9 Predictions for the Rest of the MLB Season
We’re at a very conspicuous halfway point in the MLB season (the All-Star break), so it’s time to take a look around and survey where we’ve been, and more importantly, where we’re going. And while we can’t know much of anything for sure, considering we’ve got 81 games, then a lot of playoffs before it all ends, we can cobble together nine predictions for the second half of the season.
OK. You can file this more under “hopes and prayers for the second half of the 2014 season,” but I think it’s a decent prediction. I mean, the Rangers aren’t exactly heating up the division race, so it’s unlikely we’ll see him celebrating in a lock rooms shirtless or pantsless. So I’m going out on a limb in saying there will be no more nude magazine photos of Prince Fielder, unless ESPN goes on another really masochistic streak.
9. Prince Fielder Doesn’t Get Publicly Naked Again
The Angels, Oakland, and Seattle are all looking primed to make late September appearances, be it as division champs or wild card selections. It’s a wonderful thing to have a three-way race in a division. (Almost) every game counts among those teams, which is more than we can say for most of the MLB in August. Unfortunately, the populace doesn’t seem to get motivated by the western AL teams as much as the rest of the MLB, so these races, while engaging, and often terrific. Maybe it’s because the games are late. Maybe it’s because the collective history of the division isn’t as old. Maybe it’s because Anaheim pissed everyone off with rally monkeys and ThunderStix.
8. The A.L. West Will Return as the Hotly-Contested Division No One Cares About
Masahiro Tanaka, starting pitcher for the New York Yankees. He’s got the 6th best KO/9 innings ration in baseball, and he’s racked up an 11-2 resume thus far. Even in the face of stiff competition, the fact that he’s a starting pitcher stepping up like this means the 26 year-old will take the honor.
7. The A.L. Rookie of the Year Award Will Go To…
The 41 year-old Baby Huey isn’t putting together gaudy numbers, but he’s distinguished himself among the other elder statesman with his numbers. After a less than stellar start, Colon holds strong with a 7-5 record on the year. If he keeps this up, the Met end the season with 15 W’s…again.
6. Bartolo Colon Will Not Act His Age
What’s not to like about the Dodgers and Giants sorting their affairs out late in the season? Nothing. Nothing is wrong with that. That’s baseball lore, right there. And as much as people will ignore the western A.L. counterparts (see above), they will tune in to this longtime rivalry. The Dodgers have cut the lead SF has on them, and it doesn’t look like the Giants are going to shake their tale until they get overtaken.
5. Oh, The N.L West Will Feature a Showdown as Well
That was a long prediction, but it gets the point across. #2 is set to retire at about #7 on the all-time hit list, but whereas other Yankee legends were extraordinary and superhuman, Derek Jeter’s legacy will be akin to a gentlemanly Cal Ripken. Known to be a guy who was excellent for an extremely long time with consistency and class. And that’s probably a rarer trait in sports than about breaking just about any records on the books.
4. The Day After He Retires, Derek Jeter Will Be Mentioned by Yankee Fans in the Same Breath as Gehrig and DiMaggio.
Puig didin’t finish in the top 10 on the NL ballots last year. But this year, he’s a little older, a little wiser, and a lot better. 12 dingers and 52 RBI won’t make anyone faint with excitement, but expect his story of defection to the U.S. that was so widely publicized to make a difference. He won’t win the MVP, but he’ll make the conversation a little more interesting.
3. Yasiel Puig Will Make and Even Stronger Run at MVP This Year
That’s a bold statement, but it seems there are more teams now flirting with contention than ever before. Sure, juggernauts sell jerseys and get ad revenue, but rivalries and compelling title races get people in seats and get people talking. If Anaheim, Milwaukee, and Detroit are flying at the expense of the bigger markets, all will be forgiven when we as fans get extra-inning games and a few upsets.
2. 2014 Late-Season Races and Playoffs Will Be the Best in Years
Ok. Fine. It was Yoenis Cespedes. He beat out Todd Frazier with a total of 30 home runs. But you will have forgotten it again by tomorrow.