Predictions! Every Monday, we here at Eye On Baseball undertake the fool's errand of telling you what's going to happen in the week ahead. This week, of course, is all about the Midsummer Classic, so you can expect the predictions to follow to have All-Star notes and finish, all pleasing to the palate. As always, though, almost guaranteed to be wrong:
1. Chris Davis will win Home Run Derby.
Davis, of course, hit lots of home runs in the first half, and reconfigured Citi Field is a bit kinder to left-handed power hitters like Davis than it is to right-handed mashers. Among Derby participants this year, only Yoenis Cespedes has a higher fly-ball percentage, and Davis ranks near the top of MLB when it comes to average distance of home runs and fly balls. It's an obvious pick, but it's obvious for a reason. A nod to two-time Derby champ and 2013 entrant Prince Fielder, but this won't be his year.
2. Pedro Alvarez will hit the most homers of any NL participant.
In part it's because the NL field is somewhat lacking. David Wright isn't a pure power hitter, Bryce Harper has a mending left knee (his "drive" knee at the plate), and Michael Cuddyer is partly a product of Planet Coors (just seven road homers this season). Alvarez, it should be noted, leads all of baseball when it comes to average distance of home runs and fly balls, so his raw power is not to be doubted. Like Davis, he bats lefty, which should confer a small advantage at Citi Field.
3. The AL will win the All-Star Game.
Predicting the outcome of a single game featuring the best players in the world and layers upon layers of pitching changes is the depth and breadth of folly, but duty compels me. So I'm taking the AL to win the All-Star Game for the first time since 2009. Why? Well, it's part gambler's fallacy, and it's part that the AL roster, top to bottom, strikes me as being a bit stronger, particularly as the starting lineups go. No, I don't really have any idea what's going to happen, but I'm feigning otherwise for purposes of this dispatch.
4. The All-Star Game MVP will come from a team in the AL East.
Yeah, consider this a semi-non-specific hedge. The AL East occupies six slots in the starting lineup: 1B Chris Davis, 2B Robinson Cano, SS J.J. Hardy, OF Adam Jones, OF Jose Bautista and DH David Ortiz. As well, nostalgia points and ongoing excellence give Yankees closer Mariano Rivera a reasonable shot at post-game laurels. So the MVP will come from a member of the Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees or Blue Jays. Bold stuff, no?
EOB Predictions Tally: Last week, my colleague, Fightin' Mike Axisa, went a respectable 2-for-5 with his forecasts, and that brings our 2013 efforts to 18-for-38 (.474).