2015 MLB Midseason Predictions

Fan or no fan, there will be reason to celebrate once again in October in Kansas City. (Photo Credit: Keith Myers/Kansas City Star)
Fan or no fan, Kauffman Stadium is primed to go crazy again in October. (Photo Credit: Keith Myers/Kansas City Star)

American League East

Preseason:

  1. Baltimore Orioles* 91-71
  2. Boston Red Sox 82-80
  3. Toronto Blue Jays 80-82
  4. New York Yankees 78-84
  5. Tampa Bay Rays 74-88

Update:

  1. Toronto Blue Jays* 88-74
  2. Baltimore Orioles 85-77
  3. New York Yankees 83-79
  4. Tampa Bay Rays 78-84
  5. Boston Red Sox 75-87

This division is totally up in the air. One thing that I knew before the season is that the Red Sox pitching staff was not going to cut it, and their offense has also been an issue. They do have the prospects to make a splash at the deadline, but I would not advise that. They are simply not a good baseball team. The team that scares me the most here is the Blue Jays. I think they make a bold move and acquire Aroldis Chapman from the Reds. Put him in that bullpen with that offense and this team can make a run in October. The Rays continue to find ways with their fantastic pitching staff. Kevin Cash has done a terrific job with this team, but I think they will end up a few games below the .500 mark. The Orioles are always intriguing, but I think that the Blue Jays will make the big move to finally put them over the top. The Yankees have been a surprise to me this year, but I think they ultimately fall short.

American League Central

Preseason:

  1. Kansas City Royals* 93-69
  2. Chicago White Sox* 88-74
  3. Cleveland Indians 83-79
  4. Detroit Tigers 79-83
  5. Minnesota Twins 72-90

Update:

  1. Kansas City Royals* 93-69
  2. Minnesota Twins* 87-75
  3. Cleveland Indians 83-79
  4. Detroit Tigers 80-82
  5. Chicago White Sox 74-88

The Royals are the best team in the American League. Even with Alex Gordon going down, this team has depth to the point where losing one guy is not going to affect how they play. Lorenzo Cain is turning into a superstar. That Zack Greinke trade is turning out to be pretty fantastic for the Royals. Dayton Moore got criticized for having an underwhelming off season, but he arguably had the best one. His deals of Kendrys Morales, Edinson Volquez, Chris Young, and Ryan Madson have been brilliant. At this point, I think the Twins are for real. Paul Molitor has done a terrific job with this team and Torii Hunter has meant so much to them, both on the field and in the clubhouse. Their pitching has been steady, and getting Ervin Santana back is like making a big addition. This is a guy that they signed to be their ace last offseason. I can see the Indians going on a little run; their pitching is too good. The Tigers are beginning to fade away. I really think the smart thing for them to do is trade David Price and Yoenis Cespedes, who are both free agents, and add to their thin farm system. It won’t be popular with that fan base, but it would be the smart thing to do. The White Sox have been disappointing. They made so many moves last offseason and every one of them seemed to make sense. This has been a team that typically does not have a problem scoring runs and the additions of Adam LaRoche and Melky Cabrera figured to fit in perfectly to that lineup. They have had trouble scoring runs, however, as many guys on the team have under-performed for much of the season.

American League West

Preseason:

  1. Seattle Mariners* 95-67
  2. Oakland A’s* 86-76
  3. Los Angeles Angels 76-86
  4. Houston Astros 75-87
  5. Texas Rangers 71-91

Update:

  1. Houston Astros* 90-72
  2. Los Angeles Angels* 88-74
  3. Seattle Mariners 81-81
  4. Oakland A’s 78-84
  5. Texas Rangers 73-89

I said before the season that I considered putting the Astros ahead of the Angels. Well now I am, and I’m putting them ahead of everyone else in this division. This team is for real. Carlos Correa may already be the best shortstop in baseball. This kid is going to be a superstar for years to come and a franchise cornerstone for what could become a very good Astros team for a long time. Dallas Keuchel is having a terrific year and is a Cy Young candidate. I also think Matt Harvey would look nice in their rotation, but that’s a whole different story. I expected better from the Mariners this year. Old friend Mike Montgomery has been a nice story for their rotation, but James Paxton has not stayed healthy and Taijuan Walker has not been spectacular. Robinson Cano has been terrible, and he has 8 years, $192 million remaining on his contract. Albert Pujols has had an excellent year for the Angels. Mike Trout is Mike Trout. Hector Santiago has been a nice surprise as the steady southpaw made his first All-Star appearance this year. I did not expect much from this team, but they should be back in October. The A’s are always a puzzling team. I thought they would find a way to make it back to October, but that does not look like it will be the case. Scott Kazmir is very much available in trades and I wonder if Billy Beane would be bold enough to make Sonny Gray available. You just never know with this team. Prince Fielder has had an excellent comeback year for the Rangers after missing most of the 2014 season with a neck injury. For the most part though, injuries have befuddled this team.

National League East

Preseason:

  1. Miami Marlins* 92-70
  2. Washington Nationals* 88-74
  3. New York Mets 84-78
  4. Atlanta Braves 75-87
  5. Philadelphia Phillies 61-101

Update:

  1. Washington Nationals* 91-71
  2. New York Mets 77-85
  3. Atlanta Braves 74-88
  4. Miami Marlins 72-90
  5. Philadelphia Phillies 56-106

I previously picked the Marlins to win the World Series. It is clear to say that I was wrong on that one. While this team does have talent, pretty much everything went wrong for them. My previous manager of the year winner in the National League, Mike Redmond, was fired in May. The Nationals should run away with this division rather easily. Max Scherzer has been brilliant and Bryce Harper is having an incredible breakout season. The Mets need to trade Matt Harvey. They are not one bat away from contending, and the fantastic starting pitching that they do have is going to waste by the day (case and point: the Mets went 1-26 with RISP and left a franchise record 25 runners on base in an 18 inning game against the Cardinals as I am writing this). Trade Harvey (who is not signing an extension), get a group of bats that can be ready in two years when the rest of the starters and healthy and in their prime, and build a consistent contender. Makes sense to me. The Braves are exceeding expectations, but will fall short of the postseason. Jason Grilli was having a fantastic comeback season and would have been a nice addition for a contender, but he tore his Achilles covering first base. The Phillies are a disaster, and not much else needs to be said except their 56-106 record would be an ode to the 2005 Royals.

National League Central

Preseason:

  1. St. Louis Cardinals* 93-69
  2. Pittsburgh Pirates* 87-75
  3. Milwaukee Brewers 82-80
  4. Chicago Cubs 79-83
  5. Cincinnati Reds 76-86

Update:

  1. St. Louis Cardinals* 94-68
  2. Pittsburgh Pirates* 92-70
  3. Chicago Cubs 84-78
  4. Milwaukee Brewers 75-87
  5. Cincinnati Reds 71-91

This division is an exciting one. The Cardinals and Pirates are arguably two of the top teams in baseball. Both teams should cruise into October, and do not be surprised if the Pirates end up with the division title. The Cubs are having an excellent season, but I think they fall short of the postseason. They will be contenders for years to come, though. I expect the Brewers and Reds to be sellers, especially the Reds. I think Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Jay Bruce, Aroldis Chapman, Manny Parra, and Marlon Byrd could all be dealt at some point. They will hold onto Todd Frazier, though. I think the Brewers end up moving Carlos Gomez and possibly Jean Segura as well. The problem for these teams is that the Cardinals, Pirates and Cubs are not going away anytime soon. If they want to contend anytime soon, they have to tear it down and rebuild from square one.

National League West

Preseason:

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers* 94-68
  2. San Diego Padres 84-78
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks 78-84
  4. San Francisco Giants 75-87
  5. Colorado Rockies 66-96

Update:

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers* 92-70
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks* 85-77
  3. San Francisco Giants 82-80
  4. San Diego Padres 70-92
  5. Colorado Rockies 69-93

Like I said at the beginning of the season, the Dodgers will win this division by default. One unpopular thing I will say about the Dodgers is that Joc Pederson is overrated. Take away his 20 home runs and you have a .230 hitter with 20 RBI and a league leading 110 strikeouts. Are those All-Star numbers? Far from it. He is an incredible talent that draws a good amount of walks and is still very young (and seeing his brother Champ meet Albert Pujols at the Home Run Derby was absolutely awesome), but the swing and miss concern is a red flag for me. While the Padres “won the offseason”, I still had my doubts with them because of their right-handed heavy lineup and lack of defensive attention in that spacious ballpark. Those concerns have been validated to this point. Defense was overlooked in this case, and it has been costing the Padres all season long. They also traded away some pretty good prospects in the process as well. The Rockies will not win until they get pitching. I do not think the Giants make the playoffs. After Madison Bumgarner, their rotation is nothing special. The surprise team here is the Snakes. It may be a gut feeling, but I can see this team, led by MVP candidate and somehow underrated Paul Goldschmidt, finding its way into the postseason.

American League Wild Card:

Preseason: White Sox over A’s

Update: Twins over Angels

With Ervin Santana ineligible for the postseason, the Twins will ride Big Pelf to a Wild Card victory.

ALDS:

Preseason: Mariners over White Sox, Royals over Orioles

Update: Royals over Twins, Blue Jays over Astros

It’s more likely that the Reds will trade Aroldis Chapman than the Mets will trade Matt Harvey, so the Blue Jays get the edge in a very entertaining five-game series.

ALCS:

Preseason: Mariners over Royals

Update: Royals over Blue Jays

American League Champions:

Preseason: Seattle Mariners

Update: Kansas City Royals

National League Wild Card:

Preseason: Pirates over Nationals

Update: Pirates over Diamondbacks

NLDS:

Preseason: Pirates over Dodgers, Marlins over Cardinals

Update: Nationals over Dodgers, Pirates over Cardinals

A Cardinals-Pirates postseason series would be a blast to watch, and more than likely it will go to five games. I just think the Pirates will be on a mission to make a statement that they are just as good as the perennial contenders from St. Louis.

NLCS:

Preseason: Marlins over Pirates

Update: Pirates over Nationals

National League Champions:

Preseason: Miami Marlins

Update: Pittsburgh Pirates

World Series:

Preseason: Marlins over Mariners

Update: Royals over Pirates

Cripes. I picked the Royals to win the World Series last year, and they came pretty darn close. Deep down inside, I wanted to pick them again this year. I just did not want to because it would be me as a fan picking them. But now, the heck with it. It can definitely happen. The bullpen is better than it was last year, and they are about to add Kris Medlen to the mix. The rotation is the only real blemish but with a bullpen this deep, they only need their starters to go five innings. In the postseason it comes down to run prevention, which starts with defense and bullpen. The 2015 Kansas City Royals are historically great at both of them. I had Royals-Cardinals last year and thought about it again. But I think the Pirates are just as good as the Redbirds and are primed for a deep run this year. So for the next three days, I will be enjoying what I believe will be a World Series preview in Kansas City.

World Series Champions:

Preseason: Miami Marlins

Update: Kansas City Royals

Awards:

AL MVP:

Preseason: Mike Trout, LAA

Update: Mike Trout, LAA

NL MVP:

Preseason: Giancarlo Stanton, MIA

Update: Bryce Harper, WAS

AL Cy Young:

Preseason: Chris Sale, CWS

Update: Wade Davis, KC (won’t happen, but he has my vote)

NL Cy Young:

Preseason: Jordan Zimmermann, WAS

Update: Zack Greinke, LAD

AL Rookie of the Year:

Preseason: Carlos Rodon, CWS

Update: Carlos Correa, HOU

NL Rookie of the Year:

Preseason: Kris Bryant, CHC

Update: Kris Bryant, CHC

AL Manager:

Preseason: Bob Melvin, OAK

Update: A.J. Hinch, HOU

NL Manager:

Preseason: Mike Redmond, MIA

Update: Chip Hale, ARI

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