Monday, July 4, 2011

Mid Season Check Up

Before the season, I made my predictions for how Major League Baseball was going to end up in this piece. (My AL East picks were in this piece.) I will write the standings as they are now. The bold parenthesized numbers is the record the team is on pace for in 162 games, and the italicized parenthesized numbers are my predicted record (I only predicted records for the AL East), with the underlined number being my predicted place in the standings.

AL East
1. New York Yankees (99-63) (94-68) 2.
2. Boston Red Sox (96-66) (98-64) 1.
3. Tampa Bay Rays (91-71) (85-75) 3.
4. Toronto Blue Jays (78-84) (79-82) 4.
5. Baltimore Orioles (72-90) (75-85) 5.

Before the season, I think I underestimated what the Yankees were bringing to the table. I thought their rotation would be thin behind CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes, but Hughes has been a non-factor, and the team is still leading the division. I think the Red Sox have underachieved, and when they play to their ability, they should be the best team in this group. The rest of the division is going as I thought it would, but the Rays are going to be a much better contender than I ever anticipated.

AL Central
1. Cleveland Indians (87-75) 5.
2. Detroit Tigers (86-76) 1.
3. Chicago White Sox (80-82) 3.
4. Minnesota Twins (71-91) 2.
5. Kansas City Royals (66-96) 4.

This has been one of the more surprising divisions in baseball for a few reasons. I never could have predicted that the Indians would be leading this division at the halfway mark. They have done so behind upstarts such as Asdrubal Cabrera and Justin Masterson, who I always pegged as nice but not great players. On the other hand, the Twins have severely disappointed, and some of their fans are growing tired of their "fiscal" ways.

AL West
1. Texas Rangers (85-77) 2.
2. Los Angeles Angels (83-79) 1.
3. Seattle Mariners (79-83) 4.
4. Oakland A's (72-90) 3.

This division has more or less gone how I thought it would. The biggest surprise for me in the division is Seattle. I figured they would be one of the three or four worst teams baseball had to offer, but they have gotten a strong rookie year from Michael Pineda, and Erik Bedard is having a comeback year of sorts. Right now, it looks like the Rangers division to win.

NL East
1. Philadelphia Phillies (101-61) 1.
2. Atlanta Braves (93-69) 2.
3. New York Mets (81-81) 4.
4. Washington Nationals (80-82) 5.
5. Florida Marlins (73-89) 3.

I pinned this as the most competitive division in baseball, with my bold prediction for the season being that nobody in this division with finish with under 80 wins. Right now, I am looking okay, except that the Marlins have been far less competitive than I could have predicted. The Phillies and Braves have done what I expected, but I figured the Marlins would be on pace for somewhere around 90 wins at this point.

NL Central
T-1. Milwaukee Brewers (86-76) 2.
T-1. St. Louis Cardinals (86-76) 3.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates (83-79) 6.
4. Cincinnati Reds (82-80) 1.
5. Chicago Cubs (67-95) 4.
6. Houston Astros (55-107) 5.

The Reds have been one of my more disappointing teams in baseball in the first half. After winning the division last year with such a young team, I figured they'd win a two team race against Milwaukee. However, due in part to a surprising resurgance from St. Louis, the Reds are sitting in fourth, with the Brewers tied with the Redbirds in first. I'd be remiss if I didn't include the Pirates resurgance, as they are trying to avoid their 20th straight losing season.

NL West
1. San Francisco Giants (91-71) 1.
2. Arizona Diamondbacks (86-76) 5.
3. Colorado Rockies (79-83) 2.
4. San Diego Padres (72-90) 4.
5. Los Angelos Dodgers (71-91) 3.

The Diamondbacks are one of the most surprising teams in baseball. Led by a new attitude being brought forward by rookie manager Kirk Gibson, the DBacks are in full chase of the defending World Series Champions. The Rockies have been another big disappointment for me, but I expect Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and the pitching staff to have a strong second half and contend for the wild card.

Here are how the playoffs would look today, with my prediction underneath.

Red Sox vs. Indians; Yankees Rangers
Red Sox vs. Rangers; Tigers vs. Angels

Phillies vs. Brewers; Giants vs. Braves
Phillies vs. Brewers; Giants vs. Reds

These are my predicted award winners in March, and how they are actually faring now.

Adrian Gonzalez- I was right on with this pick, but even I couldn't have predicted he would be this good. He is putting the ball all over the ballpark, and is hitting at an incredible .350 clip. This is the best hitting performance I've seen in Boston since Manny in his prime.

Ryan Braun- He is having a fantastic season, but it looks like Braun's teammate Prince Fielder may be the favorite for the NL MVP right now. However, is Braun has a big second half and the Brewers stay where they are in the standings, he will have a chance.

AL Cy Young
CC Sabathia- He has pitched well and is one of the reasons the Yankees are in first place. Sabathia is always a strong second half pitcher, so he should have great numbers after year's end. However, Justin Verlander has been on a tear this year, and it is his award to lose.

NL Cy Young
Matt Cain- The defending world champion is pitching well this year, but not at the Cy Young level I expected him to jump to in 2011. His win-loss record looks worse than it should, but Cain was just named an All Star and is having a nice year. Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee highlight the NL Cy Young race.


1 comment:

  1. No one could have predicted the AL Central. It's a clusterf#@k. I picked the Twins based on the strength of their starting pitching and the combo of Mauer/Morneau. Oops! I still think it could go either way, but the Tigers are my favorite at this point.