Monday, March 27, 2023

2023 Major League Baseball Predictions


The time of year has arrived for my 2023 Major League Baseball predictions blog. The blog that always seems to be incorrect in predicting the outcomes, but I still have fun writing anyway. The season gets underway on March 30, 2023. This year, there will be several new rule changes brought into the game. Here are the new rule changes going into 2023 -

Pitch Timer: While this has been experienced with in the Minor League levels, this year will mark the first year in the Majors with a pitch timer. With the pitch timer, pitchers will have 15 seconds with the bases empty, to throw a pitch. If there any runners on base, they will have 20 seconds to deliver a pitch. If a pitcher has not started his motion to deliver the pitch before the time is expired, then it will result in an automatic ball. If a batter delays getting into the batter box, then it will result in a strike. A batter can call time out once per an at-bat which will reset the timer. When watching a game on TV, you'll likely see a little timer in the same box where you see the score. When watching a game in person, the timer will usually be located in a few different areas of the ballpark. Some people refer to this as a "pitch clock" but MLB says it is officially called the "pitch timer."
The overall reasoning behind the pitch timer is to speed up games and from early results in spring training, it seems to be doing just that. For beer drinkers attending games, this means the 7th inning will come a little quicker and you'll have less time to drink. Also, this means vendors will have less time to sell concessions too. However, I think the implementation of the pitch timer is more for people who are watching games on TV at home than those attending games at the ballpark. I'm sure you've heard friends say "baseball is slow" before. This is for them. 

The Shift: At the time the pitch is thrown, all four infielders are required to be on the infield dirt (or infield turf if no dirt), with two on each side of second base. This will eliminate those instances where teams have extreme shifts on against left handed batters and put either the third baseman or shortstop out in shallow right field. Batting averages have declined over the past several seasons, so applying this rule is MLB hoping to bring back more action to the game. In addition to seeing more hits from left-handed batters, we'll also be able to see the range of defensive players on the diamond instead of just moving players around. The shift isn't always something that has been around in the major leagues either. When I was playing baseball in little league, I never saw a team employ a defensive shift. I'm on board with this rule change. Although the rule does apply to infielders, it does not apply to outfielders. In spring training, a few teams have moved their left fielder over to short right field and kept left field unoccupied. I'm not sure how many teams will be willing to try this shift though. 

Bigger Bases: This isn't really rule, but a change made to the game nonetheless. The standard bases were originally 15x15 inches. Starting this season, they'll be 18x18 inches. I've best heard it explained as having a pizza box for a base at 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. MLB felt an increase in the size of the bases was needed to help prevent injuries around the base between runners and position players. With this change, the distance between bases also decreases. Instead of being 90 feet between all the bases, now between 1st and 2nd base, it'll be 89 feet and 7 and a half inches. The same goes for the distance between 2nd and 3rd base. The distance between home plate and first base and third base and home plate, will now be 89 feet and 9 inches. While these decreases may seem minimal there are some that believe it'll increase action on the base paths as well.

Pickoff Rule: This one is just dumb to me. In fact, I didn't really know how to explain it myself, so I copied this from ESPN - "Pickoffs are one version of a "disengagement," which consists of any time the pitcher makes a pickoff attempt, fakes a pickoff, or simply steps off the rubber for any reason, as well as when the defense requests time. Pitchers are allowed two disengagements per plate appearance without penalty. The disengagements rule resets if a runner or runners advance a base within the same plate appearance."
This is another rule that they hope will increase action on the base paths. With this rule, I don't see why a pitcher will ever make more than 1 pickoff move to a base to try and get a runner out. Basically, if they make 2 moves and are unsuccessful then they are giving the runner the green light to run. When this rule was tested in the Minor League, stolen base attempts skyrocketed. 

Position Players Pitching Rule: I'm definitely on board with this rule as well. Although it can be fun to see someone who doesn't normally pitch take the mound, it was happening far too often as teams tried to "save their bullpen." Now, a team has to be up by 10 or more runs or trailing by 8 or more runs to allow a position player take the mount. 

Ghost Runner in Extra Innings now permanent: Not a new rule for 2023, but one that was implemented in the shortened 2020 season and deemed temporary, is now permanent. If you're not familiar, if a game goes extra innings, starting in the 10th inning, whoever made the last out for the team in the 9th, starts the inning on 2nd base. While it can create more suspense in the extra innings, this is the rule I dislike the most. 

