Updated Final Win-Loss Record Predictions for All 30 MLB Teams

Jake SingerContributor IIIDecember 31, 2016

Updated Final Win-Loss Record Predictions for All 30 MLB Teams

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    Three months ago, I predicted the win-loss records for every team in baseball.

    At the midway point of the season, some look pretty good (see: Giants, Reds, Yankees) and some do not (see: Indians, Mets, Pirates).

    Now that we're at the All-Star break and have a few days to reassess the first half of the season and look forward to the rest, here are updated predictions for all 30 teams.

    One note before you continue reading: I made my projections based on the teams as constructed now, unless otherwise noted. I'm not going to assume that teams will acquire a specific player, but I have pointed out that I expect certain teams to buy or sell as they approach the trade deadline.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Preseason Prediction: 94-68 (first place, NL West)

    Current Record: 42-43 (third place, NL West)

    The D-Backs got off to a slow start this year due in large part to poor seasons by Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy.

    Upton, who hit 31 home runs last year, only has seven so far this year.

    Kennedy won 21 games with a 2.88 ERA, but is just 6-7 with a 4.26 ERA this year.

    They've had injuries to their pitching staff, including Joe Saunders, who has been out since mid-June and Daniel Hudson, who is out for the season, but I can see the D-Backs making a second-half run and a push for the playoffs.

    Updated Prediction: 86-76 (second place, NL West)

Atlanta Braves

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    Preseason Prediction: 84-78 (third place, NL East)

    Current Record: 46-39 (second place, NL East)

    The Braves have had a solid first half in Chipper Jones' last season thanks in large part to breakout seasons by Jason Heyward and Brandon Beachy.

    Heyward is having the kind of season scouts expected when he was brought up to the majors in 2010 (.272, 14 HR, 41 RBI), but unfortunately, Beachy's year is over due to Tommy John surgery. He had led the National League with a 2.00 ERA.

    The team is now in the market for starting pitchers and may be willing to part with top prospects to acquire the likes of Zack Greinke.

    Their fortunes may be tied to how they are able to improve their pitching staff, but I expect a strong second half from the Braves as they fight for a wild-card spot.

    Updated Prediction: 86-76 (tied for second place, NL East)

Baltimore Orioles

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    Preseason Prediction: 65-97 (fifth place, AL East)

    Current Record: 45-40 (second place, AL East)

    The Orioles have been one of the biggest surprises of baseball in 2012. They spent most of the first two months of the year in first place and currently sit in second place in the AL East, the best division in baseball.

    Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen have been their two best starting pitchers. Hammel is 8-5 with a 3.47 ERA and Chen is 7-5 with a 3.93.

    Jim Johnson has been one of the top closers in baseball, racking up 26 saves and a 1.21 ERA while allowing just 19 hits and nine walks in 37.1 innings.

    Offensively, Adam Jones has been their MVP; his .289 average and 20 home runs were enough to be rewarded with a six-year, $85.5 million extension.

    However, I still don't believe in the O's. Outside of Hammel and Chen, their rotation has not been good, and I don't see them surviving another 80 games in the AL East without adding at least one quality starter. They may go out and trade for Zack Greinke or another starter, which would change things, but as of now, the O's are not built to compete.

    Updated Prediction: 81-81 (fifth place, AL East)

Boston Red Sox

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    Preseason Prediction: 87-75 (third place, AL East)

    Current Record: 43-43 (tied for fourth place, AL East)

    Coming into the season, I didn't love the Red Sox as a playoff team.

    Their offense, while solid, wasn't as good as their offenses of the past.

    Their starting pitching was going to start off shorthanded, missing John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

    And their bullpen was almost completely rebuilt, and offseason acquisition Andrew Bailey was starting the season on the disabled list.

    Considering all of the injuries they've faced (Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Matsuzaka, Bailey), they've actually played pretty well this season.

    Their fortunes for the rest of the season depend in large part on who they get back. Dustin Pedroia just went down, but Ellsbury will return soon.

