Thursday, July 15, 2010

2010 MLB Second Half Predictions

The first half of the 2010 baseball season is in the books.  Some things have gone exactly as expected, other things have been shocking.  So far, we’ve seen two perfect games (almost three), the first utility infielder chosen as an All-Star, and Jose Bautista is leading the league in home runs.

As we currently sit at the All-Star break, it’s natural to look ahead at what the rest of the baseball season has to offer.

True Sport Fans’ writers Chris Emma (CE) and Ryan Plinske (RP) give their look ahead what will happen the rest of the season in our TSF Second Half Preview.


American League 

AL East 
New York 56 32 .636 - - 
Tampa Bay 54 34 .614 2.0 
Boston 51 37 .580 5.0 3.0 
Toronto 44 45 .494 12.5 
Baltimore 29 59 .330 27.0

AL East Division Winner:
CE - Boston Red Sox: Ever since the emergence of the Tampa Bay Rays, the AL East has been the best division in baseball.  Thus is the case in 2010.  That and the early success of Toronto have made this division one of the best in a long time.  The only thing that I can say for certain is Baltimore won’t win the division.  Toronto hung around for a while, but they appear to be dying.  The fact that the Boston Red Sox have survived their injury troubles says they will win the division.  They will only get better with Beckett, Ellsbury, and everyone else on their disabled list.  Expect Boston to narrowly beat out the Yankees for the division title.

RP - Boston Red Sox: Ok so did any of you reading this think I would have chosen any other team other than my beloved Red Sox! They have the third best record in baseball at the All-Star Break with nearly every key player out with an injury.  The list of players goes from Josh Beckett, Adrian Beltre, Clay Buchholz, Mike Cameron, Manny Delcarmen, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeremy Hermida, Mike Lowell, Jed Lowrie, Victor Martinez, Dustin Pedroia, Junichi Tazawa, and Jason Varitek.  David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis have been leading the charge for the offensive prowess the Red Sox have had this season.  Heading into the 2010 season many people had written off David Ortiz has being a productive piece in the Sox lineup and his month of April fed right into their lap. However, Ortiz heated up more than any one else in the league from May on with nine home runs in May and recently winning the Home Run Derby.  The pitching staff is led by none other than Clay Buchholz… yes you heard that right.  WHAT THE BUCH is the leader in most of the pitching categories while Jon Lester is superb as always.  Terry Francona never has a problem with plugging in the right guys for each situation and will continue to do that as the season winds down.


AL Central
Chicago 49 38 .563 - - 
Detroit 48 38 .558 0.5 
Minnesota 46 42 .523 3.5 
Kansas City 39 49 .443 10.5 
Cleveland 34 54 .386 15.5

AL Central Division Winner:
CE- Minnesota Twins: The AL Central has seen a wild first half, capped off with the White Sox taking over first place.  After a first half with rumors of being fired, Ozzie Guillen proved he’s one of the best managers in baseball.  In the end, I believe the Minnesota Twins will come out on top of the division.  They will make a few key acquisitions prior to the trade deadline, and that will put them over the top.

RP - Detroit Tigers: The Detroit Tigers have one of the most potent offenses this year with Miguel Cabrera leading the charge.  Cabrera is looking to become the first triple-crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski did it in ’67.  Miggy has 22 home runs to go along with 77 rbi’s with a .346 batting average.  The Tigers added Johnny Damon during the offseason and Damon looks to be the Damon of old while giving this young Tigers team much needed postseason experience.  They also have a great young pitching staff of Justin Verlander, Armando Galarraga, Maz Scherzer, and Rick Porcello. The Tigers will win the Central with ease.


AL West
Texas 50 38 .568 - - 
Los Angeles 47 44 .516 4.5 8
Oakland 43 46 .483 7.5 11
Seattle 35 53 .398 15.0

AL West Predictions Division Winner:
CE- Texas Rangers: The first half of the season brought the emergence of a new MLB power, the Texas Rangers.  The division appeared to be a wide-open race at the beginning of the season, but the Rangers have lived up to Nolan Ryan’s bold 92 win prediction.  The team is loaded with powerful bats, and now they have an ace, after the acquisition of Cliff Lee.  When it’s all over, the Rangers will be the best in the west.

