20 bold predictions for MLB’s second half


What a first-half MLB followers simply received to witness. Shohei Ohtani blossomed right into a modern-day Babe Ruth, second-generation superstars Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. have firmly entrenched themselves as the 2 new faces of the game, and pitchers now should endure a TSA like test after they go away the mound. As play will get set to renew this weekend, let’s dive into twenty daring predictions for the second half.


1 of 20

The Angels will make the playoffs

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The Halos have not certified for the postseason since 2014 and have traditionally criminally underperformed whereas using one of the best participant on the planet in Mike Trout. Seemingly yearly specialists fruitlessly choose the Angels to snap their drought, and this staff has admittedly been caught in 4th place in their very own division for many of ’21. So why would I ever suppose issues may change within the subsequent two and a half months? Nicely for starters LA has stayed afloat a lot better than might’ve been anticipated when Trout went down with a calf harm in Might. That is largely as a result of two-way efficiency of Ohtani who’s the runaway favourite to win AL MVP, however the Angels have gotten boosts from different locations too. First baseman Jared Walsh has developed right into a harmful left-handed energy hitter in his personal proper, and veterans Jose Iglesias and David Fletcher have executed a pleasant job on each side of the ball. The Halos beginning pitching has been abysmal, however even minor enchancment there coupled with the return of Trout might assist propel this staff into the 2nd wild card. 


Francisco Lindor will have a huge 2nd half

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The largest fish the Mets reeled in of their first low season below new possession was clearly Lindor, who had spent his whole profession till that time taking part in an all-star stage shortstop in Cleveland. His first few months in New York have had their challenges, however let’s not be so fast to surrender on the switch-hitter. The Mets schedule has been nearly comically cease and begin. Their opening sequence in Washington needed to be postponed when the Nationals skilled a mini COVID outbreak, and uncanny unhealthy luck with the climate has already pressured the Mets to play 10 doubleheaders. By way of all of it, they’ve remained in first place within the NL East for over two months, and in the event that they’re capable of play a extra common schedule down the stretch, search for their new addition to take off. 


3 of 20

The Giants is not going to make the playoffs

The Giants will not make the playoffs

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Given the present standings, this is likely to be the boldest prediction on right here. We knew heading into 2021 that the Dodgers and Padres have been each going to be superb within the NL West, however no one might have predicted Gabe Kapler’s Giants proudly owning one of the best file on the senior circuit for a lot of the first half. Buoyed by the return of Buster Posey who opted out final yr and a renaissance season from longtime shortstop Brandon Crawford, San Fran has drastically outperformed expectations. However can it final? The Giants’ second-half schedule is daunting. They have not even performed the leaders of the NL Central or NL East but (Milwaukee and New York respectively), and have 13 collective video games towards these groups left. Along with 10 every towards the Dodgers and Padres. With the powerful slate and a little bit general regression, San Francisco will doubtless come again to the pack a little bit down the stretch. The query is that if somebody like Cincinnati, Atlanta, or Washington will have the ability to get sizzling and capitalize on that. 


Fernando Tatis Jr. joins the 40/40 club

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Ronald Acuna Jr. made one hell of a push for it two years in the past, however the unique 40/40 membership nonetheless homes solely 4 names, and no one has achieved the feat since Alfonso Soriano in 2006. However which will change in only a few brief months. Tatis already is over 20 in each homers and steals, and whereas stolen bases usually tend to be the holdup, that is assuredly a aim of his. Search for Tatis to run much more within the second half, notably if we get into September and the 40/40 proposition continues to be very a lot on the desk. 


5 of 20

Nick Castellanos reaches 60 doubles

Nick Castellanos reaches 60 doubles

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This one shouldn’t be essentially doubtless, however it’s on the desk which is simply unimaginable. The Reds slugger has turn into probably the most prolific doubles hitter in baseball lately, and simply two years in the past piled up 58 two-baggers. He once more leads baseball within the statistic on the all-star break and whereas he would want to choose up his already dominant tempo, let’s not write this chance off. 


6 of 20

Extra pitchers will likely be suspended for sticky stuff violations

More pitchers will be suspended for sticky stuff violations

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Seattle lefty Hector Santiago turned the primary hurler disciplined below the brand new sticky substance guidelines, however make no mistake about it. He will not be the final. Santiago’s rivalry that the substance was merely a mixture of sweat and rosin (each of that are fairly clearly authorized) was a plausible one, and to me, this entire problem is on the league. Commissioner Rob Manfred and his workers merely should give you a extra common line within the sand and never go away this as much as particular person umpires to objectively decide what’s sticky and what is not, or make on-the-fly determinations as to what a probably sticky substance truly is. In any other case, an already contentious upcoming CBA negotiation might flip downright ugly.


