Sony’s baseball simulation MLB The Show is consistently one of the best sports video games available each year, and a new year means fans are starting to look ahead to MLB The Show 23. Players love to speculate about who the cover athlete will be each year, with many good options available for the cover of MLB The Show 23.

Shohei Ohtani graced the cover of MLB The Show 22 and based on his ability and performance, the two-way sensation could be on the cover every year. We’re going to assume that there won’t be a repeat, however, and that Sony San Diego will look in a new direction in 2023. So before the official cover athlete reveal on January 30, let’s look at the best candidates to be on the cover of MLB The Show 23.

Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge MLB The Show

Let’s get the most straightforward and obvious choice out of the way. Aaron Judge is one of the most recognizable names in North American sports, and his pursuit of Roger Maris’ American League single-season home run record in 2022 was legendary. Despite another fantastic season from Shohei Ohtani, Judge was a slam dunk for the American League Most Valuable Player award last season.

The biggest thing working against Aaron Judge when it comes to being on the cover of MLB The Show 23 is that he was on the cover of MLB The Show 18. Sony San Diego has chosen repeat cover athletes before – Joe Mauer was on the cover multiple times in the 2000s – but they could look to head in a different direction in 2023.

Julio Rodriguez

Julio Rodriguez MLB The Show

Young, charismatic players resonate with the MLB The Show fanbase, and Sony San Diego has leveraged that fact with recent choices like Fernando Tatis Jr and Javy Baez. J-Rod was expected to be a top prospect that could contribute when he made the Mariners roster out of spring training. Instead, after a rough April, he was so dominant for the rest of the season that even solid American League rookies like Bobby Witt, Jr had no chance in the Rookie of the Year voting.

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Rodriguez’s speed, power, and personality helped him connect with baseball fans in Seattle, and a wildly entertaining performance in the 2022 Home Run Derby made him a household name for baseball fans nationwide. He might be a better bet for the MLB The Show 24 cover after one more good season, but Sony wouldn’t go wrong by choosing J-Rod for the cover this year.

Vladimir Guerrero, Jr

Vladimir Guerrero Jr MLB The Show

He might have had a bit of a down year in 2022 by his standards, but Vladimir Guerrero, Jr is still one of the best young players in all of baseball. If not for Shohei Ohtani, Vladdy would’ve won the American League MVP award in 2021, making a run at the Triple Crown that year.

Guerrero Jr makes for one of the best Diamond Dynasty cards every year, and his father has some of the best legends cards in the mode year after year. He probably won’t be the pick for the cover athlete in MLB The Show 23, but the talented and charismatic Vladdy would make a good ambassador for the game.

Jazz Chisolm

Jazz Chisolm MLB The Show

Jazz Chisolm is a dark horse candidate for cover athlete, but he’s my pick to grace the cover of MLB The Show 23. Chisolm is fast, can hit for average and power, and is a versatile enough fielder to move to center field for the first time in his professional career this year. Of course, there are better center fielders in baseball, but as a second baseman, Chisolm was an elite option in Diamond Dynasty.

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The real reason Chisolm is my pick is that he’s an MLB The Show superfan. He has an established relationship with the developers already. When the Marlins were in San Diego in 2022, Chisolm got a tour of the studio and even got his Real 99 card for Diamond Dynasty, a one of a kind 99 overall version of himself that only he can use in Diamond Dynasty.

Yordan Alvarez

Yordan Alvarez MLB The Show

Great players on the Houston Astros often don’t get the credit they deserve, because the entire team is so talented and well built. However, Yordan Alvarez has stood out as a force when the lights are brightest, and he’s done it at only 25 years old.

Alvarez broke the hearts of the Seattle Mariners in the playoffs last year before sealing the deal with a huge home run in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. The problem is that the Astros have numerous players that would be a good choice for cover athlete, including Alex Bregman and rookie sensation Jeremy Pena.

Ronald Acuna, Jr

Ronald Acuna Jr MLB The Show 23

Ronald Acuna, Jr can be a polarizing player for some, but there’s no denying the talent he possesses. The Braves outfielder can be a showman – sometimes excessively so – but that makes him an ideal choice to be on the cover of MLB The Show 23. Like many others on this list, he also has a highly sought after Diamond Dynasty card year after year.

This might not be the year for Acuna, though. As talented and charismatic as he is, other players are likely a better fit for the cover of MLB The Show 23. However, if Sony San Diego wants to go a similar route as when they had Fernando Tatis, Jr on the cover, Acuna would be a solid choice.

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Adley Rutschman

Adley Rutschman MLB The Show 23

Sometimes, one player can make all the difference. The Baltimore Orioles became a different team when highly touted catcher prospect Adley Rutschman joined the team midway through 2022, even challenging for the final American League Wild Card spot. Not bad for a team that had been losing at historic rates the past few seasons.

Rutschman is a prototypical catcher and was the first overall pick in the MLB draft. He is a solid hitter and great defensively, and his work with the Orioles pitching staff was a driving force behind their 2022 turnaround. Considering that the Orioles should have many better years ahead of them, Rutschman might be on the cover later, but he’s already earned the right to be considered.

MLB The Show 23 is coming soon to PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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