2013 American League Mid Season Report

by Bill M on July 9, 2013 · 1 comment

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Traditionally, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game marks the “mid-point” of the season, but the game is actually held 3-4 week past the actual midpoint.  This report finds you about a week late, as last Sunday, June 30, 2013 marked the actual mid-point when most of the teams had approximately 81 games played.

So, I have chosen to take a snapshot in time from last Sunday for the standings and players stats I will use for this update to my pre-season predictions.  We’ll take a look at what went right, what went wrong, and I’ll talk a little about the way forward.

AL EAST

AL East

 

 

 

 

The plane ran into the mountain with these predictions.  Not only did I rank them completely wrong, but I predicted that the division wouldn’t be as strong comparatively as it had been for almost two decades.  The division leading Red Sox had the best record in the American league, and last place team Toronto was only one game under 0.500 at the halfway point.  These predictions are really pissing me off.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Just about nothing.  The closest example you can find for going well is that the Rays are playing the game I expected them to play, they’ve just really felt the pain of David Price’s ineffectiveness and resulting injury.  Everything else has pretty much been a disaster relative to my predictions.

WHAT WENT WRONG

With hindsight, I had an itch that the Red Sox might be better than I had them, so I don’t feel so bad about that one.  The Orioles, however, are a different story.  I really thought they were headed for a rough season given how they cheated the run-differential predictor for record last season and were coming off so many career years.  They have surprised me as a whole, but the real story here is Chris Davis.  Coming off a supposed career year, he’s hitting over 0.330 and has already nearly equaled every counting stat from last year in the first half.  I’m most certainly not the only one that missed the boat on Davis, so maybe I don’t feel that bad about missing this one either.  Injuries have slain the Yankees, causing a “Helms Deep” kind of season: most of their players have seen too many winters, or not enough.  Toronto lost Jose Reyes early on, but they were already struggling.  They’ve been streaking lately, though, so I wouldn’t sleep on them.

MOVING FORWARD

The Red Sox just keep on keeping on, and they have the minor league prospects to acquire what they might need down the stretch.  I think they’ll keep it up.  After them, I could literally see anything happening.  I still have my doubts about the Orioles.  The Yankees lost Tex for the season, but Granderson, Jeter, and even A-Rod all look to be getting ready for a 2nd half return.  That doesn’t help the back end of the rotation, but they might be able to outscore teams again once at full strength offensively.  I still like Toronto to make a 2nd half run.

AL CENTRAL

AL Central

 

 

 

 

I still think Detroit is the surest thing in 2013, but those pesky Indians haven’t gone away.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

An awful lot has gone right.  The Tigers and Indians are at the top of the division, and rightfully so.  They are clearly the best teams.  Detroit’s starting pitching has been fantastic, as has 2012 MVP Miguel Cabrera, but the rest of the offense has sputtered some and the bullpen has been as bad as advertised.  I at lease predicted the pen struggles.  Terry Francona has proven to me why he was such a hot commodity as manager in the offseason.  He’s masterfully brought this Indians team together with a loose but competitive clubhouse.  They are most definitely a sum greater than the parts.  KC is in a better position than I predicted, but they’re offense has had exactly the problems I predicted.  A team with that little plate discipline is destined to have trouble scoring runs.  They brought in franchise all-time great and Hall of Famer George Brett from the front office to be the batting coach to try to turn it around, and he has his work cut out for him.

WHAT WENT WRONG

The biggest mistake I made was giving the White Sox more credit than they deserve.  That is a flawed team, and those flaws aren’t fixing themselves this season.  I’d also say that the Twins are better than I expected.  I really thought they would be challenging for worst record in the league, but they’ve proven to be a plucky group.

MOVING FORWARD

I still feel like the Tigers will separate themselves.  If the Brett experiment works in KC, they could get back into this thing, but quite frankly, I don’t see much movement in this division in the 2nd half.

AL WEST

AL West

 

 

 

 

This one looks pretty good at first glance, but just putting the logos is a little deceiving.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

I cannot tell a lie, I’m pretty happy with my Rangers prediction.  Many were calling for an end to their reign in the AL West, but they have proven to be stalwarts.  They are still as potent as any offense in baseball, and their young pitchers are hanging in there at least.  They also have enough depth to have withstood a few injuries.  The bottom of the division has been one of the easier predictions of the first half, as the Mariners and Astros are exactly where they should be.  The Mariners have as good a 1-2 combination at the top of the rotation as there is with King Felix and Iwakuma, but it falls apart very quickly from there.  The Astros have a very bright future, but they play way too many guys that shouldn’t be in the majors right now.

WHAT WENT WRONG

They are only flip-flopped, but position doesn’t really tell the whole story with the A’s and the Angels in regard to my predictions.  There was an 8.5 game difference in record between the two at the halfway mark, and the A’s were nipping at the Ranger’s heals.  I thought the A’s would have a regression much like the Orioles, but they have proven to be up to the repeat.  Again with young pitching and timely hitting, they are right there for the division.  The Angels sit in third place, but they have been extremely disappointing, sitting 4 games under 0.500 at the mid-point.  Pujols has been below even mediocre and Hamilton has been terrible, compounding the pitching question marks everyone knew they had.  Artie Moreno has probably had some restless nights with the checks he’s writing for this squad.

MOVING FORWARD

I see this turning into a three-team race.  The A’s have kept the pressure on the Rangers, and that will continue.  The Angels still have the ingredients to be a world class offense, and Jared Weaver is settling in again to be a true Ace.  I think they’re going to make some noise in the 2nd half.

AL WILD CARDS

AL Wild Cards

 

 

 

 

 

Well, I had the divisions right!  I just whiffed hard on the teams.  The loser of the Rangers/A’s battle looks like a shoe in at this point.  I do believe the other WC will come from the East, but I think it’s way too early to say which team.

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