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MLB midseason check-in: Predictions we're sticking with and throwing away

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(AP)

(AP)

As MLB takes a couple of days to catch its collective breath at the All-Star break, The Stew is reflecting on the first half of the season.

Like most baseball pundits do, our blogging crew made a bunch of predictions at the start of the 2014 season. In hindsight, we were right on in some places and really, really off the mark in others. Such is life in baseball, where there are always going to be surprises and disappointments. 

The Stew's David Brown, Mike Oz and Mark Townsend specifically looked back at our preseason predictions and we each picked three things we remain confident in, three things that could still happen and three things we'd love to have a mulligan on. 

Here they are, our predictions and our unpredictions:

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

BY DAVID BROWN

THREE THINGS I'M STILL CONFIDENT IN:
Billy Hamilton as NL Rookie of the Year: Gets caught a lot, but has 38 steals and is a better hitter than expected. 

Mike Trout as AL MVP: By any and every measure the best player in the league.

Greg Holland and Craig Kimbrel leading in saves: Kimbrel’s atop the league and Holland is two off the AL pace.

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

THREE THINGS THAT COULD STILL HAPPEN:
Edwin Encarnacion leading AL in homers: He’s third right now, but the injury slows his pace. 

Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale winning the Cy Young: They’re both right there as far as best pitcher, but injuries will limit their starts and their chances of winning.

• Nationals winning World Series: Fewest losses in NL, only they won’t be facing the Rays in the Series.

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

THREE THINGS I'D LIKE TO UNPREDICT:
• Comeback players Grady Sizemore and Brett Anderson: There’s always next year again? 

• The Rangers going 85-77: They’re 38-57! Hurt, but also bad.

Mike Olt as NL’s breakout hitter: He’s got 12 home runs, but he’s also batting .144!

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

BY MIKE OZ

THREE THINGS I'M STILL CONFIDENT IN:
• A's vs. Dodgers in the World Series:
They've got the best records in each league, so a Bay Area vs. SoCal World Series is still very much in play.

The Nats will win the NL East: They're tied with the Braves at the break, but I look at the Nats and see more upside.

The Giants make the playoffs: Yes, they've been pretty horrible lately. They can't be that bad the rest of the season. There's a lot of talent on that roster.

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

THREE THINGS THAT COULD STILL HAPPEN:
Matt Kemp as NL comeback player:
He had a rough start, and his own teammate Josh Beckett has a better case at the moment, but I wouldn't be shocked if Kemp had a good enough second half to win the award.

The Royals make the playoffs: Perhaps I'm just another of those people hoping the team that hasn't made the playoffs in forever finally does. Shrug. I still have a good feeling about these guys. They're 2.5 games back in the wild card right now.

Gregory Polanco as NL rookie of the year: Billy Hamilton is the runaway favorite right now, but Polanco, the Pittsburgh Pirates rookie, has already shown he's a special player too. If the Reds/Hamilton falter and the Pirates/Polanco surge, it's not out of the question.

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(AP)

(AP)

THREE THINGS I'D LIKE TO UNPREDICT:
• The Baltimore Orioles as a last-place team:
They're 52-42 at the break, first place in the AL East. Accept my apologies, Baltimore.

• Jim Johnson as AL saves leader: Acquired from the O's, Johnson lasted about a week as the Oakland A's closer. Big whiff there.

Evan Longoria as AL MVP: Everyone else on our panel picked Mike Trout. I'm feeling left out, as I see Longoria hitting .257 with 11 homers for the disappointing Tampa Bay Rays.

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(AP)

(AP)

BY MARK TOWNSEND

THREE THINGS I'M STILL CONFIDENT IN:
Dodgers winning World Series: I'll still stand by Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu against anyone. 

Brewers finishing fourth in NL Central: They've come crashing back to Earth in July and will likely be an afterthought in September. 
Clayton Kershaw as NL Cy Young: With all due respect to Adam Wainwright, this will be Kershaw's to lose. 

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(AP)

(AP)

THREE THINGS THAT COULD STILL HAPPEN:
• Cliff Lee gets traded:
It's anybody's guess what Ruben Amaro will do, but a Cliff Lee deal still looks likely with the Phillies sliding. 

Nolan Arenado as a breakout hitter: He was really heating up when he broke his finger in May. Look for a strong second half. 

Kirk Gibson is fired: It's possible we'll get through the entire season without a managerial firing, but another prolonged rough stretch could bring the curtain down on Gibby. 

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

THREE THINGS I'D LIKE TO UNPREDICT:
• Carlos Gomez as a letdown:
He's a fringe MVP candidate, so let's throw this one out. 

Boston winning the AL East: No one could have predicted a first half this bad, but I probably ignored too many red flags.

Chris Davis as home-run king: Barring an injury to Nelson Cruz, he won't even lead the Orioles. 

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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