When it comes to the playoffs, the ghost runner rule won't be applied. I haven't found any sources yet on whether the pitch timer will still be applied for playoffs or not. It appears that the MLB Player Association is against having the pitch timer for playoffs though. 

Also, happening for the first time in the 2023 regular season, every team will play every team for at least one series. There will be less inter-division games because of this. To me, there are pros and cons with this scheduling. A pro is that fans will get to see opposing players that they rarely get to see play. A con is that there will be less division rivalry games like between the Giants and Dodgers and Red Sox and Yankees.  

Alright! You got that all? Great. Now let's get to the predictions!
(* - denotes Wild Card team)

Anthony Rendon
American League West
Houston Astros (94-68)
Seattle Mariners (88-74)*
Los Angeles Angels (85-77)
Texas Rangers (84-78)
Oakland Athletics (63-99)

The reigning World Series Champion Houston Astros should find themselves atop the division again in 2023. Although they lost CY Young winner, Justin Verlander, to free agency, they still have a stacked pitching rotation. Kyle Tucker continues to get better and better in their impressive lineup. Former MVP, Jose Abreu, will take over at first base for the Astros in 2023 and add even more power to the lineup. The Seattle Mariners ended a long playoff drought last season by capturing a Wild Card spot. They will likely be battling for a Wild Card spot again this season. They will get a full season from last year's trade acquisition, Luis Castillo, who will anchor the starting rotation. They lost Mitch Haniger to free agency, but acquired outfielder Teoscar Hernandez. Rookie of Year winner, Julio Rodriguez, will look to improve even more in his sophmore season. A big question mark for the Los Angeles Angels will be if Anthony Rendon can stay healthy for the entire season. Since joining the Angels in 2020, Rendon has been limited by injuries in both 2021 and 2022. Two-way player, Shohei Ohtani, and Mike Trout, are both amazing, but they need help if the Angels are going to make the playoffs. The Angels did sign starting pitcher, Tyler Anderson, to a three year deal, in hopes he'll help the rotation. Beyond him and Ohtani though, the rotation seems pretty bleak. The Texas Rangers are not afraid to spend money to lure in big free agents. They proved this once again when they signed starting pitcher, Jacob deGrom, to a 5 year, 185 million dollar deal. Jacob deGrom is a great pitcher, without question, but is health is a question. He didn't pitch a full season in 2021 and 2022 due to injuries. Martin Perez was a nice success story for the Rangers pitching rotation last year and he'll try to prove it wasn't a fluke. Offensively, the Rangers shouldn't have a problem scoring runs with guys like Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, and Adolis Garcia. As an Oakland Athletics fan myself, I am being optimistic by predicting they'll lose 99 games this season, after losing 102 in 2022. Unless you follow the team closely, you likely won't recognize many names on their roster. In the last couple years, they have traded away many of their bigger players for prospects. Their lone All-Star from last season, starting pitcher, Paul Blackburn, is still with the team, but will start the year on the injured list. Ramon Laureano will look to rebound after a subpar 2022 and could find himself traded midseason if he does. The Athletics did sign Japanese pitcher, Shintaro Fujinami, to a one year, 3 million dollar deal (That's a lot of money for their cheap owner). He has had some control problems in the spring but has also shown some flashes of dominance. 

Carlos Correa
American League Central
Cleveland Guardians (91-71)
Minnesota Twins (85-77)
Chicago White Sox (79-83)
Detroit Tigers (71-91)
Kansas City Royals (70-92)

I was going back and forth between the Guardians and Twins to take the AL Central, but I think Cleveland will be the team that ends up on top. Cleveland added Josh Bell to their lineup to add more power. MVP Candidate, Jose Ramirez, will look to continue where he left off in 2022. Shane Bieber continues to be the anchor for the Guardians' starting rotation. Mike Zunino is the new catcher in town for Cleveland. He has a lot of power but his average has not been great. Perhaps he'll benefit from not having infielders shift on him anymore, although his spring training stats say otherwise. One of the most entertaining and annoying stories of the offseason was surrounding Carlos Correa. Prior to 2022, Correa had signed a three year deal with the Twins. He had an opt-out after the first season of the deal which he chose to use and become a free agent. The Giants announced they reached a long term deal with Correa, but then it was canceled after they were concerned by results of his physical. Then, the Mets agreed to a long-term deal with Correa, but they also had concerns regarding his physical so no deal was made. Finally, Correa ended back up with the Twins on a 6 year deal for 200 million dollars (far less than what the Giants or Mets were going to give him). While Correa's health may be of concern to some, Twins fans are probably going to spend all season concerned about the health of Byron Buxton. Buxton is amazing when healthy, but hasn't played a full season since 2017! Returning from Tommy John surgery and looking to recapture his 2020 form for the Twins will be starting pitcher, Kenta Maeda. The Chicago White Sox and the baseball world in general were sad to learn that their closer, Liam Hendricks, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. While he is receiving treatment, he has been hanging around the team during spring training. It is unknown how long Hendricks may be out this season, but his health is obviously the number one concern. The White Sox will likely turn to Kendall Graveman to fill in the void at closer in his absense. 2019 1st Round Draft Pick, Andrew Vaughn, will look to fill the void at first base/DH left by Jose Abreu's departure. Just like in 2022, the Tigers and Royals will battle it out for last place in the American League Central. Miguel Cabrera is set to play his final season in the Major Leagues, which will be his 21st season overall. He'll likely be celebrated in pretty much every ballpark he visits for the final time this season. 2020 1st Round Pick, Spencer Torkelson, will look to improve on his 2022 numbers for the Tigers. Detroit also welcomes back pitcher, Matthew Boyd, after Boyd spent part of 2022 with Seattle. The Kansas City Royals brought back Zack Greinke for another season to anchor their starting rotation. While the future Hall of Famer doesn't have the electrifying stuff he used to have, he can still hit his spots and change speeds to be successful. Bobby Witt, Jr. had a nice rookie season and should be even better this season. He may see an increase in stolen bases too with the new rules and new bases in play. Fan favorite, Salvador Perez, remains the top power threat in the Royals lineup. Kansas City took a gamble on signing troubled reliever, Aroldis Chapman, but there is no guarantee he'll close out games for the Royals.

Chris Bassitt
American League East
Toronto Blue Jays (95-67)
Tampa Bay Rays (90-72)*
New York Yankees (86-76)*
Baltimore Orioles (84-78)
Boston Red Sox (79-83)
The AL East will once again be the toughest division in the American League and the Blue Jays should be the team that comes out on top when it is all said and done. They have added starting pitcher, Chris Bassitt, to a great rotation which already has Kevin Gausman, Alek Manoah, Jose Berrios, and Yusei Kikuchi. They also have Hyun Jin Ryu, who is working his way back after having Tommy John surgery last year. In addition to a great starting rotation, Jordan Romano returns as closer, after having a stellar year last season. The Blue Jays offense is no joke either, of course, with guys like Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and George Springer. The Tampa Bay Rays always seem to surprise me so there is no reason for me to think they won't do the same again this season. One guy to keep an eye on for sure will be starting pitcher, Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow will miss the beginning of the season with an oblique injury suffered this spring. This comes after missing most of last season after having Tommy John surgery in 2021. They Rays are also hoping to see the Wander Franco they hoped they were getting when the signed him to a long term deal as a rookie. Randy Arozarena remains one of the more exciting players in baseball for the Rays. The Yankees will find their way squeaking into theplayoffs this season. However, looking at their starting pitching situation and the injuries they have already suffered before the season has even started, won't make things easy. Out of action for a while are Frankie Montas (expected to return in August/September), newly acquired Carlos Rodon (expected to return late April), and Luis Severino (expected to return late April). Once again, the Yankees will be relying a lot on Gerritt Cole in the rotation. The home run champ, Aaron Judge, returns after agreeing to a new 9 year deal with the club. Will pitchers finally learn to pitch around him though? I expect the Yankees will make a midseason deal for help if they're close to contending. If they weren't a part of the American League East, the Baltimore Orioles might get in the playoffs this season. Unfortunately, they are, but they'll still be a fun team to watch. Infielder, Gunnar Henderson, is the likely favorite to win American League Rookie of The Year. Catcher, Adley Rutschman, will look to continue to impress after his rookie campaign last year. A base stealing threat already, Cedric Mullins may see even more with the bigger base and new pickoff rules in place. Former All-Star starting pitcher, John Means, is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, and should be returning to the team around July as long as he has no setbacks. Although not the opening day starter, Chris Sale, is entering the season healthy again for the Boston Red Sox. The team's success will rely a lot on him staying healthy as well as their opening day starter, Cory Kluber. Both have a history of success but also a history of injuries. Trevor Story, who played second base last season and is ready to return to his natural shortstop position after the departure of Xander Boegarts, will have to wait due to injury as Story isn't expected back until the second half of the season. 

