It is nearly the middle of June and Interleague Play is about to get underway so I have decided that it is a good point to look back at the first couple of months of the season
Best Team: Though not completely clear cut, this award goes to the Chicago Cubs who are currently 18 games above .500 and own the best record in MLB, a game and a half ahead of the Los Angeles Angels. They have scored 369 runs, second in Major League Baseball, but the Cubs have allowed the fifth least amount of runs in the entire league at 268. The 101 differential between runs scored and runs allowed is first in baseball and they also have the best ERA in the National League at 3.66. Alfonso Soriano leads the team with 15 home runs and seven of the Cubs’ eight daily batters have averages equal to or above .280. The Cubs possess the best team OPS in National League at .809 and have the third best bullpen ERA at 3.17. Leading in almost ever statistical category, offense or pitching, the Cubs have jumped to the top of league as they hope to win their first championship in 100 years.
Worst Team: One of my favorite awards, the Worst Team Award gives me a chance to look at the most incompetent, hopeless, and pitiful team that Major League Baseball has to offer. Though there are many candidates for this award, the Washington Nationals are most deserving. Though they only have the seventh worst ERA in MLB at 4.56, they have scored the fewest runs out of any team for the entire season at 243. The Nationals have the second lowest OBP (.310) and the lowest OPS (.666). They have blown 14 saves in 27 opportunities and possess the third highest bullpen ERA at 4.37. All of these stats have combined to make the Nationals 15 games below .500, 6.5 games behind the fourth-placed New York Mets.
Surprise of the Year: Without a doubt, this award goes to the Tampa Bay Rays as they have shocked everyone in MLB to jump out 10 games over .500 and second in the American League East. Their pitching has been excellent with a 3.87 ERA, fourth in the American League, and their bullpen has a 3.53 ERA, fifth in the American League. They have blown only five saves, are 10-7 in one run games, and have scored 24 more runs than they have given up. Offensively, the Rays have many talented, young players such as Evan Longoria, BJ Upton, and Carl Crawford who, along with Carlos Pena and Eric Hinske, are leading the team to victory. Longoria, Hinske, and Pena have 10, 11, and 11 home runs respectively while Upton is batting .294 with a .404 OBP and Crawford has 20 stolen bases. Though not overpowering offensively, the Rays’ pitching has made up for their lack of offense and has propelled them to the sixth best team in all of baseball.
AL MVP – Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
NL MVP – Lance Berkman, Houston Astros
AL Cy Young – Cliff Lee, Cleveland Indians
NL Cy Young – Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati Reds
End of Season Predictions
AL East – Boston Red Sox
AL Central – Chicago White Sox
AL West – Los Angeles Angels
AL Wild Card – Tampa Bay Rays
NL East – Florida Marlins
NL Central – Chicago Cubs
NL West – Arizona Diamondbacks
NL Wild Card – St. Louis Cardinals
ALDS: Red Sox over White Sox, White Sox over Rays
NLDS: Cubs over Cardinals, Marlins over Diamondbacks
ALCS: Red Sox over White Sox
NLCS: Cubs over Marlins
World Series: Red Sox over Cubs
Those are my predictions for the rest of the 2008 MLB season, but I have to admit that I am not the most unbiased reporter as I am a big Red Sox fan.