The first half of the MLB season has come to a close with the conclusion of the All-Star break ending on Friday. While teams end the break, what are some things that fans can expect from the MLB second half?
The MLB trade deadline is often a snooze fest, but could this year be different? With so many teams in the playoff hunt, there is a possibility that this year could be more eventful at the deadline. But, there is also the possibility that it is the same boring, low hype event that it becomes most years.
The Cubs will make the playoffs
The defending champions have struggled mightily this season, but only find themselves 5.5 games back of the surprising Milwaukee Brewers. Most fans expected a better showing from the Cubs this season and they have yet to live up to the curse being broken in 2016.
However, pulling off a trade with the Chicago White Sox earlier on Thursday for starting pitcher Jose Quintana is a move in the right direction to start the second half of the season. Quintana has struggled for the White Sox this season, posting a 4-8 record with a 4.49 ERA. But he is on pace to set a career high in strikeouts after accumulating 109 in the first half.
The Cubs’ bats won’t stay silent forever, and a combination of that and better pitching will lead them back to the postseason in 2017.
The NL West has three teams in the playoffs
The biggest surprises this year have been the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks. While both have fallen back of the NL West-leading Dodgers, the division will have three teams in the postseason. It is unlikely the Dodgers don’t win the division, but the Rockies and Diamondbacks should give them a run for their money.
San Francisco finishes at least 40 games back
The Giants‘ struggles have been clear this season, and this is the worst they’ve played in a long time. They look to be major sellers at the deadline and should have plenty of young talent playing well before September. A managerial change will occur by the end of the season as well, as the team decides to part ways with Bruce Bochy.
The Yankees finish in fourth place in the AL East
The Yankees have a young stud in Aaron Judge, who is coming off of a Home Run Derby win, but the Evil Empire will falter during the second half. Masahiro Tanaka has not been his dominant self this season and C.C. Sabathia is dealing with injuries that could affect his decent season. Although New York is filled with a mix of talent, it won’t be enough as the Red Sox run away with the East.
At least one player reaches 150 RBIs
There are at least 10 players who have 65 runs batted in or more, and one of them will finish with at least 150 RBI. Nelson Cruz, Nolan Arenado and Marcell Ozuna lead the majors with 70 runs batted in each, and these guys could eclipse the mark with their power. While 150 seems like a ton, all it takes is teammates getting on base at the right time for these players to cash in.
Multiple players reach 60 SB
The Cincinnati Reds have a burner in Billy Hamilton, but Trea Turner (Nationals) and Dee Gordon (Marlins) are neck and neck with the speedster. All three of these speed demons will finish with 60 stolen bases or more in 2017.
As the second half gets under way this weekend, enjoy the boys of summer while you can. Before we know it, all eyes will turn to football.
Watch: MLB first half highlights (H/T to Baseball Vault)