Who are the early contenders to make the World Series in 2023?
Opening Day is fast approaching. With pitchers and catchers reporting to major league camps across Arizona and Florida this week, baseball is officially back and for the first time since 2019, we have a full spring training ahead of us. The start of camp means a first chance to view stars such as Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander and Trea Turner in their new uniforms, and this year we’ll get to see MLB’s 2023 rule changes in action. To no one’s surprise, the reigning World Series Champion Astros are the team to beat heading into 2023. The Houston outfit will be looking to secure back-to-back World Series titles for the first time since the Yankees achieved the feat in the laste-90s. But can anyone knock the seemingly unbeatable Astros off their perch and stop them from laying their hands on the Commissioner’s trophy once again? Here’s our look at what to expect from some of the top contenders in the 2023 MLB season.
Astros the favourites to defend their title
The reigning-champion Houston Astros are the current favorites to take home the 2023 World Series title, but do they really have enough to repeat? The bookies would have you believing they do. Even in a loaded AL West, the Astros are priced as a two-dollar favorite to emerge as the division winner, so expectations are still sky-high at Minute Maid Park. Those wanting to bet on the 2023 MLB season should look across various US betting sites before they do. Having lost Justin Verlander this offseason, the Astros’ season will likely boil down to how well they can replace this era-defining pitcher. Their new-look top three of Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, and Lance McCullers possess all the necessary tools and should be more than formidable enough to mitigate his departure. Houston’s lineup looks to be even more lethal this season, signing 2020 AL MVP José Abreu to a three-year deal to shore up their lone hole at first base. Houston ended last season ranking second in the AL in isolated power and strike-rate. Michael Brantley’s return from a right shoulder injury that cut his 2022 season short is a welcomed sight. The Astros look poised to win the AL West for a sixth time in seven seasons and with it make a fourth trip to the World Series in five years.
New York Yankees the most likely to challenge Astros dominance
The New York Yankees last won the World Series in 2009, going more than a decade without even winning the American League pennant. For the most successful franchise in MLB history, short trips to the postseason have become the norm as of late and that is a trend the Yankees will look to buck. Thankfully for New York fans they have retained the services of MVP hitter Aaron Judge into this year while adding Cy Young candidate Carlos Rodon to a six-year $162million deal. This will give them the best possible chance to replicate their immense offensive output from last year while adding some much-needed depth to the dugout. Finding stability outside of Judge is a must, as Anthony Rizzo, Josh Donaldson, and Giancarlo Stanton need to provide some protection in the middle of the lineup. There’s a chance the Yankees claim one of the three wild-card spots with the AL East being such a deep division, but still, the Yankees have more than enough pieces to make a run into October. The Yankees had a very strong start to the season in 2022, followed by a slump in the second half that culminated in an ALCS defeat to eventual World Series champions Astros. If these signings are anything to go by, they are ready to end the drought.
New York Mets are the best of the rest
Over on the other side of town, the Mets at Citi Field have been making a lot of noise this offseason. The last two seasons, the Mets had the National League East title well within reach late in the season, and both times they let it slip away to the Braves. For the second straight offseason, the Mets responded to that disappointment by spending a bunch of money on very good players. They enter the year with a slightly improved and much more expensive roster looking to finally take home that elusive NL East crown for the first time since 2015. So far this Winter, the Mets have signed Justin Verlander, José Quintana, David Robertson, Kodai Senga, Omar Narváez, and Carlos Correa. Brandon Nimmo, Edwin Diaz, and Adam Ottavino have also been re-signed, which puts the Mets’ total outlay this offseason at $806.1 million; the most money ever spent by a team in a single offseason. Their intentions are clear, they’re here to win this year, and they have taken all the necessary steps to ensure they do just that. Having said that, the NL East was probably the most active division in the offseason for signings and the question remains whether they would have done enough to pose a credible threat to the Yankees’ or Astros’ World Series ambitions. At the very least though they will be competing for a divisional title.
