Initial 2023 ZiPS Projections Have Dodgers Winning NL West With Second Best Record In MLB

The initial ZiPS projections for the 2023 season predict the Los Angeles Dodgers will finish atop the National League west with a 91-71 record, but fall behind the Atlanta Braves for the No. 1 seed in Major League Baseball.

The analytical model takes into account player projections and playing time, then generates a million versions of each team based on each player’s range of probable outcomes. Dan Szymborski of FanGraphs noted that the ZiPS projections this early in the season are less of an actual prediction and more of a “state of the union” estimate for each team before the offseason work is complete.

Although the Dodgers won a franchise-record 111 games last season, their 91 projected wins in 2023 represent the number of quality players they have in free agency and the holes they have created, including Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Andrew Heaney and losing Tyler Anderson.

Still, 91 wins is an impressive mark for a team that currently has at least two rookies slotted into their rotation and questions about who will be starting at shortstop (or second base depending on Gavin Lux), third base, left field and center field.

All the projections really mean right now is the Dodgers have their work cut out for them this offseason, and that number will almost certainly be higher once Spring Training begins and their roster is filled out.

But even with the roster as currently constructed, ZiPS still gives them an 82% chance to reach the playoffs, a 50.9% chance to win the division, and 10% odds to win the 2023 World Series.

Following the Dodgers in the NL West are the San Diego Padres, who project to go 87-75 with a 24.7% chance to win the division. Though, that was prior to the Padres’ shocking signing of Xander Bogaerts.

The only team in the NL West with a lower than 10% chance to win the division at 0.1% are the Colorado Rockies, who are projected to finish last at 68-94.

The San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks are forecasted to finish tied for third at 83-79, but the Giants have slightly higher division odds at 13% compared to 11.2%.

ZiPS projections for each division

The Braves are projected to finish with 96 wins atop the NL East and have an 18.5% of winning the World Series, which are the top two odds among the projections. But that is a reflection of how much work they have already done to lock up their core to extensions already, which means they likely won’t be very active this offseason.

The St. Louis Cardinals are the favorite in the NL Central and tied with the Dodgers for the second spot in MLB with a 91-71 record. They also have a 10% chance to win the World Series, but like with the Braves, the majority of their roster is already in place for the 2023 season outside of some of their rotation.

The Houston Astros are the top team in the American League West, checking in at 90-72 while the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays are tied in the AL East with records of 88-74. The AL Central is projected to be the weakest division, with the Cleveland Guardians at the top spot with a record of 82-80.

Both the New York Yankees and Mets have seen significant win drops due to the states of their roster, with the Yankees projected for 85 wins and the Mets at 84. The defending NL Champion Philadelphia Phillies are also tied with the Mets in the NL East.

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