Which team will win the 2023 World Series? Twelve teams have a chance and the belief to match. While the Astros are looking to repeat, clubs such as the Rangers and the Rays can dream of hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy for the first time.
As we ready for the always unpredictable postseason, we asked the beat reporters for each of the playoff teams to provide one reason why the club they cover can win it all. Here is what they said.
ORIOLES: The O’s have a solid all-around roster -- a lineup headlined by two of baseball’s rising stars (Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman), a rotation anchored by two burgeoning aces (Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez) and a bullpen with plenty of quality arms. But the main reason why the O’s could win it all is their ability to quickly bounce back from losses. They haven’t been swept in 91 consecutive multi-game series (dating back to May 2022), and they have never dropped more than four straight games in 2023. Perhaps no team is better at responding to adversity. -- Jake Rill
RAYS: The Rays' rotation has been decimated by injuries to Shane McClanahan, Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen, but they still have plenty of talented pitching, starting with Zach Eflin and Tyler Glasnow. And their bullpen, as usual, is deep and dominant, capable of shortening games with some combination of Pete Fairbanks, Robert Stephenson, Colin Poche, Shawn Armstrong and Jason Adam (if healthy), among others. If the Rays can get just enough offense from the likes of Yandy Díaz, Randy Arozarena, Isaac Paredes, Josh Lowe and Harold Ramírez, they’ll have a chance despite the injuries that have dramatically reshaped their roster. -- Adam Berry
BLUE JAYS: You’ll hear plenty of teams talking the talk about “pitching and defense” at this time of year. The Blue Jays can walk the walk. With one of baseball’s best rotations, a very good bullpen and strong defense, Toronto has a rock-solid foundation and are well-equipped to win the tight, low-scoring games that so often decide the biggest games in the postseason. It’s taken a while to work, but you’re finally seeing why the Blue Jays rebranded from a hit-first team to a more complete one over the past year. It was all for October. -- Keegan Matheson
TWINS: For once, the Twins have the pitching. From Pablo López atop the rotation to Jhoan Duran at the back end of the bullpen, this is undeniably the deepest staff that manager Rocco Baldelli has taken into October, thanks to a late burst of health. And with the rookies carrying the lineup, the Twins are peaking at the right time, ranking seventh in the Majors in pitching WAR (per FanGraphs) and first in batting WAR in September. Roster-wise, this is a very different -- and more potent -- Twins team than the one that treaded water in the AL Central for much of the season. -- Do-Hyoung Park
ASTROS: The Astros have played in 92 playoff games since the start of the 2015 season, which is more than any other MLB team. That experience will be huge in October. Alex Bregman has played in each of those 92 postseason games, Jose Altuve 86, Martín Maldonado 54, Kyle Tucker 51 and Yordan Alvarez 47. Jeremy Peña was the ALCS and World Series MVP last year. No moment will be too big for the Astros. The offense is good enough and the bullpen is solid, but they’ll have to get their starting pitching back in line. -- Brian McTaggart
RANGERS: The offense can compete with anybody in baseball. From an AL MVP candidate in Corey Seager to a streaky Adolis García and the elite catching duo of Jonah Heim and Mitch Garver, the Rangers have put together the best offense in the American League, which leads the league in all three triple slash categories. Texas also is tied with the Twins for the lead in home runs among AL teams this season and tied for third in MLB. While the bullpen has been historically shaky and the rotation has been injury-riddled, the offense has possessed an ability all season long to break through at any moment. -- Kennedi Landry
BRAVES: Ronald Acuña Jr. isn’t the only Braves player with great power and speed. Ozzie Albies, Michael Harris II and even Austin Riley have the ability to beat opponents with the long ball and take an extra base when necessary. This is the best offense the Braves have ever possessed, and it may be remembered as the greatest team in franchise history, especially if Max Fried and Spencer Strider pitch to expectations throughout the postseason. The high-leverage options in this bullpen form a more capable group than The Night Shift, the group of relievers who helped Atlanta win the 2021 World Series. -- Mark Bowman
PHILLIES: The Phillies pose multiple challenges for any team in the postseason. First, they have a lineup that has been one of baseball’s best for months. Simply put, the stars are playing like stars. That group includes Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos and J.T. Realmuto. Less experienced players like Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott, Brandon Marsh and Johan Rojas have taken steps forward, making the Phillies a tough out from one through nine. Philadelphia has five legitimate starting pitchers entering the postseason, led by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. The bullpen has also been a strength this season, led by Craig Kimbrel and José Alvarado. -- Todd Zolecki
MARLINS: The two previous times the Marlins made the postseason in a full season, they won it all. Need we say more? Throw everything out the window once October baseball begins. Anything could happen, as Ellie Goulding once sang. Besides, nobody expected Miami to be in this position to begin with. Tanner Scott has developed into one of MLB's premier late-inning relievers, and Jake Burger and Josh Bell have added much-needed thump to the lineup. Even without ace Sandy Alcantara, Jesús Luzardo, Braxton Garrett and Edward Cabrera make for a tough matchup. -- Christina De Nicola
BREWERS: The Brewers lost Brandon Woodruff on the eve of the postseason but still have a pair of All-Stars in Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta to start games. They have Devin Williams waiting at the end of games. And they have one of baseball’s best defenses after ranking second in the Majors in defensive runs saved. If they can score just a little bit, the Brewers have the roster to go all the way. For much of the season, that was a big “if,” but the Trade Deadline additions of Mark Canha and Carlos Santana plus the Aug. 31 pickup of power-hitting Josh Donaldson have “transformed” the offense, as manager Craig Counsell sees it, into a unit capable of scoring enough to win. -- Adam McCalvy
DODGERS: The Dodgers have their flaws, especially with their starting pitching, but they go into the postseason with an advantage that no other team has: Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman atop the lineup. Betts and Freeman are two of the best players in the Majors and are well on their way to putting together likely Hall of Fame careers. The dynamic duo has been a nightmare for opposing pitchers all season, and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue in the postseason. Betts and Freeman will need some help from the supporting cast, but if both players get red-hot for a month, the Dodgers will be an incredibly tough out. -- Juan Toribio
D-BACKS: The D-backs have two starters who can compare with any in the game in Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly, and when they are on, they can dominate a lineup. The back end of the bullpen was a weakness early in the season, but the D-backs corrected that at the Trade Deadline by picking up closer Paul Sewald. Kevin Ginkel has also turned into an outstanding setup man. Offensively, Arizona has tremendous team speed, which puts pressure on opposing defenses. When they get on, the D-backs run the bases aggressively and can manufacture runs with the best of them. -- Steve Gilbert