Yankees, Orioles, Braves, Reds: 5 bold post-All-Star Break predictions

Jun 30, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley (27) hits a RBI single against the Miami Marlins in the fifth inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 30, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley (27) hits a RBI single against the Miami Marlins in the fifth inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /
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Reds, NL Central
CINCINNATI, OHIO – JUNE 23: Elly De La Cruz #44 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts after stealing second base in the fifth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Great American Ball Park on June 23, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

First bold prediction: Cincinnati Reds win NL Central

You might be thinking, “How is this a bold prediction?” Fair, but who saw the June streak coming that got them on top in the division and lead the Brewers by a game at the break? Not many.

Cincinnati has been jump-started by De La Cruz, who has put on a show since being inserted into the lineup. He already hit for the cycle against the Atlanta Braves and then last weekend, continued to show his generational talent by stealing three bases in one inning, including a clean steal of home against Milwaukee.

There have been teams that have played well out of nowhere in the first half before and fallen off in the second half of the season. This Reds team feels different. They have been getting good pitching from both their starters and relievers, as well as production from their entire lineup. When they get on base, they are making things happen and forcing the defense to make mistakes.

They are likely to be buyers at the trade deadline in an effort to stay ahead of the Brewers and the rest of the division. With traditional division contenders Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals struggling, this is a huge opportunity for the Reds to steal a division title and playoff berth in 2023.