Thoughts of a Savant
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My blog that this is posted on originally is at

sportsvant.blogspot.com

Here it goes, predictions by division: (will predict final stats for one hitter and one pitcher on each team)

American League

East
1. Boston: David Ortiz (.230, 28 HR, 99 RBI), Jon Lester (19-8, 3.39 ERA)
2. New York: Mark Teixeira (.290, 40 HR, 129 RBI), C.C. Sabathia (18-9, 3.66 ERA)
3. Tampa Bay: Carl Crawford (.302, 14 HR, 70 RBI, 72 SB), James Shields (16-9, 3.40 ERA)
4. Baltimore: Adam Jones (.290, 20 HR, 80 RBI), Brad Burgeson (12-10, 3.69 ERA)
5. Toronto: Aaron Hill (.288, 34 HR, 107 RBI), Roy Halladay, hitter's park (21-7, 2.95 ERA), pitcher's/neutral park (22-5, 2.78 ERA)

What will happen: Boston will make a deal for a top notch bat (Victor Martinez?) to add to their arsenal. They will win with the division and are the clear favorites heading into October. The Yanks will continue to roll...I predict a Wild Card birth in their future and having the second best record in the A.L. The Rays will just miss out on the Wild Card birth with a late run. Price finally shows his true talent and they continue their strong play through the end of the year. Baltimore will overtake the Jays once Halladay is dealt. Halladay is like an 80% guarantee of a win, without him, everybody else is less than 50% certain. They've been fading and will continue to. Baltimore just has too much offensive firepower to finish in last.

Central
1. Minnesota: Joe Mauer (.358, 23 HR, 87 RBI), Francisco Liriano (12-12, 4.69 ERA)
2. Detroit: Miguel Cabrera (.330, 39 HR, 107 RBI), Edwin Jackson (13-11, 3.34 ERA)
3. Chicago: Jermaine Dye (.295, 36 HR, 97 RBI), Mark Buehrle (16-9, 3.68 ERA)
4. Cleveland: Victor Martinez (.282, 22 HR, 95 RBI), Cliff Lee (14-13, 3.05 ERA)
5. Kansas City: David DeJesus (.277, 12 HR, 68 RBI),  Zack Greinke (17-12, 2.92 ERA)

What will happen: Minnesota always finds a way to get to October and they will again. Liriano can only get better and their lineup is strong from top to bottom. I like them to sneak up on people in the playoffs too. It seems inevitable that something bad will happen to Detroit. Bad things have happened to their basketball team (Iverson trade), hockey team (blew 3-2 Finals lead), and football team (0-16). It seems like destiny for them to finish second in an extremely tight race. No way guys like Edwin Jackson, Rick Porcello, and Fernando Rodney continue to be as solid as they have been so far. The White Sox will drop out of the race very soon. How are they still in it? They have very mediocre pitching and a very mediocre lineup, yet as of July 27, they are 3 games back. They don't have the firepower to last into September. They will fade fast in August. Unless Cleveland totally has a fire sale they will avoid the division cellar. They are too talented to finish in last, especially offensively. Their pitching is horrible, but I would be surprised if they don't win more games in the second half than the first. Very surprised. Kansas City will once again finish in the familiar confines of last place this year. Greinke has been a good story so far, but will undoubtedly fade down the stretch, just like the rest of the team.

West
1. Anaheim (they play in ANAHEIM): Mike Napoli (.290, 18 HR, 58 RBI), Jered Weaver (18-8, 3.38 ERA)
2. Texas: Josh Hamilton (.272, 25 HR, 73 RBI), Kevin Millwood (13-14, 3.82 ERA)
3. Seattle: Ichiro (.366, 12 HR, 55 RBI), Felix Hernandez (21-5, 2.35 ERA)
4. Oakland: Jack Cust (.230, 25 HR, 88 RBI), Dallas Braden (12-15, 3.79 ERA)

What will happen: The Rangers have had a strong first half, but their pitching does not have the depth to hold up. They will not make a big trade before the deadline, they don't want to mess with their prospects to get a mid-high level pitcher. Anaheim will cruise to the the division crown. Their pitching is healthy compared to the first half and their bats will continue to be hot. They don't have the firepower to compete with New York or Boston though. Seattle has a lot of good pieces, but this year is just not their year. Next year, they will be contenders for the West crown, but down the stretch they just don't have the pitching to compete with the well rounded Angels and the heavy hitting Rangers. Oakland is a disaster. Billy Beane isn't looking so good now. Their prospects aren't great, they're signings haven't been great, and their future is bleak. They might finish with the worst record in baseball (not counting the Nationals, they are Triple A) . No pitching. No hitting. No winning.


National League

East
1. Philadelphia: Ryan Howard (.268, 47 HR, 142 RBI), Cole Hamels (13-10, 4.28 ERA)
2. Florida: Hanley Ramirez (.340, 29 HR, 105 RBI, 32 SB), Ricky Nolasco (16-10, 3.94 ERA)
3. Atlanta: Brian McCann (.297, 21 HR, 80 RBI), Tommy Hanson (14-2, 2.77 ERA)
4. New York: David Wright (.318, 20 HR, 98 RBI), Johan Santana (20-12, 2.98 ERA)
5. Washington: Adam Dunn (. 255, 40 HR, 100 RBI), Steven Strasburg ($50,000,000.00)

What will happen: The defending champion Phillies will make a trade for a pitcher, almost for certain. When that happens, they will run away with the division. Howard and Utley are the best one-two punch in baseball and Hamels is due for a better second half. Add Halladay or Lee into the mix, they are a legitimate threat to win back to back World Series titles. The Marlins could sneak up on everybody for a wild card birth. They have good pitching and good hitting. They are a dangerous team. Atlanta is a very weird team. Not really any stars, a couple of good prospects, and they are still in the hunt for the playoffs. I think they will continue their steady play for the rest of the season, but they will not make a run at the playoffs. They just don't have enough good players. The Mets have a mess on their hands. A lot of their good hitters are hurt (Delgado, Beltran), Wright can't hit for power, Santana gets no run support. They won't make a run like many are predicting. The Nationals are, well, the Nationals. Another last place finish for them.

Central
1. St. Louis: Albert Pujols (.347, 59 HR, 165 RBI), Chris Carpenter (16-6, 2.46 ERA)
2. Milwaukee: Prince Fielder (.305, 42 HR, 133 RBI), Yovani Gallardo (14-13, 3.68 ERA)
3. Chicago: Alfonso Soriano (.258, 26 HR, 70 RBI), Carlos Zambrano (15-8, 3.41 ERA)
4. Houston: Carlos Lee (.307, 27 HR, 107 RBI), Wandy Rodriguez (17-11, 3.02 ERA)
5. Cincinnati: Joey Votto (.355, 26 HR, 99 RBI), Johnny Cueto (14-15, 3.81 ERA)
6. Pittsburgh: Freddie Sanchez (.304, 10 HR, 49 RBI) Zach Duke (13-20, 4.10 ERA)

What will happen: The Cardinals made a big step forward with the Holliday trade and should run away with the Central, maybe in the next few weeks. Pujols continues to be otherworldly and guys like Wainwright and Carpenter carry that staff just fine. The Cards are stacked for a long playoff run. The Brew Crew in Milwaukee may have enough offensive juice to snag a wild card spot and second place in the division. Prince Fielder quietly remains one of the best hitters in baseball and is very underrated. Braun isn't too shabby either. Their pitching should come together down the stretch a little better. Chicago doesn't have the hitting many people thought they would have so far, and it won't get any better. They will hold steady, but not contend for a playoff spot. Houston has good pieces, but too many holes to compete for a playoff spot, but if Berkman and Lee heat up, they could be dangerous. Cincinnati's pitching can't be as awful as it has been so far. Their offense has a lot of potential and we'll see that in the second half. The Pirates will find some way to finish last; they always do.

West
1. Los Angeles: Manny Ramirez (.346, 25 HR, 93 RBI), Chad Billingsley (18-13, 3.89)
2. San Francisco: Pablo Sandoval (.320, 24 HR, 98 RBI), Tim Lincecum (21-5, 2.29 ERA)
3. Colorado: Brad Hawpe (.305, 24 HR, 106 RBI), Jason Marquis (18-15, 4.07 ERA)
4. Arizona: Mark Reynolds (.272, 40 HR, 103 RBI), Dan Haren (18-9, 2.24 ERA)
5. San Diego: Adrian Gonzalez (.254, 38 HR, 95 RBI), Heath Bell (1.98 ERA, 39 saves)

What will happen: The Dodgers, who have been the favorites all year long, will continue to be the favorites, and will win the division. San Francisco and Colorado will fade. San Francisco's pitching duo of Lincecum and Cain give them the edge over Colorado, who doesn't have good pitching at all. Their offense is doomed to have a worse second half as well and San Francisco's hitting is horrible. Arizona should make up some ground in the second half, but they are too far out to make any noise. Maybe Dan Haren can still make a run at the Cy Young though. San Diego just has nothing. They need to revamp that team fast.


Awards (only MVP and Cy Young, don't wanna mess the other ones)

AL MVP: Joe Mauer (though Mark Teixeira will deserve it)
NL MVP: Albert Pujols


AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez (Roy Halladay if not traded to NL)
NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum


Playoff Projections

A.L.
(high seed first)
Wild Card
Boston vs. Minnesota: Boston wins in 3
Anaheim vs New York*: New York wins in 5

ALCS
Boston vs. New York: New York in 6

N.L.
Los Angeles vs. Florida*: LA in 4
Philadelphia vs. St. Louis: St. Louis in 5

NLCS
Los Angeles vs. St. Louis: St. Louis in 5

World Series
New York Yankees vs. St. Louis Cardinals

The New York Yankees will break their WS drought and beat the Cardinals in 5 games to capture a 27th World Series title.

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