    I think the Sox will make a little bit of a run in the second half, but the hole they've dug themselves in a very good American League will prove too deep to overcome.

    Updated Prediction: 85-77 (third place, AL East)

Chicago Cubs

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    Preseason Prediction: 74-88 (tied for fourth place, NL Central)

    Current Record: 33-52 (fifth place, NL Central)

    I guess projecting the Cubs at 74 wins was being too generous.

    They're on pace for 100 losses, and they don't have many pieces on the major-league roster that figure to be part of their future.

    The two bright spots on their offense have been Bryan LaHair, a 29-year old rookie who may be dealt since he's played first base and the Lovable Losers just called up top prospect Anthony Rizzo to man the position, and Alfonso Soriano, whose 15 home runs may help the team deal him before July 31.

    Shortstop Starlin Castro, hitting .291 with 16 steals, may be on the market as well despite his high ceiling, due to maturity issues.

    Pitching-wise, Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza have been their best starters, but they also may be traded in the next four weeks.

    The Cubs are not a good team, and it's likely they'll deal most, if not all, of their veterans between now and July 31.

    Updated Prediction: 62-100 (tied for fifth place, NL Central)

Chicago White Sox

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    Preseason Prediction: 75-87 (tied for third place, AL Central)

    Current Record: 47-38 (first place, AL Central)

    Coming into the season, it wasn't clear whether the team from the South Side of Chicago would compete in the AL Central or would begin the rebuilding process.

    Thanks to bounce-back years from some expensive players, it's clear that they're in it to win it.

    Adam Dunn has rebounded from one of the worst offensive years of all-time to hit 25 home runs in the first half, and Jake Peavy has come back from several years of injuries to go 7-5 with a 2.85 ERA.

    The team has been powered by the home run, as they have five players who have already accumulated double-digit home runs, and the addition of Kevin Youkilis (who is hitting .315 with three home runs in 13 games since being acquired from Boston) will help.

    Youngster Chris Sale has provided a boost in the rotation (he is 10-2 with a 2.19 ERA), but they may need to add a starter to keep up their winning ways, especially since John Danks, who has a shoulder injury, hasn't pitched since May 19 and there is no date set for his return.

    Updated Prediction: 88-74 (first place, AL Central)

Cincinnati Reds

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    Preseason Prediction: 85-77 (tied for second place, NL Central)

    Current Record: 47-38 (second place, NL Central)

    The Reds are perhaps the most complete team in the National League.

    They hit well, with six hitters having at least nine home runs on the year.

    Their pitching has been extremely consistent—the highest ERA of the five starters is 4.14 (Homer Bailey) and the bullpen, anchored by Aroldis Chapman, has been great.

    And most of all, they've stayed healthy. With the exception of Ryan Madson, who had Tommy John surgery, few players have missed time. Most notably, all of their starters have stayed healthy.

    They're neck and neck with the Pittsburgh Pirates right now, but I see them pulling away as the season goes on.

    Updated Prediction: 92-70 (first place, NL Central)

Cleveland Indians

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    Preseason Prediction: 75-87 (tied for third place, AL Central)

    Current Record: 44-41 (second place, AL Central)

    For the second year in a row, the Indians have gotten off to a fast start (in 2011, they were 47-42 at the All-Star break). They're 44-41 this year, good enough for second place in the AL Central. But I don't believe they have enough talent to stay in the race through the second half.

    Their run differential (the net total of runs scored versus runs allowed) is minus-29, which shows that they have gotten lucky in some of their wins, and their only starting pitcher with an ERA under 4.00 is Zach McAllister, a rookie who has only made seven starts. For a period of time, Derek Lowe looked like he was in the midst of a renaissance, but he has come back to earth during the last month.

    Offensively, Carlos Santana should be an offensive threat, but is only hitting .221 with five home runs.

    With the Tigers and White Sox poised to make moves and improve their teams, I see the Indians falling apart like they did last year (when they finished 80-82).

    Updated Prediction: 75-87 (tied for third place, AL Central)

Colorado Rockies

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    Preseason Prediction: 83-79 (third place, NL West)

    Current Record: 33-52 (fifth place, NL West)

    Boy, the Rockies are bad.

