Thursday, August 2, 2018

"Midseason" Predictions: Division and Wild Card Winners

There are a number of days I look forward to every year. Food-centric holidays, for instance, are near the top of my list: Thanksgiving, Christmas, my birthday. Vacation days are always great, as well. And since I started working full-time, I've started to appreciate Fridays more and more.

When it comes to baseball, I, like every other fan, look forward to Opening Day. And because that never comes quickly enough, the day pitchers and catchers report is typically circled on my calendar. But there is something special about July 31st--the trade deadline.

Sure, as a Dodgers fan, I am bit blessed. The trade deadline usually sees the Dodgers buying big. Rich Hill and Josh Reddick in 2016, Yu Darvish in 2017, and Manny Machado and Brian Dozier this year. Of course, that world series win has still been elusive (damn you, Astros!) but it's a fun time nonetheless.

It's also a good time to update my predictions for the year. I typically do this every year and post them on Twitter, and this year is no different. Let's take a look at some terrible takes from April.

Some of these are spot on, though there are certainly some misses. I'm fairly certain Dave Martinez isn't going to take home the Manager of the Year award this season...

Let's go through the list and make some updated predictions.

National League West
Pre-Season Prediction: Dodgers
Mid-Season Prediction: Dodgers

The Dodgers are loaded. The Dodgers were loaded before they landed Machado and Dozier at the deadline, but now they've added to potent bats to the lineup and are going to slug their way to the division crown a la the 2017 Houston Astros. Just don't look at the bullpen depth chart behind Kenley's not loaded.

National League Central
Pre-Season Prediction: Chicago Cubs
Mid-Season Prediction: Chicago Cubs

The Cubs were the darling of baseball a few years ago, though they seem to have dropped off a bit since last year's disappointing (but still great) season. Anchored by Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez (a candidate for MVP), and Kyle Schwarber, the Cubs offense is strong. The pitching staff on the other hand...yikes. Expect better numbers from them in the second half as they stave off the Brewers to take the division.

National League East
Pre-Season Prediction: Washington Nationals
Mid-Season Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies

The Nationals are, by far, this year's biggest disappointment. They have veteran talent (Harper, Murphy, and Rendon), young studs (Soto and Turner), and the best pitcher in baseball (Scherzer), the underwhelming start is surprising. It's hard to look at that talent and not think they can make a run at the division, but I think they'll fall just short of the upstart Phillies.

Jayson Werth's beard foresaw the Nationals' demise and got the hell out of there. 

NL Wild Card Winners
Pre-Season Predictions: D-Backs and Cardinals
Mid-Season Predictions: Brewers and D-Backs

The Brewers are a strong team, though the pitching can use some work. Lorenzo Cain is quietly having a tremendous year and deserves MVP consideration. The second wild card will be tight, with the Braves, D-Backs, Pirates, and Nationals all pushing for a spot, but I think the D-Backs will take it.

American League West
Pre-Season Prediction: Houston Astros
Mid-Season Prediction: Houston Astros

They're the best all-around team in baseball. They have one of the strongest pitchings staffs in recent memory and an incredibly powerful offense. I'm not a fan of a certain mid-season move, however.

American League Central
Pre-Season Prediction: Cleveland Indians
Mid-Season Prediction: Cleveland Indians

The AL Central is the worst division in baseball. The Indians didn't do much at the deadline but would have to fail catastrophically fail to lose the division lead.

American League East
Pre-Season Prediction: Yankees
Mid-Season Prediction: Red Sox

The Red Sox have been a juggernaut this year. The Yankees have too. You can find thousands of words about them elsewhere. Red Sox take the division.

AL Wild Card Winners
Pre-Season Predictions: Red Sox and Twins
Mid-Season Predictions: Yankees and Athletics

The Twins have definitely underwhelmed and won't sniff the postseason. The Athletics have surged over the past few weeks and should very quickly take over the floundering Mariners in the standings. The will Yankees get the first wild card despite winning 100 games.

World Series Winner
Los Angeles Dodgers over Houston Astros in seven games. I'm sticking with this. Oh please let me be right.


I'll be back in a few days to make some award predictions. In the meantime, let me know what you think of these predictions in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. I'm consistently horrible at pre-season predictions, but picking the A's as my sleeper is looking pretty good right about now. My pick for the Nats as a runaway division winner, not so much.