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Fantasy Baseball Update: 2nd Half Predictions & More

I was planning to do this column last week after the trading deadline, but was unable due to technical difficulties. Even so it is still appropriate for the current column. So, instead of the normal minor league column this week is instead a predictions column for the final two months now that the major moves are over. I hope everybody does not mind the unusual change, but I really wanted to get this column out there. I will return to normal next week. Be sure to check out my trade deadline reviews and more coming Friday.

Second Half Predictions, Fantasy and Otherwise

 

National League Playoffs - NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies are as balanced on offense as any team in the NL. They have a decent bullpen, and Kyle Kendrick looks to be getting better and better. If Joe Blanton gets hot they could pull away in this division. Plus, I just have very little faith in the Mets ability to not fall apart.

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National League Playoffs - NL Central

Chicago Cubs

This was a toss up for me. I think the Brewers are just as likely to win this division as the Cubs. Yet, the Cubs just seem to be on a “dream run,” and I believe fate will find a way to get them the division. The Cubs are the favorite to win the NL with a deep pitching staff (Chad Gaudin could prove more important than Rich Harden), and the major’s best offense.

 

National League Playoffs - NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks

I know the Dodgers are the favorite of almost every expert after the Manny Ramirez trade. However, I just do not think they will win the division. I cannot give a reason other than to say they are the Dodgers. I like the D’Backs young players, they will get Justin Upton back soon, and Brandon Webb along with Dan Haren can easily carry them into the playoffs.

 

NL Wildcard 2008

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are the second best team in the NL on paper. Their lineup is as potent as the Cubs and Phils, but lacks consistency. They have the same problem the Braves teams of the early 90’s had, relying too much on the home run. That philosophy is dangerous if the power is not coming. That said, with Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia leading their rotation they are an extremely dangerous playoff team.

 

NL Playoffs 2008

  • Brewers vs Phillies - Brewers win 3-1. The offenses are very close in a series that could be a scoring fest, but the Phillies cannot match Sheets and Sabathia. Those two aces will lead the Brewers to a comfortable series victory.
  • D’Backs vs Cubs - Cubs 3-1. The D’Backs took the Cubs out last year with ease. In this rematch it is almost as one-sided, but the D’Backs steal one with Webb or Haren.

Those series set up the match-up everybody wants to see in the NL.

  • Brewers vs Cubs - Cubs 4-3. This series could go either way, as each team has swept the other this season at their place. It just seems like this is the Cubs year, so they get the goat off their back and steal the series.
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American League Playoffs - AL East

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox are being lampooned for the Manny Ramirez deal. Actually, I disagree entirely. I think the Red Sox will actually be better without Manny. Jason Bay can match Manny in everything but track record and better him in several ways. Most importantly, the Red Sox now have something to prove, which is a rare for a defending champion. Do not underestimate the spark the Sox will get from that doubt.

 

American League Playoffs - AL Central

Chicago White Sox

I keep waiting for the Tigers to make a run, but it does not appear to be coming. They are the best team in this division on paper, unfortunately that does not really matter. The White Sox have been the most consistent team in the division, and Ken Griffey Jr. is driven to get to a World Series. A good mix of young players and veterans should allow the White Sox to pull away from a Twins team that is a year or two away.

 

American League Playoffs - AL West

LA Angels

The AL’s version of the Cubs the Angels are the best team in the AL. With the addition of Mark Teixeira the Angels are the favorite to win it all. A balanced offense with some real thunder in the middle now the Angels also have a solid pitching staff with three excellent arms at the top (John Lackey, Ervin Santana, and Joe Saunders).

 

AL Wildcard

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are everybody’s favorite story this season. The Rays have a young talented squad similar to Arizona last season. I think they will hold off the Yankees for the wild card, and David Price will boost the bullpen in their final push to get into the playoffs.

 

AL Playoffs 2008

  • Rays vs Angels - Angels 3-0. The Angels end the cinderalla story right away. The Rays get a lesson and look to the future while the Angels rumble on toward the World Series.
  • White Sox vs. Red Sox - Red Sox 3-1. The Red Sox win the stocking series with relative ease. The White Sox are a solid team, but the Red Sox have more talent and a chip on their shoulder.

 

  • Red Sox vs Angels - Angels 4-2. The Angels are just too good and too deep. The Red Sox fall short of a back-to-back Series run, but look like a much better team for the future.

