2018 MLB Midseason Prediction
With the MLB Trade Deadline having passed eight days ago and teams now beginning their quest for Postseason glory, I am releasing my MLB Midseason Prediction. I apologize for the lateness of this article, but I wanted to give it a week or two to see how teams would perform with their new acquisitions before releasing an article made off of blind guesses.
1) Chicago Cubs, 97-65 (1 seed).
-The Cubs currently hold the no.1 seed in the NL with their divisional opponent the Milwaukee Brewers appearing to be the biggest threat to the Cubs locking up home-field advantage in the National League. At the end of the day, I expect the Cubs starting pitching to be better than the Brewers down the stretch, locking up home-field advantage for the Cubs.
2) Milwaukee Brewers, 88-74 (Wild card, 4 seed).
-There's not much to say about the Brewers that I didn't already say underneath my Cubs section. The Brewers made some big time moves at the Trade Deadline, acquiring Third baseman Mike Moustakas from the Royals and Second baseman Jonathan Schoop from the Orioles. It's hard to argue against the Brewers being one of the best offensive teams in baseball, but later in the season pitching becomes more important than ever. The Brewers do not have the pitching quality it will take to win the NL Central over the Cubs.
3) Pittsburgh Pirates, 82-80.
-The Pirates have been one of the more surprising teams in baseball this year. Nobody really saw them as Postseason contenders, but now here they are merely 5.5 games out of the final Wild Card spot with 49 games left to go in the season. I wouldn't say it's likely the Pirates make it, but it's definitely possible. Regardless, the Pirates traded for a potential ace in Chris Archer, and got another solid bullpen arm in Keone Kela from the Rangers. The Pirates have what looks like a bright future ahead of them.
4) St. Louis Cardinals, 79-83.
-The Cardinals were not buyers at the deadline, and that tells me one thing, this season has been a failure for the Cardinals. It's seeming more and more likely that the Cardinals will be missing their third straight Postseason in 2018. There's certainly reason for optimism beyond this season due to a plethora of good young pitching prospects.
5) Cincinnati Reds, 70-92.
-If you had told me the Reds would lose less than 100 games at the time when they started the season 3-15 and fired manager Bryan Price, I would have laughed at you. Since that point the Reds have gone 47-49. The teams infield is potentially the best in the league with Three All-stars, the teams bullpen has been above average, and the teams young rotation has been holding up okay. I don't think it's crazy to imagine the Reds going 20-27 down the stretch, or maybe even better.
1) Philadelphia Phillies, 88-74 (3 seed)
-At the beginning of the year everybody was handing this division to the Nationals, but the Phillies have said not so fast and are now in the driver's seat in the NL East. Young ace Aaron Nola and veteran Jake Arrieta have held down what's been a good rotation to this point. While young slugger Rhys Hoskins and Center fielder Odubel Herrera have been holding down the offense this season. That offense should only get better once newly acquired All-star Catcher Wilson Ramos comes of the DL. The biggest question mark for this team is their bullpen, but they did acquire Lefty reliever Aaron Loup from the Blue Jays at the deadline, in hopes of limiting their bullpen struggles down the stretch.
2) Atlanta Braves, 84-78.
-One of my favorite teams this season, these young Braves have been so much fun to watch and potentially may be the biggest surprise of the 2018 season. I'm rooting hard for this team to make the Postseason, but inexperience and an average-below average bullpen may cause this team to miss out in 2018. Fear not Braves fans, this team is going to be something to watch for years to come.
3) Washington Nationals, 78-84.
-To me this is the most disappointing team this season. At the beginning of the season I had them as the no.1 seed in the National League, and now I have them projected to go below .500. With what on paper looks like one of the best rotations in baseball and a very good lineup, you'd expect the Nationals to be a World Series contender. Unless something drastically changes I can't see the Nationals being a World Series team, more or less a Postseason team. The Nationals will be kicking themselves this offseason if they miss the Postseason, and lose Bryce Harper. The Nationals window for winning a title may be closing faster than I thought.
4) Miami Marlins, 67-95.
-After the Marlins traded all their stars this past offseason, people wanted Derek Jeter's head. Now, the Marlins aren't even the worst team in the National League, more or less the MLB. Make no mistake the Marlins still don't have much of a talented roster and expectations for the rest of 2018 shouldn't be too high. For the rest of the season the Marlins should just focus on developing the young talent they have on the roster and in the Minors.
5) New York Mets, 65-97.
