SEATTLE — Major League Baseball's Opening Day is officially here.
The fun thing about the beginning of the new baseball season is that everyone has predictions. While some are not so hard to wrap your head around, so are wild and bold.
Hosts Ty Dane Gonzalez and Colby Patnode of the Locked On Mariners podcast made some bold predictions on their latest episode ahead of the Mariners' season-opener on Thursday against the Guardians.
To give you a refresher about the 2022 Mariners: they made the playoffs, and it was the first time Seattle had made it since their 116-win season in 2001.
The Houston Astros eliminated them in the division series. But the Mariners shouldn’t feel bad because the Astros eliminated everyone they faced last season and ultimately won the World Series.
And their star rookie Julio Rodriguez won AL Rookie of the Year, made the All-Star team, and finished seventh in AL MVP voting.
So what will happen in 2023, according to Patnode and Gonzalez?
Patnode’s first bold prediction is that Rodriguez will top his Rookie of the Year Award in ‘22 by winning the 2023 American League MVP. That’s bold. Rodriguez is a tremendous player, and he has the makings of a future MVP award winner, but as long as Shohei Ohtani is breathing, it can only take a superhero type of season to beat him, which is what Aaron Judge did in 2022.
It will take a lot for Rodriguez to beat out Ohtani.
Gonzalez’s first bold prediction is that the Mariners will have six All-Stars in 2023: Rodriguez, George Kirby, Teoscar Hernandez, Andres Munoz, Ty France, and Robbie Ray. It would be Kirby’s first All-Star selection, Hernandez’s second, Muńoz’s first, Frances’s second, and Ray’s second.
Patnode’s second bold prediction is that Jared Kelenic will have a bounce-back season and put up a wRC+ of 115. Patnode sees an increase in home runs for Kelenic, a decrease in strikeouts and an overall better performance that will be 50% better than the numbers he posted in 2022. For context, Kelenic’s wRC+ last season was an abysmal 55, the league average is 100, and AL MVP Aaron Judge posted a 211 in 2022.
Gonzalez’s second bold prediction is that not only will George Kirby make the All-Star team, but he will win the AL Cy Young Award, and his teammates, Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert, and Robbie Ray, will all finish in the Top 15 in the AL Cy Young vote. Kirby started 25 games in 2022, finished with an 8-5 record, and posted a 3.39 ERA. Yes, that’s bold.
Again, this was all done in good fun, but you must listen to their latest episode to discover their last two predictions because they are quite bold.