Here is one prediction for every team in '24

January 1st, 2024

Hope abounds at the beginning of the year -- especially in the baseball world. With the season getting closer (almost 50 days until the start of Spring Training), now's the time to start daydreaming about summer days spent watching your favorite team at the ballyard.

With that optimism in mind, here's one bold prediction for each MLB team in 2024.


Blue Jays: Bo Bichette will establish himself among AL’s superstars
There’s still another level to Bichette’s game. He’s proven that he’s capable of hitting .300 annually and he should continue to pile up the counting stats in 2024, given that he’s out there nearly every day, but he can be a superstar. Last season, one major surprise was Bichette’s lack of stolen bases. I’d projected a run at a 30-30 season, which never came close to happening in '23, but this could be the season that Bichette puts it all together and cracks the top five of AL MVP voting. The talent is there, the shot at playing 162 games is there and he should have a better offense around him. This is Bichette’s team. -- Keegan Matheson

Orioles: They will reach the postseason again in 2024
The AL East is a juggernaut division, and all five teams will have legitimate postseason aspirations heading into 2024. The Orioles may be the reigning champions, but it’s never easy to compete with the Blue Jays, Rays, Red Sox and Yankees. Baltimore’s young core -- a group featuring catcher Adley Rutschman, infielder Gunnar Henderson and more -- is only getting better, though. It would be quite surprising to see the O’s go from being the AL’s top team to missing the postseason when they appear set up for long-term success. Will the Orioles win more than 100 games again? That could be tough. It’s also possible they won’t repeat as division champions, considering four teams have won an AL East title over the past six seasons. But Baltimore has too much talent to not make it to October, so it will earn consecutive postseason berths for the first time since 1996 and ‘97. -- Jake Rill

Rays: The postseason losing streak will end
This prediction includes an assumption that the Rays will do well enough in another brutal AL East battle to reach the postseason for a sixth straight year, an impressive accomplishment in its own right considering how they have consistently turned over their roster. Of course, that streak hasn’t led to much October success for Tampa Bay recently. The Rays have been bounced in their first playoff matchup each of the past three years, and their last win in a postseason game came in Game 1 of the 2021 AL Division Series against the Red Sox. They are 0-7 since then. We’ll say that skid will end in 2024, even without co-aces Shane McClanahan (injured) and Tyler Glasnow (traded). -- Adam Berry

Red Sox: The Red Sox will win more games than they did in 2023
The bar is low, but after going 78-84 in back-to-back seasons, finishing above .500 seems like a fair goal. The 2023 Red Sox exemplified what it means to have a roller-coaster season, finding themselves on hot streaks before going ice cold. With little rotation depth, a revolving door at shortstop before Trevor Story’s return and weak defense at second base, Boston was rarely at full force at any point last season.

If the Red Sox can find a way to add two to three solid starters and a defensive second baseman this offseason (which they appeared to do by trading for Vaughn Grissom), they will immediately put themselves in a better position entering Spring Training. -- Molly Burkhardt

Yankees: Aaron Judge will try to break his home run record
Helped by Juan Soto’s protection and mindful of any 1960s-era concrete barriers ringing the outfield, Judge will make another run at the single-season AL home run record, looking to eclipse the 62 he belted in 2022. Despite missing 51 games on the injured list in ’23, Judge’s 37 homers were the fourth most in the AL, joining Mark McGwire as the only Major Leaguers to hit at least 37 homers while playing in 106 games or fewer (McGwire achieved that feat in 1995 with the Athletics). -- Bryan Hoch


Guardians: Tanner Bibee will be an AL Cy Young finalist
Rookies can often experience a sophomore slump, but Bibee is primed to skip that step. He ended his first season with a 2.98 ERA in 25 outings, with 141 strikeouts in 142 innings. Bibee was forced to miss his last few starts due to right hip inflammation, which left a mighty chip on his shoulder, as he desperately wanted to boost his numbers for an even better case for the AL Rookie of the Year Award. He displayed a tremendous ability to adapt on the fly in 2023, and with experience under his belt, he can take a big step in ’24. -- Mandy Bell

