Tuesday, July 7, 2015

My Midseason Report - AL Preseason Prediction Update

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Hey guys, Drew back here. Just as any of baseball's best may occasionally get in a slump, I have recently been stuck in my very own. To bust out of my blogging funk, I decided to come back to my preseason predictions since today is an approximate halfway point of the season (more or less). I must say, I impressed myself with some of my early thoughts, but others definitely made me look silly. And don't worry: you will get to see both the good and the bad. I'll kick this off updating my American League picks, and will do the National League separately.

If you wish to re-read my initial thoughts and predictions on the league, feel free to take a look:

AL East 

My Preseason Standings Prediction - 
Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays

Predicted Division MVP - Josh Donaldson
Predicted Division Cy Young - Alex Cobb
Playoff Teams - Boston, Toronto (Wild Card)

Current Standings (as of July 5th) -
New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox

Division MVP - Josh Donaldson
Division Cy Young - Chris Archer
Playoff Teams - New York, Baltimore (Wild Card)

There is nothing set in stone for this year's weakest division at this point, with each team within at least 6 games of first place. The Red Sox have won seven of their previous ten games, and despite being in last right now this race is far from over. I nailed the hammer on the head with my prediction of Donaldson as division MVP; who recently was revealed to have the most fan votes of any player in All Star ballot history! Manny Machado has also been arguably as good, if not better than Donaldson, but I'll go with Donaldson as MVP considering some of the terrible predictions soon to follow.

I have to be honest here: I completely botched the Alex Rodriguez situation. In March, I wrote "And no, there's absolutely no reason to believe that 39 year old injury prone Alex Rodriguez will make any sort of difference, let alone be relevant next year". Alex has been impressive on and off the field, handling everything more maturely than he ever has. He's been a borderline All Star in my book, but I'm not surprised that he fell short of making the cut. The fact that I have somewhat relinquished my previous distaste for him shows how far he's come over the past year.

AL Central

My Preseason Standings Prediction - 
Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins

Predicted Division MVP - Jose Abreu
Predicted Division Cy Young - Chris Sale
Playoff Teams - Chicago

Current Standings (as of July 5th) -
Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox

Division MVP - Omar Infante (just kidding: Jason Kipnis)
Division Cy Young - Chris Sale
Playoff Teams - Kansas City, Minnesota (Wild Card)

The Royals have made a lot of enemies since their fans ran up the vote tallies for the All Star Game, but luckily only 4 players will be in the American League's starting lineup. The four that made the team are certainly debatable; I personally would've went elsewhere for each position, but I am content with the results. I expected last year's pennant winning squad to make a run for the playoffs and just fall short, but it appears that I may have been wrong there.

What I was more wrong on than just about anything else was my White Sox pick. I probably got a bit too excited over their spending spree, but I know I certainly wasn't alone. They filled a lot of holes on their roster last winter, but it clearly hasn't worked as well as planned. Their one shining light has been Chris Sale, who is a candidate to start the All Star Game coming soon in Cincinnati.

AL West

My Preseason Standings Prediction - 
Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics

Predicted Division MVP - Mike Trout
Predicted Division Cy Young - Felix Hernandez
Playoff Teams - Los Angeles, Seattle (Wild Card)

Current Standings (as of July 5th) -
Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics

Division MVP - Mike Trout
Division Cy Young - Dallas Keuchel
Playoff Teams - Houston, Los Angeles (Wild Card)

Boy, has Houston been a revelation or what? I am proud to have said they would improve substantially in 2015, but I wasn't gutsy enough to place them ahead of the heavily favored Angels and Mariners. In fact, I even picked the Mariners to go to the World Series (more on that later). With the way Carlos Correa has sparked that offense, I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if they hold on and win the division.

The Angels have been a disaster internally that is waiting to implode, considering their respected GM Jerry Dipoto recently stepped down after turmoil between he, manager Mike Scioscia, and owner Arte Moreno. And to all those people thinking Billy Beane had a plan for 2015, you appear to be wrong. Luckily, I wasn't one of those people. The organization may be in better hands in the years to come, but this team has been unimpressive, to say the least.

Award Predictions

AL MVP - Mike Trout
AL Cy Young - Chris Sale
AL Rookie of the Year - Rusney Castillo
AL Manager of the Year - Lloyd McClendon
AL Comeback Player of the Year - Chris Davis

I took a safe approach with my MVP and Cy Young choices, and both Trout and Sale have at least merited consideration for the nonexistent midseason award. My Rookie of the Year pick was a wash, and I fully expect Carlos Correa to come home with the trophy by season's end. McClendon has not been half as impressive as I guessed, and the Manager of the Year should definitely be given to my Dark Horse candidate, AJ Hinch (Astros). Finally, I made a gut call saying that Chris Davis would come back with a monster 2015, but it's evident that Prince Fielder and Alex Rodriguez have made better cases for the award.

Preseason Playoff Picks

Wild Card Game - Toronto vs. Seattle
My Pick - Seattle

Division Series - Chicago vs. Boston
My Pick - Chicago in 5

Division Series - Seattle vs. Los Angeles
My Pick - Seattle in 4

Championship Series - Seattle vs. Chicago
My Pick - Seattle in 6

Pennant Winner - Seattle

At this point of the season, the only team of these five that is slated to make the playoffs are the Angels, who would currently be fighting in the Wild Card game versus either the Twins or Orioles. And Seattle? Yeah, I was on that bandwagon too, and I can admit that I was wrong. Very wrong. Robinson Cano has not been half of what I expected him to be as he is settling into the rain capital of the US, while Nelson Cruz started off beyond expectations but since has gone cold. Besides Felix Hernandez, the remainder of their rotation has been inconsistent at best (although Mike Montgomery has recently impressed), and their bullpen is in shambles.

I'm going to stand by my choices, even though the path to having things work out this way would take a lot of maneuvering over the next three months. Every American League team is within 6.5 games of making the Wild Card Game, and the parity is unbelievable, as I did expect early on. Baseball has been more fun to watch than it has been in a while in my opinion, and I'll gladly be wrong with all of my picks if it makes for exhilarating performances by unforeseen teams. Between the surprise Twins, Astros, and even my Yankees, I've had a lot of fun with the 2015 season.

I'll be back with my take on the National League soon. See Ya!

1 comment:

  1. The White Sox issue is the bench boss. I love Robin, but he is not helping this team much. He needs to have more passion. His lack of anything that shows signs of life plays off into the actions and attitude of the players on the field. He needs to go.


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