Next, the AL Central only has one team with a winning record, the Twins (72-66). Every other team in the division has no chance at making the playoffs this year, and are moving towards rebuilding for the future.

Finally, the AL West currently has a tie for first place. The Mariners (77-60) have had the “most successful month in club history,” according to ESPN. They won 21 games in 30 days during August. Meanwhile, the Astros (78-61) have been consistent all year and have gotten key players, second baseman Jose Altuve and outfielder Michael Brantley, back from long-term injuries. The two teams are closely followed by the Rangers (76-61). 

With three possible division champions, ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle says the Astros are the safe bet to win the division. 

The Astros have been in the ALCS six straight seasons, which is a truly remarkable accomplishment. Obviously that streak will end eventually, perhaps even a few weeks from now. But at this point, it would be foolish to pick against them unless they have obviously deteriorated into a lesser team,” Doolittle said.  

On the other hand, the Angels (64-74) and the A’s (42-96) seem to be done for the year. Even with an unclear division champion, all three of the top teams in the division have the potential to make a deep run in the playoffs.

In the National League (NL), the NL East has been the most consistent division since the All-Star break. The Braves are currently the unanimous

number one on’s power rankings with a record of 90-46, and are the first team to reach 90 wins in the MLB.

ESPN baseball analyst Jesse Rogers believes the Braves are the best team in the league. “The Braves’ bats lead MLB in batting average, on-base percentage, home runs and OPS. On the mound, they’re first in the National League in overall ERA — and in bullpen ERA, too,” Rogers said. 

The Phillies (76-61) experienced a 6 game winning streak at the end of August behind a hot streak from first baseman Bryce Harper where he hit 5 home runs in 6 games. Returning from 

Tommy John surgery this year, Harper started slow but has led Philadelphia in hits and home runs in the  past few weeks, helping them retain the number one Wild Card spot. Trailing behind are the Marlins (70-67), Mets (63-74), and Nationals (62-76) who will all likely be eliminated.

Next, the Brewers (76-61) lead the NL Central by 2.5 games over the Cubs (74-64). The Reds (72-68) hold a Wild Card spot and still have a slim chance at the division title. This leaves the Pirates (64-74) and the Cardinals (59-78) with little to no chance at making the playoffs.

Finally, the Dodgers (84-52) lead the NL West with a 14 game lead over the Diamondbacks. The second and third place teams, the Diamondbacks (71-67) and the Giants (70-67), both have a chance at the Wild Card but are in need of a winning streak. The Padres (65-74) have had a disappointing season, while the Rockies (50-87) seem to be going through a rebuild.

The 2023 MLB regular season will officially end on October 1, and with less than a month left, the playoff contention field is narrowing down by the day. These teams will have to continue to handle their business down the road if they want to see October baseball.

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About the Contributor
Bennett Bishop
Bennett Bishop, Reporter
Sophomore Bennett Bishop is a first-year reporter for the Prowler. Bishop is excited for the class because he will get a chance to improve his writing skills, and ability to research and to interview. In his spare time, Bishop is a member of the baseball team and plays during the summer and fall seasons.  He also likes to watch other sports, including football, basketball, or any Philadelphia sports team. Other than sports, Bishop enjoys food, travel, and spending time with his family. Other aspects of Journalism that he is looking forward to include learning about local events and meeting new people. After graduation, Bishop will attend Duke University to play baseball.

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