With the All Star break upon us, let's take a quick look at what most of us thought before the season began, and how our prognostications turned out.
The Races: Most of us picked the three big cities; New York, Chicago and L.A. to win each of the divisions respectively in both leagues. And so far in the 3 A.L. divisions and in the NL West, not bad. The Yankees are in the thick of it in the AL East, the White Sox are 2.5 out and the Angels have a .5 game lead on the surprising Rangers. In the NL West, the Dodgers all but ran away with the division in May. However, the Mets, with injuries to a number of people have completely imploded and should start thinking about next year. And the Cubs, with all that talent, have to be considered the disappointment of the year, only being .500 at this point. At. 3.5 games out though, they could still come back in the second half and win it all. They have the talent, but with Pinella at the helm, its not surprising they seem a little schizophrenic.
The Cy Youngs: Nobody thought Zach Grienke was going to be this good. Even slipping a little lately, his ERA is still at 2.12. As of now, he is the Cy Young frontrunner for the AL, and nobody, including me, predicted that.
In the NL, Tim Lincecum is not only matching last year's numbers, he's bettering them with 10 wins and 149 Ks. As is Dan Haren, who with Brandon Webb injured, stepped up to produce a sick 2.00 ERA. At the halfway point, they are neck and neck for the NL Cy Young.
The MVPs: With Joe Mauer leading almost every important offensive category in the AL (Batting Average, On-Base Percentage, Slugging, OPS) plus already hitting more HRs in this season than in any other season he's played—it might be hard to pick anyone else. That said, Ben Zobrist, Miquel Cabrera (my preseason pick), Torii Hunter and Mauer's teammate, Justin Mourneau should be considered as well.
In the NL, I picked Hanley Ramierez just to pick someone not named Pujols. Silly me, Pujols wins this award every year he plays, and this year is no exception.
Rookie Of The Year: In the AL, most of us picked Matt Wieters, (Mauer with power) and while he's been ok, Ricky Romero of the Blue Jays has quietly put up a sub 3.00 ERA, although don't count out Jeff Nieman or David Price, who are in position to make strong second half runs.
In the NL—with all the respect I can give to Colby Rasmus, who is having a fine rookie year, Tommy Hanson's numbers; 2.85 ERA, .219 BAA, give him the edge in my book. I had both in my top 5 as Rookie of the year candidates, but had Cameron Maybin as my ROTY pick. Ooooops.
Overall, not terrible in my preseason picks. However, there's still a lot of baseball left. Enjoy the rest of the season.