The 2023 MLB season begins in earnest this week after a way-too-long Spring Training warmup. Spring Training: awesome to attend, terrible to watch from afar. Every year, I grit my teeth and say, "Yankees? Just get through this without any catastrophic injuries."
And this year? They didn't! But optimism still supersedes worry and runs rampant, now that April is here.
Since the season started on Thursday, national publications dropped their expert predictions, and former MLB GM Jim Bowden's (written up in The Athletic on Monday) were a bit of a doozy.
Amidst mostly deeply sincere predictions -- "Mariners righty Logan Gilbert throws the first no-hitter of the 2023 season on May 12 against the Tigers in Detroit," I mean, that's oddly specific -- Bowden tossed in a bizarre joke claiming Hal Steinbrenner would nix a Jasson Dominguez-for-Bryan Reynolds trade (one-for-one) because of a bad dream. Tonally, it was strange to read!
Beyond that, though, Bowden did have a few more serious predictions for the Bronx Bombers: one deeply joyful, and one that might cause eyes (and heads) to roll.
Yankees Predictions: Anthony Volpe wins Rookie of the Year, Aroldis Chapman stars elsewhere
According to Bowden, Anthony Volpe, the Yankees' newly-minted shortstop, will win the Rookie of the Year award. If he pulls it off in 2023, that'll be doubly great for the Yanks.
Obviously, having a rookie shortstop starring to that degree probably means your season is going well. It's an endorsement of the team's change in philosophy, and might even lead to other über prospects like Dominguez to see the big leagues earlier than fans anticipated. But, as a bonus, thanks to MLB's anti-service time manipulation task force, that would also give the Yankees an additional first-round pick next season. Nice!
Bowden's second prediction -- of course -- involves the resurgence of Aroldis Chapman; he predicts Chappy will star for the Royals and find himself traded to a contender at the deadline. Our prediction? He stinks like always, but still finds himself traded to a contender anyway. Contenders love this left-handed closer's one weird trick (hitting batters with pitches from the same arm he recently got a Bad Tattoo on)!
If the worst thing Yankee fans have to endure in 2023 is Chapman becoming someone else's talking point, then maybe things just might turn out OK.