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2nd half preview

By: Frank Jordan
Date: Jul 12, 2019
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Baseball’s unofficial halfway point of the All-Star break has come and gone, and this is the time that teams separate themselves into contenders and pretenders. This year it is a little different as MLB now has a hard deadline of no trades after July 31st where in previous years it was a trade deadline of July 31st and in August a player had to clear wavers if he was to be moved to another team. Many teams have already proven to be a playoff contender and others to be golfing come October, but what are those fringe teams to do? Buy? Sell? Stay pat and hope for the best? Only time will tell, but in this article, I will show the most likely paths for teams.

In the American League the Yankees have a strong hold on the AL East up 8 and 10 games on the Rays and Red Sox respectfully in the loss column, despite all the injuries. Toronto and Baltimore are double digit games under .500 and over 20 games out of first place they will be sellers for sure. In the AL Central Minnesota had a strong start and have used that cushion to have a five-game lead over Cleveland who finished with a six-game winning streak before the break and will make it a two-team race down the stretch for the Central. The White Sox are hovering around the .500 mark and will most likely finish in that same area. As for Detroit and Kansas City things are going poorly being 20+ games under .500 and 25+ games out of first place they will look to trade off veterans for younger talent in hopes of rebuilding. Out West no big shocker Houston is the top team with an eight-game lead on Oakland and nine on Texas. Oakland and Texas might make a push but will be fighting for wildcard spots not division. The Angels and Mariners are both under .500 and double digits out of first place. The wildcard might be the best race in the American League with Tampa Bay and Cleveland holding the two spots with Oakland, Texas and Boston all within three games and the Angels and White Sox within seven of that second spot.

Atlanta is going strong in the National League East with a six-game lead on Washington who finished up before the break winning eight of 10 and 6.5 on the Phillies with the Mets and Marlins under .500 by at least 10 games and over a dozen games out of first place. The NL Central has the Cubs on top by a half game being trailed by the Brewers, two games back are St. Louis, 2.5 games back are the Pirates and in last place, but still within striking distance are the Reds just 4.5 games back. This is by far the closest division top to bottom as any good week can jump a few teams and a bad week can drop you a spot or two. In the NL West the Dodgers have it by a dozen or so games over everyone and have the top record in the MLB. The other four teams are around or under .500 and have a better shot at a wildcard spot than at the division crown.

The races should be fun in the final 10 weeks or so with The Yankees, Twins and Astros winning their divisions with Tampa Bay and Cleveland edging out Boston, Texas, and Oakland for the wildcards. In the NL Atlanta will win the East, Chicago taking the Central in a close race and The Dodgers in the West. The wildcards for the NL will be Washington and Milwaukee as Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Arizona fall short. Check back in October for a playoff preview.

  Frank Jordan
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