The new MLB season is upon us, and there will be plenty of changes in store once the official first pitch is thrown Thursday. From pitch clocks (or timers—whichever side you’re on there) to the banning of the shift to the usual new faces in new places, there is much to digest.
But with another clean slate comes the hope of a World Series title. And Sports Illustrated’s predictions. Here is how our experts are seeing the season shake out.
There is near-unanimous agreement on the National League winners, and on the American League side, no one is doubting Houston.
American League: Yankees, Guardians, Astros; National League: Atlanta, Cardinals, Padres
AL: Blue Jays, Guardians, Astros; NL: Braves, Cardinals, Padres
AL: Blue Jays, Guardians, Astros NL: Mets, Cardinals, Padres
AL: Yankees, Twins, Astros; NL: Braves, Cardinals, Padres
If Julio Rodríguez and the Mariners are going to make their second-straight playoff appearance, they are again going to get in via the wild card.
AL: Blue Jays, Rays, Mariners; NL: Mets, Dodgers, Phillies
AL: Yankees, Mariners, Twins; NL: Dodgers, Mets, Phillies
AL: Yankees, Twins, Mariners; NL: Dodgers, Mets, Philles
AL: Blue Jays, Mariners, Rangers; NL: Mets, Dodgers, Phillies
World Series matchup and champion
Fernando Tatis Jr.? Aaron Judge? Yordan Álvarez? Ronald Acuña Jr.? Take your pick, experts. The World Series would be a fitting stage for any of the above.
Astros over Atlanta
Astros over Padres
Yankees over Mets
Padres over Astros
Cy Young Award
New uniform? It matters not to Jacob deGrom.
AL: Garrit Cole (Yankees); NL: Aaron Nola (Phillies)
AL: Shane Bieber (Guardians); NL: Corbin Burnes (Brewers)
AL: Jacob deGrom (Rangers); NL: Max Fried (Braves)
AL: deGrom; NL: Zac Gallen (Diamondbacks)
Most Valuable Player
The sparks will continue to fly for Shohei Ohtani, who put on a show for fans around the world in leading Japan past the United States in the World Baseball Classic:
AL: Shohei Ohtani (Angels); NL: Juan Soto (Padres)
AL: Ohtani; NL: Manny Machado (Padres)
AL: Ohtani; NL: Trea Turner (Phillies)
AL: Ohtani; NL: Soto
Rookie of the Year
There will be a new star in Baltimore, and his name is Gunnar Henderson.
AL: Anthony Volpe (Yankees); NL: Jordan Walker (Cardinals)
AL: Gunnar Henderson (Orioles); NL: Miguel Vargas (Dodgers)
AL: Masataka Yoshida (Red Sox); NL: Walker
AL: Henderson; NL: Corbin Carroll (Diamondbacks)