The 2023 MLB regular season has arrived along with some big rule changes, which has made predicting the league all the more challenging. You would think a shift ban, larger bases and a pitch clock would lead to more offense, yet on Opening Day, four pitchers eclipsed 10 strikeouts.

In what should be an unpredictably unique year of baseball, here are seven bold, honest and fun predictions for the 2023 MLB regular season. Realistically speaking, I’ll be glad if at least one of these hits.

No. 1: The Toronto Blue Jays will lead the majors in total hits. Four current Blue Jays finished with an average exit velocity above 90 mph, with George Springer not far below that mark.

Now that batted balls from the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Springer can find holes in the defense, this year we might finally see the Blue Jays’ movie that Guerrero teased at the end of his stellar 2021 campaign.

No. 2: Two newcomers will lead their respective teams in home runs. The Chicago Cubs signed Dansby Swanson in the offseason to a seven-year contract. With the other threats in Chicago’s lineup being Ian Happ, Cody Bellinger and Trey Mancini, it’s reasonable to see Swanson leading the pack after slugging 52 combined home runs in his last two seasons with the Atlanta Braves.

The Seattle Mariners acquired Teoscar Hernandez this offseason from Toronto. While Seattle has two legitimate MVP contenders already in their lineup in Julio Rodriguez and Ty France, Hernandez will hit the most homers for them in 2023 after hitting 57 of them combined in his previous two seasons.

No. 3: Logan Gilbert will win the AL Cy Young Award. Not only was Gilbert the Mariners’ best starter in 2022, but he is also being raved about in Seattle for his pitch arsenal and location. Oh, and he’s just 25 years old.

Seattle already has two proven starters ahead of him in the rotation in Luis Castillo and 2021 AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray. With the continued development of Gilbert, I see him finally breaking out of his shell and becoming Seattle’s ace, collecting some hardware along the way.

No. 4: Kodai Senga will have the most wins and innings pitched for the New York Mets. Senga signed with the Mets in the offseason after 11 years of pitching in Japan. Over that span, Senga appeared in at least 20 games per year every year aside from 2021, where he appeared in 18.

Both Mets aces Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander are 38 and 40 years old respectively. While Verlander is coming off a Cy Young-award-winning season with the Houston Astros in 2022, he missed time late last year before being put on the shelf for a playoff run.

Scherzer also went from starting 30 games and throwing 179 ⅓ innings in 2021 to starting 23 games and throwing 145 ⅓ innings last year. The talented Mets lineup should give Senga ample opportunities for wins.

No. 5: Shohei Ohtani will remain a Los Angeles Angel at the trade deadline and makes his playoff debut. We’ve heard speculations about the two-way megastar playing elsewhere due to the Angels’ lack of success in recent years.

Ultimately, Ohtani will play out 2023 with Mike Trout and the Angels, clinching a wild-card playoff berth at 88–74. However, this won’t be enough to keep Ohtani on the Angels, setting up a bidding war for the ages this offseason.

No. 6: The Mets will acquire Bryan Reynolds and Corbin Burnes at the trade deadline. If you thought Steven Cohen’s spending couldn’t get any more ridiculous, you may want to skip this prediction.

It’s very clear that the hedge fund Mets owner is spending for a World Series ring. Not only do the Mets acquire both players, but also extend them to long-term deals, with Reynolds getting $140 million over nine years and Burnes getting $235 million over six years.

No. 7: The Mets will defeat the Astros in six games to win the 2023 World Series. The three-headed monster in the NL East division has dominated the last two seasons, with Atlanta’s youth capturing a World Series in 2021 and the Philadelphia Phillies riding a wave of momentum all the way to last year’s fall classic.

This will be the year that Cohen’s huge investments finally pay off, with the Mets capturing their first World Series championship since 1986, nearly 40 years ago.