At the all-star break, I want to throw out predictions for each National League division going forward.
San Francisco Giants. I think the Giants have this division locked up this year. They are on fire going 8-2 in their last 10 heading into the All Star break. Led by Cueto and Bumgarner, the Giants have the best record in baseball. I love this mainly because there aren’t any huge names on offense – their home run leader is Buster Posey with 11. The highpoint for me is how great the Giants are defensively, and the standout performer for me is Brandon Crawford. He has a .989 Fielding percentage through the first half of the year. Fun team to watch even though everyone is sick of seeing them win.
Chicago Cubs. Cubbies started off so hot this year and it looked like they weren’t going to slow down ever. Well, they came back down to earth and have gone 2-8 in their last 10 headed into the All Star break. I still think they can turn it around and hold on to this division when it comes down to the wire. Kris Bryant is possibly my favorite player in baseball that isn’t a Met. KB17 is batting .286 with 73 runs scored, 25 homeruns and 65 RBIs. He’s just 24 years old; it looks like the sky is the limit for this young all-star. Arrieta started off on fire going 5-0 in April and 4-0 in May, but he’s currently 12-4 and holds a 7.94 ERA in his last two starts. Luckily the Cubbies have a solid rotation and a powerful enough offense that they can carry Arrieta when he is off, but I feel that he is an essential piece for them to advance. Definitely watch out for the Pirates and Cardinals because, as always, they’re not going away easy.
Washington Nationals. Sweet sweet Daniel Murphy…His playoff run was absolutely astonishing. Being a Mets fan, I have watched Murphy for his entire career and never could’ve told you that this was going to be what happens. I will admit he has always kept a pretty solid average and can hit the ball, but nobody could’ve called this. Currently batting .348 through the first half of the season with 17 homers and 66 RBIs, Murphy has become one of the biggest Met killers of recent years. He’s already hit 7 homers against them this season. Strausberg and Scherzer make for a two-headed monster in the starting rotation that is difficult to deal with; Bryce Harper started off on fire but has since cooled off. Maybe it’s time for him to worry less about “making baseball fun again” and focus more on providing for his team before the Nationals blow it and miss the playoffs again.
Wild Card Team 1
Mets. If they don’t steal the division from the Nationals then the Mets will have to settle for a Wild Card spot. I’m OK with that. Syndergaard in a 1-game series could be insane. Injuries have really hurt this team though now with Harvey out for the year and Wheeler’s timetable for return still uncertain. Cespedes is murdering the ball and hopefully he can stay healthy for the rest of the year. Jose Reyes is back and I am the happiest person in New York. Like last year, look for the Mets to make a big push to take the division. Don’t sleep on them.
Wild Card Team 2
Dodgers. I think the Dodgers can do this and I would love to see a Dodgers-Mets 1-game playoff. Especially Kershaw vs. Syndergaard. Corey Seager is my offensive standout player for the Dodgers. Just turning 22, this young short-stop shows an incredible amount of promise for the future. Batting .297 with 17 homeruns and 42 RBIs, I feel as if he is the offensive backbone for this team. Even with a decent record, I don’t see them catching the Giants this year for the division.
By: Zach Miller
Featured Image Credit: NYpost.com