    Offensively, they've been fine (although they will be without shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for a while, who recently had surgery on his groin). But their pitching has been horrific.

    Rookie Drew Pomeranz has a 3.06 ERA in seven starts, but of the five Rockies starters who have thrown more innings than Pomeranz, the lowest ERA in that group is 5.28 (no, that's not a typo).

    Things have been so bad that manager Jim Tracy has gone to a four-man rotation, just because—why not?

    They're not going anywhere this year, so the team is unlikely to acquire reinforcements. If the starting pitching doesn't get any better, it's going to be a rough second half in Denver.

    Updated Prediction: 66-96 (fifth place, NL West)

Detroit Tigers

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    Preseason Prediction: 96-66 (first place, AL Central)

    Current Record: 44-42 (third place, AL Central)

    The Tigers have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball this year, in a negative way. Most writers, this one included, projected the team to run away with the AL Central after a trip to the ALCS in 2011.

    But the Tigers have been what their record says they have been: remarkably average.

    The offense has been fine, led by Austin Jackson (.332, 9 HR, 38 RBI), Miguel Cabrera (.324, 18 HR, 71 RBI) and offseason acquisition Prince Fielder (.299, 15 HR, 63 RBI), but has otherwise been unremarkable.

    The pitching has been just fine, too. Justin Verlander is 9-5 with a 2.58 ERA and has run his streak of consecutive starts of six or more innings to 59 starts. Otherwise, their rotation has been very average. Doug Fister, who provided a spark last summer after being acquired from Seattle, has missed time with injuries and is 2-6 with a 4.75 ERA. Their other three starters, Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer and Drew Smyly, have ERAs of 4.47, 4.72 and 4.42, respectively.

    The Tigers haven't been bad, but they haven't lived up to expectations.

    I think their pitching is better than it has performed and they are poised to make a second-half run, especially after winning five in a row to end the first half. I could see them going 41-35 in the second half, but unfortunately, they were only .500 in the first half, which would leave them on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

    Updated Prediction: 87-75 (second place, AL Central)

Houston Astros

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    Preseason Prediction: 56-106 (sixth place, NL Central)

    Current Record: 33-53 (sixth place, NL Central)

    The Astros are awful, and they're not going to get any better as the season goes on.

    They're going to trade some veterans (they already dealt Carlos Lee last week to the Miami Marlins), and their players may start to count down the days until the end of the season and play worse.

    Their only two real bright spots so far have been Jed Lowrie, a shortstop who was acquired from Boston during the winter, and Lucas Harrell, a 27-year-old starting pitcher who has been decent in 17 starts.

    Updated Prediction: 62-100 (tied for fifth place, NL Central)

Kansas City Royals

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    Preseason Prediction: 81-81 (second place, AL Central)

    Current Record: 37-47 (fourth place, AL Central)

    I thought 2012 would be the year that the Kansas City Royals took a step forward with their young talent and reached the .500 mark. Unfortunately for them, it looks like that may have to wait at least another season, largely because their young arms are not yet on their pitching staff, but there are bright spots already on their big-league roster.

    Offensively, Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas and Alex Gordon each look like contributors on a winning franchise. While Eric Hosmer has struggled, we saw last year that he, too, has the talent to be an All-Star.

    Their pitchers still need a bit more seasoning, but once they make the big-league roster, the Royals will be a force to be reckoned with.

    Updated Prediction: 75-87 (tied for third place, AL Central)

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    Preseason Prediction: 93-69 (second place, AL West)

    Current Record: 48-38 (second place, AL West)

    With Mike Trout still in the minor leagues and Albert Pujols struggling, the Angels started the 2012 season just 18-25. Since that poor start, they are 30-13 and are right where we expected them to be.

    Trout, hitting .341 with 12 home runs and an AL-leading 26 stolen bases in just 64 games, has emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate. He also plays phenomenal defense. Albert Pujols has also found his stroke after making a rough adjustment to the American League.

    Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson have done a good job leading the pitching staff, but Dan Haren and especially Ervin Santana have struggled.

    The Angels will probably make the playoffs, at least as a Wild Card, but their fortunes in October will depend on whether Haren and/or Santana can turn things around.

    Updated Prediction: 93-69 (second place, AL West)

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Preseason Prediction: 81-81 (fourth place, NL West)

    Current Record: 47-40 (first place, NL West)

    Don Mattingly has done one of the best managing jobs in baseball so far, taking a team that most expected to hover around .500 to lead the NL West for most of the season.

    Matt Kemp got off to a fast start, hitting 12 home runs in just 36 games, but has missed most of the season with hamstring injuries. Without him, Andre Ethier and A.J. Ellis have led an overall weak offensive team. Ethier is now on the DL with an oblique injury.

    Clayton Kershaw and, surprisingly, Chris Capuano have been the team's two best starters, along with Ted Lilly, who was 5-1 in eight starts before hitting the DL. He may not return this year.

    The Dodgers have persevered with a weak offense and key injuries, but I'm not convinced they can keep it up for the whole season. I see them going 40-38 the rest of the way, but even winning 84 games should be considered a good year for the team in its first season without Frank McCourt in the owner's box.

    Updated Prediction: 84-78 (third place, NL West)

Miami Marlins

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    Preseason Prediction: 87-75 (second place, NL East)

    Current Record: 41-44 (fourth place, NL East)

    The Miami Marlins, with a new name, new stadium and new players, have been one of the most disappointing teams in baseball, mainly because their three key acquisitions have failed to live up to expectations.

    Shortstop Jose Reyes, last year's National League batting champion, is hitting just .264.

    Mark Beuhrle has pitched well with a 3.25 ERA, but a weak offense in a pitcher's park leaves him 8-8.

    Heath Bell has been better lately (Sunday's performance notwithstanding), but was so bad early in the season that he still has a 6.75 ERA.

    The Marlins will be hurt in the second half without Giancarlo Stanton, who will miss six to eight weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery over the weekend, but the addition of Carlos Lee presents an upgrade at first base over Gabi Sanchez, and Jose Reyes has to turn things around at some point, doesn't he?

    Updated Prediction: 81-81 (fourth place, NL East)

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Preseason Prediction: 85-77 (tied for second place, NL Central)

    Current Record: 40-45 (fourth place, NL Central)

    I thought the Brewers would be able to survive the loss of Prince Fielder and compete for the NL Central crown, but they were hit with the injury bug early on and have not been able to recover.

    Mat Gamel and Alex Gonzalez, whose injuries were major blows to the offense, both suffered torn ACLs and will miss the season. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy has also missed time.

    Ryan Braun and Corey Hart have played great, but have not been able to carry the team single-handedly.

    Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum have all been good, but Marcum has missed time and the rest of their rotation has been inconsistent.

    With Greinke and Marcum coming up on free agency this offseason, I expect the Brewers to trade one or both of the duo, which will hurt the team's record over the season's final two months.

    Updated Prediction: 77-85 (fourth place, NL Central)

Minnesota Twins

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    Preseason Prediction: 75-87 (tied for third place, AL Central)

    Current Record: 36-49 (fifth place, AL Central)

    The biggest question surrounding the Twins entering 2012 was whether Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau would be able to avoid injuries and stay on the field.

    They have, but the team has still struggled because the starting pitching has been brutal.

    Mauer has played in 77 games, split between catcher, first base and designated hitter, and has hit .326.

    Morneau had one DL stint, but has still played in 65 games with 11 home runs.

    Scott Diamond has been the only effective starting pitcher, going 7-2 with a 2.62 ERA in 12 starts.

    Otherwise, Francisco Liriano is 3-7 with a 5.08, Nick Blackburn is 4-5 with a 8.10, and Carl Pavano is 2-5 with a 6.00. With the sixth spot, the Twins have mixed and matched with different pitchers, none of whom have been effective.