RP - Texas Rangers: The Rangers going into this season lacked that ace of their pitching staff but found themselves with one nearly three months later in journeyman Cliff Lee.  Lee was acquired from Seattle for 1B Justin Smoak but was a great deal for both sides.  Texas’ offense may pack as much fire power as the Texas sun during the summer months.  Their lineup is led by Josh Hamilton, Vladamir Guerrero, and Ian Kinsler.  The free swinging Vlad hasn’t missed a beat with his new club as he is the teams leader in home runs and his usual self at the plate.  The Rangers now can match their impressive lineup with their pitching with the acquisition of Cliff Lee.  Texas has too many weapons not to win the west.


AL Wild Card Winner:
CE- New York Yankees: The Yankees are too strong and have too much money invested in this season to not make the playoffs.  In the end, New York will barely squeak into the playoffs.

RP - Tampa Bay Rays: The Tampa Bay Rays will win the wild card behind guys like Longoria, Pena, and Upton.  The Rays have arguably the best young talent in the game today.  Joe Maddon will look to mimic their previous postseason run with this years club.


AL Rookie of the Year:
CE- Brennan Boesch: Boesch gave his young Tigers team a huge contribution in the first half of the season.  When it’s all over, he will be rewarded for this season.

RP - Neftali Feliz: The young flame throwing right hander for the Texas Rangers has been as close to perfect all year as you can get.  He has saved 23 games in 25 save opportunities.  He also has a 3.82 ERA to go along with 42 strikeouts in 37.2 IP.


CE- Miguel Cabrera: How can you against Miggy?  He may win the Triple Crown this season.  He will be an easy pick for AL MVP.

RP - Josh Hamilton: Hamilton has been putting up career high numbers for the first half of the season with 22 home runs, 64 rbi’s, and a .346 batting average.  He will edge out Miguel Cabrera for the award simply because he is playing in a much more difficult role and has more credibility with the voters in this stage of his career than Miggy does.


AL Cy Young:
CE- David Price: The Price has been right for Tampa Bay.  They used their first overall draft pick on David Price, and he has been well worth the investment.  He has 13 wins at the break, and he will win 20 at the end of the year.

RP - Jon Lester: For the record this is not my biased Red Sox opinion taking over, Lester has simply been one of the best pitchers in the league this year if not the best.  He is 11-3 on the year with a 2.78 ERA.  He also has 124 strikeouts to go along with 44 walks in 120 IP.  Lester has also 2 complete games under his belt in his 18 starts.


AL Champion:
CE- Minnesota Twins: The Twins have a new home, and a new outlook.  They have become one of the kings of the AL, and they will come out on top, and earn a trip to the world series.

RP - Texas Rangers: The Texas Rangers have just too much offense for any one team to handle this year.  They also have a solid pitching staff with guys like Lee and Feliz leading the way.


National League

NL East
Atlanta 52 36 .591 - - 
New York 48 40 .545 4.0 
Philadelphia 47 40 .540 4.5 
Florida 42 46 .477 10.0 7
Washington 39 50 .438 13.5

NL East Division Winner:
CE- Philadelphia Phillies: The upstart Braves are determined to win the world series in Bobby Cox’s last season.  Their young, impressive lineup has carried them to a lead at the break.  However, Philadelphia will jump both Atlanta and New York, and will win their third straight NL East title.

RP - Atlanta Braves: Bobby Cox has this year’s club playing the best baseball in a long time for the Braves.  The newest acquisition at short is Alex Gonzalez who leads all shortstops in home runs with 17.  This will significantly increase the power outage in that lineup with guys like Heyward, Prado, Infante, Jones, McCann, and Glaus.  The pitching staff is always one of the best but with Tommy Hanson as the ace they aren’t going to be an easy out.


NL Central
Cincinnati 49 41 .544 -
St. Louis 47 41 .534 1.0 
Milwaukee 40 49 .449 8.5 
Chicago 39 50 .438 9.5 
Houston 36 53 .404 12.5 13
Pittsburgh 30 58 .341 18.0

NL Central Division Winner:
CE- Cincinnati Reds: The NL Central had the potential to be a wide-open race, but it’s quickly become a two horse race.  Cincinnati’s young lineup has them at the front of the central, and when the regular season is over, they will still be on top.  Dusty Baker will lead the Reds to the top.

