Tuesday, 10 July 2007

MLB 2nd Half Predictions

Continuing with the theme of midseason MLB posts, it's time for one more... my 2nd half predictions. I'll give you my order for the divisions, and then any other random predictions I can think of. I'd comment on the All-Star game, but I didn't really watch it (other than the surprisingly exciting bottom of the 9th inning).

1. Boston Red Sox
2. NY Yankees
3. Toronto Blue Jays
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Tampa Bay Devil Rays

I think the Yankees have just had awful luck this year (6-14 in 1-run games) that will even out over the course of the year, so I actually think they might have a chance to make a legitimate run at the division title, but 10 games is just a lot to overcome against a really good Red Sox team. At the tail end of the division, the DRays still aren't any good.

1. Detroit Tigers
2. Cleveland Indians*
3. Minnesota Twins
4. Chicago White Sox
5. Kansas City Royals

I would like to pick the Twins here, but it's hard to see lightning striking twice. The Indians and Tigers are both high quality teams and the 7-8 game edge they have will be tough for the Twins to overcome. That said, I do have a good feeling about this Twins team, and all (well, maybe there's still some) bias aside, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see Minnesota back in the postseason.

1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Oakland Athletics
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Texas Rangers

I think Oakland will be the best team in this division in the 2nd half, but I'm not sure they're quite good enough to overcome the 9 game cushion that the Angels have right now. Likewise, the Mariners are a good team, but not better than the Angels. As usual, the Rangers are pretty much irrelevant at this point.

1. Atlanta Braves
2. NY Mets*
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. Florida Marlins
5. Washington Nationals

I think some of the performances by Mets pitchers have been a little flukey (see: John Maine, Jorge Sosa, Oliver Perez), which is why I give the Braves the slight edge for the division. I do like the Mets to win the Wildcard, but the Phillies should be in the race until the end as well. The Marlins are talented, but still a little too inconsistent for me to be legitimate contenders, though they are only 7 games back.

1. Chicago Cubs
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. Houston Astros
4. St. Louis Cardinals
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
6. Cincinnati Reds

I made the bold prediction that the Cubs will win the NL Central over a month ago, and I am sticking with it. As I said a little while ago, I don't feel too comfortable with it, but the Cubs are playing better and are only 4.5 games back. As their luck continues to even out I see them eventually beating out the Brewers in a really tight race. The rest of the division is awful. The Cardinals are 40-45 and only 7.5 GB, but they haven't even been playing that well. No one else has any chance.

1. San Diego Padres
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Francisco Giants

The Padres only have a 1 game lead right now, but I do think they are definitely the best team in the division. The Dodgers might be able to give them a fight, but I think the DBacks will start falling out of the race. The Rockies have been a nice story, but they're a .500 team. They're just not good enough at this point to compete with the Padres.

Other predictions:

Pitcher most likely to see his numbers drop - Chad Gaudin - It probably doesn't take a rocket scientist for this call, but Gaudin's 2.88 ERA is completely flukey. For one, he has never pitched this well throughout his career. Second, his K/BB numbers are not impressive. Only 68 strikeouts compared to 48 BB. That won't get the job done all year long. I expect his ERA to raise almost a point by the end of the year.

Pitcher most likely to see his numbers improve - Tim Lincecum - I've been on the Lincecum bandwagon from the beginning, and at one point even wondered if he might eventually be a Cy Young candidate, so it's a little disappointing to see the ERA up at 4.63. But I'm not exactly worried. For one, he still has dynamite stuff. Like, some of the best stuff in the MLB. Second, his splits still look very good. He has had some trouble with his control at times, but that was to be expected. What you have to like is that he is striking out over a batter per inning (79 K in 72 IP), which is great. He's also doing a decent job of keeping the ball in the ballpark. I think his ERA could drop a run in the 2nd half. Of course, when he does things like this, it's easy to fall in love with his potential.

What do you think of these predictions? Agree or disagree with them?