The 2017 MLB All-Star break has concluded, which means the start of the second half of the major league baseball season is upon us. Throughout the first half of the season, there have been many monumental moments, and there’s still more to come. Many teams outperformed their win projections, as well as underperformed in the first half. In this article, I will break down all the top headlines, surprise teams and potential league MVP winners.
Houston we have lift off
After a very disappointing 2016 season, the Houston Astros have launched into contention in the AL West. With a 60-29 record they very well may be running away with home-field advantage throughout the postseason, including the World Series. José Altuve, Carlos Correa, and George Springer are all in the top 25 in batting average with Altuve leading the league batting .347. Correa is 6th at .325 and Springer is 11th at .310. A while back, Sports Illustrated predicted the Astros would win the 2017 World Series, and even their Triple-A team had a replica 2017 World Series Championship ring giveaway. Is this a good omen in sight?
Aaron Judge is making the Yankees Great Again
Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees is having a ridiculous season so far. He is batting .329, hitting 30 home runs, and has driven in 66 runs. With his on field production, the Yankees have reached four games over .500 and lead the AL Wild Card race by one game. Now, the real question remains for New York in the second half, and that’s if they can receive more production from their starters, preferably Mashahiro Tanaka and Michal Pineda. We will have to wait and see if that gets the Bronx Bombers over the hump and back into the postseason.
World Series hangover plaguing the Cubs
After winning the 2016 World Series, ending a 108-year championship drought, plus retaining their entire core for the next season. It looked as if the Cubs were going to win the NL Central handedly this season. However, the World Series hangover has been in full effect, dropping Chicago’s first half record to 43-45. Their starting pitching has severely under-performed with its core of Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and John Lackey, whom all have witnessed their ERA to increase by one full run compared to last year. Slugger Kyle Schwarber struggled so bad earlier in the season that Chicago brass demoted him back down to the Minors. While still talented, the Cubs need to a reality check soon in order to turn around their season.
The Mets are a dumpster fire once again
After a World Series appearance in 2015, and a Wild Card game appearance in 2016, the New York Mets are falling apart at the seams. With a laundry list of injuries to pitchers Noah Syndergaard, Jeurys Familia, and second baseman David Wright, as well as numerous embarrassing defeats to the Nationals. Things just keep getting worse. The Big Apple is rotting in Queens and it may be time to replace it with a new manager.
NL West is the best division in baseball
The Los Angeles Dodgers hold the best record in the MLB at 61-29. The Arizona Diamondbacks hold the second best record in the National League at 53-36, and the Colorado Rockies are the fourth best team at 52-39. What do all of these teams have in common? They all reside in the NL West. This division is littered with talent and contains the best pitching staff in the game in Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and Zack Greinke. Furthermore, the division also possesses some of the best young hitters, too, with the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt, and Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado, and Charlie Blackmon.