As the first half of the baseball season comes to a close, there have been many big surprises as well as major disappointments. Let’s take a look and see as well as try to predict how these teams will fare in the 2nd half:
-The Baltimore Orioles trail the division leading Yankees by 7 games heading
into the All-Star Break. Buck Sholwater has really improved this team, and they
have built on the success from last year. I feel the Orioles could compete for
a division title or even a wild-card spot, but only time will tell.
PREDICTED FINISH: 3RD IN AL EAST
-The Boston Red Sox are tied for last place in their division. They just got rid of Kevin Youkilis and aren’t playing good baseball as of late. Their rotation has been less than stellar, and their bullpen has been god awful. Look for them to compete for a last-place finish this year.
PREDICTED FINISH: 4TH IN AL EAST
-The New York Yankees lead the division by 7 games, and they’ve pretty much played good baseball in the 1st half despite losing their closer Mariano Rivera for the entire season. Derek Jeter is still their heart and soul, and Robinson Cano overcame a slow start to the season to become an all star. I look for this team to still be in the thick of things when it’s all said and done.
PREDICTED FINISH: 1ST IN AL EAST
-The Tampa Bay Rays are currently in 3rd place and in the middle of the pack. With Evan Longoria on the disabled list, it will be interesting to see who steps up to the plate for them in the 2nd half. This team has pitching, talent, and offense and defense; they just need to find the will to carry them back into the thick of the race.
PROJECTED FINISH: 2ND IN AL EAST
-The Chicago White Sox are the front-runners in the division thanks mostly in part to the resurgence of Adam Dunn who is by far, my pick for the comeback player of the year. Paul Konerko is still dangerous, and their defense has been strong as well. The pitching staff seems to be getting back to respectability led by All Star Jake Peavy. Right now, they’re the front runners, but they’ll still have to fend off the Tigers and Indians in the 2nd half if they want to win the division.
PROJECTED FINISH: 2ND IN AL CENTRAL
-The Cleveland Indians were one of the biggest surprises in the first half of the season. For a while they had the lead in the division overall, and were able to hold off advances from the Tigers and White Sox. It will still be a tight race to the finish down the stretch though and look for them to be in the hunt come October.
PROJECTED FINISH: 3RD IN AL CENTRAL
-The Detroit Tigers first half of their season had to be disappointing to many people. A lot of people projected this team would finish 1st overall and lead the league in runs scored as well. Instead, they currently sit in 3rd place at 44-42. In fairness to them though, they ran through a stretch of injuries, hitting slumps, and tough breaks, but look to be overcoming them heading into the All-Star break. If they can get off to a good start and find something that lights a fire under them, I still see them winning the division at the end of the season.
PROJECTED FINISH: 1ST IN AL CENTRAL
-The Minnesota Twins had a terrible 1st half of the season. So dreadful in fact, I’m surprised that their manager Ron Gardenhire still has a job with them. Their star players Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau and some of their talented players like Denard Spahn and Alexei Casilla are coming off debilitating injuries, so it will be interesting to see how effective they’ll be. Trevor Plouffe has taken the bull by the horns and has been a bright spot for them in an otherwise dismal year. I look for this team to be competing for last place in the division when it’s all said and done.
PROJECTED FINISH: 4TH IN AL CENTRAL
-The Kansas City Royals are in last place in the division
heading into the break. That’s no surprise to any baseball fan. This team has
been in the cellar of baseball for a long time and I don’t see that trend
breaking anytime soon. Look for them to have another last place finish this
PROJECTED FINISH: 5TH IN AL CENTRAL
-The Los Angeles Angels are in 2nd place at the All-Star Break. The main reason is their lack of offensive production; mainly the concern is Albert Pujols. He had a miserable first half of the season, and his numbers are well below average and well below expectations. Their pitching staff led by Jared Weaver and Dan Haren have kept them in the race for the division title thus far. I look for this team to compete not for a division title, but a wild-card spot at best.
PROJECTED FINISH: 2ND IN AL WEST
-The Oakland Athletics are on the outside looking in. They currently stand in 3rd place in the division. I see the A’s fighting just to gain respectability. I don’t see them as a serious contender this year.
PROJECTED FINISH: 3RD IN AL WEST
-The Seattle Mariners are awful. They have the worst record in the majors and have more questions than answers for a very dismal season. I see no relief in sight for this franchise.
PROJECTED FINISH: 4TH IN AL WEST
-The Texas Rangers look to be heavy favorites in the American League this year. They have pitching, defense, and an offense that makes opposing managers nervous. I see them making a serious run at the World Series.
PROJECTED FINISH: 1ST IN AL WEST
Now for the National League:
-The Atlanta Braves trail the division leaders by 4 games at the break. I still feel they are in the race though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a run to overtake the division title near the end of the season.