Fernando Tatis Jr.
National League West
San Diego Padres (101-61)
Los Angeles Dodgers (99-63)*
San Francisco Giants (82-80)
Arizona Diamondbacks (76-86)
Colorado Rockies (72-90)

     The San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers will have  one of the more exciting finishes to see who comes out in first place in the division. Fernando Tatis Jr., serving three more weeks of an 80 game suspension for PED's (because he had ringworm, so he says), will look to ignite a pretty good Padres lineup even more. Juan Soto, acquired in a trade last season, will look to rebound from a pretty dismal 2022 by his standards. The Padres signed aging slugger, Nelson Cruz, in hopes he can add more pop to their lineup. Cruz had a bad season last year but also said he was getting eye surgery during offseason so there was thought that might be why his hitting wasn't as good in 2022. In spring training this year though, he hasn't impressed either. It'll be interesting to see how long of a rope Cruz gets with the team. Xander Boegarts was a great acquisiton by the Padres to play shortstop, which leaves Tatis, Jr. as a guy that may end up playing multiple positions. The Los Angeles Dodgers will be a tough team to beat again in 2022. Even with Walker Buehler set to miss time with an injury, their starting rotation is still impressive. It'll be interesting to see how new acquisitions, J.D. Martinez and Jason Heyward pan out for them. Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts will lead the offense. Betts played some second base for team USA in this year's World Baseball Classic, but it sounds like he'll mostly play right field for the Dodgers. The Dodgers were hit hard by Gavin Lux getting hurt this spring as he was supposed to be the team's second baseman. The left field and center field positions for the Dodgers leave a lot to be desired. The San Francisco Giants tried to sign Aaron Judge and failed, they agreed to sign Carlos Correa but then he failed (his physical), so their big deals this offseason were signing Mitch Haniger, Michael Conforto, and Sean Manaea. None of the three are as big of stars as Judge or Correa, but at least Giants fans can take comfort in knowing their team tried to haul in somebody big. I feel like the Giants rotation is their weak point. Their bullpen has some strong arms and their offense can produce. Personally, I'd love to see Stephen Piscotty have a great season with the Giants too. Manaea can be a decent pitcher but he isn't a #1 or #2 guy. Logan Webb looks to be the ace of the Giants staff this season after going 15-9 with a 2.90 ERA last year. The Arizona Diamondbacks have some nice starting rotation pieces in Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly. They still have Madison Bumgarner too although he is nowhere near the pitcher he used to be when he played with the Giants. Reliever, Andrew Chafin, signed a deal to return to his original organization and should help the Diamondbacks bullpen. 2019 1st Round Pick, outfielder, Corbin Carroll, signed a long term deal with the club, so it'll be interesting to see how he responds. The Colorado Rockies are still in a rebuilding mode and hope Kris Bryant can remain healthy all season which he was unable to do last year. In the limited time he was healthy, he was great. Outfielder, Charles Blackmon, will love to see no defensive shift this year and should see a nice incline in base hits this season. German Marquez gets the opening day start for the third time in his career for the Rockies. Marquez eats up innings if nothing else, but it'd be hard to say he'd be an opening day starter for many other teams. 

Willson Contreras
National League Central
Milwaukee Brewers (90-72)
St. Louis Cardinals (88-74)*
Chicago Cubs (79-83)
Pittsburgh Pirates (78-84)
Cincinnati Reds (61-101)

