Revisiting preseason predictions

Before the season started, I made predictions as to what teams I thought would be Postseason teams. We are in the first week of July, and there are some teams that I thought would win divisions that are either not playing good baseball and are still in the hunt and there is one team that sits dead last in its division — the Phillies being that team.

As I sit here today, the American League East is shaping up to much like I thought it would, with the Yankees leading the division. The big surprise is that the Orioles sit in second place. I still believe that the Yankees will win that division, and I am sticking by my pick of Boston being one of the Wild Card teams. They have endured more days of players being on the DL than any other team in baseball, with over 900 games missed. And they still are only 6.5 games out of first. That means when they do get healthy, the Red Sox will be very deep heading into the second half.

The AL Central has not played out in the first half like I thought it would. I had Detroit running away with the division, but they have not played well as a team yet. I still see them doing much like they did last year and winning the division by a wide margin. Their starting pitching hasn’t been as dominant yet this year. Namely Doug Fister. He came to Detroit last year at the Trade Deadline and went 8-1 for the Tigers. He is 1-6 at this point. That won’t last.

The AL West is right where I thought it would be, with the Rangers leading the division, and the Angels in second place, which will earn them the other Wild Card spot.

In the NL, it has been much harder to figure out what has happened. The Dodgers got off to a great start, but the loss of Matt Kemp due to a hamstring injury has left their offense unable to out-hit average starting pitching. The Giants lead the division, but the team I picked to win the division, Arizona, has started to gain a little ground and they are getting healthier. I still feel that they will win the West.

In the Central, I picked the Cardinals to win the division. They started off on fire this year, but have since come back down to earth. The team that has shocked me and every other so-called expert is the Pirates. They have pitched well and are starting to hit a little bit. This is one division I am changing my pick to win from St. Louis to the Reds. They are at the top of the division in spite of the fact that they have not hit well all year long. They will hit in the second half and win the Central.

The NL East is a division that looks upside-down. In the spring, I picked the Phillies to win the division, even though Ryan Howard and Chase Utley were starting the year on the DL. They are in last place and 11 games out of first. Roy Halladay hasn’t pitched in well over a month. Cliff Lee has not won a game. All of these things will change in the second half. Utley is back, Howard is rehabbing in the minors, and Lee will start winning games. Washington, who I picked to finish second and be a Wild Card team is leading the division and is a very deep team. Atlanta is getting healthy, despite losing Brandon Beachy for the year. They have gotten Jair Jurrjens back, and he has thrown very well in his first two starts. People are going to think I’m nuts, and that is ok. I’ve been nuts before. But I think Washington is going to win this division, and the two Wild Card teams are going to come out of the East, with Philly and Atlanta being the two Wild Card teams.

I think Philly is going to trade Cole Hamels at the deadline to get a big right handed bat to hit behind Howard and also get an arm or two in the deal. There is zero chance of Hamels resigning with the Phillies, in my opinion. He is a Southern Cal boy, and the Dodgers will overpay to get him in their rotation, to go along with Clayton Kershaw. Hamels is at his peak as far as trade value. If the Phillies get a big bat and a bullpen arm or two in the deal, they can win games with Halladay, Lee, and Worley in the top 3 spots in that rotation.

Like I said, people will think I’m nuts. Well, I have papers to prove it! So let’s see how it all shakes out.

9 Comments

There’s a lot to digest here – with the injuries and the trades thrown in. Let me read this again. Someone has given this a lot of thought.

Well… Mitch… I have always been a fan of yours – especially when you were down here in Texas… but, I don’t see Hamels going to the Dodgers for a “big bat”… the Dogbreaths don’t, currently, HAVE a big bat to USE, let alone trade away.

Maybe as an off-season acquisition, but not at the deadline.

I’d love to see Cole (lefty) at The Ballpark in Arlington. And, the Rangers have some bats to trade. Hopefully, it’ll be for more than just a loaner so the Rangers won’t be waving at his Rolls at it pulls out the gate the way Cliff Lee’s did.

I agree with Hamels going to Los Angeles, but I figured it will be the Angels to trade someone for a 3-month rental on Hamels.

Hey Mitch…I agree that the Phillies have little to no chance at resigning Hamels. And they probably are trying to trade him. But are they really THAT dumb? If they lose Hamels in the offseason, fine; we can all deal with that. But if they trade him before the deadline, I think they will completely lose the rest of the team. What I mean is, guys like Halladay and Lee who took less money to come here with the promise from the Phillies of putting a winning team on the field will feel betrayed. In their eyes, trading Hamels would be breaking that promise. And with the way this season has gone, the effect will be magnified and spread like disease throughout the clubhouse. Because even if this season is a wash, they can still try again next year if all the big guns are healthy.

The fans will also not be happy. There are people like me, who will go to games whether they are winning or not, like I always have. And then there are the rest. With this huge payroll, the Phillies literally cannot afford to have attendance plummet. I see trading Hamels as having a ripple effect, like a tsunami coming to bowl over the stadium. Maybe I am overreacting, but I have a bad feeling about what is coming our way in Philly. Hope I am wrong.
BTW – Love your blog!

Jenn, http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

As a former high school baseball team mate of Mr. Williams I can vouch that his crazy “papers” have been in effect since 9th grade….this being said, I actually tend to agree with his outlook on the second half of the season.

well Mitchypoo didn’t get that one right lol–who’d a thunkit–remember watchin you in 93 with the Rolaids in one hand and a shot of bourbon in the other !!!-I liked hearing you do the play by play with T-mac –I always thought you should have stayed with the Phillies broadcasting -wise -I alwys liked your post game–At this date Our Phils are one game out of 3rd place –so you were half right …

Wow were you wrong.

I guess you may have been taking heat from you Hamels prediction? But I like your column especially you having the experience as a pro for so long. Good job. I hope you predict the Hamilton deal coming-up that I predict will happen in the next few days for the Phils?

Oh, I hate the Giants! Go Phils – get Hamilton and Greinke. Amaro can do it if he stops playing poor mouth. What are your thoughts?

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