Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Second Half MLB Predictions

At the halfway point, here are your current playoff teams:

Boston (East)
Detroit (Central)
Anaheim (West)
NY Yankees (Wild Card)

Philadelphia (East)
St. Louis (Central)
Los Angeles (West)
San Francisco (Wild Card)

What will change between now and the 4th of October? My thoughts:

East – Boston drops the division lead to the Yankees twice in the second half but the Sox come out on top in the end. The Rays’ pitching fizzles in the second half, and they’re not factors in the race. The Yankees take the wild card by a comfortable 5 game margin.

Central – For Detroit, I think Verlander can keep it up in the second half, but can Jackson maintain an ERA more than 2 runs less than his career number? Porcello’s already wearing down, and Galarraga’s been garbage. I have no confidence in that bullpen. I like Minnesota’s team, but I really like the White Sox to win this thing. They had a pretty poor offensive first half but got hot as of late. Quentin’s taking a little longer than expected to get healthy, but I’d like to think he’ll end up hitting a little higher than .229. They could use another starter, but Danks, Buehrle, Floyd, and a resurgent Contreras isn’t a bad first four. I like them to win a close race, by 2 games over the Twins in the end.

West – I’d love to give this to the Rangers, but I just can’t do it. Despite their offense, Millwood’s getting hit lately, and it’s hard to get behind guys like Tommy Hunter, Scott Feldman, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Dustin Nippert, and Vicente Padilla. The Angels are weathering an injured Hunter and a stick-a-fork-in-him Vlad. Weaver’s been sketchy the last month, and Saunders is the opposite of unhittable. Lackey’s still having trouble missing bats as well. The bridge to Fuentes is junk too. The Mariners are entertaining, but I don’t see them as much of a threat. Rumors have them dealing Washburn, Bedard, and/or Beltre, so are they considering themselves contenders? The A’s suck, so I guess I’ll give it to the Angels by default.

East – The Phils maintain their lead in the East for the entire second half, holding off a pesky Atlanta team. The Mets finish the season in a third place tie with the Marlins with 79 wins. Philly’s got Pedro now, and I think they’ll make a serious run at either Halladay or one of Seattle’s starters. Hamels should improve upon his 4.87 first half ERA, and I like Blanton to be a bright spot in the second half.

Central – The Cardinals finish with the second best record in the National League easily distancing themselves from the Cubs and Brewers in the final two weeks of the season. Carpenter and Wainwright are the game’s best 1-2 in the second half, and the underrated Pineiro continues to put up quality starts. Wellemeyer’s unreliable and Lohse is a question, so I wouldn’t rule out them making a move for another starter to slot in after the first three. Franklin’s lights out in the closer role. On offense, Pujols is the best player in the game, Rasmus looks like the NL’s ROY, and Ryan Ludwick seems to be getting it together. The Cubs are a mess, and I like watching them lose. I think Lilly’s numbers slide a bit in the second half, Dempster’s hurt, Zambrano’s mental, Wells is too good to be true, and Harden’s consistently erratic. I don’t think the Brewers will have the pitching to overtake the Cards, and the rest of the division is junk.

West – The Dodgers finish with the best record in baseball, winning the division by 9 games. I’d like another starter (Bedard) to go with Billingsley, Kershaw, Wolf, and Kuroda, and another bullpen arm (especially if Broxton misses time with the toe) would be nice. I’ll go with the Rockies as wild card winners over the Giants.

NL – Albert Pujols
AL – Justin Morneau

The NL vote isn’t even close as Pujols makes a serious run (but falls short) at a triple crown, but Morneau beats out Miguel Cabrera, Ichiro Suzuki, teammate Joe Mauer, and surprise 3rd place finisher, Carl Crawford in a close AL race.

Cy Young
NL – Tim Lincecum
AL – Josh Beckett

Haren and Tim Lincecum duel it out in the second half for the trophy, and Chris Carpenter and Josh Johnson finish up with award worthy years as well. I see Lincecum pulling off the back-to-back over Haren due largely to the fact that he’s on the better team and will have a better shot of getting to 20 wins. I don’t think Beckett will be the best pitcher in the second half, but I see him ending up with the most wins, helping him to the award. Verlander finishes second, Greinke third.

Rookie of the Year
NL – Colby Rasmus
AL – Matt Wieters

Rasmus wins over JA Happ, Jordan Zimmerman, and Dexter Fowler, and Wieters outperforms Ricky Romero, Gordon Beckham, Elvis Andrus, and teammates, Nolan Reimold and Brad Bergesen.

Red Sox beat Angels
Yankees beat White Sox
Red Sox beat Yankees

Dodgers beat Phillies
Cardinals beat Rockies
Dodgers beat Cardinals

World Series
Dodgers over Red Sox in 7

I think the Dodgers are a good enough team to withstand my KOD and have shown that losing one player, even their best offensive weapon, won’t slow them down. I’d really like to see them get Bedard which would give them two sick lefties (with Kershaw) behind Billingsley; not to mention Wolf and Kuroda. Bedard shouldn’t cost terribly much considering the lingering questions around his shoulder and the fact that he’ll be a free agent after the season.

The Cardinals worry me more than the Phillies, as Pujols can carry a team, and I love the 1-2 of Carpenter and Wainwright. I may have to reconsider things if Halladay ends up in Philly.

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