The National League Central once again looks like it might be one of the weaker divisions, but that doesn't make it lack excitement. The Milwaukee Brewers are counting on 2021 NY Cy Young Award winner, Corbin Burnes, to lead their rotation once again. Outfielder, Christian Yelich, will look to rediscover himself and return to the All-Star production he made in 2018 and 2019. Shortstop, Willy Adames, will look to add to the 31 home runs he hit last season. The Brewers have some intriguing younger players as well that should make a big impact including outfielder, Garrett Mitchell. The St. Louis Cardinals shouldn't be too far behind Milwaukee in the standings. Starting pitcher, Adam Wainwright, returns once again for his 18th season with the team. He'll start out the season on the injured list but shouldn't be sidelined too long. The Cardinals added catcher, Willson Contreras, when they signed him to a 5 year deal. This will be the first time the Cardinals have a main catcher that isn't Yadier Molina (who retired) since 2004. The Cardinals have one of the best, if not the best, corner infields in the Majors, with Nolan Arenado at third base and Paul Goldschmidt at first base. The Cardinals question marks are in the pitching department. Starting pitcher, Jack Flaherty, hasn't played a complete season since 2019. The Chicago Cubs are an interesting team right now. It wasn't long ago that they traded away all their stars. They look like they're back to trying to compete again sooner rather than later. They're biggest offseason signing was that of shortstop, Dansby Swanson. They also took a flyer on outfielder, Cody Bellinger, in hopes he'll re-find the form that made him the 2019 NL MVP. Japanese star, Seiya Suzuki, had a bit of a disappointing first season in the Majors, so the Cubs hope he can develop into the All-Star they were hoping they were getting. Kyle Hendriks missed all of spring training as he recovers from an injury, so Marcus Stroman gets the opening day start for the Cubs this year. The Pittsburgh Pirates are slowly but surely getting better. They still have a ways to go before making the playoffs again though. Perhaps the move that Pirates fans are most excited about during the offseason was bringing back outfielder, Andrew McCutchen, who had started his career with the Pirates and was with them through 2017. Now 36, McCutchen is back on a 1 year deal but has stated he has no intentions to retire after this season. Oneil Cruz turned heads with the Pirates at shortstop with his cannon arm. There is no reason to believe he won't continue to impress. The number one question lingering around the Pirates will be how much more time outfielder, Bryan Reynolds, remains with them. The Pirates have stated they would like to extend but it is unseen if they'll be able to reach a deal or not. There isn't much to be excited about as far as the Pirates starting rotation goes, although they did pick up a dinosaur in Rich Hill. I'll be absolutely shocked if the Cincinnati Reds don't find themselves in last place this year. The youngster, Hunter Greene, will be the opening day starter for the Reds. He has an electric fastball but learned last season that he can't rely on just that pitch alone. Could this be the last season for Joey Votto with the Reds? He is a free agent following 2023 and it is possible he'd want to be traded to a contender. He'll start the 2023 season on the injured list though. Alexis Diaz appears to be the closer for the Reds again but who knows how many save opportunities he'll actually end up having. My guess is not a lot.

Trea Turner
National League East 
 Atlanta Braves (98-64)
 Philadelphia Phillies (91-71)*
New York Mets (87-75)
Miami Marlins (81-81)
Washington Nationals (58-104)

          Last year, the Philadelphia Phillies made the World Series. During the offseason, they signed shortstop, Trea Turner, to an 11 year, 300 million dollar contract. (Can I have 10 bucks, Trea?) While this deal definitely makes the Phillies the favorite to beat in the National League East, when healthy, they're not completely healthy right now. During spring training, first baseman, Rhys Hoskins, suffered a torn ACL, and he'll miss the entire season. Also currently on the injured list is Bryce Harper. Harper is recovering from Tommy John surgery. He is expected to return this season to the team's designated hitter, but his timetable is unknown. It could be in  May or it could be in July. For these reasons, I have the Atlanta Braves finishing in first place. The Braves, winners of the 2021 World Series, still have a solid team themselves. They have locked up several of their young core to long term deals too, including Michael Harris II, Austin Riley, Matt Olson, and more. During the offseason, they sent prospects to the Oakland Athletics to acquire catcher, Sean Murphy. Murphy is considered one of the best defending catchers in the game. He is also has a good bat and should be able to hit 20+ home runs with Atlanta. Oh, and they then signed Murphy to a longer term deal too. Another guy on a team friendly, longer term deal, is outfielder, Ronald Acuna Jr. Acuna Jr. is a threat with the bat and on the bases. He is a possible MVP candidate for 2023. The Braves pitching is no joke either with Max Fried and Spencer Strider as key pieces in their rotation. The New York Mets are not afraid to spend money. This is known by anyone that follows baseball. While their owner can be commended for his willingness to spend, sometimes the Mets are just gonna be Mets. During the World Baseball Classic this year, closer, Edwin Diaz, suffered an injury during a postgame celebration with his Puerto Rico teammates. The Mets will be compensated for the time Diaz misses thanks to an insurance policy in place for players who participate in the World Baseball Classic. However, it is still quite a blow to the team and their bullpen. The Mets signed Justin Verlander to re-join his former Tigers teammate, Max Scherzer. Verlander won the AL CY Young last season, but he also rarely pitched more than 6 innings in any game. Will the Mets bullpen be able to provide the same comfort the Astros gave Verlander in those short outings? But hey, maybe we'll see Daniel Vogelbach steal his first career base this season as this video suggests. The Miami Marlins pitching rotation was anchored by 2022 CY Young Award winner, Sandy Alcantara. This year, he hopes he'll get more help with the acquisition of Johnny Cueto. While older now, Cueto has proven he can still pitch. Cueto is a master of changing up deliveries and messing up the batter's timing. I wonder if he'll have any challenges doing this with the new pitch timer in play. Jazz Chisholm Jr. was off to a remarkable start last season for the Marlins before being hit with an injury. He will be making a switch this season from playing second base to play centerfield, where he will also hope to stay injury free. The Marlins also added second baseman, Luis Arraez, the 2022 American League batting title winner, in a trade. It is unknown who will get the majority of the save chances from the Marlins bullpen, but it looks like Dylan Floro may be the favorite early on. The Washington Nationals are going to be bad this season. Starting pitcher, Stephen Strasburg keeps getting hurt just thinking about how bad they are. Ok, that's not why he is hurt, but he does keep getting hurt ever since agreeing to a contract extension after their 2019 World Series Championship. The Nationals are so bad that they have Patrick Corbin slated to be their opening day starter this season. While Corbin was an All-Star in the past, he has tallied 35 total losses combined over the last two seasons (16 and 19 respectively). Some have joked that with the opening day start that it'll give Corbin a better chance at losing 20 games this year. The Nationals did get a nice haul of prospects from the San Diego Padres last season when they traded Juan Soto. Outfielder, Robert Hassell III ,will definitely be a guy to keep an eye on within Washington's organization, although he may not make his debut this year. 