    As long as the pitching continues to struggle, it's going to be a long second half in the Twin Cities.

    Updated Prediction: 66-96 (fifth place, AL Central)

New York Mets

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    Preseason Prediction: 68-94 (fifth place, NL East)

    Current Record: 46-40 (third place, NL East)

    Boy, was I wrong about the Mets. I thought they were going to be poor offensively and have a shallow pitching staff.

    Their offense has really impressed, though. Aside from David Wright's MVP-deserving season, Lucas Duda and Scott Hairston have provided power, and despite an extended slump to start the season, Ike Davis' performance has really picked up lately.

    Aside from Johan Santana pitching like an ace again, R.A. Dickey has joined the club with a Cy Young-worthy year. Dillon Gee, Jonathon Niese and Chris Young have pitched well, too.

    Their one weakness is their bullpen, which has been one of the worst in baseball.

    We'll see if the Mets can add an arm or two to the 'pen between now and July 31, but either way, I can see them hanging in the race down the stretch.

    Updated Prediction: 86-76 (tied for second place, NL East)

New York Yankees

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    Preseason Prediction: 96-66 (first place, AL East)

    Current Record: 52-33 (first place, AL East)

    Coming in to the season, I thought the Yankees were by far the most complete team in baseball, other than the Texas Rangers, and the Bombers haven't done anything to change my mind about that.

    Offensively, they've been led by Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson. Each could be in contention for the MVP award.

    But the real story has been the pitching. CC Sabathia has been good, but beyond him were question marks.

    Andy Pettitte made a surprise return from retirement and was fantastic before a line drive fractured his ankle, and Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova have each been solid for the last six to eight weeks. They've been so good that Yankee fans have almost forgotten about Michael Pineda missing the entire season.

    The bullpen has been a key to their success, too. For even without Mariano Rivera, who is out for the year with a torn ACL, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, Boone Logan and the rest of the staff have been great.

    There's really no reason to change my preseason prediction up or down, so at 96 wins it will stay.

    Updated Prediction: 96-66 (first place, AL East)

Oakland Athletics

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    Preseason Prediction: 59-103 (fourth place, AL West)

    Current Record: 43-43 (third place, AL West)

    In trading away Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez this offseason, two very good young starting pitchers, Billy Beane and the A's made it known they were not planning on contending this year. But even though they probably still won't make the playoffs, the Athletics have played much better than expected.

    They don't hit a lick. In fact, their leading hitter Josh Reddick has just a .268 average and is the only regular with an OPS over .800 (he's also their only hitter with double-digit home runs, with 20).

    But they can really pitch. Top prospect Jarrod Parker has come up to the majors and excelled. He's 5-4 with a 2.86 ERA, allowing two or fewer runs in 11 of his 15 starts.

    Tommy Milone and Brandon McCarthy have pitched well, and veteran Bartolo Colon has provided some veteran leadership to an otherwise young rotation.

    I don't expect them to stick around in the race, especially if they trade Grant Balfour or another player at the trade deadline, but they would have to go 16-60 down the stretch to match my original prediction. That probably won't happen.

    Updated Prediction: 72-90 (third place, AL West)

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Preseason Prediction: 91-71 (first place, NL East)

    Current Record: 37-50 (fifth place, NL East)

    Even knowing that the Phillies would miss Ryan Howard and Chase Utley for a significant portion of the season, I thought they would win the NL East because of their rotation with three aces, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.

    But the hitting has been even worse than I expected, and two of the three aces have underachieved.

    Roy Halladay struggled early on and hasn't pitched since May as a result of a lat injury. Cliff Lee has been average and only got his first win of the season last week against the Mets.

    Still, as long as the Phillies decide to hold onto Cole Hamels instead of trade him due to his impending free agency, I think they'll make a little bit of a run.

    Howard and Utley are back now, and Halladay is set to return soon. This is a better team than their record indicates, and while I think they've dug themselves too big a hole to overcome, going 41-34 in the second half would be an improvement.

