The Circuit’s 2023 MLB 2nd Quarter Polls
It’s 4th of July weekend, which means it’s time to see where things are shaking out in the MLB! Who’s hot, who’s not, and what the hell is going on in Oakland??? Circuit Artwork This season felt like it was going to be fairly predictable; the titans in both West divisions would be great, the Braves and Yankees would contend, and the Athletics would be awful. Two of those things came true! The Braves are very good and the Athletics are very, very bad… But the rest of the league is in total flux! Let’s check out what I got right and what I got really wrong. 3 Things I was Big RIGHT about… Getty Images 1- The Red Sox would be in the AL East basement… The AL East is one of the best divisions ever. Boston would be right at the top of EITHER Central divisions, but find themselves in last in the East. This is what happens when one of the richest organizations in sports decides to cut costs at every turn. Look for them to have another disappointing season and incoming wholesale changes this winter. 2- The Angels would finally get into contention… Finally!!! After years of thinking that the Angels would get back into the playoffs and continuing to question how great Mike Trout actually is, 2023 seems to be the year! Ohtani is a legit all-time great, and it seems this could be the year Trout gets his playoff record up from 0-3 to 0-5. Yay!! 3- Ronald Acuna Jr. would be the NL MVP… I picked Acuna in the preseason to win the MVP, and it seems even I underestimated him! He’s set to obliterate the single-season home run record for a player with 70+ stolen bases. If he can stay healthy (and if you’re reading this, please walk into your nearest forest and knock on every tree there), this is an absolute lock. Now what I swung and missed on… Getty Images 1- The Reds would be bad… In my defense, I didn’t see HIM coming. Because Elly de la Cruz is HIM! This dude is the most electric player the MLB has seen since Judge came up hitting bombs in 2017. He has single-handedly turned around a Cincinnati franchise that is all of a sudden not only a must-watch, but also now a top-5 The Show team. And that ain’t nothing! 2- The Athletics would hit the over… Yes I picked the A’s to finish last in the AL West. So I was right about that. But Jesus Christ, I didn’t think they would be so bad the owner has decided to up and move the franchise! It’s hard to lose more than 100 games, but they are making that look pretty easy. Someone get chubby Chris Pratt on the team now! 3- The Diamondbacks would be last in the NL West… This fucking division. Last year I picked the Rockies to be the surprise of the year and steak a wild card spot. *incorrect buzzer sounds* This year I picked Arizona to finish last and they are winning the damn thing. I give up! Congratulations Arizona, you proved me very wrong. Time to hand out some hardware! AL MVP: Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) Getty Images He’s smacking home runs and striking batters out at a pace that would make Babe Ruth put down his cigar *momentarily* to applaud him. Last year when he was doing similar things and his team sucked, I refused to vote for him. Now that the Angels are winning, this is an easyyy choice. NL MVP: Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves) Getty Images He’s one of the best hitters in the world. He’s maybe the best baserunner in the world. He’s one of the most exciting players to watch in the world. He’s the NL MVP. AL Cy Young: Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) Getty Images Why not? He’s clearly the best player in baseball, but now his team is winning. Give him all the awards. NL Cy Young: Spencer Strider (Atlanta Braves) Getty Images Strider is making hitters look foolish this season. If he continues on this pace, it would be shocking if he didn’t win this award. AL Manager of the Year: Kevin Cash (Tampa Bay Rays) Getty Images They’re still rolling while the rest of the AL is crumbling around them. For years this team has kicked ass on the mound but at the plate they struggled. Well now they can hit! Look out league, the Rays are here to stay. NL Manager of the Year: Torey Lovullo (Arizona Diamondbacks) Getty Images Can you name 5 players on this team? Can you remember the last time this franchise was relevant? Can you tell me what’s going on with their color scheme? The answer to all those questions (particularly the latter) is no. This team has stuck with Lovullo for a lot of years now, and it’s paying off. AL RoY: Anthony Volpe (New York Yankees) Getty Images I can’t quit this kid! Has he really been the best rookie this year? Maybe, maybe not. But let’s give all his stats a 10% bump for the “Living up to the Next Derek Jeter” tax shall we? He’s got a bright future, and he’s having a solid year. Go Volpe! NL RoY: Elly de la Cruz (Cincinnati Reds) Getty Images If you expected to see any other name here you’re insane. Now Let’s Make Some Playoff Predictions! AL Wild Card: Getty Images 6 Baltimore Orioles def 3 Minnesota Twins 2-0 4 Houston Astros def 5 New York Yankees 2-1 The Twins are here simply because they are in an awful division. The Orioles are better and more fun, they go through! And there is the titanic showdown between the Astros and Yankees. Trash can lids, anyone? Both these teams are having disappointing seasons, but give me the team that repeatedly kicks the other teams ass in the playoffs. NL Wild Card: Getty Images 3 Cincinnati Reds def 6 San Francisco Giants 2-0 5 Miami Marlins def 4 Arizona Diamondbacks 2-1 One name: Elly de la Cruz! With the other series, I’ll take the feel-good Marlins and Luis Arraez hitting everything in sight. But given my track record with the NL West, Arizona fans should be popping bottles and celebrating right now! ALDS: Getty Images 6 Baltimore Orioles def 2 Texas Rangers 3-1 1 Tampa Bay Rays def 4 Houston Astros 3-2 I don’t care how many games this Rangers team wins, I will not believe in them. Especially without deGrom for the year, give me the upstart Orioles and riots in the streets of Baltimore! This Astros team just doesn’t feel like they have in recent years. I just can’t see this team being able to get by the juggernaut Rays. NLDS: Getty Images 1 Atlanta Braves def 5 Miami Marlins 3-0 3 Cincinnati Reds def 2 Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 The Marlins and the Arraez chase are fun stories, but the Braves will obliterate them and easily get back to the NLCS. This is the fun one! The Dodgers all of a sudden feel old, while the Reds feel young and exciting. Am I too high on Cruz? Definitely. Is he going to be the greatest of all time? Absolutely. Okay, maybe not. But he’s good enough to light the spark for Cincinnati to make the NLCS. ALCS: Getty Images 1 Tampa Bay Rays def 6 Baltimore Orioles 4-2 What a ride for Baltimore! They have a bunch of young stars who could keep them in contention for a long time, but unfortunately they’re running up against themselves 5 years in the future. The Rays are dynamic, explosive and just crazy enough to dominate the American League and win their 3rd pennant in franchise history. NLCS: Getty Images 1 Atlanta Braves def 3 Cincinnati Reds 4-1 My love for Cruz can only go so far, and apparently the limit is running up against the buzzsaw that is the Atlanta Braves. An easy win for Atlanta, and a disappointing end to a thrilling season for Cincinnati. World Series: Getty Images 1 Atlanta Braves def 1 Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 (WS MVP: Michael Harris ) This would be such a fun series for baseball nerds; Strider vs. Franco. McLanahan vs. Acuna. Snitker vs. Cash. God I want this to happen! But in the end, give me the top-end talent of the Braves to win out against the Rays in a Fall Classic for the ages. There you have it! Make sure to check back in around the second-third week of August for the 3rd quarter polls to see what picks of mine have changed, what has stayed the same, and where the season is going!