With Spring training now underway, the National League East should be a interesting division to watch over the course of the season.
To many in the baseball community, the National league east is a two team race. Much like last year the New York Mets and Washington Nationals will be favored to fight for the title. However, even with the talent New York and Washington have on their rosters, look for the race to be a lot closer then most believe. In my opinion, this years’ division race will be hard fought and come down to the wire.
Fifth Place: Philadelphia Phillies.
Key Newcomers: Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick, and Micheal Saunders.
Young talent (Major League experience): Aaron Nola, Vince Velasquez, Maikel Franco.
It’s hard to single out young talent on this roster simply because there is a lot of it. However, this team still needs time to develop without any marquee veteran stars as well. J.P Crawford will likely make his debut soon into the year so that is a big bright spot.
Projected Record: 66-96
Fourth Place: Miami Marlins
Key Newcomers: Edison Volquez, Dan Straily, Brad Ziegler, and Jeff Locke.
Young talent (Major league experience): Marcel Ozuna, Christian Yelich, Adam Conley.
Unlike the Phillies, Miami has great veteran players with a star in Giancarlo Stanton (granted coming off a down year). Their rotation will be improved and they have the capability to produce plenty of runs. The key for the Marlins is to stay healthy, especially in the cases of Yelich and Stanton. All in all Miami is a hard team to project, it will be interesting to see how their season unfolds.
Projected record: 80-82
Third Place: Atlanta Braves
Key Newcomers: Bartolo Colon, R.A Dickey, Brandon Phillips, Jaime Garcia, Kurt Suzuki.
Young talent(Major league experience): Dansby Swanson, Mike Foltynewicz, Matt Wisler.
Before you call me crazy, at least hear this out. The Braves are the most improved team in the east with the most activity in free agency as well. This rotation will be more than solid and the lineup is impressive with variety throughout the order. I expect this Braves team to turn a lot of heads this season.
Projected record: 85-77
Second Place: New York Mets
Young talent(Major League Experience): Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Micheal Conforto.
This Mets rotation can very well be the best in the MLB. Matt Harvey, Jacob Degrom, Matz, Syndergaard with whoever wins the fifth spot will be deadly. The key is the offense picking up more slack and an injury minimized season(a big if). Also, the logjam in the outfield needs to be dealt with as well.
Projected record: 94-68 with a wild card berth.
First Place: Washington Nationals
Key Newcomers: Adam Eaton, Derek Norris.
Young talent(Major League Experience): Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Joe Ross.
All you can really say about the Nationals is that they are loaded. Impact players are everywhere including Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Daniel Murphy. With the combo of veteran and very good young talent this team has a shot at the World Series. The Mets will keep it close throughout the year, but a late September push will lead to a Nationals division title.
Projected Record: 101-61
All in all, this years division race will surely have its’ twists and turns. The competition will be a lot better than people realize. Along with the four other teams, Atlanta will look to surprise and turn to their next chapter in the quest to return to postseason baseball. The National League east will look to be ultra competitive.