Wild Card Round (Best of 3 Series)
Cleveland Guardians vs. New York Yankees (Guardians win 2-1)
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Seattle Mariners (Mariners win 2-1)
Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Brewers win 2-0)
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies  (Dodgers win 2-1)
Bye Round: Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves

Division Round (Best of 5 series)
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Seattle Mariners (Blue Jays win 3-1)
Houston Astros vs. Cleveland Guardians (Guardians win 3-2)
San Diego Padres vs. Milwaukee Brewers (Padres win 3-2)
Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Dodgers win 3-2)

Championship Round (Best of 7 series)
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Cleveland Guardians (Blue Jays win 4-2)
San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Padres win 4-3)

World Series (Best of 7 series)
Toronto Blue Jays vs. San Diego Padres (Blue Jays win 4-3)

2022 Season Awards

AL MVP: Shoehi Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
NL MVP:  Juan Soto, San Diego Padres
AL CY YOUNG: Gerritt Cole, New York Yankees
NL CY YOUNG:  Max Fried, Atlanta Braves
AL ROOKIE OF YEAR: Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles
NL ROOKIE OF YEAR: Jordan Walker, St. Louis Cardinals
AL MANAGER OF YEAR: Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners
NL MANAGER OF YEAR: Bob Melvin, San Diego Padres
AL COMEBACK PLAYER OF YEAR: Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox
NL COMEBACK PLAYER OF YEAR: Jonathan India., Cincinnati Reds

Thursday, March 9, 2023

The Oscars - 2023: My Predictions


The 2023 Oscar Awards ceremony takes place at 8pm EST on Sunday, March 12th. To me, trying to see as many of the Oscar nominated films is like trying to complete a baseball card set. Sometimes a film will be hard to find playing anywhere, sometimes it is on a streaming platform but sometimes not, sometimes you simply just run out of time trying to watch as many as you can. As of this writing, across all the categories, I've watched a total of 40 out of the 54 nominated films. That's good for 74%. Damn, all that work, and I still only got a C?!? 

I enjoy watching The Oscars (or The Academy Awards if you prefer) and always like to see how much the voters and myself end up agreeing.

With that being said, here are my predictions of who I think will win each category, and if different, who I think should win. 

Best Picture

All Quiet on the Western Front
Avatar: The Way of Water
The Banshees of Inisherin
Everything Everywhere All at Once
The Fabelmans
Top Gun: Maverick
Triangle of Sadness
Women Talking

Who I think will win: Everything Everywhere All at Once
Who I think should win: The Fabelmans

I've seen all 10 of these Best Picture Nominees and The Fabelmans is the one that stuck with the most. 
I'll be surprised though if Everything Everywhere All at Once doesn't win. For the record, I'd list The Fabelmans, The Banshees of Inisherin, and Everything Everywhere All At Once, as my top 3 movies in order.

Best Director

Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans
Todd Field, TÁR
Ruben Östlund, Triangle of Sadness

Who I think will win: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Who I think should win: Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

Basically, the same reasoning as above can be said here. The very last shot in The Fabelmans by Spielberg had me saying "nice" out loud in the theater. Haha.

