Yes, I know, I know, it’s football season and therefore nothing else matters, and you don’t see the Canadian Commentist Contingent doing a hockey post for tomorrow (to my knowledge…), but the least I can do is see this through, right?
First question, how did I do?
Preseason picks: BOS, TOR, NYY, BAL, TB
All-Star revision: BOS, NYY, TB, BAL, TOR
Final: BOS, NYY, TB, TOR, BAL
The Rays surprised to an extent, because they hit more than anyone thought they could, namely in the home run department. Logan Morrison had a pretty good year. Baltimore couldn’t pitch, Toronto couldn’t bullpen and outfielder and guy who got punched last year Jose Bautista hit barely above .200 in his probable last season with the club. The Red Sox were exactly what we expected, except David Price being even more of a dick. And the Yankees were the story in baseball the first two months and if not for the bullpen never all being good at the same time and that person (namely Betances, Chapman, and guy who got traded Tyler Clippard) managed to record a blown save whenever that shit happened. Halve that number and the Yanks win the division, and even so they pushed the Sawx to the penultimate day of the season. Eh, for a rebuilding year I’ll take it!
Preseason picks: CLE, DET, KC, MIN, CWS
All-Star revision: CLE, KC, MIN, CWS, DET
Final: CLE, MIN, KC, CWS, DET
I did not expect the Twinkies to hold on. Nor did any of us. They became the first team to lose 100 games one year and make the playoffs the next in the history of ever. The Royals’ window officially closed and are going to have to rebuild because they will not keep Moustakas, Hosmer, Cain, and Gordon. Maybe one or two of them. Not all four. The White Sox have Moncada and other prospects so I expect them to be good in a couple of years. Maybe not 2018, but 2019, which’ll lead for a good race between them and the Baseball Redacteds, who had a bit of a ho-hum hangover for a few months before remembering they’re the best team in the division and basically never losing again, including actually rattling off 22 straight. And the core of the Tigers got another older and they did trade Verlander, who they could actually get something back from as opposed to if they had tried to deal Cabrera or Victor Martinez.
Preseason picks: HOU, TEX, SEA, LAA, OAK
All-Star revision: HOU, TEX, LAA, SEA, OAK
Final: HOU, LAA, SEA, TEX, OAK
So Texas struggled, we got that. The pitching was questionable at best, especially in the back end. But none of that mattered because the West was won before Memorial Day, the Astros led wire to wire and the final margin was a paltry 21 games over the next-closest team. Mike Trout is still a possible MVP candidate even though he was hurt, because he is better at the baseballing than you. Or me. Or you and me combined. He won’t win, and it somehow was when he went down that the Redundants went on a little run to even get back into the fringes of the race (which is good enough!), but it is a goddamned travesty that the best player in baseball has played exactly 3 postseason games (the 2014 ALDS, where the team with the best record in baseball got swept). Houston slowed down in the second half, ceding the #1 seed in the AL to Cleveland, but I imagine they’ll like their chances no matter what, Keuchel and Sale’ll be an interesting matchup for Game 1, and I’ll obviously be rooting them in that round.
Preseason/All-Star picks: WAS, NYM, ATL, MIA, PHI
Final: WAS, MIA, ATL, NYM, PHI
So Giancarlo Stanton finally had a full healthy season. That was fun. It was like Judge won the Derby at his ballpark and Stanton said “Well fuck that” and then decided to hit all the homers, hitting the most since Bonds hit 73 in 2001, and the most without juicing since Maris’s 61 in ’61. The Fish can mash, so imagine if they had a bona-fide ace? (…Too soon?) Meanwhile, I was busy laughing at the Mets saying that New York was a Mets town, yeah, how’d that work out for you? Rhys Hoskins of the Phils did his Gary Sanchez of last year impersonation and then some because I actually think it was at a faster clip, and the Nats are the Nats.
Preseason picks: CHC, STL, PIT, MIL, CIN
All-Star revision: CHC, MIL, STL, PIT, CIN
Final: CHC, MIL, STL, PIT, CIN
As I said, the Small Bears remembered they were good and turned it on in the second half. Milwaukee couldn’t hold from their first-half form and missed out on the Wild Card. This one was actually mildly cut and dry. Okay!
Preseason picks: LAD, SF, ARI, COL, SD
All-Star revision: LAD, ARI, COL, SF, SD
Final: LAD, ARI, COL, SD, SF
Who had the Giants tied for the worst record at the beginning of the year? Yeah, it all fell apart and crashed back to earth like Madison Bumgarner on a dirtbike. Cody Bellinger cooled off in the second half too (but we didn’t hear as much about it because East Coast Bias™) but it didn’t matter because the Dodgers briefly flirted with the wins record until they lost a bunch of games in August/September, so instead they only have the best record in the league and home field advantage in the playoffs including the World Series. The interesting bit’s more how the Diamondbacks have really solid pitching with Greinke and Robbie Ray at the top, and how we get at least one day of Rocktober! It is a solid marketing name, you gotta give it that.
Awards time? Okay.
Andrew Benintendi, BOS Aaron Judge, NYY
AL Cy Young:
Corey Kluber, CLE Chris Sale, BOS Corey Kluber, CLE
Mookie Betts, BOS Aaron Judge, NYY Jose Altuve, HOU
If you thought Benintendi’s hot streak gave him a chance to knock off Judge… no, and then Judge used September to say definitely no. The Cy Young and MVP are a toss-up, but I’ll give the edge to Kluber for his better finish as Sale faded and leading in WHIP, BAA, and complete games, and Altuve for the general consistency. If the Yanks had stolen the East, different story, maybe Judge wins it back. Altuve’s also winning by a little in Wins Above Replacement according to ESPN, so that’s worth enough. (Judge leads the Fangraphs WAR, because everyone has a different formula.)
Dansby Swanson, ATL Cody Bellinger, LAD
Clayton Kershaw, LAD Max Scherzer, WAS
Bryce Harper, WAS Paul Goldschmidt, ARI Charlie Blackmon, COL
Kershaw managed to work his way back into the debate and it’s a two-horse race for Cy Young. Flip a coin. It landed tails for me, so Scherzer. The leaders in WAR (via Fangraphs) for the NL are Stanton and Anthony Rendon, giving Rendon the advantage but he doesn’t really have the name recognition or gaudy numbers in any one stat. So I’ll go with the compromise of high WAR on a playoff team. Charlie Blackmon it is! Okay, Kris Bryant’s WAR is a little higher (6.7 to 6.5). But even in the air of Coors Field, 100 RBIs from a leadoff man? And on a team that I think everyone would say outperformed expectations? Sure, why not? It’s a wide-open enough race.
AL Wild-Card: (4) NYY vs. (5) MIN (Tues, 8E, ESPN)
As a fan of one of the two teams I’ll be biting my nails throughout. Severino had a tough start against the Twins when they faced off, succumbing to the pitch-count and not really helping my fantasy team (but I still won, woo!), but with the Yanks’ pen that doesn’t really matter. Miguel Sano is healthy and can run into one, but I’m not sure if he’s up to full full strength. Santana pitched pretty well against the Yanks but as soon as they got the starter out the Yanks hammered the Twins bullpen in every game. And this was like two weeks ago. As you’d expect, I take the Yankees.
NL Wild-Card: (4) ARI vs. (5) COL (Wed, 8E, TBS)
Big thing is that they’re at Chase Field, not Coors. And the D-Backs won the season series 11-8. But Jon Gray’s pitched well against Arizona, though Zach Greinke’s pitched well against the Rox too. This might come down to the bullpens. *checks closers* Fuck you and your arrows, Fernando Rodney, but Greg Holland’s had a tough year. One-run game I think for the Diamondbacks.
ALDS: CLE vs. NYY; HOU vs. BOS
The Yanks may have the bullpen on paper, but if any team can equal or top it it’s the Baseball Redacteds, as Miller, Shaw, and Allen match up with Green, Robertson, Betances, and Chapman. Add in potentially two outings of Corey Kluber as opposed to one for Luis Severino and I think Terry Francona gets the better of the Bombers again. Clevelanders in 4. On the other side, you’ve got the Astros and Red Sox. I think the addition of Verlander helps the ‘Stros rotation depth (especially because Lance McCullers, Jr. is a question mark), as opposed to Sale and question marks. I’ll take the Astros in 4.
NLDS: LAD vs. ARI, WAS vs. CHC
The Dodgers had the best record in baseball. The Diamondbacks are one of the few teams who won the season series against them (11-8). And Clayton Kershaw needs a good postseason sooner rather than later for legacy purposes. Robbie Ray would start Game 1, and he’s pitched well against the Dodgers. And J.D. Martinez had a good enough September to win Player of the Month, and the only reason he isn’t an NL MVP candidate is because he’s only been there two months, coming from Detroit. Ah, hell, why not! D-Backs in 4! Meanwhile, Nats/Small Bears? The Nats have the starting pitching edge, but they’ve always been like the original cast of SNL. That’s right, they’re the Not Ready for Prime Time Players! …Come on, that was good. Anyway, I do like the Nats starting pitching though… if Max Scherzer is okay from his final-start cramp. So, I guess I’ll take Nats in 5.
ALCS: CLE vs. HOU
Hmm, this is kind of… as expected. Well, good pitching beats good hitting. Cleveland in 6.
NLCS: WAS vs. ARI
This one is less expected, because I picked the D-Backs in the upset. And some have them as a trendy World Series pick! That might be a little more bold, but I’ve got them in the NLCS, so there’s a chance! But a 7-game series does play a little different from the 5, and starting pitching helps a little more. But Greinke/Ray/Patrick Corbin isn’t too bad. It’s just that Scherzer/Stephen Strasburg/Gio Gonzalez wins that one. Nats in 5.
World Series: CLE vs. WAS
Hmm. Starting pitching, even, slight edge to Cleveland I guess? Aces are a wash though. Offense, the Nats are stacked, but Cleveland seems to grind it, so I guess a little to them? Defense, I say a little to Cleveland. But the bullpen, definitely to Cleveland. So there’s your definitive edge. Cleveland wins the Series in 6.
How wrong will much of this be? Probably very. But there we go. Then I can go back to actually practicing after work, which I’ve missed sorely. My bow hold at the tip’s all stiff. Yes, I know, phrasing.