MLB Second Half Predictions

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Athlon projects baseball's division winners and superlatives.

<p> Athlon projects baseball's division winners and superlatives.</p>

We look back on our preseason MLB predictions, and adjust them at the midseason point. While we're staying true to most of our AL predictions, we've made some changes to our NL wild card and divisional predictions.

American League

Preseason Predictions   Midseason Predictions
East    
1. Boston   1. Boston
2. New York*   2. New York*
3. Tampa Bay   3. Tampa Bay
4. Baltimore   4. Toronto
5. Toronto   5. Baltimore

Boston got off to a rough start with a losing April, But Adrian Gonzalez and company have looked like we expected since May. The Yankees will battle the Red Sox to the end, and Joe Girardi’s bunch should be the Wild Card team, although mounting injuries are a bit of a concern. The Yankees aren’t as young and supple as the Rays. You have to admire the job Joe Maddon is doing at Tampa Bay, but it’s hard to see them keeping pace with the Big Two unless the Rays’ offense picks up. Toronto’s Jose Bautista bears watching all season as he chases another home run crown, and Baltimore is still searching for the same boost they found in the second half last year.
 

Preseason Predictions   Midseason Predictions
Central    
1. Minnesota   1. Minnesota
2. Chicago   2. Chicago
3. Detroit   3. Detroit
4. Kansas City   4. Cleveland
5. Cleveland   5. Kansas City

The Twins are 24-12 since June 1 and seemed to have figured out their horrible play from April and May. Detroit does not seem to do much when Justin Verlander is not on the mound, and Cleveland has found its way back to the pack. The White Sox could rally in this wide-open division, but they must get production in the lineup from someone besides Paul Konerko.

 

Preseason Predictions   Midseason Predictions
West    
1. Texas   1. Texas
2. Los Angeles   2. Los Angeles
3. Oakland   3. Seattle
4. Seattle   4. Oakland

Texas struggled some in the first half, even having their starting outfield of Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Julio Borbon on the disabled list simultaneously at one point. Their lineup scored 77 runs in 10 July games leading into the All-Star Break, and we think the Rangers can outmuscle the pitching-strong Angels down the stretch. The Mariners and A’s will continue to look for offense as they play for the future.

*wild card

MVP
Adrian Gonzalez, Boston
The Red Sox first baseman leads the A.L. in average and RBIs. A-Gon is a perfect fit for Fenway, and he should continue to rake in the middle of a loaded lineup.

Cy Young
CC Sabathia, New York
The Yankees’ ace is the definition of a workhorse. Already with 13 wins, Sabathia could challenge the 23-win mark – a total that has not been reached in MLB since 2002.

Rookie of the Year
Michael Pineda, Seattle
The young righthander has the composure of a veteran this season, with an impressive 3.03 ERA in 18 starts. Pineda has struck out 113 batters in his 113.0 innings.


National League

Preseason Predictions   Midseason Predictions
East    
1. Philadelphia   1. Philadelphia
2. Atlanta   2. Atlanta*
3. Florida   3. Washington
4. New York   4. Florida
5. Washington   5. New York

Paraphrasing Dennis Green, the Phillies are who we thought they were. The rotation has been stellar as expected, and they have the best record in baseball despite a fairly pedestrian first half at the plate. The Braves’ pitching has been excellent as well, and Atlanta has to be the heavy favorite for the N.L. Wild Card. The Nationals have shown solid promise for the future, even with a managerial change. Florida seems to be buying time until they move into a new park, and the Mets have already started dumping salary with the trade of closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Brewers.
 

Preseason Predictions   Midseason Predictions
Central    
1. St. Louis   1. Milwaukee
2. Milwaukee   2. St. Louis
3. Cincinnati   3. Cincinnati
4. Chicago   4. Pittsburgh
5. Houston   5. Chicago
6. Pittsburgh   6. Houston

Milwaukee and St. Louis look like they will battle for the division crown down to the wire. They face each other nine times after the break, but none later than Sept. 7. The Brew Crew grabbed some momentum going into the second half with their acquisition of Rodriguez. The Cardinals will need to supplement their pitching staff as well. The Pirates have been this season’s best story, as Clint Hurdle led the Bucs to a winning record in the first half for the first time since 1992. The Reds are still dangerous with hitters like Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce, but Dusty Baker’s team can’t seem to find the same winning magic from a year ago. Meanwhile, the Cubs and Astros have shown no signs that they will do anything but languish at the bottom on the league.
 

Preseason Predictions   Midseason Predictions
West    
1. San Francisco   1. San Francisco
2. Colorado*   2. Arizona
3. Los Angeles   3. Colorado
4. San Diego   4. Los Angeles
5. Arizona   5. San Diego

Arizona has been a great story with their talent on offense and improved bullpen, but the champion Giants still have to be the favorite with their top pitching and Bruce Bochy’s mastery of one-run games. Colorado has the talent for a rally, but it’s doubtful their inconsistent pitching will push them up the standings this year. The Dodgers will continue to suffer through ownership issues and a lack of power, while San Diego will make news when they trade closer Heath Bell.

* wild card

MVP
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee
The Brewers’ slugger is tearing it up in a contract year, as he is tied for first in RBIs and second in home runs in the N.L.

Cy Young
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia
While the Braves’ Jair Jurrjens has been excellent, we see the 11-3 Halladay keeping it up all season. He has 15 complete games in his 52 starts with the Phillies.

Rookie of the Year
Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta
His 28 saves not only lead the majors, but that total is the highest-ever for a rookie before the All-Star Break.

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