Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Major League Baseball playoff projection

The road to the fall classic starts on October 3, and as the 2023 MLB regular season fades into the history books, the playoff races are starting to solidify. Many faces are ready to break back into the postseason while familiar faces are priming for another go at the World Series.

We still have a whole month of play to go and for some teams, this last stretch of the season can be make or break. In the American League West, the top three teams are vying to win the division. Then in the National League East, the Atlanta Braves are 12.5 games ahead of the next closest team. 

Let’s first take our gaze to the American League, where the Baltimore Orioles hold control with a league-best 85-51 record. The Orioles, who just two years ago lost 110 games, have turned it around with a successful rebuild in such a short amount of time. Rebuilding in professional sports is quite a daunting task, especially in the MLB. Teams can be stuck in “rebuilding hell” with notable examples including the recent Chicago White Sox. The Orioles are projected to finish with the No. 1 seed in the AL. 

But the Orioles aren’t riding easy in the AL East. The Tampa Bay Rays are knocking on the doorstep with a current record of 83-54, just 2.5 games behind Baltimore. For the past couple of seasons, the Rays have been one of the most consistent teams in baseball. Tampa Bay has made the playoffs every year since 2019, including a World Series appearance in 2020 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tampa Bay is projected to finish with the 4th seed and again play in the Wild Card Round. 

Now things start to get murky when we move to the AL West. The division is far too close to project any playoff seeding; anything can happen within this last month of play. The Mariners are looking to build off of their 2022 season where they made their first playoff appearance for the first time since the 2001 season. Seattle is currently in first place with a 77-59 record. 

In second place, the 2022 World Series Champions Houston Astros are right on the heels of the Mariners, with a current record of 77-61 and just one game back. The Astros have been one of, if not the most consistent team in baseball over the last six seasons. After winning their second championship last season. Houston is eyeing for a third title in six seasons, cementing their status as a dynasty. 

As stated before, the AL West is far too close to finalize projections yet, with one of Major League baseball’s biggest surprises this season in the Texas Rangers having broken onto the scene. The Rangers have led the AL West for a majority of the season but have recently faltered. Texas, with a 77-60 record, are just one game back from first place in the division. The Rangers are projected to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 season. 

In the AL Central, The Minnesota Twins control the division with a healthy 71-66 record with the closest team, the Cleveland Guardians, being five games behind. Minnesota is projected to make the playoffs for the first time since the COVID-19 shortened season. The Twins would be the only team from the AL Central and would likely play in the Wild Card round. 

Like its American League counterpart, the National League is still mostly undecided. In the NL East and NL West, the records give us a good idea of who will be crowned division champs, unless a historic collapse occurs. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves hold control over their respective divisions with a stranglehold, with their closest competitors being 10 or more games back. 

The Atlanta Braves, with a league-best record of 90-46, is looking to break the 100-win column very soon. Atlanta is no stranger to the playoffs, with them being in the race every year since 2018. With Atlanta winning the World Series in 2021, the Braves are projected to earn the first seed as they hope to return to the fall classic and earn their second title in three years. 

Another familiar team in the running is the Los Angeles Dodgers with a record of 84-52. The Dodgers are not strangers to getting things done in the playoffs. Los Angeles hasn’t missed the playoffs since the 2012 season and it looks as if they will continue their streak. Like Atlanta and Houston, they have been one of the most stable organizations in baseball the past couple of seasons. The Dodgers are projected to finish second. 

Like the AL West, the NL Central is far too close to declare an all-out winner. The Milwaukee Brewers are still in first place with a record of 76-60. The Chicago Cubs, with a record of 73-64, are only 3.5 games back. Both clubs are projected to make the playoffs, but both teams would play in the Wild Card round due to the Dodgers and Braves’ control over the one and two seeds. 

We may know the top two seeds in the National League, but spots in the wild card are still up for grabs. Behind the Los Angeles Dodgers are the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks who are both tied with a 70-67 record and are fighting for the final sixth seed. Behind the Braves, 2022 NL champions Philadelphia Phillies are nestled in the fourth seed with a record of 75-61.  

The path to the Fall Classic is closing in but still far from over. As the old baseball saying goes, “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings,” and there is not a current analyst who fits that mold.

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About the Contributor
Nicholas Kingman
Nicholas Kingman, Assistant Opinion Editor
Nicholas is a freshman CAP student who joined The Paisano in Summer 2023. He is a San Antonio Native and is excited to stay home for another year.

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