7 of 20

Jacob deGrom will win the NL MVP award

Jacob deGrom will win the NL MVP award

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Saying deGrom will take dwelling his third Cy Younger award in just a few months wouldn’t characterize a lot of a sizzling take. The season the Mets’ ace has put collectively up to now is solely historic, and he is received loads of room for error down the stretch to nonetheless win that award. However a beginning pitcher profitable MVP? It is solely occurred twice since 1992. Fernando Tatis Jr. will clearly get loads of love from the voters, but when deGrom truly finishes with an ERA round 1.00 and continues to swing the bat the best way he has, for my part, it is his award to lose. 


8 of 20

The Phillies promote exhausting

The Phillies sell hard

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This goes towards all the things President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski believes in, and it is definitely removed from what he envisioned when he took this job forward of the 2021 season. However the Phillies should be sincere with themselves about their scenario. Season-long inconsistency has saved their playoff hopes barely treading water all yr, and it is troublesome to ascertain their actuality altering between now and the top of July. Philadelphia’s system can be extremely barren of top-end expertise, and buying and selling from the Main League staff might assist replenish that. Search for names like Andrew McCutchen, Archie Bradley, Jean Segura, Hector Neris, Didi Gregorius, and perhaps others to search out their names talked about as we get nearer to the deadline. 


9 of 20

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. wins the AL triple crown

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. wins the AL triple crown

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Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera received the triple crown in 2012, however earlier than that, it hadn’t been executed since 1967. Nicely, Toronto’s budding famous person has nearly as good an opportunity to perform the feat in ’21 as nearly everybody in current reminiscence. Guerrero Jr. at present tops the league in each common and RBI, and trails solely the aforementioned Ohtani in homers. If he can proceed his dominant season down the stretch and Ohtani comes again to the sphere even just a bit, that is going to be an thrilling storyline to observe down the stretch. 


10 of 20

The White Sox will characterize the AL within the World Sequence

The White Sox will represent the AL in the World Series

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The White Sox have been coming for a few years now, however 2021 is the season they’ve absolutely arrived. After a disappointing first-round exit within the distinctive ’20 postseason, the White Sox look poised to make a deep run this time round. Chicago completed the primary half with an enormous lead within the AL Central, they usually’re bunched tightly along with Boston, Houston, and Tampa Bay in the hunt for the highest seed within the league. When October rolls round although, this staff has a balanced line-up anchored by reigning AL MVP Jose Abreu, and a powerful rotation with veterans Lance Lynn, Dallas Keuchel, and Carlos Rodon along with younger ace Lucas Giolito. 


11 of 20

The Twins end final within the AL Cental

The Twins finish last in the AL Cental

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Speak about a disappointment. The Twins entered ’21 figuring out the White Sox had in all probability handed them on paper, however that is nonetheless a staff that had received the AL Central crown in every of the final two seasons. Minnesota felt at worst they’d be firmly within the combine for a wild card berth down the stretch, however that’s simply not going to be the case. The Twins are buried hopelessly in not solely their division, however the American League as an entire, and they’ll assuredly be sellers within the subsequent couple of weeks. Search for big-ticket names like Jose Berrios, Nelson Cruz, Taylor Rogers, and perhaps even Josh Donaldson to alter uniforms. Their departures will result in Minnesota sinking even beneath Kansas Metropolis and ending final within the Central for the primary time since 2016. 


12 of 20

The NL Pennant comes all the way down to a Clayton Kershaw vs. Jacob deGrom sport seven

The NL Pennant comes down to a Clayton Kershaw vs. Jacob deGrom game seven

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This admittedly is likely to be wishful pondering, however it isn’t in any respect out of the realm of chance. The Dodgers path the Giants within the NL West on the break, however as I discussed earlier, I would not anticipate that to proceed for lengthy. If Los Angeles in the end finishes with the highest file within the NL they’d play the winner of the wild card sport, which might pin the opposite two division winners towards one another within the first spherical. (Proper now that will be Milwaukee and New York). With a little bit luck and a dramatic NLCS, followers might get to see what could be one of the vital anticipated and hyped pitching match-ups in an elimination sport ever. Kershaw owns three NL Cy Younger awards, whereas deGrom is effectively on his approach to his third proper now. Buckle up. 


The Yankees fire Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone after a 4th place finish

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This chance was unthinkable only a few months in the past, but when legendary Bombers proprietor George Steinbrenner have been nonetheless alive it could have already occurred. Life comes at you quick huh? The Yankees are effectively behind each Boston and Tampa Bay within the AL East, they usually’ve toggled forwards and backwards with Toronto bouncing between third and 4th for a number of weeks. They hit the all-star break barely over .500 and struggling to remain afloat within the wild card race. With out a dramatic turnaround between now and the top of July might the Yankees truly promote? And will they in the end miss the postseason–while the crosstown Mets steal increasingly headlines–changes are coming within the Bronx. 


Christian Yelich has a monster second half

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The 2018 NL MVP has had an exceedingly irritating first few months of 2021. The 29-year-old has struggled to generate any actual energy and has not produced even near the best way he and the Brewers anticipate him to. A number of journeys to the IL attributable to a again problem have actually hampered his skill to get something going, and it is honest to marvel how a lot his again continues to be bothering him. Regardless of his struggles, the Brewers maintain a commanding lead within the NL Central, and if Yelich can get sizzling this staff will likely be a drive to reckoned with down the stretch and into October. 


15 of 20

The Cubs do not promote as a lot as they need to

The Cubs don't sell as much as they should

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The 2021 season was anticipated to be a yr of transition for a veteran Cubs staff, however their outlook wasn’t supposed to alter so dramatically inside just a few weeks. In late June the Cubs have been neck and neck with the Brewers for the NL Central lead, however an 11 sport shedding streak seemingly put to mattress most of their postseason aspirations. Now they’re on the break and have been handed by Cincinnati and tied by St. Louis. With the potential to be firmly in 4th place inside only a few days Chicago has to promote, and all of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez are free brokers at years’ finish. Willson Contreras and Craig Kimbrel might additionally convey again a high quality return, and a job participant like Joc Pederson might internet a strong piece. However my hunch is that whereas the Cubs ought to have a full-fire sale, they will not commerce away as many guys as they need to. 


16 of 20

The Padres will win 95+ video games after which lose the wild card sport

The Padres will win 95+ games and then lose the wild card game

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There’s not a extra thrilling staff within the Main Leagues than San Diego, and you would be hard-pressed to search out somebody to argue that time with you. Fernando Tatis Jr. has blossomed into the premier famous person within the league, however he is removed from alone. The Padres lineup options fellow stars Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer in supporting roles, whereas guys like Wil Myers and Trent Grisham are having fun with fantastic under-the-radar campaigns. The Friars rotation will likely be powerful to beat in a brief sequence with Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove. However they should get to a brief sequence first. Proper now the Padres seem ticketed in direction of a wild card sport look, and whereas they might win a ton of contests, I am going out on a limb and selecting them to lose that sport to Luis Castillo and Cincinnati. 


17 of 20

The Reds will make the playoffs

The Reds will make the playoffs

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The Reds received off to a disappointing begin in 2021, largely attributable to surprising struggles from their pitching workers. In eight begins for the reason that calendar turned to June although, ace right-hander Luis Castillo has utterly turned his season round and is as soon as once more pitching like an upper-echelon starter. Veterans Wade Miley and Tyler Mahle have thrown effectively in the course of this rotation, however for the Reds to win they want Castillo and fellow righty Sonny Grey to be a dynamic 1-2 punch on the high. This staff will rating runs, and if the pitching can maintain up their finish of the cut price, the Reds will trip a second-half surge right into a wild card berth. 


18 of 20

The Astros show the haters mistaken and get again to the ALCS

The Astros prove the haters wrong and get back to the ALCS

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The remainder of the league would hate this, however there are a number of big-name veterans on the Houston roster who would view this type of success as a type of vindication. The Astros have performed splendidly within the season’s first half, and if not for the Dodgers lopsided 22-1 win over Arizona final Saturday, Houston would personal the best-run differential within the Main Leagues. Even with out Justin Verlander, the Astros beginning workers has survived due to robust performances from all of Zack Grienke, Lance McCullers Jr., Luis Garcia, Jake Odorizzi, and Framber Valdez. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa have additionally each been swinging the bat with one hell of a chip on their shoulders. The American League as an entire seems extremely evenly matched on the high, and the postseason needs to be extremely thrilling. Search for Houston to be proper in the course of all of it. 


19 of 20

Tampa Bay will go Boston and win the AL East

Tampa Bay will pass Boston and win the AL East

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This will likely not represent the boldest of predictions contemplating how good Tampa Bay has been for a lot of the final half dozen years. And they’re certainly the reigning American League champions. However after shedding each Blake Snell and Charlie Morton from their rotation, most individuals anticipated the Rays to take a step again. In any case, this was purported to be the Yankees division to lose. The Crimson Sox are the staff that has been the largest shock, as they’ve grabbed maintain of first place within the East and held it for basically the complete first half. However as the ultimate two and a half months start to unfold, search for the Rays to slowly set up themselves because the premier staff on this division and for the Crimson Sox to hold on to a playoff spot however should do battle within the win or go dwelling wild-card sport. 


20 of 20

Arizona will likely be selecting #1 within the 2022 draft

Arizona will be picking #1 in the 2022 draft

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The Diamondbacks weren’t purported to be superb in 2021, however they weren’t purported to be traditionally unhealthy. Arizona at present owns a profitable proportion below .300, and day by day it looks as if new embarrassing highlights maintain worming their approach into their marketing campaign. The Diamondbacks have been comically horrible on the street, and will they find yourself buying and selling away most of their helpful items earlier than the top of July, issues will solely worsen. Can they threaten the 1962 Mets for probably the most losses in MLB historical past (120)? That continues to be to be seen, but it surely’s nonetheless a fairly honest wager that the primary general choose within the 2022 draft will likely be becoming a member of the Arizona group. 

Justin Mears is a contract sports activities author from Lengthy Seashore Island, NJ. Enjoys being annoyed by the Mets and Cowboys, studying Linwood Barclay novels, and being yelled at by his toddler son. Comply with him on twitter @justinwmears. 


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