Experts predict 2024 division winners, WS champ

March 27th, 2024

What is the most predictable thing about baseball? The only right answer is that it is wholly unpredictable.

Trying to see into the future in this sport is often a futile exercise -- but also a really fun one. With Opening Day almost upon us, we recently asked 88 voters to predict which teams will win the divisions, the Wild Card spots, the league pennants and, ultimately, which club will reign as the 2024 World Series champion.


AL East: Orioles

At this time last year, the O's were considered an upstart club to watch coming off a strong finish to the 2022 season. But after winning 101 games along with their first division title since 2014 and acquiring rotation ace Corbin Burnes, the Orioles are expected by our voters to retain the division crown. That rotation will grow stronger once Kyle Bradish and John Means fully recover from their respective elbow injuries and return to the mound during the early portion of the season. The last time Baltimore won back-to-back division titles? 1973 and '74.

Others receiving votes: Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays

AL Central: Twins

The defending division winners received a large majority of the vote here. The Twins won 87 games last year and finished nine games clear of the rest of the AL Central. PECOTA projects that they will exceed that win total in '24. Minnesota saw AL Cy Young Award finalist Sonny Gray depart for St. Louis in free agency, and it will open the year with a bunch of notable arms on the injured list. However, the Twins' offense stands to be much more dangerous if they get healthy campaigns from Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa.

Others receiving votes: Tigers, Guardians and Royals

AL West: Astros

Although the Astros were knocked off by the division-rival Rangers in last year's ALCS, voters believe Houston will end this season with its seventh AL West championship in eight years. It'll be upon first-year manager Joe Espada to lead this battle-tested group with many familiar names -- Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Framber Valdez, etc. The one headline-grabbing addition is closer Josh Hader, who gives the Astros a dominant late-inning trio.

Others receiving votes: Rangers and Mariners

AL Wild Card: Yankees, Rangers and Mariners


The Yankees enter every season with immense expectations. After missing the postseason for the first time since 2016, they entered this spring "hell-bent" on reaching the mountaintop. However, injuries plagued the Yanks last year, and they will start this year without 2023 AL Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole, whose right elbow injury will sideline him into May. The Bronx Bombers will look to their lineup, now featuring one of the best combos in baseball, to pick up the slack.


Texas turned a Wild Card berth into the franchise's first World Series championship in 2023, going 11-0 on the road along the way. voters believe the Rangers will start out on a similar path to a possible repeat. Their rotation will welcome multiple reinforcements during the summer as Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and Tyler Mahle all work their way back from injury. The lineup still has its fair share of stars, but likely no one will garner more attention on Opening Day than 2023 first-round Draft pick Wyatt Langford.


In 2023, the Blue Jays finished a half-game ahead of Seattle for the third AL Wild Card. In 2024, voters give the Mariners the slightest of edges over Toronto to nab the final playoff spot. Seattle arguably has the best starting rotation in the game (although Bryan Woo's right elbow inflammation throws a small wrench into matters). Its lineup underwent a major facelift during the winter, and the hope is offseason acquisitions such as Mitch Garver, Jorge Polanco and familiar face Mitch Haniger provide enough thump to support the club's mound dominance.

Others receiving votes: Blue Jays, Astros, Rays, Orioles, Royals, Twins and Tigers

AL champion: Orioles

There are American League teams with more playoff experience than the Orioles, but there may not be one with more talent. They won this vote running away, with the Astros finishing a distant second. Baltimore's roster is already flush with established young stars, and their top-ranked farm system -- headed by No. 1 overall prospect Jackson Holliday -- hints that the team's recent success is just the start of something big.

Others receiving votes: Astros, Yankees, Blue Jays, Mariners, Rays and Rangers


NL East: Braves

In search of their seventh consecutive division title, the Braves return with most of the cast who produced a record-tying 307 home runs and a record-setting .501 slugging percentage last year. Spencer Strider is a Cy Young favorite while a healthy Chris Sale was tremendous in his first spring with the Braves. The bullpen was fortified by trading for Aaron Bummer and re-signing Joe Jiménez and Pierce Johnson. Atlanta's roster looks loaded once again, which is why it was the leading vote-getter here by a wide margin.

Others receiving votes: Phillies and Mets

NL Central: Cubs

This division appears to be the most wide open as every club received at least one vote for first place. But the Cubs collected a majority following an offseason that saw them bring back NL Comeback Player of the Year Award winner Cody Bellinger and land Japanese left-handed starter Shota Imanaga, who impressed during his first spring stateside. However, the franchise's most impactful move could reside in the dugout as manager Craig Counsell looks to guide the Cubs back to the playoffs after a successful nine-year run leading the Brewers.

Others receiving votes: Reds, Cardinals, Brewers and Pirates

NL West: Dodgers

The Dodgers reached 100 wins in each of the past three years and just wrapped up a billion-dollar offseason. So the goal for 2024 is simple: win the World Series. They were the near-unanimous pick by voters to capture their 11th division title in 12 years. The Dodgers' lineup may be MLB's best, and it has a historic trio at the top. This isn't a perfect club -- questions remain about Los Angeles' infield defense and starting pitching -- but it seems poised to rack up triple-digit victories yet again.

Others receiving votes: D-backs

NL Wild Cards: Phillies, D-backs, Giants


Wild Card berths in 2022 and '23 brought the Phillies to within two and five victories, respectively, of a World Series title. They are ready to give it another shot this season with a very similar roster. Offseason contract extensions for Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler will keep the two workhorses atop Philadelphia's rotation through 2027. By that point, they could be the greatest starting pitcher duo in franchise history.


The D-backs surprised many with their run to the NL pennant in 2023, but they feel like they still have something to prove. The additions of Eugenio Suárez and Joc Pederson should provide more pop to an offense that ranked in the bottom third in home runs last season. Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly spearhead a solid rotation, and though Arizona's pitching staff will have to make do for a while without starter Eduardo Rodriguez and closer Paul Sewald (who will open the year on the injured list), the team came to an agreement with Jordan Montgomery on Tuesday.


It's worth noting here that voters cast their predictions last week. If the vote had been held a few weeks earlier, perhaps a club such as the Padres would have slid into this spot. Instead, the Giants made multiple marquee moves late in the offseason, bringing aboard slugger Jorge Soler, four-time Gold Glove third baseman Matt Chapman and 2023 NL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, and ended up squeaking past their rivals to the south in the voting. Those transactions combined with the club's previous moves -- including the hiring of manager Bob Melvin -- could push San Francisco back into the postseason.

Others receiving votes: Padres, Reds, Cubs, Mets, Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Pirates, Dodgers and Nationals

NL champion: Dodgers

Shohei Ohtani's first trip to the postseason takes him to the World Series, according to voters. The Dodgers, who finished just ahead of the Braves here, obviously have an extremely talented roster. They possess multiple MVP candidates, the possible Rookie of the Year and two dark horse contenders for the Cy Young. Plus, with a bevy of power arms currently on the mend, they should get stronger on the mound as the season ages.

Others receiving votes: Braves, Phillies, Cubs, D-backs, Padres and Reds

World Series champion: Orioles

In a very tight vote, the O's top the Dodgers as World Series champs. Baltimore last hoisted the Commissioner's Trophy in 1983. That group featured legends such as Cal Ripken Jr., Eddie Murray and Jim Palmer. Perhaps we'll view the likes of Gunnar Henderson, Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez in a similar light one day.

Others receiving votes: Dodgers, Braves, Phillies, Astros, Cubs, Blue Jays, D-backs, Mariners and Yankees