July was an explosive and star studded month across Major League Baseball. Washington Nationals Outfielder Juan Soto turned down multiple extension offers all over 400 million dollars. This has all signs pointing to a messy separation in DC. It will come in the form of a trade or letting him walk in free agency. If he is traded, that team will be giving up a significant amount and most likely will see him leave as a free agent anyway. It will be intriguing to see who takes the gamble and trades for him before the August 2nd trade deadline. To add more fuel to the fire, Soto won the Home Run Derby in Dodger Stadium, but the team refused to fly him to LA on a private jet like every other All Star gets.
This past month saw Aaron Judge take his game to another level. The Yankees continue to soar and dominate the American League. What is more impressive is that every other team in the AL East is within striking distance of a playoff spot. It is not outrageous to think that the 6 playoff spots could be the 3 division champions and the 2nd thru 4th place squads from the AL East. The Twins lead the AL Central, but the Guardians and underachieving White Sox are within 3 games. Houston does not have a problem with the AL West, but the Angels have faded faster then the water level in Lake Mead outside of Vegas. The Mariners are surging toward a place they haven’t seen in two decades, the playoffs. Young superstar Julio Rodriguez wowed in the Home Run Derby and is hoping to be the catalyst of the franchise.
The New York Mets sprinted to a nice division lead, but the Braves have spent the past 2 months making up significant ground. The Phillies have not lived up to expectations so far, but a playoff spot is still possible. Which of these 3 teams will put together a strong finish and win the division. Another intriguing question in this division, will Jacob DeGrom return to full health and pitch to his ability? The NL Central is another very tight race for first. The Brewers have been at the forefront for the majority of the year, but as Brewers fans know, it’s the Cardinals. St. Louis has always been a pain in the Brew Crew’s side and they are going to make this a race all the way to Game 162. The NL West is owned by the Dodgers, but the Padres are fully focused on making the postseason. The month of July saw a lot of movement in the NL playoff picture and I the drama to escalate.
MLB TRADE DEADLINE IS 6PM EST ON AUGUST 2ND — Names to Watch:
- Juan Soto OF Nationals
- Shohei Ohtani P/ DH Angels
- Frankie Montas P A’s
- Witt Merrifield 2B/ OF Royals
- Brian Reynolds OF Pirates
- Pablo Lopez P Marlins
- Willson Contreras C Cubs
- A lot of relief pitchers
AL PLAYOFF PREDICTION: (As of July 31st)
- AL EAST CHAMPION: NEW YORK YANKEES
- AL CENTRAL CHAMPION: CHICAGO WHITE SOX
- AL WEST CHAMPION: HOUSTON ASTROS
- AL WILD CARD: TORONTO BLUE JAYS
- AL WILD CARD: SEATTLE MARINERS
- AL WILD CARD: CLEVELAND GUARDIANS
NL PLAYOFF PREDICTION: (As of July 31st)
- NL EAST CHAMPION: NEW YORK METS
- NL CENTRAL CHAMPION: MILWAUKEE BREWERS
- NL WEST CHAMPION: LOS ANGELES DODGERS
- NL WILD CARD: ATLANTA BRAVES
- NL WILD CARD: SAN DIEGO PADRES
- NL WILD CARD: ST.LOUIS CARDINALS
TOP 10 POWER POLL:
1.) New York Yankees.
2.) Los Angeles Dodgers
3.) Houston Astros
4.) New York Mets
5.) Atlanta Braves
6.) Milwaukee Brewers
7.) Toronto Blue Jays
8.) San Diego Padres
9.) Seattle Mariners
10.) St. Louis Cardinals
BOTTOM 5 POWER POLL:
26.) Cincinnati Reds
27.) Pittsburgh Pirates
28.) Kansas City Royals
29.) Oakland A’s
30.) Washington Nationals
AL HITTER OF THE MONTH: Aaron Judge – New York Yankees
- 31 Hits, 25 Runs Scored, 13 HOME RUNS (12 in 14 games), 32 RBI’s, 5 Stolen Bases, 17 Walks, .300 Batting Avg and an OPS of 1.282
NL HITTER OF THE MONTH: Austin Riley – Atlanta Braves
- 44 Hits, 21 Runs Scored, 15 Doubles, 11 Home Runs, 25 RBI’s, .423 Batting Avg and an OPS of 1.338
AL PITCHER OF THE MONTH: Justin Verlander – Houston Astros
- 26.2 IP, 4 Wins, 3 Earned Runs, 5 Walks, 32 Strikeouts, ERA of 1.01, WHIP of 1.01 and K / 9 of 10.30
NL PITCHER OF THE MONTH: Max Scherzer – New York Mets
- 32.1 IP, 1 Win, 5 Earned Runs, 4 Walks, 45 Strikeouts, ERA of 1.39, WHIP of 0.84 and a K/9 of 12.53.
QUESTIONS FOR AUGUST:
- Will the Red Sox continue to slide?
- Will DeGrom be 100% for the stretch run?
- Can the Twins hold onto the AL Central lead?
- Can the Braves continue to surge and steal the division crown?
- Can the White Sox shake off their mediocrity and surge up the standings?
- Can the Brewers hold off the Cardinals?
- Can the Phillies play up to expectations?
As the August heat intensifies, so will the hunt for the postseason. I expect some major separation coming this month between contenders and pretenders.
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