RP - St. Louis Cardinals: The St. Louis Cardinals have arguably the best 1-2 combo in the league in terms of pitching with Wainwright and Carpenter.  Albert Pujols and Matt Holiday are too explosive for this team to die down during the stretch.


NL West
San Diego 51 37 .580 - - 
Colorado 49 39 .557 2.0 
Los Angeles 49 39 .557 2.0 
San Francisco 47 41 .534 4.0 
Arizona 34 55 .382 17.5

NL West Division Winner:
CE- San Francisco Giants: It seems to be routine for the NL West to be wide open.  This is once again the case in 2010.  San Diego is the surprise leader at the All-Star break.  When it’s all over, I think the Giants will win the west, jumping from fourth place to first place.

RP - Colorado Rockies: Ubaldo Jimenez will have the Rockies riding high into October with his stellar pitching.  Troy Tulowitzski when healthy is one of the best defensive shortstops in the league today.  Jim Tracy’s bunch will look to repeat what they did without him back in 2007.


NL Wild Card Winner:
CE- Atlanta Braves: The Braves have too impressive of a lineup.  They will not be left out of the playoff picture.  They will not win the division, but they will win the NL Wild Card.  Expect the Braves to be playing in October.

RP - Philadelphia Phillies: After an impressive first half the Phillies will easily take the wild card with Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard leading the way.  However with supporting players like Victorino, Werth, and Utley they shouldn’t be on the outside looking in come October.


NL Rookie of the Year:
CE- Stephen Strasburg: The 2010 class of rookies is simply incredible.  In the end, Stephen Strasburg will earn the rookie of the year award, the first of many accolades in his career.

RP- Jayson Heyward/Stephen Strasburg: For the first time since Butch Metzger (San Diego Padres) and Pat Zachry (Cincinnati Reds) shared the award in ’76 the same will happen this year with Heyward and Strasburg.  Both players had outstanding debuts as Heyward went yard for the first time against Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano and Strasburg had 14 strikeouts against the Pirates.  They both are well deserving of this award and I hope MLB does the right thing.


CE - Joey Votto: Votto almost didn’t make the All-Star game.  This would have been the biggest tragedy of fan voting for the All-Star game.  Votto will help lead his Reds to the division title, and will be recognized as the NL MVP.

RP - Albert Pujols: The Machine currently has 21 home runs and 64 rbi’s to lead the Cardinals.  He also has a .308 batting average and will continue to see more pitches because of the production by Matt Holiday.

NL Cy Young:
CE- Ubaldo Jimenez: This one is a no-brainer.  At the break, Jimenez has 15 wins; one of those was a no-hitter.  He will win 24 games in 2010, and will easily win the Cy Young.

RP - Roy Halladay: The only thing Doc Halladay hasn’t done since coming to Philadelphia is play quarterback for the Eagles.  He already has a 10-7 record with a perfect game already under his belt.  Doc already has tossed 7 complete games and 3 of them were complete game shutouts.  This is nearly the average for Doc in a season but look for him to stifle opposing hitters with his incredible arsenal of pitches.

NL Champion:
CE- Atlanta Braves: What’s not to love about the Braves?  They have six All-Stars!  They will win the national league, and will be in the world series. 

RP - Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies have just too much offense and Roy Halladay for any team to stop late into October.  Also, Charlie Manuels bunch knows what it takes to make it to the fall classic as they have done so each of the previous 2 seasons.

World Series Prediction:
CE - Minnesota Twins over Atlanta Braves in 7 games: Twins fans are so excited about their Twins, they aren’t even thinking about Brett Favre.  The Twins will come out on top, beating the Braves in a thrilling seven game series.  The M&M combo of Mauer and Morneau will triumph over the upstart Braves.

RP - Texas Rangers over Philadelphia Phillies in 6 games: Cliff Lee will be back in Philadelphia but this time facing his former team but with an entirely different offense.  The Rangers have way too much power from either side of the plate with guys like Hamilton, Vlad, Kinsler, Young, and even Andrus.  Ron Washington’s bullpen will be lead by rookie sensation Neftali Feliz and will be un-hittable against the ‘Phiten Phils.
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