-I feel as if the Mets have had the same problem the last 3 seasons (including this one), they can't seem to get any offensive production. There's no better example of this than the teams lack of run support with Cy Young hopeful Jacob deGrom on the mound. The Mets have one of the best rotations in baseball, but if they can't get offensive production their Postseason window will close rather fast.
1) Los Angeles Dodgers, 90-72 (2 seed).
-The Dodgers have been injury bitten all year, despite this they sit __. The team made some serious trades before the Deadline to ensure they remain a contender, trading for Shortstop/Third baseman Manny Machado from the Orioles to fill the hole left by injured Shortstop Corey Seager, trading for Second baseman Brian Dozier from the Twins, and also adding reliever John Axford from the Blue Jays. I think the Dodgers starting rotation and depth will help guide them to their 6th straight NL West title.
2) Arizona Diamondbacks 85-77 (Wild card, 5 seed).
-A Postseason team last season, the Diamondbacks seem to be on the right path to returning to the Postseason in 2018. The Diamondbacks have an above average rotation, and traded for Twins Shortstop/Third baseman Eduardo Escobar to solidify their lineup. The team also traded for reliever's Brad Ziegler and Jake Diekman to solidify their bullpen. The Diamondbacks look every bit of a Postseason team, and I think they have a slight edge over Atlanta and Colorado in the race for the final Wild card spot.
3) Colorado Rockies, 83-79.
-Lineup wise, the Rockies can stack up with nearly any team in baseball. Rotation wise, the Rockies aren't in the top half of the league. Having made 0 trades before the Deadline, the Rockies appear confident in their current rosters ability to guide them to the Postseason. I don't think this was a wise decision on the Rockies part and it may cost them a trip to the Postseason.
4) San Francisco Giants, 76-86.
-A far cry from the Giants teams who won three titles in five years from 2010-2014, these Giants just can't seem to stay healthy. When Bruce Bochy is your manager you always have a chance, but it may take more than him to make these Giants a Postseason team. The Giants could use another one or two solid starters, and a deeper bullpen. These things just don't grow on trees.
5) San Diego Padres, 64-98.
-The Padres made a huge splash this past offseason when they signed First baseman Eric Hosmer to an 8-year/$144 million deal. Where has that gotten them so far? The basement of the NL. While I'm not blaming this all on Hosmer, his .254 batting average isn't exactly helping. The Padres have a garbage rotation, bad bullpen, and a below average lineup. It's not that hard to see why the Padres are currently the worst team in the National league. Good news for the Padres is that they have the no.1 ranked farm system in all of MLB, so there's hope for a better Padres team in the near future.
1) Cleveland Indians, 86-76 (3 seed).
-Cleveland is clearly the best team in arguably the worst division in baseball. The Indians have a solid top 3 rotation, a deep bullpen, and an above average lineup. Trading for relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber from the Padres helped solidify at least a solid top three in the bullpen with Hand, Andrew Miller, and Cody Allen. I think giving up the no.21 prospect in all of baseball catcher Francisco Mejia was a bit of a steep price for Hand and Cimber, but the value of relievers has increased significantly over the last 5 years or so. The Indians are one of the four teams I could potentially see winning the American League, but I'd likely say they're the 4th out of that pack. Regardless, the AL Central should be a cake walk for them.
2) Minnesota Twins, 76-86.
-A year removed from the Postseason the Twins were sellers at the deadline, trading starting pitcher Lance Lynn, Second baseman Brian Dozier, Infielder Eduardo Escobar, and reliever Zach Duke. This level of selling tells me the Twins don't think they're Postseason contenders this season, and I'd agree.
3) Detroit Tigers, 68-94.
-A year ago the Tigers were the worst team in the MLB, this year they are the 3rd worst team in their division. The Tigers stand no chance the rest of this season, but with five Top 100 prospects (all pitchers) the Tigers seem to have a bright future.
4) Chicago White Sox, 65-97.
-The White Sox have an almost identical situation to the Tigers but with less wins to this point. The White Sox bright spot this season has been all-star First baseman Jose Abreau, but the rest of this team hasn't been very good this season. Luckily for the White Sox they have the no.3 rated farm system in all of baseball, with seven prospects in the Top 100.
5) Kansas City Royals, 58-104.
-Just 3 years removed from a World Series Championship, the Royals are a shell of themselves. They are currently tied for the worst team in baseball. This has been an ugly season for the Royals and after trading long time veteran Third baseman Mike Moustakas things should only get worse. The Royals also lack a quality farm system so brace yourself Royals fans, it could be a tough few years for you guys.
