Predicting MLB’s second half: Shohei Ohtani’s stats, Jacob deGrom’s ERA, a Cubs fire sale and more


DENVER — The primary half of the 2021 MLB season was a number of enjoyable, for those who had been capable of give attention to the precise video games being performed — and the unimaginable younger, entertaining stars taking part in these video games — and tune out issues like sticky substances. 

What’s in retailer for the second half? As at all times, the unknowns are the perfect half, however these are tough to foretell as a result of, effectively, they’re unknowns. 

So at this time, let’s check out what would possibly occur going ahead by what really occurred within the first half. 

MORE: Kris Bryant, Joey Gallo lead checklist of All-Stars who may very well be dealt quickly

Jacob deGrom has a decrease ERA (1.08) than Bob Gibson’s iconic 1.12 in 1968.

Will that final? No, and right here’s why: Each time somebody makes a run at Gibson’s mark, we get a brand new appreciation for simply how unimaginable the Cardinals’ right-hander was in 1968. Now, deGrom virtually definitely will make a problem like no one has since Dwight Gooden in 1985 (1.53 ERA) or Greg Maddux in 1994 (1.56) and 1995 (1.63), however the wager continues to be that he falls brief. Take a look at his final three begins of the primary half, for example. He was nonetheless excellent — 29 strikeouts and 12 hits allowed in 20 innings — however the hits had been bunched or went over the fence, and he allowed seven earned runs (two, then three, then two). That’s a 3.15 ERA over these three video games. 

Know what Gibson’s “worst” three-game stretch was in 1968? It was 2.52, and he had a pair completely different three-game stretches with that similar ERA. He didn’t enable a number of runs in three consecutive begins all season. 

After which, there’s this, too: Gibson threw a ton extra innings, so particular person runs didn’t make as huge of an affect on his ERA. He had the next margin for error. He completed with 304 2/3 innings on the season, and deGrom had simply 92 within the first half. That’s not a criticism of deGrom, after all — it’s a distinct sport now — however a actuality of the problem for somebody chasing a mark of excellence like Gibson displayed.

Right here’s an instance: deGrom allowed 5 complete earned runs in back-to-back begins (June 26 & July 1) and his ERA jumped almost half a degree, from 0.50 to 0.95. Gibson allowed 5 complete earned runs in back-to-back begins (July 30 & August 4) and his ERA barely inched up, from 0.96 to 1.08. 

The White Sox have the very best profitable share within the AL

Will that final? Sure, and right here’s why: When you think about the whole lot that the White Sox have needed to cope with this season — accidents to half of their beginning place gamers, in Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal and Yasmani Grandal — it’s downright unimaginable that the ChiSox have the very best profitable share within the AL, at .607 (simply technically forward of the Crimson Sox and Astros, at .605). 

“After the break, we get two bats again,” shortstop Tim Anderson informed SN at All-Star media day, “and we’ll maintain that wheel transferring in a constructive manner. We’ll be simply effective. We’ve been doing nice even with all these accidents.”

Yeah, that’s an understatement. 

Jimenez, who tore a pectoral muscle making an attempt to make a catch in spring coaching, is on a rehab task with Triple-A Charlotte. Robert resumed baseball actions a number of weeks in the past on his journey again from a torn hip flexor. Madrigal’s out for the season and Grandal’s a number of weeks away, nonetheless, however anticipate the White Sox to be energetic on the commerce deadline.

The Blue Jays are exterior wanting in on the playoffs

Will that final? No, and right here’s why: The Jays have their work reduce out for them in the event that they need to make the postseason for the second consecutive 12 months, which might be solely their second back-to-back exhibiting since 1993. They enter the second half with a 45-42 report, eight video games behind the Crimson Sox and 4 1/2 again of the second wild-card spot, at present owned by Oakland (they’re 6.5 again of the Rays, who personal the primary WC berth in the mean time. 

So why are the Jays positioned to make a transfer? Their lineup is strong, anchored by 4 All-Stars — Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Marcus Semien, Teoscar Hernandez and Bo Bichette — and so they’ve already made strikes to shore up certainly one of their largest weaknesses, the bullpen. Rookie Alex Manoah has been an enormous addition to the rotation, along with his 2.80 ERA in eight begins. They’ve traded for relievers Adam Cimber and Trevor Richards in separate offers, and people two right-handers have been sensible to this point — 6 1/3 mixed innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 8 strikeouts. And so they aren’t completed including. Although I wouldn’t say I anticipate it, I wouldn’t be in any respect stunned to see them push for the division title, not only a wild-card spot.