Best Actor

Austin Butler, Elvis
Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
Brendan Fraser, The Whale
Paul Mescal, Aftersun
Bill Nighy, Living

Who I think will win: Austin Butler, Elvis

I've seen all 5 of these films and it appears that it will really come down to two of them. Austin Butler and Brendan Fraser have both won awards for their roles. It is really hard to compare the two since Butler's character is based off a real person and Fraser's is a fictional character. That being said, Butler did a tremendous job as Elvis and I think he is deserving. Will I be upset if Fraser wins though? Absolutely not. 

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, TÁR
Ana de Armas, Blonde
Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie
Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans
Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Who I think will win: Cate Blanchett, TÁR

I've seen all 5 of the films in this category. Cate Blanchett does so well, I don't see how she can't win. However, Michelle Yeoh might give her a run for her money. 

Best Supporting Actor

Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin
Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway
Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans
Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin
Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Who I think will win: Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

I've seen all 4 of the films in this category and I think it'd be the biggest surprise of the night if Ke Huy Quan doesn't walk away a winner. 

Best Supporting Actress

Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Hong Chau, The Whale
Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin
Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Who I think will win:  Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Who I think should win:  Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

I've seen all 4 films in this category and this might be the toughest one to call out of the entire group. Will Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu take votes away from each other? Angela Bassett won the Golden Globe for her role but it seems like hype around her has been fading recently. Hong Chau was great but I'd argue she was even better in her role in The Menu.

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, and Ian Stokell, All Quiet on the Western Front
Rian Johnson, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Kazuo Ishiguro, Living
Screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie, story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks, Top Gun: Maverick
Sarah Polley, Women Talking

Who I think will win: Sarah Polley, Women Talking

I've seen all 5 of these films and Women Talking thrives so much on just dialogue alone, that's why I see it winning. 

Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner, The Fabelmans
Todd Field, TÁR
Ruben Östlund, Triangle of Sadness

Who I think will win: Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin

I've seen all 5 of these films and while I loved The Fabelmans more overall, it is hard to ignore the uniqueness and brilliance in the writing of The Banshees of Inisherin.

Best Animated Feature Film

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio
Marcel the Shell With Shoes On
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish
The Sea Beast
Turning Red

Who I think will win: Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

I've only seen 3 of the 5 films in this category, but this pick seems like a slam dunk. The only possible upset I can maybe see happening is from Puss In Boots: The Last Wish.

Best International Feature Film

All Quiet on the Western Front
Argentina, 1985
The Quiet Girl

Who I think will win: All Quiet on the Western Front
Who I think should win: Close

I've only seen 3 of the 5 films in this category, but seeing how it was also nominated for Best Picture, it'd be hard to imagine anything but All Quiet on the Western Front winning this category. That being said, I thought the movie Close was quite good itself. 

Best Documentary Feature

All That Breathes
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
Fire of Love
A House Made of Splinters

Who I think will win: Navalny

I've only seen 1 of the films in this category and it is the one I am picking to win, because I feel lucky!
Also, I did think the film was pretty powerful too. 

Best Film Editing

Mikkel E.G. Nielsen, The Banshees of Inisherin
Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond, Elvis
Paul Rogers, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Monika Willi, TÁR
Eddie Hamilton, Top Gun: Maverick

Who I think will win: Paul Rogers, Everything Everywhere All at Once

I've seen all 5 of the films in this category and the editing in Everything Everywhere All at Once was quite remarkable.

Best Cinematography

James Friend, All Quiet on the Western Front
Darius Khondji, Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths
Mandy Walker, Elvis
Roger Deakins, Empire of Light
Florian Hoffmeister, TÁR

Who I think will win: James Friend, All Quiet on the Western Front

I've seen all 5 of the films in this category and although Roger Deakins is a big name in cinematography, I'm going with James Friend. Although, Darius Khondji might win this one too. Tough category here! 

Best Costume Design

Mary Zophres, Babylon
Ruth E. Carter, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Catherine Martin, Elvis
Shirley Kurata, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Jenny Beavan, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Who I think will win: Shirley Kurata, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Who I think should win: Catherine Martin, Elvis

I've seen all 5 films in this category and I really think it comes down to these two films. 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerová, All Quiet on the Western Front
Naomi Donne, Mike Marino, and Mike Fontaine, The Batman
Camille Friend and Joel Harlow, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Mark Coulier, Jason Baird, and Aldo Signoretti, Elvis
Adrien Morot, Judy Chin, and Anne Marie Bradley, The Whale

Who I think will win: Mark Coulier, Jason Baird, and Aldo Signoretti, Elvis

I've seen all 5 of the films in this category and think this comes down to Elvis and The Whale. Whoever wins this might foreshadow who wins best actor. 