PROJECTED FINISH: 1ST IN NL EAST
-The Miami Marlins new acquisitions haven’t lived up to the hype or expectations for them this season. They not only have been inconsistent, their effort has left something to be desired on numerous occasions. I see them finishing near the bottom of the division in the 2nd half.
PROJECTED FINISH: 4TH IN NL EAST
-The New York Mets are in the middle of the pack. They are likely one of the biggest mysteries in baseball this year. They always seem to stay in the thick of things through the first few months of the season, but down the stretch they always seem to collapse and lose the division to another team. I don’t see them collapsing this year, but I also don’t see them winning the division either.
PROJECTED FINISH: 3RD IN NL EAST
-The Philadelphia Phillies are a major disappointment this year. Not only are they in last place, a lot of blame has to fall on their pitching staff. Cliff Lee has won only 1 game all season, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels look like a shell of themselves this year, and they traded away Jim Thome and pitcher Roy Oswalt to the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers respectively. Granted, they ran into injuries to many of their star players, but still haven’t had anyone step up to the plate. I see them finishing in the cellar of the division this year; as shocking as that may be.
PROJECTED FINISH: 5TH IN NL EAST
-The Washington Nationals have to be one of the biggest surprises in baseball in the first half of the season. They currently stand in first place in the division, but I honestly don’t think that will last. The Nationals have talent, pitching, and skill, but they lack the experience and consistency to stay in the lead. I look for the Braves to overtake them in the 2nd half, forcing them to settle for a wild-card spot.
PROJECTED FINISH: 2ND IN NL EAST
-The Chicago Cubs are hopeless. They currently stand in 5th place and have the worst record in the National League. Their new rookie Anthony Rizzo has brought them some excitement and hope for the future, and Starlin Castro and Brian Lahair have played good baseball, but it won’t be enough to salvage an otherwise dismal season. Bottom line: same old story for die-hard Cubs fans: Wait till next year!
PROJECTED FINISH: 5TH IN NL CENTRAL
-The Cincinnati Reds trail in the division by 1 game. I still see this team as a serious contender. Their top two players in Joey Votto and Jay Bruce will make them a strong team in the 2nd half. Look for them to compete for the division title down the stretch.
PROJECTED FINISH: 1ST IN NL CENTRAL
-The Houston Astros are going through another dismal season. Not much relief is in sight for this franchise. Expect them to compete with the Cubs for last place in the division this year.
PROJECTED FINISH: 6TH IN NL CENTRAL
-The Milwaukee Brewers stand in the middle of the pack. They still have reigning MVP Ryan Braun to help them out, but I don’t see them repeating as division champs this year unless they can go on a miraculous run.
PROJECTED FINISH: 4RD IN NL CENTRAL
-The Pittsburgh Pirates are shockingly in first place in the division. I honestly don’t think this will last. They were in this position last year, before they collapsed and allowed the Brewers to overtake them in the division last year. I see the Pirates playing good baseball the rest of the way, but I don’t see them winning the division.
PROJECTED FINISH: 3RD IN NL CENTRAL
-The St. Louis Cardinals are in 3rd place in the division. They look nothing like the team that won the World Series last year. I still have faith they can make a run for the division title, but they have to find a way to hold off the Brewers and get past the Pirates and Reds to get to the mountaintop.
PROJECTED FINISH: 2ND IN NL CENTRAL
-The Arizona Diamondbacks are nowhere near the team that won the division last
year and helped manager Kirk Gibson win the manager of the year award. I see them finishing in the middle of the pack this year. Don’t be surprised if they make a trade to get some young new prospects to help them plan for the future.
PROJECTED FINISH: 3RD IN NL WEST
-The Colorado Rockies are tied for last place in their division. Not much hope is on the horizon for this team. They’ll battle the Padres for last place this year. Expect a lot of changes to be made in the offseason for them.
PROJECTED FINISH: 5TH IN NL WEST
-The Los Angeles Dodgers lead the division, but it’ll be a tight race to the finish. The San Francisco Giants will be in the hunt all season long with them. The one key variable that could push the Dodgers over the top is Matt Kemp who is having an MVP-like season with them. Unfortunately he’s just getting off the disabled list, so it will be interesting to see if he can keep up the numbers that he put up in the 1st half of the season. This will be a tight race to the finish, but I see the Dodgers coming out on top this year.
PROJECTED FINISH: 1ST IN NL WEST
-The San Diego Padres are tied for last place in their division. Like the Rockies, they’ll have to focus on making plans for the future. It’s going to be a dismal 2nd half of the season for this team.
PROJECTED FINISH: 4TH IN NL WEST
-The San Francisco Giants are in 2nd place in the division. They’ll battle the Dodgers all season long for the division lead. The big pieces for the Giants are All Stars Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, and their ace pitcher Matt Cain. If the Giants don’t win the division this year, they’ll gladly settle for the wild card spot.
PROJECTED FINISH: 2ND IN NL WEST