@ The All-Star Break! (American League)

So, what have we learned during the All-Star Break?

  1. The Home Run Derby is still tons of fun.
  2. Yoennis Cespedes rules.
  3. Wherever there is a ballplayer living in the United States who speaks poor English and needs a translator, lowlife rednecks will call him out for “ruining Americas pastime”.

Seen Here: America’s pastime.

4. Prince Fielder is capable of hitting triples. However, in doing so, the resulting tremors usually result in the complete destruction of a small Asian country. Nice knowing you, Singapore.

God forbid he slide.

5. Mariano Rivera is awesome and his last All-Star Game was quite heartwarming. However, if he pulls an un-retirement (Andy Petitte style) let’s all agree not to do that again, okay?

However, the All-Star Break is also a fantastic moment to take stock of the season do far. It’s not the halfway point that everyone keeps calling it for some reason, but who’s got time to calculate half of 162?

“Fuck math! From now on, dealing crack is the life for me!”

So, here are the current standings and my predictions for the major award winners and division/league/World Series champions.

AL EAST

My Pre-Season Prediction:

  1.  Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Tampa Bay Rays (Wild Card)
  3. Baltimore Orioles
  4. New York Yankees
  5. Boston Red Sox

Current Standings:

  1. Boston Red Sox (58-39)
  2. Tampa Bay Rays (55-41, Wild Card)
  3. Baltimore Orioles (53-43)
  4. New York Yankees (51-44)
  5. Toronto Blue Jays (45-49)

Well, this division is stacked.

Biggest Surprise: That would be the Red Sox who, in the wake of the tragic Boston Bombings, have been exceptionally good even after injuries to Clay Bucholz and Joel Hanrahan, putting together a great (Likeable!) team. While it’s kinda tough to determine what exactly made this team click, I’m pretty sure it was getting Alfredo Aceves to fuck right on off to AAA that relaxed the mood.

And to think it took the Canadian national team to kick his ass before…

Biggest Disappointment: Well fuck, I don’t really need to say it, do I?

Alright, fine. The biggest disappointments are my beloved Toronto Blue Jays. As it turns out, assembling a whole shitload of talent and throwing them onto a baseball field isn’t always the way to go.

On the positive side, we didn’t take the Marlins logo along with Emilio Bonifacio.

MVP: Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox

I will probably get brutalized for not picking Chris Davis (Or not, considering how much people read my blog) and for picking a Red Sox when I am a Certifies Red Sox Nation Hater, but goddammit, I LIKE Dustin Pedroia! A .316 Batting Average and excellent fielding don’t hurt, either.

Cy Young: Clay Bucholz, Red Sox

Even with his recent DL stint, Bucholz was leaps and bounds over any other AL East pitcher in the first half.

Rookie of the Year: Jose Iglesias, Red Sox

After a (Very) unimpressive cup of coffee in 2012, Iglesias got himself a starting job this year, with both Will Middlebrooks and Stephen Drew on the DL, and has run with it so far, hitting .367 in 180 At-Bats while playing excellent defense.

My All-Star Break Prediction:

  1. Boston Red Sox (98-64)
  2. Tampa Bay Rays (95-67, Wild Card)
  3. Baltimore Orioles (93-69, Wild Card)
  4. New York Yankees (81-81)
  5. Toronto Blue Jays (79-83)

AL CENTRAL

My Pre-Season Prediction:

  1. Detroit Tigers
  2. Kansas City Royals
  3. Chicago White Sox
  4. Cleveland Indians
  5. Minnesota Twins

Current Standings:

  1. Detroit Tigers (52-42)
  2. Cleveland Indians (51-44)
  3. Kansas City Royals (43-49)
  4. Minnesota Twins (39-53)
  5. Chicago White Sox (37-55)

Biggest Surprise: Cleveland Indians

The Indians have beat the odds by proving that you can stay over .500 despite having an aged, 250 pound Jason Giambi on your team.

Biggest Disappointment:

Fuck, I dunno. The White Sox, I guess? Truth be told, I just really wanna get to the AL West.

MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Well duh.

Cy Young: Max Scherzer

I don’t take too much stock in wins and losses, mainly because they’re bullshit, but thirteen straight wins is nothing to thumb your nose at.

Rookie of the Year: David Lough

Who? David Lough? Really? Fuck it, okay, let’s roll with it.

