Rutschman For AL MVP, Mariners To ALCS In Bold MLB Predictions From The Athletic


The Major League Baseball season is upon us. Thursday brings Opening Day for the rest of the league following the Dodgers-Padres series in South Korea earlier this month.

The Seattle Mariners aim to return to the postseason after missing out in 2023. In 2022, the Mariners snapped their 21-year playoff drought, the longest playoff drought in North American sports at the time, by making the Wild Card series and defeating the Blue Jays in Toronto. The division-rival Astros swept the Mariners in a competitive ALDS as Houston went on to win the World Series.

The Athletic’s Keith Law penned some fun predictions for the upcoming season that included a bold call for a local star in Sherwood native Adley Rutschman.

Entering his third season in Baltimore, Rutschman is poised for a run at American League MVP, writes Law.

I think he’s going to hit 30 homers if he plays 140-150 games, and of course he’ll do it with a high OBP and great defense. You do that on a division winner and you’re a pretty strong candidate for the MVP award. Other contenders include Julio Rodríguez, Bobby Witt Jr., Juan Soto; and the usual suspects like Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, and Corey Seager.

Rodriguez, who edged Rutschman for AL Rookie of the Year in 2022, could also be in the mix for MVP if he bounces back from his 2023 numbers.

For the Mariners team, Law says they’ll again finish behind the Astros in the division. Seattle will have an 87-75 overall record, six games shy of Houston, per Law.

Seattle didn’t go get a big bopper this winter, which was probably the best move they could have made, instead patching around the edges with the additions of Jorge PolancoMitch Haniger, and Mitch Garver, all smaller upgrades and perhaps one with some upside if Haniger plays even 100 games. Julio Rodríguez is likely to be better this year, maybe a lot better, and their rotation will probably be among the top three in the American League. It’d be nice if Gregory Santos pitches most of this year, since they just traded for him about five minutes before the injury, and they’re not getting enough offense out of the infield corners. They’re contenders for the wild card who could sneak into the division title with a little luck and a lot of health.

When it comes to the postseason, though, Law is bullish on the Mariners chances. He predicts them to beat the Blue Jays in the Wild Card round, just as they did in 2022, before redeeming their rivalry shortcomings by taking down Houston in the ALDS. Law says Seattle will reach the American League Championship Series for the first time since 2000, but will fall to Rutschman’s Orioles in the ALCS.

The M’s will take home a major award, says Law, courtesy right-hander George Kirby and the AL Cy Young.

Kirby had the lowest walk rate among AL starters last year, which is impressive in and of itself, but more so when you consider just how good his stuff is. It’s actually hard to believe he had a 3.35 ERA; with his stuff and command, it should be half that. He’s got two teammates who are candidates for this too in Luis Castillo and Logan Gilbert, while Kevin Gausman has been vying for this honor for several seasons now.

You can check out Law’s full predictions for the season on The Athletic, here.

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