MLB Midseason Bonanza: The National League

So John S was all like, “When are you gonna criticize your MLB predictions? You’re just gonna hang me out to dry?” And I came back with, “You call that a criticism? I call that a hearty pat on the back you did.” To which John replied, “Yeah, well, you got a lot more wrong than I did.”*

*Dramatization. May not have happened.

Alas, my re-evaluation of my pre-season predictions in the National League won’t be headlined by What I Got Right so much as What I Got Wrong, and Often Very Wrong. That being said, I totally got three of the eventual playoff teams from the NL, and I’m sticking to that.

NL WEST

What I Got Completely Wrong

I had the Padres winning 64 games all season; they will surpass that total if they go 11-60 the rest of the season. I specifically mocked the fact that Jon Garland was San Diego’s Opening Day starter. Garland is 9-6 with a 3.45 ERA, and the Padres have the best ERA in the Major Leagues. Mat Latos was a legitimate Cy Young candidate before he failed to sneeze the other day. Their bullpen, boasting former Mets Mike Adams and Heath Bell, is phenomenal.

But, the Padres aren’t making the playoffs. Bank on it.

What I Got Kinda Wrong

I made fun of Aubrey Huff as the Giants’ cleanup hitter, and Huff is having a terrific season (.302/17/54).

What I Got Kinda Right, If for the Wrong Reasons

I’m still confident in the Rockies winning the division, even if Jorge De La Rosa and Jeff Francis haven’t contributed all that much and Jason Giambi turned out to be a key resigning. I did say, though, that Ubaldo Jimenez “will be in the Cy Young discussion at the end of the season” and that the Rox didn’t have someone to replace Huston Street if he got hurt. When Street was down, Manny Corpas went 10-for-14 in save chances, which isn’t very good.

What I Got Completely Right

“Pablo Sandoval isn’t hitting .330 with 25 home runs this year.” Pablo Sandoval is hitting .271 with six home runs right now.

NL CENTRAL

What I Got Completely, and Embarrassingly Wrong

“The Cubs can’t, on pure talent alone, be as bad as they were for several stretches last season.” The Cubs have been much, much worse than they were for most of last season, and to reach my predicted 90 wins, they would have to go 48-21. In retrospect, I overestimated their rotation–really, no one has had as good a year as they did last year–and underestimated Lou Piniella’s propensity to panic by doing something illogical like install Carlos Zambrano as his set-up man.

What I Got Kinda Wrong

I criticized St. Louis’ rotation after Carpenter and Wainwright, but Jaime Garcia is having an otherworldly rookie season, with an 8-4 record and 2.27 ERA. He has been a significant improvement over Joel Pineiro. The rest of the rotation does suck, though, and Ryan Franklin has taken the expected step back.

What I Got Kinda Right

The Brewers’ back of the rotation is terrible and would prevent them from contending. After Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee doesn’t have a single starter with an ERA under 4.00. And the left-handed trio of Chris Narveson, Manny Parra, and Doug Davis that has combined for 33 starts has an ERA over 6.00.

What I Got Completely Right

The Astros are closer to a last-place team than a second-place team. If not for the uber-woeful Pirates, the Astros would be in last. Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee have been non-existent in the middle of their lineup, and Roy Oswalt demanded a trade even earlier than I expected. I am less confident in my prediction that the Twins will land him, given that his contract is now a bad one and not the value it was perceived to be for so many years.

NL EAST

What I Got Completely Wrong

It’s hard to be more wrong than calling a team’s leader in RBIs “the worst hitter in that lineup,” as I did with Atlanta’s Troy Glaus. To compound the error, I said the shortstop the Braves just traded in Yunel Escobar was totally underrated and the anti-Robinson Cano. The second part is correct, if only because Cano has become good at all the things he used to be bad at, and vice versa for Escobar.

What I Got Kinda Wrong

Surprisingly, the Mets’ rotation has been a strength and not a weakness. New York is fifth in the NL in ERA, and it leads all of baseball with 13 shutouts. But, just as I underestimated the Mets’ staff, I overestimated their offense. Jason Bay has, believe it or not, been worse in left field than Gary Sheffield was for the Mets last season (109 OPS+ for Bay compared to Sheff’s 118), and Carlos Beltran only just returned.

Additionally, I only ranked Josh Johnson sixth in the National League’s pitching pecking order. To be fair, the five guys he was behind (Halladay, Carpenter, Wainwright, Jimenez, and Lincecum) were all All-Stars, too.

What I Got Kinda Right

The Mets totally messed with Jennry Mejia’s development and David Wright would be David Wright. Also, to prevent this from being too Mets-centric, the Marlins’ flaws–in the bullpen and in the field–have prevented them from sticking in the East race. Their bullpen has a 4.24 ERA and is tied for third in the league in lost wins for starters (as in, times the starter left the game with the lead but didn’t earn the win). Florida is also second in the NL in errors.

What I Got Completely Right

This is going to sound a bit ludicrous, but here’s what I said in April: “It’s possible I’m being incredibly naïve, since I haven’t seen Hallday pitch a lot the last few seasons, but I’m actually happy the Phillies swapped Lee for him.”

And I stand by it! By all accounts, Roy Halladay has had a tremendous start to his Phillies’ career. He’s thrown a perfect game, he’s thrown seven complete games, he’s been everything the Phillies expected and more–even if his 2.40 ERA is right around the 2.50 I predicted for him.

Lee, meanwhile, was even better for the Mariners before being traded–AGAIN. He has one fewer complete game than Halladay in five fewer starts, and his ERA just moved higher than Halladay’s since he got to Texas. So, as unhappy as I am that Halladay is in the NL East, I still prefer him being in the Mets’ division than Cliff Lee–for this year and for the next several years.

Advertisements

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Wey on July 20, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    ne’er a peep about Stephen Strasburg…Typical.

    Reply

  2. […] explained it before the season, I reiterated it midseason, and I’ll say it again now. Yes. Roy Halladay is really good. I mean, really, really good. But […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: