Thursday, July 17, 2008

Preseason Predictions Revisited

Why is the All Star Game played so late in the season? It is considered the halfway point of the season, but it seems to be creeping later into the season every year. Most of the teams are in the mid-90's of games played and the Red Sox have played 97 games. Not that it really matters, but it just seems strange that the "midway point" in the season should be almost 60% of the way through the season.

Three and a half months ago I gave my predictions for both the National League and the American League. Let's see how those predictions are working out a the midway point:

Division Leaders

NL East - I took the Mets, with the caveat that I was nervous about Pedro Martinez' health. The Mets currently sit a half game behind the Phillies for the division lead and Pedro has been injured for much of the first half of the season. I was a little off in my support for Atlanta as a division contender, but I feel pretty good about the Mets pick.

NL Central - I took the Brewers, with the Cubs winning the Wild Card after a season-long battle between the two teams for first place. I was't too far off: the Cubs lead the division and the Brewers are five games back. What I didn't foresee was that the Cardinals would be in the mix as well - they are four and a half games back of the Cubs and lead the Wild Card race. I still feel confident about my Brewers pick, though, and while they might not overtake the Cubs, I think both the Cubs and Brewers will head to the playoffs.

NL West - The Dodgers were my pick in the West, with Colorado, Arizona and San Diego bunching up behind them. This division has been very disappointing with none of the teams having a record over .500, but Arizona and the Dodgers are at the top of the division, with Arizona leading by a game. I feel pretty good about this pick, too, because it is basically a coin toss between Arizona and Los Angeles at this point.

AL East - I picked the Red Sox, with the Yankees coming in second and winning the Wild Card - a safe pick considering the past few seasons. I missed the emergence of the Rays, though. They are currently in second place and led the division for a bit of the first half. They are currently the Wild Card leader. So, while my pick of the division leader looks pretty good, I missed one of the bigger stories of the first half.

AL Central - I missed pretty badly in this division, picking the Tigers as the division winner and picking their main competition to be the Indians. The Indians have completely fallen apart and are currently in last place in the division. The Tigers still have an outside chance at winning the division - they are seven games back - but they will have to overcome both the Twins and the White Sox. This pick would be my worst if it wasn't for the next one...

AL West - I picked this division to be the worst in baseball and picked Seattle to win the division. Instead, three of the four teams in the division have records over .500 and Seattle is the odd team out and are twenty games out of first place. Seattle has been one of the worst teams in the league. At least I didn't actually like Seattle, I just thought they'd win the division by default. Instead, the Angels look like one of the best teams in baseball and Oakland and Texas are surprisingly good, while Seattle is just terrible.

Most Valuable Player

NL - I picked David Wright and he wasn't a bad pick. Wright has solid numbers and a good second half that propels his team to the playoffs could still win him the award. That being said, the MVP at the midway point would probably be Chase Utley, Lance Berkman, Hanley Ramirez or Albert Pujols.

AL - Alex Rodriguez was my pick, which wasn't very courageous, and it wasn't a bad pick. A-Rod would certainly be in the group of finalists at the point along with Josh Hamilton, Carlos Quentin and Grady Sizemore.

Cy Young

NL - I took Ben Sheets and the pick looks pretty good right now as Sheets was the starter for the NL in the All Star Game. He would probably be in contention with Edinson Volquez, Brandon Webb and Tim Lincecum.

AL - Daisuke Matsuzaka was my pick and if he hadn't been injured he might be the pick. He is 10-1 with a 2.65 ERA. If the season ended today, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Justin Duchscherer would be the favorites.


NL - Geovany Soto has lived up to my preseason expectations and he is probably the Rookie of the Year at this point, with Joey Votto, Kosuke Fukudome and Jair Jurrjens as his main competition.

AL - My pick was Adam Jones and he has played ok, but probably not up to ROY standards. I mentioned that Evan Longoria would win if he had started the season at the big leagues, but he is probably the front-runner even though he started the year at triple A.

Overall I feel pretty good about my predictions. The only truly embarrassing pick is Seattle to win the AL West. This is probably the best set of predictions I have ever done, which only means that they will all fall apart in the second half. My first have grade on my picks: B+.

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