1) Boston Red Sox, 110-52 (1 seed)
-After a weekend sweep of the Yankees that ended with a 5-4 walk-off win on Sunday Night Baseball, I heard that the Red Sox were on pace to win 113 games this season. That number is absolutely insane, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. I'm gonna go a little less than 113, only because they should have this division wrapped up earlier rather than later. The Red Sox lead by rookie manager Alex Cora will end the regular season as the MLB's best team.
2) New York Yankees, 100-62 (Wild card, 4 seed).
-How many times does a 100 win team not win their division? To me this is ridiculous, but it's possible when all it takes is the Yankees to go 30-20 down the stretch. The Yankees arguably have the best bullpen in baseball after their trade for lefty reliever Zach Britton from the Orioles, their lineup is deep and has been sharp all season. Their only problem? The starting pitching. Sonny Gray has flopped this season and is now in the bullpen, and the Yankees appear to only have two very solid starting pitchers. The Yankees traded for Starter's during the Deadline though, acquiring Right-hander Lance Lynn from the Twins and Left-hander J.A. Happ from the Blue Jays. Lynn has been electric in his two starts for the Yankees, but Happ only started one game before landing on the DL (he's coming off the DL sometime this week). These two will have to pitch very well in order to give the Yankees a chance of topping the Red Sox.
3) Tampa Bay Rays, 76-86.
-This Rays team is hardly recognizable from last year's, despite this their record hasn't been too shabby to this point. The Rays problem all season to this point has been a lack of healthy Starter's, but now that they've traded Chris Archer, Matt Andriese and Nathan Eovaldi, you can argue they hardly have enough starting pitchers now. The Rays were full on sellers at the Deadline trading Archer, Eovaldi, all-star Catcher Wilson Ramos, and Adeiny Hechavarría (who was technically traded after the Deadline. Luckily for the Rays they got two very solid prospects (Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows) from the Pirates in exchange for Chris Archer. Add these two to the already no.4 rated farm system in baseball and the Rays are certainly looking to be trending upwards in the upcoming season's.
4) Toronto Blue Jays, 70-92.
-The Blue Jays were one of the teams I hadn't heard a thing from all season until the Deadline. At the Deadline the Blue Jays traded away Starter J.A. Happ, Closer Roberto Osuna (who has a questionable character), and relievers Aaron Loup and John Axford. It's not like the Blue Jays had a supremely talented roster before these trades but now it's obvious they don't have any sort of Postseason shot in 2018. Luckily for them they have the no.1 prospect in baseball Third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the no.9 prospect in baseball Shortstop Bo Bichette likely ready to come to the Majors in 2019.
5) Baltimore Orioles, 54-108.
-Boy oh boy, the Orioles have been a dumpster fire this season. They practically sold their entire team at the Deadline, and I don't think they actually got what they should've in return. Now the Orioles have little talent and they don't seem to have a great farm system either (only two Top 100 prospects). Orioles fans, enjoy the rest of your season without Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Kevin Gausman, Darren O'Day, and Jonathan Schoop.
1) Houston Astros, 98-64 (2 seed).
-It's hard to argue with the Astros maybe being the favorite to win the World Series, after all they did it last year. The Astros rotation is possibly the best in baseball, when healthy their lineup has 6 or 7 solid hitters, and their bullpen was already one of the best in baseball before they acquired Roberto Osuna and Ryan Pressly. Osuna is a very questionable figure in baseball after receiving a 75-game suspension earlier this season stemming from him having a domestic violence case. Baseball wise, Osuna is a player you want on your team. PR wise, Osuna is a nightmare. Regardless, Osuna figures to help an Astros team looking to win a second straight title down the stretch.
2) Oakland Athletics, 91-71 (Wild card, 5 seed).
-What a shocker of a team these Athletics have been this season. I had them projected as the last team in the AL West before the season started, now I have them as the final Postseason team in the American League. This team who on papers looks nothing like a Postseason team has continually turned out wins with their grit and determination. The A's are ready to shock the baseball world and make it to the Postseason.
3) Seattle Mariners, 89-73.
-Is this organization cursed? Honestly..They've played like a Postseason team all year but out of nowhere, the Athletics have came out and played slightly better ball than the Mariners have this year. The Mariners are currently trailing the Athletics by only two games for that final AL Wild card spot. These two teams figure to battle it out until the final games of the season, but another close call see's the Mariners on the wrong end of the stick. The Mariners push their Postseason drought to 17 years.