    Updated Prediction: 78-84 (fifth place, NL East)

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Preseason Prediction: 74-88 (tied for fourth place, NL Central)

    Current Record: 48-37 (first place, NL Central)

    The Bucs are in first place at the All-Star break for the first time since 1997, but unfortunately for Pirates fans, I see this team finishing the season like last year's team did, which started 51-44, but finished with a 72-90 record.

    Andrew McCutchen is having a breakout year, hitting .362 with 18 home runs and 14 stolen bases, but he's really not getting much help offensively. Neil Walker is hitting .291 at second base and Pedro Alvarez has 16 long balls, but McCutchen is the only Pirate hitter with an OPS over .800. The offense is so weak that I'm not even sure that adding one quality hitter would be enough to turn this into a playoff team.

    The pitching has been solid, led by A.J. Burnett at 10-2 and James McDonald, who is 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA. The bullpen has been good, too, with Joel Hanrahan, Jared Hughes, Jason Grilli and Juan Cruz all playing valuable roles.

    But I still don't believe in Burnett (perhaps because I've seen him pitch in New York long enough to know he's one of the least consistent pitchers in the league), and McDonald has never been this good over the course of a full season.

    The Pirates have played great, and their farm system is loaded with talent that will make them contenders soon, but I don't think it's this year. The positive: They will be over .500 for the first time since 1992.

    Updated Prediction: 83-79 (third place, NL Central)

San Diego Padres

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    Preseason Prediction: 72-90 (fifth place, NL West)

    Current Record: 34-53 (fourth place, NL West)

    The Padres have performed about as well as expected this year. They don't hit at all and their pitching has been good, but not great.

    They should be listening to offers for Chase Headley and Huston Street, which would bring them down a win or two in the second half.

    The one player Padres fans should be excited about watching is Andrew Cashner, acquired from the Cubs during the offseason for Anthony Rizzo. Cashner, who can throw 100 miles per hour, is transitioning from the bullpen to the starting rotation and has made three starts. Unfortunately, he came out of his last start with a lat injury and has been placed on the DL. He should miss about a month.

    Updated Prediction: 70-92 (fifth place, NL West)

San Francisco Giants

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    Preseason Prediction: 86-76 (second place, NL West)

    Current Record: 46-40 (second place, NL West)

    After hovering around .500 for the first couple of months of the season, the Giants have picked up their game, as the Dodgers have faltered, and now sit just half a game behind L.A. in the NL West.

    The biggest surprise has been from Melky Cabrera, who is hitting .353 and leads the league with 119 hits. The offense has scored enough, but could definitely use another bat.

    Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong have led the rotation well, and Barry Zito has been better than expected. But, Tim Lincecum has lost his mojo and is 3-10 with a 6.42 ERA going into the break. If he keeps struggling, look for Bruce Bochy to shift him to the bullpen.

    Updated Prediction: 88-74 (first place, NL West)

Seattle Mariners

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    Preseason Prediction: 68-94 (third place, AL West)

    Current Record: 36-51 (fourth place, AL West)

    The Mariners have performed about exactly as poorly as I expected before the season.

    Their offense stinks, and their main offseason acquisition, Jesus Montero, is not an offensive star (yet). He's hitting .245 with eight home runs and a .657 OPS. He also only has one RBI since June 1.

    The pitching, led by Felix Hernandez, has been decent, but not nearly good enough to overcome the offensive struggles.

    Updated Prediction: 68-94 (fourth place, AL West)

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Preseason Prediction: 87-75 (first place, NL Central)

    Current Record: 46-40 (third place, NL Central)

    Despite losing manager Tony LaRussa and first baseman Albert Pujols, the Cardinals have played well in 2012.

    Carlos Beltran has filled the void left in the offense left by Pujols, hitting .296 with 20 home runs, and they'll get a boost after the All-Star break when Lance Berkman returns to the lineup.

    They also traded one ace for another this year, getting Adam Wainwright back from Tommy John surgery, but losing Chris Carpenter for the entire season with a nerve issue in his shoulder. Wainwright struggled at the beginning of the year, but has pitched well as of late.

