Revisiting my preseason baseball picks

By Steve Sell
July 08, 2015

With the Royals officially reaching the halfway point of their schedule on Tuesday with a dramatic doubleheader sweep of Tampa Bay to move to 15 games over .500, it’s a good time to revisit our baseball picks made prior to the start of the season.

At this point, I’m looking good in the National League as I had Washington and Los Angeles picked to win their divisions — the Nationals lead the East by 3 games and the Dodgers are up 5 in the West — while I took a chance on Pittsburgh overtaking longtime kingpin St. Louis in the Central. The Cardinals at one point were 9 games up, but all their injuries and a lack of hitting are taking their toll as the Pirates are now just 4 1/2 games back and closing fast.

In the American League, I picked Baltimore to win the East, but holding on to first place has been like a hot potato. The Yankees, who I picked to finish second, are back in the lead, but only 5 games separate the five teams. When they start playing each other almost nightly in September, somebody will have to grab the division by the throat. It could take only 85 games to win as right now the Yankees lead despite being just 5 games over .500.

My record doesn’t look as good in the other two divisions. Kansas City is a solid 6 games up in the loss column on second-place Minnesota and I had those teams finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. I still have reservations about the Royals’ pitching, but if Kris Medlen can come back from Tommy John surgery and give them anything, they should be fine. If those Johnny Cueto-to-the-Royals rumors would ever come to fruition — what a perfect Royal he would be —  they would be a lead-pipe cinch.

I had Detroit winning the division, but the Tigers have slumped since a hot start and injuries have hurt them tremendously. MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera is out for at least another five weeks and Justin Verlander can’t get healthy and has yet to win a game.

I keep beating the drum for Cleveland and I still believe the Indians are going to be there at the end. They have too much pitching to be counted out and while they’re 10 games back, head-to-head games can slice a lot off the deficit in a hurry.

In the West, Houston has turned everything upside down with a 2 1/2-game lead over Los Angeles. I unfortunately drank the Seattle Kool-Aid as their seemingly great moves in the offseason haven’t panned out. I still don’t believe Houston can win the division, so look for the Angels to surge when it counts.

Here’s how I picked it, with the current order at the right:

 • AL EAST •

1. New York — Baltimore

2. Baltimore — New York

3. Boston — Toronto

4. Toronto — Tampa Bay

5. Tampa Bay — Boston

• AL CENTRAL •

1. Detroit — Kansas City

2. Chicago — Minnesota

3. Cleveland — Detroit

4. Kansas City — Cleveland

5. Minnesota — Chicago

• AL WEST •

1. Seattle — Houston

2. Los Angeles — Los Angeles

3. Oakland — Texas 

4. Texas — Seattle

5. Houston — Oakland

• NL EAST •

1. Washington — Washington

2. Miami — New York

3. New York — Atlanta

4. Atlanta — Miami

5. Philadelphia — Philadelphia

• NL CENTRAL •

1. Pittsburgh — St. Louis

2. St. Louis — Pittsburgh

3. Milwaukee — Chicago

4. Cincinnati — Cincinnati

5. Chicago — Milwaukee

• NL WEST •

1. Los Angeles — Los Angeles

2. San Francisco — San Francisco

3. San Diego — Arizona

4. Colorado — San Diego

5. Arizona — Colorado


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