San Diego hoping to silence the doubters
Given how complete San Diego’s roster is coupled with the fact they advanced to last season’s NLCS, it’s a bit surprising to see the Padres priced at only +1000. Sure, oddsmakers are still expecting a successful season with the Padres boasting the sixth-best odds to win the 2023 Fall Classic, but a +750 price tag is more in line with this team’s ceiling. The San Diego Padres lost the NLCS in five games to the Philadelphia Phillies, but three of the four losses were decided by two runs or fewer. While San Diego struck out on landing Aaron Judge, it dramatically improved its lineup depth with Matt Carpenter and Nelson Cruz. Keep in mind, San Diego is already making up for the Fernando Tatís Jr. suspension with perennial All-Star hitter Xander Bogaerts sliding in at shortstop. Tatís Jr. should be at peak form long before the playoff race, giving San Diego a lineup with multiple NL MVP candidates and excellent depth, with a strong rotation and excellent bullpen backing them. If there’s ever a time the Padres dethrone the Dodgers and claim the NL West regular season title, now’s the time, and past that, why not dream of a visit to the Fall classic?
The Soccer Master Who Became MMA Legend – Pawel Kozlowski
Pawel Kozlowski was born in 1992, in Gniezno, Poland. The footballer-turned-MMA fighter was born to rule the ring. He was destined to achieve greatness, and he did that in style. Early in his life, at 17, he played soccer to mesmerize the world with his natural talent, but his love and passion for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) never faded. His life took a significant turn during a break from soccer training, triggering an unrelenting interest in MMA. Taking advantage of his football break, he enrolled in a club with facilities for boxing, Thai boxing, wrestling, and Jiu Jitsu. It was a decisive moment in his life. After playing soccer for nine years, he decided to make a professional career in MMA.
The Shift – Training For MMA
When preparing for a professional MMA fight, Pawel takes a strategic approach, planning all the tactics eight weeks ahead of the event. Usually, he trains 2-3 times a day and maintains a balanced and nutritious diet for this purpose. Before going into the ring, he follows a special diet to maintain weight.
The MMA Early Days – Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
In 2010, Pawel Kozlowski started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. After a year of toil and hard work, he finally tasted success at the Austrian National Championship. Since then, he has never looked back, winning the World Pro Jiu Jitsu Trials and the European Championship. In 2016, Paweł Kozłowski became the national champion of Poland and Austria in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. At the WKF World Championships in Italy, he won the runners-up medal in the Sanda category and a Bronze Medal in the MMA category. He also won the Qualification for the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Championship, which took place in Abu Dhabi. BJJ Fanatics website lists Pawel among the three best BJJ players from Poland for 2016. In 2014, he joined the Vienna edition of the charity action “You will not keep the Master – Sportsmen for Children.” In July 2016, he established the Alpha Jiu-Jitsu Academy to train aspirant individuals.
Pawel’s most significant career moments came at the WKF World Championship, where he won Silver in Sanda and Bronze in MMA. He is a multiple Austrian and Polish National Champion and has won the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam twice. In MMA, he has 5 professional bouts, all of which he won in the first round and all by Submission. Pawel has also defeated the 2012 European champion twice.
The Pride Of His Parents
Pawel’s father always wanted him to become a soccer player, and he was not very happy with him not playing football anymore. Still, he continued to make a name for himself in MMA, making his parents proud of his unprecedented achievements.
Fighting with an injured knee
The most challenging fight for Pawel was the fight in the final of the Open Championship, held in Croatia in 2012. It was his first fight after sustaining a knee injury, and he only had 10 days to prepare for it. In the final, he was leading his opponent with a 2:0 score line. Unfortunately, his stamina was running out, and the opponent took full advantage and won back-to-back points to lead with a 2: 6 score line. However, he got two more points and eventually won the fight with a 7:6 score line, with only 10 seconds to go for the final whistle.
Pawel Kozlowski – The Legend
At pro-MMA, Pawel Kozlowski is unbeaten with a record of 5-0-0, securing all his wins in the first round. He is also a six-time European Championship medalist in Jiu Jitsu, having won over 400 matches with another 500 Jiu Jitsu fights worldwide. He has won three European titles and the Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi, the most prestigious tournament in this sport. Pawel released an instructional DVD about a technique he has developed called the “GremlinLock,” thus becoming a legend of the sport.
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