The Big Stories of the 2023 MLB Season (So Far)


Luke Reyes, Senior Staff Writer

We are already over a month into this MLB season, and baseball fans around both leagues have much to talk about. So let’s get right into it. 


NL West

Starting off in the National League, things appear to be the status quo out West. The Los Angeles Dodgers remain on top of the division despite being without their shortstop Gavin Lux and their ace Walker Buehler, both of whom are not expected to see any playing time this season due to injuries. The San Diego Padres are currently around the .500 mark, but if they can get on a roll, then they are on the verge of being considered serious contenders, especially with the return of Fernando Tatis Jr. The Arizona DiamondBacks have been a surprise so far as they sit over .500 a month into the season, but there are some uncertainties as to whether they will sustain their play heading into the summer. Nevertheless, they have been a respectable team thus far. As expected, both the San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies are having slow starts to their seasons, sitting under .500 and below the rest in their division. 


NL East 

Just like the Dodgers in the West, the Atlanta Braves are on top in the East once again with a fairly comfortable lead in the division. However, they are going to have to navigate some injuries to their pitching staff with Max Fried and Kyle Wright being out for the next two months due to injury. The defending National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies have been average so far despite signing Trea Turner in the offseason, but they are looking to get on a roll as they just got their superstar slugger Bryce Harper back after missing the first month recovering from offseason surgery in his elbow. The New York Mets are under .500 and have struggled largely due to the injuries to their pitching staff, losing their closer Edwin Diaz during the World Baseball Classic, and being without their aces Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer for several of their scheduled starts. The Miami Marlins are in second place despite the early struggles from their Cy Young winner Sandy Alcántara, and the Washington Nationals are in last place, which most people expected as they remain in rebuild mode.


NL Central

Nobody saw the Pittsburgh Pirates coming. Sure, this division may be considered one of the weaker ones, with the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds playing at the level most projected they would be playing at and the St. Louis Cardinals having some serious struggles to start the year. Nevertheless, the Pirates have been a pleasant surprise. After finishing last year’s season with triple-digit losses, it is already an accomplishment that the Pirates currently sit at the top of their division ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers. Let this be another reminder of how radically a baseball team can change from season to season. 


AL West  

Now, shifting gears to the American League, the Texas Rangers are on top in the West, and it appears that their big free agent signings have been paying off thus far. The Los Angeles Angels are second in the division and just slightly ahead of the defending World Series Champion Houston Astros right now, but most expect the Astros to get on track sooner rather than later. The biggest question mark surrounding the Angels does not have to do with their play this season, as they do not have high expectations, but whether or not Shohei Ohtani will stay in Anaheim or sign elsewhere in the offseason. The Seattle Mariners are around the .500 mark, and their prodigy Julio Rodríguez has struggled to start. But, like last year, there is optimism that they can pull their act together over the summer and put together a solid season. The Oakland Athletics are not only saying goodbye to Oakland after fifty-plus years of calling the city home, but they are wrapping up their tenure in a non-competitive fashion as they own the worst record in all of baseball. 


AL East

Best. Division. In. Baseball. It is easy for the AL East to claim this title, considering that every team in this division has a respectable record above .500. Even though the New York Yankees have been hampered with injuries to start the year, including their superstar, Aaron Judge, who has spent some time on the IL, the Bronx Bombers remain in contention with the rest of their competition despite being at the bottom of their division. The Tampa Bay Rays have come back down to earth after a blistering 13–0 start but are still in first, and the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, and Toronto Blue Jays are all looking to sustain their play to clinch a wild card spot, or catch the Rays since there is still plenty of time to do so. 


AL Central

Like the other central division, the AL Central has been considered one of the weaker divisions in the majors over the past few years, but the beauty of this division is that there is usually a new leader every year. In 2021, the Chicago White Sox led the race; in 2022, the Cleveland Guardians led the race; and now, it is the Minnesota Twins. The rest of the division is under .500, and the Twins are not viewed as a contender out of the American League, but if they remain on top, they have a chance to be a competitive underdog in October. 


Image Courtesy of Jeffrey Hyde of Flickr