At the beginning of the year, I made some New Year’s Predictions and came back a month later with more. I wrote them with the intention of looking back at them near the end of the baseball season to see how off hilarious they’d look after the fact. Well, we have one month left in the baseball season, so it’s as good a time as any to take a look.

The Giants won’t win the NL West in 2011
Of course, my first prediction was about the defending champions. And so far, I’ve been right. However, I thought they’d be looking at the backside of the Colorado Rockies rather than the Arizona D-Backs and be right in line for the wildcard. They aren’t even close to the wildcard, so I very much hope that this prediction is a failure.

The Dodgers get worse, before they get better
Whoa Nelly! Not only did Major League Baseball have to take the team away from Frank McCourt, who was having trouble making payroll, but the team also filed for bankruptcy. The team is also four games under .500, which is slightly worse than last year. However, help may be on the way.

The Oakland A’s make a run in the AL West
Well, I whiffed on that one. But hey, how about that Brandon McCarthy?

The Rangers don’t get great value from Adrian Beltre
This one might be a push. Beltre has had a fine season, making the All-Star game, but he was paid $80 million for five years and (as of this writing) 20 jacks might not be quite worth 16 million a year. His WAR currently sits at 3.8, which is fine, but no where near his MVP-like 6.1 last year.

Cliff Lee has a disappointing season (per expectations)
I’ll admit to not really liking Cliff Lee. Some of it has to do with all the acclaim he’s received in the past. Some of it has to do with most “experts” handing Texas last year’s World Series because somehow, Lee was going to dominate the Giants in both his starts (he lost both, including the clinching game). And some of it probably has to do with his middle name being Phifer. Phifer?

But holy cow, he’s been awesome this year. While his 22-3 season from 2008 is probably going to be better remembered, this season is statistically more impressive. His WHIP is at a minuscule 1.053 and his strikeout rate is the best of his career at 9.2. Part of it is because he moved from the American League where he wasn’t able to face a pitcher, but really, he’s probably better than he’s ever been. I still don’t like him. Phifer?

The Red Sox are the best team in the AL
It’s still to be determined as they’re probably going to be fighting the Yankees off for the division title all the way until the end, but it sure feels like they’re the best. The Red Sox are first in team slugging percentage, team batting average, team on base percentage and behind only the Yankees in overall runs scored. Both teams are built on offense and their overall pitching could hold them back, but really, when you hit .280 as a team like Boston does, you have to believe they have as good a shot as any at winning the AL Pennant.

Albert Pujols goes nuts
Albert is still having a studly year, but it’s not quite “nuts”. If the season ended today, Pujols’ slugging percentage would be the lowest it’s ever been. Jonah Keri wrote about Pujols possibly slowing down as well. I think I missed that one.

Both New York teams miss the playoffs
I missed on the Yankees, but was right on with the Mets. My reasoning was sound with the Yankees. Their starting pitching after CC Sabathia looked putrid at the beginning of the season. But the likes of the ancient Freddy Garcia, the fat Bartolo Colon, and the young Ivan Nova have proved to be surprisingly good at times. And David Robertson and Mariano Rivera have been lights out.

MVP and Cy Young winners
AL MVP: Evan Longoria
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
NL MVP: Albert Pujols
NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum

My best call was probably Lincecum. Longoria is having a solid, though unspectacular season. Hernandez isn’t duplicating 2010, but he’s still having a really good year on a bad team. Pujols is nearly Pujols, but not quite. And if Lincecum had any run support what so ever, he’d probably have 17 wins by now rather than just 12 (not that it’s a reason to give a guy a Cy Young, but just shows how little the Giants have scored for him).

Division and wild card winners
NL division winners: Colorado, St. Louis, and Philadelphia
NL wild card: San Francisco
Al division winners: Oakland, Minnesota, and Boston
AL wild card: Tampa Bay

As it stands, unless the Cards make a huge run near the end of the season, I’m going 2-8 or .250. Heck, if the Giants could hit .250, they’d be up 6 games instead of down 6 games.

Photo of Pujols: permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

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