Royals: Bobby Witt Jr. will be an All-Star
If there was an All-Star Game for the second half of the year in 2023, Witt likely would have earned a nod. He broke out of an early-season slump and never looked back on his way to a 30-homer, 49-steals sophomore campaign. Witt finished seventh in the AL MVP voting because of his all-around play, so maybe this isn’t a crazy prediction. But to be an All-Star, players must start the season strong. That’s key for the Royals in general in '24, making sure their April play isn’t as poor as it’s been in past years. Witt will be a crucial piece of that. -- Anne Rogers

Tigers: The sluggish starts will end
The Tigers have struggled with slow starts under A.J. Hinch, but this is the year they will change that. With 17 of their first 31 games at home (all but five of them day games), 18 of their first 31 against AL or NL Central foes and seven games against the defending AL Central champion Twins, there’s an opportunity to build momentum from the outset if they can put their rotation in order and find offense in typically chilly Michigan conditions. That could be critical before Detroit's schedule gets tough in May and June. -- Jason Beck

Twins: Pablo López will win the AL Cy Young
In López’s first season with the Twins, he took a big step forward and cemented himself as the ace of Minnesota's pitching staff -- and put a bow on it with two impressive playoff performances. He’s going to take another step.

Coming off another healthy season and with a full offseason to work with the Twins’ pitching minds, López will improve significantly on what Statcast indicated was a very unlucky 3.66 ERA in 2023 and add to the 234 strikeouts that placed him second in the AL. That will be enough to make him the best in the league. -- Do-Hyoung Park

White Sox: They will be better in 2024 than they were in ’23
Will Chicago make the playoffs or finish at .500? I would say no to both of those questions, although anything is possible if not plausible in the AL Central. But the White Sox will have a better team than last year: Not necessarily more talent, but a better overall fit. So 70 wins does not seem impossible.

It’s easy to see why White Sox fans would be irked by such a prediction, with 70 wins standing as a good thing with the last rebuild promising a championship window lingers not that far off in the distance. Let’s also be honest: The 2023 team finished at 61-101, so the bar isn’t especially high for improvement. -- Scott Merkin


Angels: Mike Trout will have another MVP-caliber season
Trout, a three-time AL MVP and 11-time All-Star, didn’t quite have his normal numbers when he suffered a left hamate fracture on a swing on July 3 that essentially ended his season. But he was heating up at that point and it’s likely he would’ve had another incredible second half. It was a fluke injury and Trout otherwise stayed healthy. He could also get more at-bats at designated hitter now that Shohei Ohtani isn’t on the roster, which could keep him fresh. Trout, 32, will be on a mission to prove he’s still one of the game’s best players and will once again prove why he’s the best player of his generation. -- Rhett Bollinger

Astros: Yordan Alvarez will win the AL MVP in 2024
Alvarez will be looking to join Jeff Bagwell (1994) and Jose Altuve (2017) as Astros’ MVP winners. Alvarez finished third behind Judge and Ohtani in the AL MVP voting in 2022 and was 13th in '23, despite playing in only 114 games. He missed six weeks with a right oblique injury and still mashed 31 homers and drove in 97 runs, while slashing .293/.407/.583. If Alvarez gets 600-plus plate appearances, look out. He’s not only an elite power hitter, but he's one of the best all-around hitters in the game. Hey, and Ohtani is now in the NL. -- Brian McTaggart

Athletics: Brent Rooker will be an All-Star again
Rooker's sharp drop in production following a strong first month in which he performed as one of the best hitters in the Majors led to some viewing his 2023 All-Star selection as somewhat of a fluke. But he turned things around with eight home runs over the final month and still finished his first full big league season with 30 homers and a .817 OPS. With Ohtani now in the NL, that’s one less designated hitter to compete with for a second consecutive All-Star selection in '24. -- Martín Gallegos

Mariners: Julio Rodríguez will make a serious run at the AL MVP Award
The most notable blockade has been lifted after Ohtani jetted for the Dodgers and the NL, thus widening the field of contenders. And with Rodríguez primed to take another big step forward in 2024 -- and with even more of a spotlight on him to lead the Mariners’ offense after the departures of key contributors Eugenio Suárez, Teoscar Hernandez and Jarred Kelenic -- Year 3 feels like one in which that Rodríguez could achieve sustained success for the 162-game marathon. -- Daniel Kramer

Rangers: Corey Seager will win the AL MVP
Seager had one of his best seasons in 2023, finishing second in the AL in batting average (.327), slugging percentage (.623) and OPS (1.013) en route to a second-place finish in the AL MVP race. He played just 119 games because of injuries, but still hit 33 home runs and 96 RBIs. Seager won a Silver Slugger Award, was an All-MLB First-Team shortstop and was the starter at the position in the All-Star Game, while also finishing as a finalist for the Gold Glove Award.

