It’s halfway through the 2015 season and the writing is starting to go up on the wall for some teams. Though this is baseball, and anything can happen.
Before the season started, I broke down projected standings for all six divisions. How does that compare to how teams stand now? Would I change anything for the second half?
AL West Actual (my projection in parentheses)
1. Astros (4)
2. Angels (1)
3. Rangers (5)
4. Mariners (2)
5. Athletics (3)
The Astros and Rangers have been surprising on the good side, while the Athletics and Mariners have been surprising for other reasons. Billy Beane’s off season meddling did pretty much what I thought it would – and slightly worse. He went all in for 2014 and now has to rebuild. The 2015 Athletics have some good talent but when you trade away all your All Stars, bad things happen. For someone who is heralded as a genius, he’s yet to win a World Series and finds himself in the cellar this year (albeit with some pretty good young talent).
Many sports writers picked the Mariners to take the division and I predict they will all be wrong. Cano is having the worst season of his career to date, and the Mariner’s are near the bottom in offensive production despite adding Nelson Cruz and Seth Smith. I was suckered by the Beane kool-aid and gave the A’s way too much credit. The Astros are no joke in 2015 and will certainly be pushing the Angels down to the finish. Prince Fielder is having one hell of a bounce back year that is certainly helping push the Rangers, but they probably don’t have what it takes to stay in the running all year long. If I had to re-rank for year end, it would go like this: Angels, Astros, Mariners, Athletics, Rangers.
AL Central Actual (my projection in parentheses)
1. Royals (4)
2. Twins (5)
3. Tigers (1)
4. Indians (3)
5. White Sox (2)
Losing Shields and Butler didn’t seem to affect the Royals at all in 2015. They picked up right where they left off in in 2014 and seem headed toward the top of their division. Their fighting ways seem to have cooled a bit but maybe only because Ventura has been injured. The Twins have been a huge surprise and with Santana recently rejoining them, they seem posed to stay relevant for at least a while. Miggy has been having a great season for the Tigers but his injury may set them back and guess who is back? Yes, Verlander, and he still kinda stinks. Kipnis and pitching have been carrying the Indians who are starting to get hotter and the White Sox have been a big disappointment so far after the signing of Jeff Samardzija (who I feel is over-rated) and a banner year by Chris Sale.
Looking forward, I’d probably re-rank this group (much to my chagrin) as: Royals, Indians, Tigers, Twins, White Sox. Though I do think the battle for 3rd will be tight between the Twins and Tigers. In reality, the Twins, Tigers and Indians all have pretty equal shots at second place. Sorry White Sox.
AL East Actual (my projection in parentheses)
1. Yankees (2)
2. Orioles (4)
3. Blue Jays (1)
4. Rays (5)
5. Red Sox (3)
I stand by my pre-season statement that there are no stand outs in this division. The top 4 teams are separated by only 2 games. Point proven. While the Red Sox have no pitching, I still think they will somehow finish above the Rays. I mean really – can you name a recent Florida professional sports team that IS any good? This race could go any direction but I stand by my predictions mostly. I’d probably re-rank it as Blue Jays, Yankees, Orioles, Red Sox, Rays.