My All-Star Predictions:

  1. Detroit Tigers (93-69)
  2. Cleveland Indians (87-75)
  3. Kansas City Royals (69-93)
  4. Minnesota Twins (69-93)
  5. Chicago White Sox (61-101)

Lessons Learned: 1. The Detroit Tigers don’t have to do too much to win this division and 2. The White Sox suck pretty bad.

AL WEST

My Pre-Season Predictions:

  1. Los Angeles Angels
  2. Oakland Athletics
  3. Texas Rangers
  4. Seattle Mariners
  5. Houston Astros

Current Standings:

  1. Oakland Athletics (56-39)
  2. Texas Rangers (54-41, Wild Card)
  3. Los Angeles Angels (44-49)
  4. Seattle Mariners (43-52)
  5. Houston Astros (33-61)

Biggest Surprise: N/A

There haven’t been many positive surprises in this division. The A’s and Rangers have been as good as expected, and the Mariners and Astros have both been bad and terrible, respectively.

Biggest Dissapointment: Los Angeles Angels

It just wasn’t a very good offseason to spend big, huh?

MVP: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

He probably should have won MVP last year, but Superfish (A nickname that I really want to have catch on) hasn’t ;et his lack of a trophy slow him down. He may be the best all-around player in the game at the age of 22.

Cy Young: Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners

His fellow countryman Yu Darvish gets most of the credit (And he is really, really good) so it’s easy to forget that Iwakuma has been just as or almost as good in his Big League Career. It was almost a tie, but I went with Iwakuma for the reason that he has played more games than Darvish.

Rookie of the Year: Nick Franklin, Seattle Mariners

With all due respect to Nick Franklin… I think the AL West might have blown their prospect wad last year with Trout and Cespedes.

Damn you, Superfish, you ruin everything!!!

My All-Star Predictions:

  1. Oakland Athletics (99-63)
  2. Texas Rangers (91-71)
  3. Seattle Mariners (77-85)
  4. Los Angeles Angels (73-89)
  5. Houston Astros (53-109)

Yeah, I’m feeling the A’s. The Angels, not so much.

AL AWARDS

Manager of the Year: John Farrell, Red Sox

I hate this motherfucker. He openly stabbed the Jays in the back and half-assed it in 2012 after not getting his dream job that year instead of when his contract was up. Not that he did a great job managing the team anyways, but still.

That said, raise your hand if you thought the Sox would be a great team this year.

No you didn’t, you fucking liar.

Rookie of the Year: Jose Iglesias, Red Sox

Cy Young Award: Max Scherzer, Tigers

I may reconsider if Clay Bucholz stays excellent when he comes back from his injury.

MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Mike Trout may have deserved it last year, but this year, it’s all Miggy.

Tune back in soon for the National League and my playoff picks.

NL All-Star Ballot Update!

(This is a continuation of this post. I would have published this one earlier, but I was too busy writing this article and not giving too much of a damn about the MLB draft. Also, the Biogenesis thing.)

So, on June 4th, MLB.com released the current standings for the National League all-star votes. The NL voters (Aside from the Giants fans) seem to be less of the ballot stuffing variety then the AL voters. (Or maybe they`re just being more discreet about it.)

Anyways…

CATCHER
1. Buster Posey, Giants: 1,275,956
2. Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 938,911
3. John Buck, Mets: 523,843
4. Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers: 313,574
5. Brian McCann, Braves: 285,600

Nothing to complain about here. It`s pretty much a toss-up between Posey and Molina (Though I`d expect a slight edge to Yadi.) Otherwise, I`m pretty much indifferent to the 3-5 rankings since, aside from McCann, they aren’t having All-Star caliber seasons in the least.

FIRST BASE
1. Joey Votto, Reds: 1,044,742
2. Brandon Belt, Giants: 513,371
3. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks: 473,513
4. Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers: 464,845
5. Freddie Freeman, Braves: 438,868

Look, I like Brandon Belt, all right? I’ve always been a fan of the low power, strong fielding first baseman. I saw a fair bit of him watching the (Incredibly dull) World Series last year, and I think he`s definitely a big leaguer. Also, his nickname is Baby Giraffe.

Everyone is required to like him after seeing this photo. Even you, Dodger fans.

But for the love of God, will someone please tell me what the hell he`s doing in front of Paul Goldschmidt? I mean, just fucking look at Paul Goldschmidt’s stats! Holy shit! That is a far cry from Brandon Belts’ average (.242) and OPS (.731). Admittedly, I voted for my fellow Canadian boy Joey Votto (Who is also excellent) but I will probably change my vote whenever I next feel like voting.