 

2008 MLB World Series

 

Angels vs Cubs - Angels 4-3. What could be one of the great World Series ever sees the Cubs fall just short of breaking the slump. However, fall short they do and the Angels win a second world series of the decade. The Angels win the series on the strength of their offense that blasts Cubs starter and former A Rich Harden twice.

 

Awards

 

2008 NL MVP

  1. Ryan Braun (Brewers)
  2. Albert Pujols (Cards)
  3. Chase Utley (Phillies)

A close vote, but the Brewers make the playoffs and the Cards do not, creating the separation. The Brewers need Braun to be the MVP the rest of the way, and this race is wide open for a player to surge into the lead. Also, there is a sleeper MVP candidate to think about. I do not like voting pitchers for MVP, but this year CC Sabathia might steal the MVP in the NL and not the Cy Young.

 

2008 NL Cy Young

  1. Brandon Webb (D’Backs)
  2. Dan Haren (D’Backs)
  3. CC Sabathia (Brewers)

This season looks like a repeat of the Randy Johnson/Curt Schilling battle in the early 2000’s. Either Haren or Webb could win it, just depends who gets the better run support down the stretch. Sabathia is the clear Cy Young of the second half, but just cannot catch up in wins.

 

NL Rookie of the Year

  1. Geovanny Soto (Cubs)
  2. Jay Bruce (Reds)
  3. Joey Votto (Reds)

Soto is the clear ROY in one of the more impressive campaigns ever, especially when you add in that he is a catcher.

 

2008 Fantasy MVP NL

  1. David Wright (Mets)
  2. Lance Berkman (Astros)
  3. Chase Utley (Phillies)

It is tough to leave Ryan Howard off this list, but leagues play so many different categories that you have to look at all categories not just the sexy ones like HR and RBI. In every other category these three, plus a few others, blow Howard out of the water. Wright is the best of the bunch with solid numbers in every offensive category.

 

2008 Fantasy Cy Young

  1. Brandon Webb (D’Backs)
  2. Tim Lincecum (Giants)
  3. Edinson Volquez (Reds)

Three of the more dominant fantasy pitching performances in recent memory, but the wins give Webb the edge in the end.

 

 

AL Awards

 

2008 AL MVP

  1. Josh Hamilton (Rangers)
  2. Carlos Quentin (White Sox)
  3. Justin Morneau (Twins)

It has become more unusual for a player whose team is not in playoff contention to win the MVP this easily but Hamilton will. When you add in the story to the numbers the voters will give it to Hamilton with ease. The argument can be made that Quentin should win for his outstanding numbers and playoff push.

 

2008 AL Cy Young

  1. Cliff Lee (Indians)
  2. Joe Saunders (Angels)
  3. Francisco Rodriguez (Angels)

In a rare feat neither major award winner is on a playoff team. You cannot take anything away from Lee who despite Josh Hamilton is a great story in his own right. Lee has been as good as any pitcher in baseball, and is the clear winner.

 

2008 AL Rookie of the Year

  1. Evan Longoria (Rays)
  2. David Murphy (Rangers)
  3. Alexei Ramirez (White Sox)

Longoria is having a similar year to Ryan Braun’s 2007 campaign. Longoria should end with the same result, the ROY. Longoria should win it pretty easily, but Murphy must be given credit for an outstanding season from out of nowhere.

 

2008 Fantasy MVP

  1. Grady Sizemore (Indians)
  2. Josh Hamilton (Rangers)
  3. Ian Kinsler (Rangers)

As valuable as Hamilton was in the majors he was almost as valuable in fantasy. He falls short of Sizemore for the same reasons that Ryan Howard is left out in the NL. Sizemore is a more complete player who excels in every category. Sizemore is actually having an amazing fantasy campaign, one of the best in recent memory by any player in AL.

 

2008 Fantasy Cy Young

  1. Roy Halladay (Blue Jays)
  2. Cliff Lee (Indians)
  3. Ervin Santana (Angels)

Halladay is the clear winner for Fantasy Cy Young, illustrating the importance of overall numbers in fantasy. Halladay has better numbers in almost every category, and only trails Lee by two wins and .27 ERA. Halladay has been one of the most consistent fantasy pitchers in recent memory, and this is just another example of his consistency. It must be noted that Lee and Santana are superb values this season in the AL, and should be given plenty of credit for bouncing back.

 

 

By Brian Chmielewski
MLBcenter.com Fantasy Baseball Correspondent

Fans can contact Brian via email at bchmfantasybaseball @ yahoo.com


> View all of the MLB baseball news articles from ProBaseball-fans.com.

 

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