    The Cardinals are a good team that still has nine games to play against the Cubs and another nine against the Astros. That's a good recipe to propel a team to a playoff spot.

    Updated Prediction: 88-74 (second place, NL Central)

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Preseason Prediction: 92-70 (second place, AL East)

    Current Record: 45-41 (third place, AL East)

    Even though the Rays currently sit in third place in the AL East, I still believe Tampa Bay is the second-best team in that division.

    They've been without Evan Longoria for most of the season and the offense isn't great, but they still have the best starting pitching in the division, and Joe Maddon always seems to get the most out of his bullpen.

    The one variable in my prediction is whether the Rays decide to be buyers or sellers. Even though they are currently half a game out of a wild-card spot, it's possible they'll choose to sell some of their players with high salaries and free agency coming up this offseason, such as Matt Joyce or B.J. Upton. If they do become sellers instead of buyers, they won't finish 86-76.

    Updated Prediction: 86-76 (second place, AL East)

Texas Rangers

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    Preseason Prediction: 95-67 (first place, AL West)

    Current Record: 52-34 (first place, AL West)

    The two-time defending American League champions are taking care of business. They score a ton of runs, led by Josh Hamilton, who hit four home runs in a game this year and has 27 homers and 75 RBI at the break.

    Their pitching has been solid, too, especially Matt Harrison, who is having a breakout 11-4 season, and newcomer Yu Darvish, who has had no trouble adjusting to American hitters after coming over from Japan.

    They have the second-best record in baseball, and they might use their deep farm system to get even better, as they've been rumored to be interested in Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke.

    Updated Prediction: 98-64 (first place, AL West)

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Preseason Prediction: 84-78 (fourth place, AL East)

    Current Record: 43-43 (fifth place, AL East)

    All teams have to deal with injuries, but the Blue Jays might have been dealt the worst hand in the league, losing three starting pitchers within the course of a week during June. Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison and Brandon Morrow all went down during the same week in June and are out indefinitely.

    Without those three starters, it's unlikely the Blue Jays will even compete for a wild-card spot in the American League. It's possible they'll trade Edwin Encarnacion, who has 23 home runs and will be a free agent after the season before the July 31 deadline.

    The Blue Jays have plenty of pieces to be excited about and could contend next year, but unfortunately, 2012 will not be a year that "Oh Canada" will be sung before a playoff game.

    Updated Prediction: 79-83 (fifth place, AL East)

Washington Nationals

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    Preseason Prediction: 82-80 (fourth place, NL East)

    Current Record: 49-34 (first place, NL East)

    The Nationals have been one of the best stories of the year, leading the National League after the first half of play despite injuries and/or ineffectiveness from some of their best hitters (Mike Morse, Wilson Ramos, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman). Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche have filled the void on an otherwise weak offense.

    But the real story on the Nats has been starting pitching. The duo of Gio Gonzalez (12-3, 2.92 ERA) and Stephen Strasburg (9-4, 2.82 ERA, 128 strikeouts in 99 innings) has become one of the best one-two punches in the majors, and Ross Detwiler, Edwin Jackson and Jordan Zimmerman fill out a great (and healthy) rotation.

    The bullpen has been stellar, too, even without Drew Storen. Tyler Clippard, Craig Stammen, Sean Burnett and Ryan Mattheus each have ERAs under 2.00 and WHIPs under 1.18.

    They may take a step back in the second half if they stick to their strategy of shutting down Strasburg after 160 innings and if the rest of their pitching regresses, but they've still proved themselves to be the best team in their division

    Updated Prediction: 92-70 (first place, NL East)

     

    In these updated predictions, the playoff teams in the American League would be the Yankees, White Sox and Rangers, with the Angels and Tigers earning wild-card spots (the only change from my preseason forecast being the White Sox replacing the Rays). In the National League, we would see the Nationals, Reds and Giants getting in, with the Cardinals securing one Wild Card and the Braves, Diamondbacks and Mets tied for the second spot.

    But only time will tell which of these predictions will come true.

    Enjoy the second half!