John Royal’s Mid-Season MLB Progress Report and Predictions

Being that we’re at the All-Star break, I thought I would do a little review of my preseason predictions.

For the AL East, I had picked:

1. Boston 2. Toronto 3. Tampa Bay 4. New York 5. Baltimore

Instead, we currently have:

1. Boston 2. Tampa Bay 3. New York 4. Toronto 5. Baltimore

If the Rays can figure out how to win on the road, I think they can make the playoffs. Boston has the most talented team, and has been winning with David Ortiz injured and Manny Ramirez not having a Manny season. New York got off to another slow start, but is once again seems to be getting its act together. Toronto has possibly the best pitching staff in baseball, but the offense sucks. And if Baltimore could figure out how to win games on Sundays then they would possibly be leading the division.

I’m picking the division to end:

1. Boston 2. Tampa Bay 3. New York 4. Toronto 5. Baltimore

For the AL Central, I had picked:

1. Cleveland 2. Detroit 3. Minnesota 4. Kansas City 5. Chicago

Instead, we currently have:

1. Chicago 2. Minnesota 3. Detroit 4. Kansas City 5. Cleveland

I keep expecting the White Sox to fade, but they don’t. There’s just no way the Twins should be battling for first in this division – they don’t have the pitching of the White Sox or the offense of the Tigers, yet there they are. The Tigers started the season by losing their first seven and 10 of their first 12; yet have managed to somehow pull themselves back into a position to challenge the Twins and White Sox. For the Royals, it’s another lost season. And the Indians have already begun selling off parts and starting over.

I’m now picking:

1. Minnesota 2. Detroit 3. Chicago 4. Kansas City 5. Cleveland

I just don’t believe in the ChiSox. I do believe in Ron Gardenhire and the Twins, and I think Jim Leyland is getting the Tigers back on course.

For the AL West I had picked:

1. Los Angeles 2. Seattle 3. Oakland 4. Texas.

Instead, it’s:

1. Los Angeles 2. Oakland 3. Texas 4. Seattle

The Angels have the best pitching and the best management in the division. Somehow, even though he traded several key pieces in the off-season, Billy Beane constructed another contender in Oakland. The surprise of the season has to be the Rangers. Ron Washington was close to being fired back in April, but behind MVP candidates Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler, the Rangers actually find themselves with a winning record. All that can be said for the Mariners is that they suck really bad.

It will finish with:

1. Los Angeles 2. Oakland 3. Texas 4. Seattle

For the NL East I had picked:

1. New York 2. Atlanta 3. Philadelphia 4. Washington 5. Florida

Instead it’s:

1. Phillies 2. Mets 3. Marlins 4. Braves 5. Nationals

The amazing thing is that even though the Mets have been team chaos – a botched manager firing, an outfield in shambles, non-producing power hitters, and disappointing pitching, the Mets are nipping at the Phillies, a team that once again hits everybody. The Marlins are doing it again with a bunch of farm kids, rejects, and two very good players in Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla. The Braves are having a career season from Chipper Jones, but that’s about it. And the Nationals have the worst record in the National League, once again.

I’m picking:

1. New York 2. Phillies 3. Marlins 4. Braves 5. Nationals

For the NL Central, I had picked:

1. Milwaukee 2. Chicago 3. Cincinnati 4. Pittsburgh 5. Houston 6. St. Louis.

Instead, it’s:

1. Chicago 2. St. Louis 3. Milwaukee 4. Cincinnati 5. Pittsburgh 6. Houston.

The Cubs are proving to be the class of the National League, and I just don’t see them faltering. The Brewers pulled off the big trade for CC Sabathia, and after a slow start they’re on the verge of passing the Cards. That the Cards are contending with an injured Albert Pujols and a pitching ace of Kyle Lohse is amazing. Tony La Russa is definitely one of the greatest managers in baseball history. The Reds and Pirates are both thankful for the Astros. The Astros are just plain awful.

I’m picking this as:

1. Cubs 2. Brewers 3. Cardinals 4. Reds 5. Pirates 6. Astros

For the NL West, I had predicted:

1. Arizona 2. Colorado 3. San Diego 4. Los Angeles 5. San Francisco

Instead we have:

1. Arizona 2. Los Angeles 3. San Francisco 4. Colorado 5. San Diego

This was one of the best divisions in baseball last season; this year, it’s one of the worst. I think the D-Backs hang on to win because of their pitching. The Dodgers will contend if their guys get healthy and hit. If the Giants can figure out to win in San Francisco, they will be dangerous. The Rockies are probably going to become sellers of players. And the Padres are just too old.

It will finish as: 1. Arizona 2. Los Angeles 3. San Francisco 4. Colorado 5. San Diego

For the playoffs, the Red Sox will play the Twins, and the Angels will face the wild card Rays. The Angels will then defeat the Red Sox. The Mets will host the wild card Brewers and the Cubs will host the D-Backs. The Brewers will then defeat the Cubs, and the Angels will defeat the Brewers.

The mid-season Cy Youngs are Tim Lincecum of the Giants and Roy Holladay of the Blue Jays. The mid-season MVPs are Lance Berkman of the Astros and Josh Hamilton of the Rangers. The mid-season managers of the year are Tony La Russa of the Cardinals and Joe Maddon of the Rays. The mid-season rookies of the year are Geovany Soto of the Cubs and Evan Longoria of the Rays. – John Royal