SECOND BASE
1. Brandon Phillips, Reds: 1,019,240
2. Marco Scutaro, Giants: 801,754
3. Chase Utley, Phillies: 524,219
4. Matt Carpenter, Cardinals: 439,239
5. Dan Uggla, Braves: 384,462

For all of Brandon Phillip’s cockiness, he is still one of the best offensive second basemen in baseball, and maybe the best defensive one too. I love Marco Scutaro too. You can`t argue with a .323 batting average, and it’s impossible for me to not cheer for an ex-Blue Jay either.

Ummm… Never mind.

So what`s the problem?

Well, neither of them have been as good as Matt Carpenter.

Also, isn’t Chase Utley injured? And what the hell is Dan Uggla doing here?

SHORTSTOP
1. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 1,025,844
2. Brandon Crawford, Giants: 668,140
3. Jean Segura, Brewers: 554,403
4. Andrelton Simmons, Braves: 372,844
5. Pete Kozma, Cardinals: 311,852

One look at Troy Tulowitzki’s stats will tell you that he deserves to start the All-Star game at shortstop for the National League. You may be able to put together a convincing argument for Jean Segura, but I`d still go with Tulo any day of the week.

While we’re on Segura, though, what exactly is Brandon Crawford doing ahead of him? Come on Giants fans, it’s not funny anymore. Crawford`s stats are nice, but are nowhere near nice enough to justify his standing ahead of Jean Segura.

If All-Stars were judged on defense and defense alone, then Andrelton Simmons and Pete Kozma would be closer to the top of this list, but sadly, their sup-.700 OPS’s likely spell doom.

 

THIRD BASE
1. Pablo Sandoval, Giants: 1,094,475
2. David Wright, Mets: 967,299
3. Chris Johnson, Braves: 386,811
4. David Freese, Cardinals: 375,428
5. Todd Frazier, Reds: 343,201

Finally, a category in which you could make a solid case for any guy to be #1! However, as you can see, the fans are quite clearly uninterested in 3-5 and are focusing on the two (In one case, literally) big guys.

The most lovable obese ball player not named David Ortiz…

At some point, non-Yankee fans agreed to pretend that this never happened.

… Has evolved into a perennially solid All-star case. While his numbers aren’t exactly eye-popping, they will be enough to at least get him a reserve spot on the team.

David “Captain America” Wright has been more or less his usual self this year, (Though he is in a cold spot right now) this year. In my personal opinion, I would pick Wright over the Panda, because Wright is having a marginally better offensive season and is miles better defensively.

 

OUTFIELD
1. Justin Upton, Braves: 1,184,249
2. Bryce Harper, Nationals: 1,182,532
3. Ryan Braun, Brewers: 945,665
4. Carlos Beltran, Cardinals: 847,924
5. Shin-Soo Choo, Reds: 743,755
6. Hunter Pence, Giants: 624,972
7. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: 576,201
8. Angel Pagan, Giants: 572,400
9. Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 491,629
10. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies: 482,719
11. Gregor Blanco, Giants: 475,662
12. Carlos Gomez, Brewers: 472,272
13. B.J. Upton, Braves: 420,104
14. Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 389,372
15. Jay Bruce, Reds: 374,852

Confession time: I hate Ryan Braun.

It takes a lot for me to hate a ballplayer (See: Escobar, Yunel) but Ryan Braun really does suck. I really hope he gets that 100-game suspension (Though I highly doubt that). Baseball already has a reputation as a juicer sport, and this asshole isn’t helping.

That said, he is having another good season, and I voted for him. While he’s cooled off some what, he should be able to make his sixth all-star appearance. (Barring a suspension, I mean)

I also voted for Bryce Harper, though who knows if his balky knee will permit him to play in the Game.

Overall, these standings are pretty sketchy. Justin Upton does NOT deserve a starting spot (It doesn’t help that  he hasn’t hit a homer since May 17th, either) and Shin-Soo Choo is a reserve too, in my eyes. Neither Gregor Blanco, nor Angel Pagan (Goddammit, Giants fans!), nor Matt Kemp and especially not B.J. Upton deserve to be All-Stars. And for fuck’s sake, can somebody show Carlos Gomez and Carlos Gonzalez some love, already?

Well, that`s all until the next ballot update. Expect to see either a in-depth analysis of the Korean Crisis or a love letter to Ramon Ortiz next.