Oh, and Vladdy Junior? He doesn’t lead the majors in homers in the mean time — he’s 5 behind Shohei Ohtani — however he’ll by the tip of the season. And we’ll use any excuse to point out that All-Star Recreation house run once more. 

Shohei Ohtani is an unimaginable participant, doing unprecedented issues

Will it final? Sure, and right here’s why: Yeah, he’s actually this nice as a hitter, and he’s actually this nice as a pitcher. And, positive, his house run tempo would possibly decelerate a bit, however the one factor retaining him from 45 homers as a hitter and 150 strikeouts as a pitcher in 2021 is a possible damage, and we’re all hoping that doesn’t occur.

This, of us, is his new regular. 

Kris Bryant performs for the Cubs

Will that final? No, and right here’s why: Admittedly, we’re not going out on a skinny limb with this projection. Bryant is the largest title who is nearly sure to be traded earlier than the July 30 deadline; if anybody wasn’t positive about that, the purpose was pushed house through the All-Star Recreation broadcast, when Joe Buck requested Bryant about it on stay tv. Yeah. Jed Hoyer, the president of baseball operations and key decision-maker for the Cubs, admitted the membership was in promote mode after their latest disastrous 11-game shedding skid. 

Bryant in all probability gained’t be the one participant moved. Javy Baez and Anthony Rizzo, like Bryant, are free brokers after the season. Nearer Craig Kimbrel and catcher Willson Contreras every might change into free brokers after the 2022 season, and so they might definitely be moved, too (Kimbrel’s extra possible than Contreras). 

Aaron Boone is the Yankees supervisor

Will it final? Sure, and right here’s why: I understand that is going to make numerous Yankees followers upset, as a result of they’ve been calling for Boone to be fired for some time now. And if the query was, “Will Boone be the Yankees supervisor in 2022?” the reply is perhaps a bit completely different. However it’s simply exhausting to see this membership making a change at this place through the season. In the intervening time, they’re three video games over .500, eight out within the AL East and 4 1/2 out of the second wild-card.

Plenty of the problems with this roster — development, well being, and many others. — are usually not Aaron Boone points. It’s exhausting to have a look at the present state of affairs and see the in-season firing of Boone “lighting a spark” or no matter within the hopes that the membership begins taking part in higher and makes the postseason. And what different causes are there for making an in-season change? 

The Giants have MLB’s greatest report

Will it final? No, and right here’s why: Look, this isn’t to say the Giants will collapse and revert again to the group everybody anticipated them to be in spring coaching (a .500-ish squad). However let’s be sincere, anticipating this feel-good story to proceed on the similar price within the second half looks like a bit of a lot, proper? Veteran catcher Buster Posey is on the IL. So is veteran third baseman Evan Longoria. So is veteran first baseman Brandon Belt. Sensing a sample? 

They’ll be proper there within the chase with the Dodgers and Padres within the NL West, and it could be gorgeous to see them drop out of the playoff combine. That might be extra gorgeous at this level than the best way they’ve exceeded offseason expectations to this point. 

The Mets lead the NL East

Will it final? Sure, and right here’s why: The remainder of the division, fairly actually, simply isn’t excellent. Take a look at it this fashion: The Mets lead the NL East with 47 wins and a .540 profitable share. Listed below are these numbers for the opposite division leaders … 

  • Brewers, NL Central: 53 and .576
  • Giants, NL West: 57 and .640
  • Crimson Sox, AL East: 55 and .604
  • White Sox, AL Central: 54 and .607
  • Astros, AL West: 55 and .604

Yep. Proper now the Mets are on tempo to win 88 video games, and so they personal a 3 1/2-game lead of their division. In some other division, they’d be a minimum of 3 1/2 video games again themselves. The Phillies, their closest competitor, are principally the very same .500ish group they’ve been the previous three seasons. The Braves simply misplaced their greatest participant, Ronald Acuña, for the season. With one other unhealthy week, the Nationals will possible shift into promote mode. 

And, it could be gorgeous to see the Mets keep quiet earlier than the commerce deadline. They’ve the chance to win a division title, and with a rotation led by Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker, they completely might win a number of sequence in October. And new proprietor Steve Cohen is all about making strikes with eyes on October. 


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