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NL Postseason Predictions

Now that we are at the all-star break, baseball fans can start looking at which teams will make the playoffs this year. Here are some early predictions:
NL West: Although this division has been straight up awful all season long, the NL West is still entitled to one playoff spot. Currently, the Dodgers (somehow) hold a .5 game lead over the Giants. Expect the Dodgers to reach the postseason due to the fact that they have been able to keep their first place lead despite losing their three best hitters to injury (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Dee Gordon). In addition, look for the Dodgers to bring in some more pieces to help solidify their playoff spot.

NL Central: Maybe the world is coming to an end in 2012, as the Pirates find themselves in first place at the all-star break for the first time in nearly ever. However, I see the Reds coming out on top of this division. The Cardinals will have to rely on Lance Berkman, Rafael Furcal, and Carlos Beltran to stay healthy, which is never a situation you want to be in. The Reds won the pennant two years ago, and with Joey Votto and Jay Bruce in their lineup, I see them edging out the Pirates at the end of the year.

NL East: The Nationals have taken advantage of a down year from the Phillies, and hold a four game lead heading into the all-star break. I expect the Nationals to keep up their strong performance and win the NL East. The only major concern is when will management shut down Strasburg for the season. However, there is still a lot to be happy about in Washington as Michael Morse is now back and Jayson Werth will return later this season. Watch out, the Nats may just be the NL’s best.

Wild Card: The Atlanta Braves will take this year’s wild card, finishing a few games behind the Nats. The Braves have a very solid lineup and their pitching is strong too. Atlanta will also remember their heartbreaking loss on the last day of the regular season last year, and will not let that happen again. Expect Jason Heyward to be a household name by the end of the year.

Wild Card #2: As much as I hate to say it, the Giants will be making the playoffs as the second wild card team. Their pitching is far too strong to not make the playoffs, and as soon as Lincecum puts down the blunt he’ll be back on track too. Look for Melky Cabrera and the Kung Fu Panda to lead the charge in the second half, and don’t be surprised if the Giants bring in another bat at the trade deadline like they did last year with Carlos Beltran.

-Langer

About The Author

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Josh Langer is a Sport Management major at the University of Michigan. His favorite athlete is Kareem Rush and once dedicated an AIM screename to him.

Number of Entries : 231

Comments (9)

  • avatar

    Tom

    Nice Dee Gordon joke. I still think the Giants are the favorites in the NL West, though. While the Dodgers were missing Kemp and, recently, Ethier, the Giants were also without their best hitter for over a month, when Sandoval went down with another hamate injury. On top of that, Lincecum will either improve or be removed from the rotation very soon, so that’s an automatic improvement since he’s on pace for the worst season for a starting pitcher EVER. You can’t really expect Chris Capuano to have continued success, and the Giants’ staff figures to only improve once the Lincecum situation is handled. Considering that and the fact that the Giants have a much deeper lineup, and I think it’s the Giants’ division to lose.

    Reply
  • avatar

    Dwayne

    Tom-

    Dee Gordon leads the league in stolen bases, he is the teams 3rd best hitter. So will Melky Cabrera keep up his hot streak and lead the Giants to the playoffs?? Come on, stop being bias and look at the bigger picture. The Dodgers will return the best hitter in the NL and one of the clutchest players in baseball in Ethier. Also the Dodgers have been linked to a ton of trade targets, and will certainly capitalize on a few considering the pressure the new owners have put on colleti to make moves. Giants fan, be ready for Dodger domination for awhile

    Reply
  • avatar

    Langer

    Also, Capuano may not keep up his pace, but Kershaw also won’t be 5-4 and Ted Lilly will take Eovaldi’s spot in the rotation…

    Reply
    • avatar

      Tom

      Langer-

      It’s universally agreed upon that a pitcher’s W-L record is a pretty meaningless way of measuring value. Sure, Kershaw’s 5-4, but he has pitched very well. I expect his K/9 to climb back over 9 in the second half, but there’s not a whole lot more he can do. He’s pitching like Clayton Kershaw, which is to say, excellently.

      Dwayne-

      Are you serious? You’re honestly saying Dee Gordon is the 3rd best hitter on the Dodgers? Allow me to enlighten you.

      Per Baseball Reference:

      Dee Gordon’s triple slash line is .229/.280/.282. I sincerely hope you recognize how godawful that is.

      Dee Gordon ranks dead last among Dodgers players with -1.3 WAR (wins above replacement player) in 2012. His OPS+ (adjusted on-base plus slugging percentage) is 56, meaning he has produced at 56% of the average player. His .562 OPS is the worst not only on his team, but among all qualified players.

      Defensively, Gordon has already made 17 errors to lead the MLB, 4 more than the next man on the list. His poor defense has contributed -1.0 dWAR (defensive wins above replacement player).

      But hey, he has 30 stolen bases! This is literally the only positive aspect of his game. Consider it a blessing that he has missed time, because he hurts the Dodgers when he plays.