Best Production Design

Christian M. Goldbeck and Ernestine Hipper, All Quiet on the Western Front
Dylan Cole, Ben Procter, and Vanessa Cole, Avatar: The Way of Water
Florencia Martin and Anthony Carlino, Babylon
Catherine Martin, Karen Murphy, and Bev Dunn, Elvis
Rick Carter and Karen O'Hara, The Fabelmans

Who I think will win: Florencia Martin and Anthony Carlino, Babylon

I've seen all 5 of the films in this category and I think Babylon will and should win for best production design.

Best Music (Original Song)

"Applause" from Tell It Like a Woman, music and lyrics by Dianne Warren
"Hold My Hand" from Top Gun: Maverick, music and lyrics by Lady Gaga and BloodPop
"Lift Me Up" from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, music and lyrics by Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler, and Ludwig Goransson
"Naatu Naatu" from RRR, music by M.M. Keeravaani, lyrics by Chandrabose
"This Is a Life" from Everything Everywhere All at Once, music by Ryan Lott, David Byrne, and Mitski, lyrics by Ryan Lott

Who I think will win: "Naatu Naatu" from RRR, music by M.M. Keeravaani, lyrics by Chandrabose

I've seen 3 of the 5 films in this category, but don't remember any of the songs that well, but I'm thinking "Naatu Naatu" will come out victorious. Although a Lady Gaga win for "Hold My Hand" wouldn't shock me.

Best Music (Original Score)

Volker Bertelmann, All Quiet on the Western Front
Justin Hurwitz, Babylon
Carter Burwell, The Banshees of Inisherin
Son Lux, Everything Everywhere All at Once
John Williams, The Fabelmans

Who I think will win:  Volker Bertelmann, All Quiet on the Western Front
Who I think should win: John Williams, The Fabelmans

I've seen all 5 films in this category and I feel like it might be a complete toss-up. Nobody is really favored over the others to win this category from what I have read. 

Best Sound

Viktor Prášil, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel, and Stefan Korte, All Quiet on the Western Front
Julian Howarth, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Dick Bernstein, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, and Michael Hedges, Avatar: The Way of Water
Stuart Wilson, William Files, Douglas Murray, and Andy Nelson, The Batman
David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson, and Michael Keller, Elvis
Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon, and Mark Taylor, Top Gun: Maverick

Who I think will win: Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon, and Mark Taylor, Top Gun: Maverick

I've seen all 5 films in this category and to me, Top Gun: Maverick, has to win this award.

Best Visual Effects

Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller, Markus Frank, and Kamil Jafar, All Quiet on the Western Front
Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon, and Daniel Barrett, Avatar: The Way of Water
Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands, and Dominic Tuohy, The Batman
Geoffrey Baumann, Craig Hammack, R. Christopher White, and Dan Sudick, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson, and Scott R. Fisher, Top Gun: Maverick

Who I think will win: Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon, and Daniel Barrett, Avatar: The Way of Water
Who I think should win:  Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson, and Scott R. Fisher, Top Gun: Maverick

I've seen all 5 films in this category and I think the blue man group, er, Avatar: The Way of Water, will take this one home. It is quite visually stunning even though the plot sucks, haha. 

Best Animated Short Film

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse
The Flying Sailor
Ice Merchants
My Year of Dicks
An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake, and I Think I Believe It

Who I think will win:  The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse
Who I think should win:  My Year of Dicks

I've seen all 5 films in this category. I really did enjoy The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, but I also want to hear a presenter say out loud "And the winner is - My Year of Dicks"

Best Live Action Short Film

An Irish Goodbye
Le Pupille
Night Ride
The Red Suitcase

Who I think will win: Le Pupille
Who I think should win: Anything but Le Pupille

I've only seen 2 of the 5 films in this category. Le Pupille is on Disney+ and currently seems to be a favorite, but I must say that I was quite bored while watching. 

Best Documentary Short

The Elephant Whisperers
How Do You Measure a Year?
The Martha Mitchell Effect
Stranger at the Gate

Who I think will win: Stranger at the Gate

I've seen 4 of the 5 films in this category. Stranger at the Gate has my pick and I do think it will win.

And there you have it, my predictions for the 2023 Oscars. If you enjoyed this blog, like films yourself, and want to follow me on Letterboxd, you can do so here