2012 MLB Midseason Report

July 14, 2012

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted anything new (and it seems like I’ve been saying that to begin almost every article I’ve written over the past three months). That said, the information that I’m about to present will continue to become less relevant the more I wait. So, here is an MLB midseason report including Power Rankings, questions that will undoubtedly be answered by the time October rolls around, and some awards based on first half performances.

Power Rankings

1. New York Yankees (2)

2. Texas Rangers (1)

3. Washington Nationals (4)

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (3)

5. Chicago White Sox (13)

6. Pittsburgh Pirates (12)

7. Los Angeles Angels (6)

8. Cincinnati Reds (5)

9. San Francisco Giants (10)

10. Atlanta Braves (14)

11. Detroit Tigers (18)

12. Baltimore Orioles (8)

13. St. Louis Cardinals (16)

14. New York Mets (9)

15. Cleveland Indians (7)

16. Tampa Bay Rays (11)

17. Boston Red Sox (15)

18. Oakland Athletics (19)

19. Toronto Blue Jays (17)

20. Milwaukee Brewers (23)

21. Miami Marlins (21)

22. Arizona Diamondbacks (20)

23. Kansas City Royals (22)

24. Philadelphia Phillies (24)

25. Minnesota Twins (26)

26. Seattle Mariners (25)

27. Chicago Cubs (28)

28. Colorado Rockies (29)

29. San Diego Padres (30)

30. Houston Astros (27)

Second Half Questions

Q. Will the Nationals really shut down ace Stephen Strasburg if the team is still in contention for a playoff berth?

A. I’ll believe it when I see it. The line of thinking here is that Washington doesn’t want to damage what appears to be one of the most prized pitching assets for years to come. However, the time is now for the Nationals, not later. As good as the team has been during the first half of the season, you have to imagine that they are capable of hanging on to the NL East lead, or at the very least snag one of the two wild card spots.

In a nutshell, Washington would essentially be risking the chance to go to the playoffs this year in order to preserve the possibility of going to the playoffs years down the road. What’s the difference? Not a whole lot, in my opinion, which is why I think plans will change with regards to Strasburg if the Nationals are still playing well in September.

Q. Which first half surprise is most likely to make the postseason: Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New York (Mets) or Chicago (White Sox)?

A. The easiest way to answer this question is to rank them 1-4. So here is goes:

1. Chicago

The White Sox not only built the biggest first half lead over their division of the teams in question, but they also play in arguably the weakest division of the four as well. Chris Sale and Jake Peavy have been very solid on the mound thus far, and Chicago doesn’t seem to have any major issues regarding run production (tied for 6th in the league in runs scored this year). While there has been some talk of moving Sale to the bullpen, I predict the decision on Sale will be handled similarly to that of Strasburg’s; if the team keeps winning, he’ll keep starting.

2. Pittsburgh

I have been a fan of Pittsburgh’s pitching all season, but that won’t be the undoing of this team if there is to be a collapse. Two things stick out to me as warning signs for the Bucs: first is that Andrew McCutchen leads every major statistical category for the team (batting average, HRs, RBIs, runs, SBs), and second is that the Pirates have only placed only three players on the DL since February. The first issue isn’t that bad if McCutchen can continue putting up big numbers, which is entirely possible except perhaps the .367 batting average. You have to figure, however, that there will be some injuries as the season wears on, or this is the luckiest team in baseball. That said, if they’re the luckiest team in baseball, they’ll find a way to make the playoffs.

3. New York

The Mets are kind of behind the 8-ball to start off the second half of the season. It would be one thing if New York was a few games up in the NL East, but instead they are six games back. Worse yet, Washington and Atlanta don’t look like they are going to slow down any time soon. Unfortunately for fans in Queens, the Mets are likely in too strong of a division to be a realistic threat to win the pennant.

4. Baltimore

Baltimore should be proud that it played about as well as it possibly could have during the first half of the season. Unfortunately, Baltimore played about as well as it possibly could have during the first half of the season, and the chances that the Orioles repeat that success for the second half aren’t good. In addition to playing in the toughest division in baseball, Baltimore sits just a half game up in the Wild Card race, which will quickly become more heated as Detroit and Los Angeles make runs at the end of the summer. Unless the Orioles make an unlikely splash at the trade deadline, this team is probably a little shorthanded to make a serious run at the playoffs.

Q. What trade deadline move will be most beneficial to a playoff contender?

A. When answering this question, it is wise to consider how a trade will affect the team on the receiving end of a big name player in years to come. Often times, a trade for a marquee pitcher results in the loss of highly rated prospects, while the pitcher may or may not remain with the team past the end of the season. For this reason, Cole Hamels and Zach Greinke are too big of a risk on the back end because of what a team would have to give up in order to aquire one of these pitchers.

That said, current Cubs pitcher Matt Garza may be the most prized aquisition for a playoff contender. Garza has had experience pitching in both the AL and NL in the last three years, and trading for him wouldn’t require raiding the minor league cupboard like trading for Hamels or Greinke might. Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Boston and St. Louis (all current playoff contenders) have scouted Garza recently.

First Half Awards


AL- Josh Hamilton (Texas)

NL- Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh)

Cy Young

AL- Jered Weaver (Los Angeles)

NL- R.A. Dickey (New York)

Rookie of the Year

AL- Mike Trout (Los Angeles)

NL- Bryce Harper (Washington)

Manager of the Year

AL- Robin Ventura (Chicago)

NL- Davey Johnson (Washington)

– K. Becks

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