MLB Second Half Predictions

Tim Stoeckle@@TimStoeckleContributor IIIJuly 11, 2012

MLB Second Half Predictions

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    The second half of the Major League Baseball season should be great.

    The Yankees have the largest division lead of any team at seven games, the next most is only a four-game lead by Washington and Texas.

    The addition of the second Wild Card spot will create even more drama at the end of the season, as even more teams will be fighting for a playoff spot.

    The All-Star break is usually a good time to make adjustments to any preseason predictions that you might have made.  

    If you picked the Phillies to win the National League, like me, you might need to make some adjustments.

    If you picked the Pirates to lose 100 games, you might need to make some adjustments.

    If you picked the Nationals to finish last in the NL East, you might need to make some adjustments.

    Here is what you should expect to see at the end of the regular season.  Maybe I'll make some adjustments in late September. 

American League East

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    Winner: New York Yankees

    The Yankees entered the All-Star break with the best winning percentage in baseball.  

    The offense is loaded and shows no signs of slowing down, lead by All-Stars Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson, plus guys like Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher.

    New York's rotation is what could prevent them from winning the division.  Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova have been pitching well, but they need some help at the bottom of the rotation.  

    Don't be surprised to see the Yankees make a trade for a starter.

American League Central

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    Winner: Detroit Tigers

    Detroit is 3.5 games back of Chicago in the Central, but the Tigers have won five straight and seven of their last 10 games.  

    The Tigers have too much offensive talent to not win this division, which may be the weakest in baseball.  Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera have been fantastic, and Austin Jackson was an All-Star snub in center field.

    Justin Verlander is a reliable ace, but Detroit could use some more help in the rotation, as Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Doug Fister and Drew Smyly aren't consistent enough to win this team a World Series.

American League West

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    Winner: Texas Rangers

    Texas has been the most complete team in the first half, but they've struggled a bit of late.

    Offensively, the Rangers lead the majors in batting average and runs scored and should be able to maintain those leads in the second half. 

    The Rangers rotation has been consistent, led by All-Stars Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison.

    The Angels are chasing Texas, but expect the Rangers to keep their lead. 

American League Wild Cards

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    Winners: Los Angeles Angels and Chicago White Sox

    For the first time, there will be two Wild Card teams in each league.  In the AL I expect them to be the Angels and White Sox.

    Los Angeles got off to a slow start, but they've been playing great baseball since the arrival of phenom, Mike Trout.  

    I expect a huge second half from Albert Pujols and with him hitting again, the Angels will have one of the best lineups in the league to pair with their solid rotation, featuring Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson.

    The addition of Kevin Youkilis gives Chicago a dangerous offense.

    Youkilis, along with Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Dunn and the extremely underrated White Sox outfield, will produce a ton of runs and allow the Sox to continue winning games.

    Jake Peavy and Chris Sale have had great first halves, but I do expect a bit of a drop off from them.  However, I do think the Sox get in the playoffs. 

National League East

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    Winner: Atlanta Braves

    Washington has a four-game lead on Atlanta, but I think the Braves are the best team in the division.

    The Braves offense is loaded with talent from top to bottom and will keep this team in the race, despite their pitching problems. 

    The loss of starter Brandon Beachy, is huge for Atlanta, but Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson are still at the top of the rotation, and I expect a nice second half from Jair Jurrjens.

National League Central

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    Winner: Cincinnati Reds

    Sorry Pittsburgh, not this year.

    Cincinnati will win the Central simply because they have the most talent.  

    The offense has been slightly disappointing, but they should turn it around in the second half.  Joey Votto has put up huge numbers and Brandon Phillips, Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce are set to have big second halves.

    Johnny Cueto was an All-Star snub in the rotation, and if he can pitch anywhere near as good as he did in the first half, then the Reds are in good shape.

National League West

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    Winner: San Francisco Giants

    This was the toughest division for me to pick, but I'm going with the Giants, who currently sit half a game back of the Dodgers.

    The San Francisco offense isn't anything to brag about, but it isn't bad either.  Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Melky Cabrera are All-Stars, and Angel Pagan is a solid leadoff man.  

    You have to think sooner or later Tim Lincecum will begin pitching like himself, but in the meantime, the Giants have Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong carrying the weight in the rotation and doing a great job.

National League Wild Cards

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    Winners: Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks

    Washington currently has the best record in the National League, but I expect them to come back to Earth relatively soon.

    The pitching rotation will keep them alive though, thanks to superstars Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez as well as Jordan Zimmerman and Edwin Jackson.  

    The lineup is young so they may be rattled during a pennant race, but the talent is too deep to miss the playoffs completely.

    Arizona is a bit of a surprise pick here, but I think the Diamondbacks will have a huge second half.

    The D'Backs lineup is great with Miguel Montero, Paul Goldschmidt, Aaron Hill, Ryan Roberts, Jason Kubel, Chris Young and Justin Upton.

    The Diamondbacks need better outings from their starters though, especially Ian Kennedy.  Kennedy was 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA last year, but this year he's down to 6-7 with an ERA of 4.26.

2012 Playoffs

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    American League

    Wild Card Game

    Angels over White Sox

    Jered Weaver pitches a gem and allows the Angels to advance to face their division rivals.


    Rangers over Angels in 4

    The balance of Texas will be too much for the Angels, who lack depth in their rotation.

    Yankees over Tigers in 5

    A great series comes down to home field advantage, and the Yankees get it done with their bats in game five.


    Rangers over Yankees in 7

    Lots of runs scored in this series.  In the end, it's the strength of the Rangers pitching that allows them to advance to their third consecutive World Series.

    National League

    Wild Card Game

    Nationals over Diamondbacks

    A low scoring game is decided by Stephen Strasburg's pitching and a clutch hit by Bryce Harper.


    Reds over Nationals in 5

    The Nationals pitching gets them into game five, but the inexperience of the Nats allows the Reds to capitalize on home field in game five.

    Giants over Braves in 5

    Lincecum steps up in the playoffs and joins Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong in getting wins to advance the Giants past Atlanta.


    Giants over Reds in 6

    The Giants pitching is too much for Cincinnati, who puts up a valiant fight but can't get the runs they need to beat San Francisco.

    World Series

    Rangers over Giants in 5

    The Rangers get their revenge and beat the Giants to finally win the World Series.  Josh Hamilton takes home MVP honors as he enters the offseason as a free agent.

2012 Awards

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    American League

    MVP: Josh Hamilton, Rangers

    Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Tigers

    Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout, Angels

    Manager of the Year: Robin Ventura, White Sox

    National League

    MVP: Joey Votto, Reds

    Cy Young: Matt Cain, Giants

    Rookie of the Year: Bryce Harper, Nationals

    Manager of the Year: Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks