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Revisiting My Preseason MLB Predictions

Before the season started, I posted my predictions for the 2011 MLB season on my tumblr page. Now that its almost Septembter, I want to take a look and see just how awful my preseason predictions look now. (Original picks in italics.)

NL Central

1 Cincinnati Reds

2 Milwaukee Brewers

3 St. Louis Cardinals

4 Chicago Cubs

5 Houston Astros

6 Pittsburgh Pirates

Uh, I don’t think the Reds are going to win the division…

The Brewers have used an extreme hot streak since the all-star break to pull 10.5 games ahead the pack in the NL Central. The Reds have had a very disappointing season, they currently sit 13 games behind the Brewers and are only one game over .500. I regret not picking the Astros last, they’re currently 13 games worse than the 5th place Cubs.

Re-Do Pick: Brewers

NL East

1 Philadelphia Phillies

 2 Atlanta Braves

3 Florida Marlins

4 New York Mets

5 Washington Nationals

The top two teams in this division were easy to pick. The Phillies have used their epic rotation (but who expected Vance Worley, not Roy Oswalt, to be the 4th ace?) to pull six games ahead of the Braves. The Braves have a comfortable wild card lead, and they should, barring an embarrassing Sept. swoon, be joining the Phillies in the playoffs.

Re-Do Pick: Sticking with the Phillies; Braves for the WC

NL West

1 Colorado Rockies

2 San Francisco Giants

3 Los Angeles Dodgers

4 San Diego Padres

5 Arizona Diamondbacks

Yeah, I really screwed up on this one… The D-Backs have a four game lead over the Giants, and a 11 game lead over the Rockies.

Re-Do Pick: D-Backs

NL Awards

NL MVP: Troy Tulowitzki, COL

Tulo is having a great season (28 HRs, .377 OBP, .397 wOBA, 6.4 WAR) but his team’s place in the standings most likely means TuLo has a very small chance of winning MVP, or even cracking the top five.

The Brewers’ success probably means the award will be given to either Ryan Braun (25 HRs, .406 OBP, .438 wOBA, 6.1 WAR) or Prince Fielder (29 HRs, .409 OBP, .399 wOBA, 4.1 WAR), but if the D-Backs hold on for the NL West crown, Justin Upton (25 HRs, .371 OBP, .392 wOBA, 6.1 WAR) may have a chance at the honor.

Matt Kemp (31 HRs, .390 OBP, .414 wOBA, 6.4 WAR) and Joey Votto (26 HRs, .440 OBP, .425 wOBA, 6.6 WAR) are also strong candidates on sub-par teams.

Re-Do Ballot:

1 Ryan Braun, MIL

2. Justin Upton, ARZ

3. Matt Kemp, LAD

4. Joey Votto, CIN

5. Prince Fielder, MIL

NL Cy Young: Josh Johnson, FLA

It was silly to pick against Roy Halladay (2.56 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 2.12 FIP, 8.64 K/9), the guy should come into every season as the Cy favorite. Johnson was great, maybe on a path to win the Cy, until he was shut down due to injury. Cliff Lee (2.71 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 2.71 FIP, 9.24 K/9) and Clayton Kershaw (2.51 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 2.51 FIP, 9.82 K/9) join Halladay as the top 3 pitchers in the NL to date.

Re-Do Ballot:

1. Roy Halladay, PHI

2. Clayton Kershaw, LAD

3. Cliff Lee, PHI

4. Tim Lincecum, SF (2.46 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 2.87 FIP, 9.5o K/9)

5. Cole Hamels, PHI (2.62 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 2.65 FIP, 8.11 K/9)

NL Rookie of the Year: Brandon Belt, SF

Belt hasn’t gotten the playing time that he deserves or that was expected of him before the season. For some reason, Aubrey Huff has continued to stay in the lineup despite his lackluster season. Craig Kimbrel has been just outstanding as the Braves closer. He’s Carlos Marmol with control, scary stuff.

Re-Do Ballot:

1. Craig Kimbrel, ATL

2. Freddie Freeman, ATL (18 HRs, .354 OBP, .356 wOBA, 1.5 WAR)

3. Vance Worley, PHI (2.65 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 3.15 FIP, 7.60 K/9)

AL Central

1 Chicago White Sox

2 Minnesota Twins

3 Detroit Tigers

4 Kansas City Royals

5 Cleveland Indians

The White Sox probably would be leading this division if it weren’t for their two high-paid, low production busts (Adam Dunn and Alex Rios). Instead, the Tigers have pulled to a comfortable six game lead. The Indians aren’t going to finish last, but they’ve basically been playing like a last place team since they started out 30-15 (15 games under. 500 since).