With Ohtani’s exit to the NL, Seager’s chances at his first MVP Award have increased significantly. And if he performs anywhere near his 2023 level, he’ll be a finalist again at the very least. -- Kennedi Landry


Braves: Max Fried will win the NL Cy Young Award
We’ll save the seventh straight division title and the third straight 100-win season predictions for later. The Braves won 104 games with Fried making 13 healthy starts. We don’t know if Fried will be in Atlanta beyond the 2024 season. But we certainly know what kind of a competitor he is. As Fried distances himself from 2023’s injury-blemished season and prepares for his final season before hitting the free-agent market, he seems primed to win the Cy Young Award, which he strongly vied for in '20 and '22. -- Mark Bowman

Marlins: Jazz Chisholm Jr. will return to All-Star form
A year ago, All-Star second baseman Chisholm told the organization he would move to center field if it meant adding offense, paving the way for the acquisition of Luis Arraez and a postseason berth. After early growing pains in center, Chisholm finished in the 87th percentile for Outs Above Average. Barring a change of plans, he won't have to deal with learning a new position on the fly in 2024. The key for Chisholm, who turns 26 on Feb. 1, is staying on the field. He managed to knock 19 homers and steal 22 bases in just 97 games. -- Christina De Nicola

Mets: The team will be better in 2024 than it was in ’23
Frankly, this shouldn’t be that much of a leap. Based on run differential, the Mets’ expected (Pythagorean) record in 2023 was 80-82 -- five games better than their actual mark of 75-87. They’ll have All-Star closer Edwin Díaz back and should continue to amass pitching depth in January. Younger players such as Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty and Mark Vientos have a chance to break out. While the ultimate ceiling might not be there yet for the Mets, they’re going to be a better team, full stop, with a chance to challenge for a Wild Card berth. -- Anthony DiComo

Nationals: Hunter Harvey will take over as closer
Harvey picked up his first career save last May, and he has shown the potential to earn the closer job in 2024. He has dealt with injuries in the past, but he is coming off his strongest Major League season. Harvey posted a 2.82 ERA across a career-high 60 2/3 innings and 57 appearances, and he was just one of four relievers in 2023 with at least 10 saves and 19 holds. He tied for fourth among NL relievers with 5.15 SO/BB rate and he ranked fifth with a 0.94 WHIP. If Harvey stays healthy, he is likely to emerge as the ninth-inning go-to guy. -- Jessica Camerato

Phillies: A true race in the NL East
A few weeks ago at the Winter Meetings, the Phillies got asked about the 14-game difference between themselves and the Braves in the NL East. "Is it really that wide a gap," they wondered? Certainly, two consecutive victories in the NL Division Series say it isn’t, but the Phils want to challenge for a division title in 2024. To do it, they will have to avoid another slow start. Philadelphia was 25-32 on June 2, but it went 65-40 (.619) the rest of the way, which was the third-best record in the NL behind Atlanta and Los Angeles. Phillies manager Rob Thomson said they have started talking about how they can get off to a better start. The bet here is that it happens and the NL East becomes a true race. -- Todd Zolecki


Brewers: Freddy Peralta will win the NL Cy Young Award
Peralta had a 2.81 ERA while making the All-Star team in 2021, only to see ‘22 ruined by a right shoulder injury. Last season, he was healthy again and had a 2.81 ERA after the All-Star break as he found confidence in his health and rounded into form. A full season of that level of output would be huge for the Brewers, who cut loose longtime ace Brandon Woodruff this offseason and may trade Corbin Burnes before next year’s Trade Deadline, lest they lose him via free agency for only a Draft pick. Peralta is poised to step to the front of a Milwaukee rotation that has been the strength of the team. -- Adam McCalvy

Cardinals: Reliable pitching could lead to NL Central contention
With the Cubs and Reds stuck in neutral, the Brewers seemingly heading in reverse with the loss of manager Craig Counsell and the likely trading of Burnes and the Pirates still coasting, the Cardinals will pull off a worst-to-first surge and cruise to the NL Central crown in 2024. Mind you, that’s not quite the accomplishment it might be in any other division, but it will at least get them back in the playoffs. However, without another pitching addition, the Cards still have a long way to go to be World Series contenders. -- John Denton

Cubs: North Siders get back to playoffs
The Cubs were better underneath the hood than their 83-win finish would indicate last season. That is part of the reason the North Siders made the surprising decision to hire manager Craig Counsell. Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer feels Counsell can squeeze more out of Chicago’s roster.

The offseason is far from finished and the Cubs still have multiple areas to address, but there is a solid foundation with a growing list of prospects climbing to the Majors. The Brewers look vulnerable at the top of the division and Chicago may not be a World Series favorite, but there is definitely a path to returning to the October dance. -- Jordan Bastian

Pirates: Ke’Bryan Hayes will win his first Platinum Glove
Fernando Tatis Jr. won it last season in his first season as a full-time outfielder, and part of his success was because runners kept testing his arm. Professional baseball players will adjust to that and learn not to get greedy trying to take an extra base, but there’s no adjustment to be made against Hayes’ defense. You can’t just not run to first base. He’s going to continue making those unbelievable plays -- and continue to make them look ridiculously easy. -- Jake Crouse

Reds: Cincinnati will make the postseason
This isn't too bold of a prediction since Cincinnati won 82 games and just missed the playoffs last season. While it's unlikely that all of the Reds' young players from 2023 will have a better sophomore season, several should still be able to build upon their rookie success and make forward progress in '24. If that happens and Cincinnati can keep pace with its NL Central rivals, there is every reason to feel like the Reds could be a playoff team come October. -- Mark Sheldon


D-backs: Arizona will be playoff bound again
For the first time since 2001-02, the D-backs will appear in the postseason in back-to-back years.

Arizona’s young players flashed their potential in 2023, and with a year of experience under their belts, they should be ready to take another step forward. Combine that with the additions that the team has made this offseason and it seems reasonable to expect a return to the postseason.

And as the D-backs showed last year, once you get in, anything can happen. -- Steve Gilbert

Dodgers: Dodger Stadium will be more electric than ever before
Look, the Dodgers have had some big seasons over the past decade-plus. They draw sellout crowds year in and year out, with postseason appearances being a regular feature. They’re no strangers to star power. But they’ve never had the $700 million man on their roster. Ohtani draws a crowd everywhere he goes -- just imagine the energy when he steps to the plate for the first time at home. (And, for that matter, when he first takes the mound after his recovery from right elbow surgery is complete.) -- Sarah Wexler

Giants: A Giant will win NL Rookie of the Year
The Giants haven’t produced a ROY winner since Buster Posey in 2010, but they could be well positioned to end that drought soon. San Francisco graduated 12 prospects to the Majors this past season, many of whom will retain their rookie status heading into '24. If that young core continues to develop as expected, the Giants could have several ROY candidates, including center fielder Jung Hoo Lee, left-hander Kyle Harrison and shortstop Marco Luciano. -- Maria Guardado

Padres: San Diego will win more games than it did in '23
We can all agree that the 2023 season was a strange one, right? The Padres finished 9-23 in one-run games. They started the year 0-12 in extra-inning games.

This isn’t to say there weren’t underlying issues that led to San Diego's underwhelming 82-80 record in 2023. There were. But there was also a huge amount of weirdness and just plain bad luck.

The Padres no longer have Soto. Blake Snell and Josh Hader are likely to depart as well. But a core that includes Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Tatis Jr., Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish should still compete for the playoffs on a yearly basis -- 2024 included. -- AJ Cassavell

Rockies: Ezequiel Tovar will go from an intriguing rookie in ‘23 to a mainstay
Tovar will become a candidate for the All-Star Game and a Gold Glove Award. Last year as a rookie, Tovar took charge of the infield and put together a solid final two months offensively. He hit 15 homers and stole 11 bases last season while learning on the job. Defense plus his combination of power and speed should make him a lineup threat. -- Thomas Harding