4) Los Angeles Angels, 77-85.
-The Angels have been a disappointment this year. You have the best player in baseball with Mike Trout, you get Zack Cozart and iternational star Shohei Ohtani in the offseason, yet it's still not enough for them to be a serious threat in the American League. Now 19-year and former World Series winning manager Mike Scioscia announces he will be stepping down after this season. It's pretty hard to tell which way the Angels are trending, but I'm leaning slightly towards down.
5) Texas Rangers, 68-94.
-The only exciting thing about this team is 45-year old starting pitcher Bartolo Colon. Yes, they have some good young players on the roster but it hasn't been enough to result in wins. The Rangers were sellers during the Deadline trading away veteran starter Cole Hamels, and relievers Jake Diekman and Keone Kela. The Rangers haven't won a World Series in their entire existence, and they don't really appear to be any closer to one after this season.
Wild Card Games
(4) Arizona Diamondbacks @ (4) Milwaukee Brewers // Brewers win 7-2.
-Depending on who takes the mound for the Diamondbacks the Brewers probably shouldn't put up seven runs. However, the Brewers offense has been their strong point this season and I could see them putting up the necessary run support it takes to win this must-win game.
(4) Oakland Athletics @ (4) New York Yankees // Yankees win 5-4.
-I think the Athletics will give this superiors Yankees team a good game fight, but the Yankees dominant bullpen will help them prevail and move onto the Division Series.
(1) Chicago Cubs vs. (4) Milwaukee Brewers // Cubs win series 3-2
-These two NL Central teams face each other at least 18 times a season. This means that both teams have had more than a nice look at each other. This series could very easily go the distance. I'll give the nod to the Cubs who have been on this stage a lot the past few seasons.
(2) Los Angeles Dodgers vs. (3) Philadelphia Phillies// Dodgers win series 3-1
-The Dodgers Deadline trades have made them most likely the better of these two teams. However, don't rule out the young Phillies. At the end of the day, I expect the Phillies to put up a fight but the Dodgers starting rotation will push them past the Phillies and onto the Championship Series!
(1) Boston Red Sox vs. (4) New York Yankees // Red Sox win series 3-2
-The series we all deserve, the MLB's best team the Red Sox vs. the offensive/bullpen juggernaut that is the New York Yankees. This rivalry have given us many classics over the years and I wouldn't expect this series to be anything short of spectacular. It's hard for me to predict a winner of this series but when push comes to shove, I'll take the Red Sox offense over the Yankees starting pitching.
(2) Houston Astros vs. (3) Cleveland Indians // Astros win series 3-1
-The Astros just seem like the better team to me. Their lineup is stronger, their bullpen is deeper, and their rotation looks better than Cleveland's. Last year's World Series Champs move on!
(1) Chicago Cubs vs. (2) Los Angeles Dodgers // Dodgers win series 4-2
-A rematch of last year's NLCS, the Cubs will certainly give the Dodgers all they can handle but the Dodgers rotation seems slightly better to me than that of the Cubs. The biggest deciding factor this series may be the health and/or quality of Yu Darvish's pitching performance. Darvish will have to perform a lot better for the Cubs than he did last Postseason (as a Dodger) if the Cubs want to make it to the World Series. Give me the Dodgers in a real toss up of a series!
(1) Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros // Astros win series 4-3
-This has been maybe the hardest series I've ever had to predict. These are two amazing teams with very few flaws. The Red Sox are the better offensive team, but the Astros are the better pitching team. The differnce maker? The bullpen. The Astros have a much deeper bullpen than the Red Sox thanks to the trades for Roberto Osuna and Ryan Pressly. I said earlier "Osuna figures to help an Astros team looking to win a second straight title down the stretch." Well, he'll help get them to the World Series at least.
Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers // Dodgers win series 4-2
-The Dodgers were my prediction to win the World Series at the midway point last season, against this same Astros team. They came within one game of doing so last season, but I think this year will be different. The city of Los Angeles has a good feeling to it, LeBron joined the Lakers, the Rams look good, the Chargers are a Playoff contender. Granted, that doesn't actually mean anything for the Dodgers but it's certainly not a bad thing for them either. The Dodgers new star addition of Manny Machado will be crucial in the series, and Kershaw will finally shine on the biggest stage in baseball. The Dodgers no longer have to worry about Yu Darvish's poor pitching in the biggest game's. The Dodgers get their revenge from last year's World Series!