Re-Do Pick: Tigers

AL East

1 Boston Red Sox

2 New York Yankees

3 Toronto Blue Jays

4 Tampa Bay Rays

5 Baltimore Orioles

Both the Sox and Yanks will make the playoffs, it’s just a matter of who wins the division and who wins the WC. Still, who ever wins the division will hold a big advantage heading into the playoffs. The division winner will have home field in the first round, likely against the Tigers, while the WC winner will not have home field, and will likely play the Rangers (who knocked the Yanks out in the ALCS last season). Also, if the Sox and Yanks were to meet in the ALCS, the division winner would have homefield.

Re-Do Pick: Sticking with the Red Sox for the division, Yanks for the WC

AL West

1 Texas Rangers

2 Los Angeles Angels

3 Oakland A’s

4 Seattle Mariners

I expected the Rangers to run away with this division, but the Angels have been much stronger than I expected. I still think the Rangers will hold on and win the division, but the Angels, led by their rotation’s big three (Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana), will push this race to the end of the season. It might be the only pennant race worth watching as the season wears on.

Re-Do Pick: Rangers

AL Awards

AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez, BOS

Gonzalez (23 HRs, .406 OBP, .410 wOBA, 5.8 WAR) might still be the favorite to win AL MVP, but he’s probably not even the most deserving on his team. Jacoby Ellsbury ( 23 HRs, .369 OBP, .391 wOBA, 7.4 WAR) and Dustin Pedroia (17 HRs, .398 OBP, .385 wOBA, 7.2 WAR) both have higher WAR values this season.

Jose Bautista (37 HRs, . 452 OBP, .455 wOBA, 7.8 WAR) should win the award, but because his team is in 4th place in the best division in baseball, he might be unfairly punished.

Curtis Granderson’s (38 HRs, .376 OBP, .414 wOBA, 6.8 WAR) pinstripes and high home run and RBI (yes, people still highly value the misleading stat…) totals could earn him the MVP. If the Yankees win the AL East, the media will likely tab “The Grandy Man” AL MVP.

Re-Do Ballot:

1. Jose Bautista, TOR

2. Curtis Granderson, NYY

3. Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS

4. Dustin Pedroia, BOS

5. Adrian Gonzalez, BOS

AL Cy Young: C.C. Sabathia, NYY

Sabathia (2.99 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 2.81 FIP, 8.39 K/9) has had a great season, but he’s behind Justin Verlander (2.38 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 2.85 FIP, 9.10 K/9) and Jared Weaver (2.28 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 2.98 FIP, 7.51 K/9) in the AL Cy Young race at this point.

Verlander is the favorite at this point, and he’s even getting some MVP buzz. Verlander is going to win a lot of games, he already has 20, and the media is still transfixed by that mostly useless stat.

Re-Do Ballot:

1. Justin Verlander, DET

2. Jered Weaver, LAA

3. C.C. Sabathia, NYY

4. Dan Haren, LAA (3.19 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 2.93 FIP, 7.35 K/9)

5. James Shields, TB (2.96 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 3.36 FIP, 10 CG, 4 SOs)

AL Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Hellickson, TB

Hellickson has had a solid rookie season (3.01 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 4.16 FIP, 6.15 K/9) for the Rays. But he has competition from Seattle’s Michael Pineda (3.71 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 3.41 FIP, 9.18 K/9) and Anaheim’s Mark Trumbo (23 HRs, .294 OBP, .312 wOBA, 2.0 WAR) and Jordan Walden (2.70 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 2.39 FIP, 9.90 K/9)

Re-Do Ballot:

1. Michael Pineda, SEA

2. Jeremy Hellickson, TB

3. Mark Trumbo, LAA

4. Jordan Walden, LAA

PLAYOFFS

NLDS

Phillies over Giants

Rockies over Reds

Re-Do Picks:

Braves over Brewers

Phillies over D-Backs

ALDS

Rangers over Yankees

Red Sox over White Sox

Re-Do Picks:

Yankees over Rangers

Red Sox over Tigers

NLCS

Phillies over Rockies

Phillies over Braves

ALCS

Rangers over Red Sox

Red Sox over Yankees

World Series

Phillies over Rangers

Phillies over Red Sox

I believe that that if Cole Hamels comes back strong off his DL stint and the Phillies rotation as a whole stays healthy, Philadelphia will be extremely hard to knock off in the playoffs. At this point, I can’t pick anybody else but the Phillies and their rotation of aces to win the 2011 World Series.

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