Tonight's the MLB All-Star Game and it gives everyone a redo of their preseason picks. Like most baseball writers and bloggers, I have some picks I'm proud of and many that I was completely wrong about. If anyone would like to read the preview edition in it's entirety, here it is. Of my eight award picks, Pujols is right, Halladay could be Cy Young and Santana and Wieters need great second-halfs to have any chance to win NL Cy and AL ROY, respectively.
The playoff pick I want back is Cleveland for obvious reasons, but the Royals, Mets and Cubs have disappointed me. The Giants I thought could contend, but didn't think the Wild Card would of been in play. I'm satisfied with my AL East picks now that the Rays have played better and have as good a chance to win. I undersold how much better the Tigers and Mariners would be and glossed over the Rangers, who have played well. In the NL, the Phillies and Dodgers are where I thought and the Cards and Brewers have played as I expected as well. With that said, here are five fearless predictions for baseball's second half.
1. The Blue Jays will not trade Roy Halladay. J.P. Ricciardi has said he will shop the best pitcher in the American League, but I can't see the Jays get fair value for him in the regular season. They are going to want four premium players/prospects, maybe a fifth and though it will be easier to get this season when he has a year left on his contract, I still can't see them sell it to the good people of Toronto. Honestly, if I'm a Blue Jays fan, I'd stop showing up to games if they trade him and maybe never return. Hockey season doesn't start until October and in Toronto, its 24/7 like baseball in New York.
2. Albert Pujols will win the Triple Crown. Prince Albert has sustained a big enough HR lead to not have to continue his pace and a Triple Crown is more memorable than a run at the HR record. The average is the only thing low, but I think Pujols will up it to .345 and Hanley Ramirez will drop his average. His great play will eventually lead to a NL Central title in St. Louis and return to the postseason for Tony La Russa and friends.
3. The axe will fall for both the Mets and Yankees. Even though injuries are killing the Mets, Jerry Manuel will be blamed for the season. Also, Joe Girardi will be fired as well by the Yankees because I don't think they can get past the first round; if they even make the playoffs. For some reason, I still think Omar Minaya and Brian Cashman will be saved this year, even though they deserve to go with their managers.
4. Seattle and Texas will just miss the playoffs. The Mariners and Rangers have been competitive with the Angels this season, but I don't see them beating out the Halos, now that their offense is clicking and the pitching has become healthier. As for more teams that will be on the outside, the Braves, Brewers, White Sox and Twins also just miss. I also think the Yankees will get passed by the Rays for the AL Wild Card
5. The Cubs will bounce back from a poor first half to make the playoffs. Chicago will make the playoffs as predicted and join the Cards, Phillies and Dodgers as the Giants fail to trade for a hitter and fall short with the Rockies. The AL will have the Red Sox, Rays, Tigers and Angels in the playoffs. Now, my World Series will include the Red Sox and the Dodgers and have Manny's return to Fenway. In a tough six game series, Los Angeles beats Boston.