      Here is an accurate list of the Dodgers’ best hitters:

      -Matt Kemp
      -Andre Ethier
      -(literally everyone else on the team besides Dee Gordon)
      -Dee Gordon

      This is coming from a guy who thought highly enough of Gordon to draft him as his starting fantasy shortstop this year. I don’t have any reason to dislike the kid. He’s exciting as hell when he’s running. He’s just not a good baseball player right now. He is in fact quite bad.

      Moving on from Gordon. Melky’s good hitting has been going on for a year and a half now and correlates with an increased workout regimen. At this point, it’s hard to call him a complete fluke, although I agree his bat will surely slow down some in the second half.

      Matt Kemp is one of the best players in the NL, but if you’re going to call me biased for my opinion that the Giants are the superior team, then I can certainly say the same about you for not considering Votto, Braun, Wright, and McCutchen to at least be Kemp’s equals this season.

      And finally, “clutchness” is a very unbiased and reliable way to evaluate a player, so good job on that one.

      Reply
  • avatar

    Dwayne

    I still stand my Dee Gordon comment, as a hitter of course, his fielding sucks. But, before his injury he led the team in runs scored as well, and was actually 5th on the team in batting average amongst those with over 200 at bats. Thats just another demonstration of how bad the Dodger hitting has been. The fact that the team is still winning games with the likes of Jerry Hairston Jr., old fat Bobby Abreu, old Juan Rivera, James Loney, Elian Herrera, Tony Gwynn Jr., Adam Kennedy, and old fat Juan Uribe is pretty remarkable. When Kemp and Ethier come back it’s hard to imagine that any team not currently ahead of the Dodgers will do better than them considering this team WAS the best team in baseball until a few weeks ago with just Ethier in the lineup. Yes Votto, Braun, Wright, McCutchen are all amazing players, but your love for the Giants has seemingly had you forget that Matt Kemp was 3rd in AVG, 4th in OBP, 2nd in SLG, 1st in runs scored, 1st in HR’s, 1st in RBI’s, and 2nd in stolen bases last season. Before Kemp’s injury he was looking like the triple crown candidate he almost was last year, which is much better than any of those guys you named.

    Back to the Dodger injuries.. The Dodgers have currently been playing without their 1,3, and 4 hitters. If you take Melky, Buster, and Gregor Blanco out of the Giants lineup, its hard to believe that team would be above 500 for very long considering the rest of the lineup consists of just Pablo Sandoval and Angel Pagan amongst players like the ones the Dodgers have filling up their batting order.

    The Dodgers are soon to add players through trade to hopefully add one or two more bats to the lineup, as well as another starter. That coupled with the additions of Kemp and Ethier won’t just keep them ahead of the Giants, but come September the NL West race will be an afterthought.

    Reply
  • avatar

    Tom

    I just showed you that Dee Gordon is the worst hitter in the ML. There is strong evidence to back that up. That pretty much settles this debate for me, because if you’re unwilling to accept that, your Dodgers fan blindness is worse than I thought.

    Also, I never said Kemp was not an amazing player. He is fantastic, and would easily be the best hitter on the Giants, and is certainly the best in the NL West. I was just pointing out that it’s not completely accurate to call him the best in the NL, hands down. There are others on his level.

    I believe you are overlooking the Dodgers’ lack of depth as a major problem for them going forward. While it is impressive that they have maintained a division lead, it’s only a half game at this point. I’d argue that the fact that they lead the division with such a bad lineup is lucky and unlikely to continue, and not a sign of future success. All it takes is one more Kemp or Ethier injury to sink that offense.

    It will be interesting to see how this race turns out. It’s been a while since the Giants and Dodgers have been competing against each other for first place. It might come down to which team can add better pieces before the trade deadline, but I can guarantee you this race will not become an afterthought in a month and a half.

    Reply
  • avatar

    dwayne

    What you’re not realizing is that the Giants offense is overperforming due to Melky’s unsustainable first half. As of today the Dodgers and their lack of depth and hitting has them at only 9 less runs scored than the Giants. With Kemp and Ethier back it won’t be long for that to change. The Dodgers are also outpitching the giants and have given up 24 less runs, and have played one more game than the giants as well.
    Yes Lincecum has been awful, and yes Brian Wilson got hurt, but the Dodgers have had to replace Lilly and his 3.14 ERA, as well as Matt Guerrier (2.70 era), and just got back last years closer Javy Guerra back from the DL. The Dodgers are currently one of the most active teams in the trade market right now and are looking to pull in guys like Chase Headley, Ryan Dempster, and potentially Shane Victorino. This division will be won at the beginning of September and the Giants will be battling for a wild card spot.

    Reply
  • avatar

    Mitch

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8164867/midseason-playoff-projections-mlb

    ZiPS projection system (one of the best out there) has the Giants taking the division by 3 games.

    Reply
  • avatar

    Tom

    Not sure what reminded me of this post, but I had to return to gloat. I guess buying a division title is harder than it looks.

    Reply

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