Here we are just a couple week from the All-Star break and right around 81-82 games played which is the halfway point of the season. We've had plenty of time to judge who the best teams are at this point and see who has the best chance of playing in October. We made our preseason World Series picks back in March but I thought it would be fun to have a chance to redeem ourselves and pick again now and then we can look back in October to see who was right. My preseason pick of the Tigers winning it all over the Mets is looking pretty embarrassing right now.
My picks to win the 2008 World Series are none other than the Tampa Bay Rays. Yeah I said it. The Tampa Bay Rays. It seems like every year an unlikely team ends up in the WS and wins it. Like the DBacks in 2001. The Angels in 2002. The Marlins in 2003. The Cardinals in 2006. The Rockies shockingly made it last year but lost. This year it's going to be the Rays -except they're going to win. And why not? They're currently only one game behind the Red Sox in the AL East (though the Rays have one less loss than the Sox) and lead the Wild Card by four games over the Oakland A's.
The Rays rank sixth in the majors with a team ERA of 3.76 and are third in the majors in Defensive Efficiency. The rotation of Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Matt Garza, Andy Sonnanstine, and Edwin Jackson is among the best in the game (though I would replace one of the latter two with J.P. Howell). Offensively the Rays are 13th in the majors in runs scored but probably could use another big bat. Carlos Pena should be back soon but the Rays could use an upgrade a DH (Adam Dunn?). One thing the Rays have going for them is the strongest farm system in baseball, so they have the prospects to deal for the missing pieces they need.
There it is. I'm going out on a huge limb but I think the Rays will finally escape 10 years of futility in a big way and shock the baseball world by winning the World Series.