Monday, July 13, 2015

My Midseason Report - NL Preseason Prediction Update

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Hey everyone, Drew back here. Today holds one of the more fun events of the baseball year: the Home Run Derby. Love it or hate it, the derby still manages to bring an extra element of fun to the game that kids love to watch. I had the pleasure of going with my friends and Dad when it took place at Citi Field in 2013, and it was a blast. Hopefully, this new bracket style competition featuring stars from Albert Pujols to Kris Bryant will live up to the hype!

Last Tuesday, I looked back on the predictions I made in March about the 2015 season in the American League. I was way off on many of my calls in the AL, but did manage to say a few things that have reflected three full months into the year. Today, I bring to you my thoughts on how National League baseball has played out.

If you wish to read my initial predictions and make fun of me, here they are:

NL East

My Preseason Prediction -
Washington Nationals, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies

Predicted Division MVP - Giancarlo Stanton
Predicted Division Cy Young - Max Scherzer
Playoff Teams - Washington, Miami (Wild Card)

Current Standings (as of July 13th) -
Washington Nationals, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies

Division MVP - Bryce Harper
Division Cy Young - Max Scherzer
Playoff Teams - Washington

The East has been the least competitive of the 3 National League Divisions this year, with only two teams over .500. The Nationals are in control and are one of the better teams in baseball despite playing through plenty of injuries, especially on the offensive side. The Mets have been impressive considering their lack of impact bats, and have provided some fun bringing up future stars Noah "Thor" Syndergaard and Steven Matz. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of picking the Marlins to win a Wild Card spot; which may take the cake as my worst prediction. Their front office has been laughable, as their GM is currently doubling as their manager (with no managerial experience, of course). Giancarlo Stanton can't catch a break, and even with Jose Fernandez back at full form, I can't fathom any way this team makes the postseason.

For Phillies fans sakes, I'll leave them out of this (but they really should trade Cole Hamels now rather than later).

NL Central

My Preseason Prediction -
Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers

Predicted Division MVP - Andrew McCutchen
Predicted Division Cy Young - Johnny Cueto
Playoff Teams - Pittsburgh, St. Louis (Wild Card)

Current Standings (as of July 13th) -
St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers

Division MVP - Todd Frazier
Division Cy Young - Gerrit Cole
Playoff Teams - St. Louis, Pittsburgh (Wild Card), Chicago (Wild Card)

Perhaps the most fun division to keep track of in baseball features teams with different styles, from "The Cardinal Way" to Joe Maddon's unpredictable, young Cubs squad. I said in my predictions that I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs were Wild Card contenders, but I liked the Marlins too much to let that happen (pretty embarrassing, I know). Chicago has plenty of flaws, but they do have a good chance of holding onto their spot as the second Wild Card team. If indeed the Pirates play the Cubs that day, I know for a fact that I'd be glued to the TV.

If I do say so myself, I did a nice job choosing the order of this division. I went with a personal favorite choice of Pittsburgh to win, but the Cardinals to make the playoffs as well. St. Louis got off to a hot start, but the Buccos are only within 2.5 games of first now. Otherwise, the rest of the division was predicted correctly, so for once I get to breathe a sigh of relief and survive another day.

NL West

My Preseason Prediction -
Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks

Predicted Division MVP - Troy Tulowitzki
Predicted Division Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw
Playoff Teams - Los Angeles

Current Standings (as of July 13th) -
Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies

Division MVP - Paul Goldschmidt
Division Cy Young - Zack Greinke
Playoff Teams - Los Angeles

One of my bolder calls early on was picking the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants to miss the postseason. It is an odd numbered year, after all, so I thought it was somewhat justified. As of right now... I was right. I wouldn't be surprised to see them make a run, though, and they are my favorite NL team so I would love every bit of that. The Dodgers have been off to a fantastic start, even though their ace hasn't quite been ace-level all year. Zack Greinke has stepped up amid Kershaw's inconsistency, and even earned the starting gig for the All Star Game tomorrow night.

The Diamondbacks are out of the cellar for the time being, which is one of the better stories in the league. They field a young team with plenty of potential, and although I still can't see them contending for a playoff spot, I've been pleased to see them succeed.

Award Predictions

NL MVP - Giancarlo Stanton
NL Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw
NL Rookie of the Year - Kris Bryant
NL Manager of the Year - Clint Hurdle
NL Comeback Player of the Year - Matt Harvey

Once again, I made sure to keep my Award Predictions as safe as possible because I knew my other predictions would fall apart in some way or another. All five award picks I made are at least contenders for the awards, although it would take a huge second half to give Kershaw his 4th Cy Young Award. Stanton's injury may take him down a few pegs in the MVP race, and my Dark Horse pick, Bryce Harper, has been living up to the hype we all have been excited for since he was old enough to get his driver's license. Considering he's still younger than phenom rookie Kris Bryant, I think we still haven't seen Harper's best yet. He's the MVP, no question about it. Paul Goldschmidt is having a spectacular season as well, helping the D-Backs into the playoff hunt, but without Harper the Nationals offense would be mediocre. They are both enormous difference makers, and should continue to be just that into October (knock on wood).

Preseason Playoff Picks

Wild Card Game - Miami vs. St. Louis
My Pick - Miami

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

Division Series - Miami vs. Washington
My Pick - Washington in 5

Championship Series - Los Angeles vs. Washington
My Pick - Washington in 7

Pennant Winner - Washington

Outside of my horrific Miami pick continuing to haunt me throughout this post, I still feel pretty good about most of these choices. I think we'll see something along these lines, just perhaps with Chicago or San Francisco in the Wild Card game rather than the Marlins. Washington will have a lot of pressure to succeed after their huge offseason, but the Dodgers will too. History has shown that both teams struggle under pressure, but one of them will have to overcome these struggles if they end up playing each other. The winner of this series (if it happens) will win the World Series.

What's great about baseball is that it gives fans the opportunity to explore all sorts of possibilities, and the debate never stops. I could be flat out wrong, as I have proven time and time again, but it's okay to be wrong here. I'll continue to stand by my picks, outside of Miami, and I'm pumped for another equally awesome second half of my favorite game in the world. But for now, I'm going to kick back, relax, and watch some of the best stars in the game go head to head. Home field advantage or not, it's not often that all this star power gathers in one place.

See Ya!


  1. Good job. I enjoyed this! How did you determine the mid-season MVPs? Stats?

    1. Thanks! I like to pretend I have a vote, and judging by player's stats and overall impact I tried my best to give the hardware to the right guys. The toughest decision in this post was picking the MVP in the NL Central this year so far, tough to choose between Todd Frazier, Andrew McCutchen, and Anthony Rizzo. I went with Frazier in the end, 25 HR's too impressive to not give to him.


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