It’s that time of year again...Purple Row staff predictions! The Rockies start their 162-game quest tomorrow in sunny San Diego as they take on the Padres in to kick things off. They then head to LA for a two-game set against the Dodgers before returning home for the Home Opener next Thursday. With all that said, here is what the Purple Row staff thinks will happen during this baseball season:
Let’s start with a win total
Last year, the majority of the staff predicted that the Rockies would finish a perfect 81-81 (which is what Dick Monfort is hoping for in 2023). They ended up finishing 68-94.
This year, there is a new balanced schedule that will see the Rockies play only 13 games against each of their fellow NL West rivals while also playing every team in MLB. With that said, there seemed to be two camps of people: those who predicted the Rockies would finish with a win total in the 60’s, and those who predicted the Rockies would finish with a win total in the 70’s. The most optimistic person predicts a 78-84 record, while the most pessimistic predicts 64-98. The majority (three) predict 73 wins.
National League winners
In 2022, the Purple Row staff unanimously predicted that the Dodgers would (rightfully) win the NL West. Things are a bit different this year, though, and we are split 50/50 between the Dodgers and the Padres.
As far as the Wild Cards, the most popular vote is seven for the Philadelphia Philles. The New York Mets and San Diego Padres each garnered five votes, and the Braves and Dodgers each earned four. The Brewers and Cardinals each received two votes, and the Chicago Cubs earned one.
American League winners
With the new schedule in 2023, the Rockies will see each American League team at least once, similar to the NBA and NHL. They will play a total of 46 games against AL teams.
As far as division winners go, let’s start with the Rockies interleague counterpart division. 70% of Purple Row staffers predict that the Houston Astros will take the crown in the AL West. 30% think the Seattle Mariners will come out on top.
Last year, the Rox played the AL Central. For the 2023 season, 70% of staffers believe the Cleveland Guardians will be victorious. 30% are rooting for the Chicago White Sox.
As far as Wild Cards go, the majority of the staff (seven) believe the Mariners will take one spot. The Yankees received five votes and the Blue Jays received four. The Baltimore Orioles, Astros and Rays each garnered three votes, and the Minnesota Twins garnered two. To round things out, the Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers earned one apiece.
The staff was all over the map this year with their predictions for the NL Pennant. The majority (three) predict that the Padres will win. The Braves, Dodgers and Mets were each picked by two people, and one person picked the St. Louis Cardinals.
On the AL side, the Padres will face the Yankees if four Purple Rowers have their way. Three pick the Astros, two pick the Mariners, and one picks the Blue Jays.
Purple Rowers were split six different ways on who would win the World Series. The Mariners, Padres, Yankees and Astros finished in a four-way tie for the majority with two votes apiece, and the Rays and Mets finished in a two-way tie for second with one each.
For individual awards, four of the 10 respondents believe that Nolan Arenado will be named NL MVP after finishing runner-up to his teammate Paul Goldschmidt in 2022. Three believe Manny Machado will take home the award, and Austin Riley, Ronald Acuña Jr., and Trea Turner each earned one vote.
On the AL side, Shohei Ohtani is the overwhelming favorite to win the award — earning seven of 10 votes. Aaron Judge, Julio Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. each received one of the remaining votes.
For pitchers, Justin Verlander is the favorite for five staffers to win the NL Cy Young. Sandy Alcántara earned three votes, and Corbin Burnes and Spencer Strider rounded out the pack.
On the AL side, Jacob deGrom (5) edged out Gerrit Cole (4) for the Purple Row prediction. Shane Bieber received the final vote.
Now is the fun part of the staff predictions! 2023 is shaping up to be an interesting year, so let’s see what people think of it.
Ezequiel Tovar amassed the most attention among staffers. Four people believe the young shortstop will finish in the Top 5 for Rookie of the Year. One of those four believe he will win the whole thing, while the others believe he’ll at least be a finalist.
Two staffers believe the Rockies will toss a no-hitter, and one person believes that will be thrown by Germán Márquez. Another person predicts they’ll throw a no-hitter, but lose the game. Another pitching prediction comes for Kyle Freeland, who is predicted to post a sub-4.00 ERA and amass 12 wins.
Two people believe that Kris Bryant will hit a lot of home runs this year. One person says 39 and another says 45... I guess we’ll see who’s right!
Finally, one person believes Ryan McMahon will be named an All-Star this year and another believes that Brenton Doyle and/or Zac Veen will be called up by the Fourth of July. If Veen gets called up, one person predicts he’ll steal 15 bases.
Other bold predictions for around the league include:
- Emmanuel Clasé saves 55 games for the Cleveland Guardians
- The Dbacks almost get a Wild Card spot
- Kyle Shwarber will have the first 4-HR game since 2017 (J.D. Martinez)
- Dodgers and Yankees lose in the wild card round
- Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt will be MVP Finalists again this year, but Arenado will win the whole thing
Some of these bold predictions will come true and we’ll all wish we had come up with them ourselves. But either way, baseball is back everyone!
Happy Opening Day tomorrow!