Monday, July 14, 2008

Baseball at the Break

It's All-Star week again, time to size up the first half of the season.  Their have been many surprises (see Rays, Josh Hamilton).  I will predict who will win each division, plus the wild card.  I will also give out the first half MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Surprising Team, Disappointing Team, Surprising Player, and Disappointing player.

NL East- Phillies- I'm not just saying their going to win because I'm a fan of the team.  I think they will take my advice I gave them a day ago and pick up a quality pitcher.  If they do pick up a pitcher, that will put them ahead of the of the Mets and Marlins.  They do need to score more runs, but I think that will come around.

NL Central- Cubs- This is a really tough division.  You have the Cubs, who are playing terrific.  The Cardinals are definitely overachieving.  The Brewers will be better now that they have C.C. Sabathia.  But I think the Cubs will win it.  They acquired a good pitcher in Rich Harden.  Pair him up with Carlos Zambrano and the rest of the pitching staff and they will have one of the best rotation in the league. 

NL West- Diamondbacks- This is a weak division.  The Diamondbacks are leading now and they are a gam
e below .500.  They will pull it out because of their pitching.  They have the best pitching in the division with Brandon Webb and Dan Haren.  The Dodgers are just too inconsistent to win this division.

NL Wild Card- Brewers-  Milwaukee has a dynamic pitching duo with C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets.  They are getting good at-bats from All-Star Corey Hart and Ryan Braun.  They also have Prince Fielder and J.J. Hardy, which I think will put them past the Cardinals, Mets, and Marlins.

AL East- Yankees- I know the Rays are the feel-good story of the season, but I'm not feeling it.  I don't think the Rays will be able to sustain the pace they've set through the first half.  They will break down as the season goes on.  The Red Sox will be just too banged up to win the division.  The Yankees will probably pick up another pitcher.  With Pettitte, Mussina, and rookie Joba Chamberlain pitching good, they will come back and have a great second half.  Jeter is starting to come around, and A-Rod is having another great season.

AL Central- Twins- The White Sox have been very good (and surprising), but I don't buy first half surprises (see AL East).  The Twins have great hitters like Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer.  Livan Hernandez and Nick Blackburn are good pitchers who should improve as the season wears on.  I've already co
unted out the Tigers.

AL West- Angels- One team that's already started to run away with their division is the Angels.  Their pitching is phenomenal.  Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana, John Lackey, and Francisco Rodriguez, c'mon that's downright ridiculous.  Vladimir Guerrero is up to his usual work.  Torii Hunter will up that .269 average in the second half.  The Angels are serious World Series contenders.  

AL Wild Card- White Sox- The White Sox are playing extremely well so far.  Look for them to cool down a bit, but not enough to miss the playoffs.  Carlos Quentin is having a great season.  Jermaine Dye looks like his old self.  Gavin Floyd is on fire with ten wins.  Starter John Danks has a sub 3 ERA.

World Series- Angels vs. Cubs- Cubs win-  Great rotation, great hitting, where can you go wrong with the Cubs.  The Cubs will break that century draught.

First Half Awards

NL MVP- Chase Utley- 25 homers plus 69 RBIs for Utley.  Utley (below)  is batting .291 and having a out-
of-this-world season.

AL MVP- Josh Hamilton- 95 RBIs before the All-Star break, I thought that was impossible.  Hamilton has 21 homers and is batting over .300

NL Cy Young- Brandon Webb- Webb has been terrific this year, notching 13 wins with a low ERA.  Webb is having his best year yet and that's saying something.

AL Cy Young- Cliff Lee- Lee leads the American league in wins (12) and is second in ERA (2.31).  Enough said.

NL Rookie of the (Half-) Year- Geovany Soto- Soto is having a great first season behind the plate for the Cubs.  He is batting .288 with 16 dingers.

AL Rookie of the (Half-) Year- Evan Longoria- Longoria has great power.  He has 16 homers in a little over 300 plate appearances.

Surprising Team- Rays- Tampa Bay has been a contender this late in the season since... well, ever.  They are 16 games over .5oo.

Disappointing Team- Detroit Tigers- They are 7 games behind in the NL Central.  Before the season started, nobody believed the Tigers would be that far back this late in the season.

Surprising Player- Josh Hamilton- Hamilton is having a great season.  Hamilton has battled back from drug problems in the past years, and now he is a possible triple crown winner.  Amazing.

Disappointing Player- Brett Myers- Myers is in Triple A.  He pitched opening day this season for the Phillies.  Enough said.

Disagree with my first half assessment.  Drop me a comment. 

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