NL East preview


Luke Chandler

The NL East has the potential to be simultaneously the most competitive and least competitive division in the league. There is a great disparity between the second and third best team while the first and second best teams and the fourth and fifth best teams are of similar strength. Despite a strong NL Central, I believe two teams from the NL East will make the playoffs, more specifically, the Nationals and the Mets. I also believe that Bryce Harper will be in the top two or three for MVP voting and make a strong case to win it. For the breakout player from this division, all signs seem to be pointing to Mets starter Steven Matz. He had a strong showing in only six starts last year and is set to make huge strides this year while developing a broader range of pitches. The Nats and Mets are sure to make for an intense last month of the season.

Washington Nationals

ReignNATSing MVP Bryce Harper, along with a strong pitching rotation, make the Nats a serious title contender, especially if both Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman can produce consistently. Despite a quiet offseason, the Nationals have high expectations this year looks promising. Stephen Strasburg is back to 100% from his oblique troubles and, barring any injuries, looks ready to have a career year. Pair a hot Strasburg with former Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, solid 3-slot starter Gio Gonzalez, and historically strong closer Jonathan Papelbon and the Nationals have the potential to make a deep run into the playoffs if they can get all their pieces working together.

Their superlative: Most blowout wins

Projected record: 90-72

New York Mets

NoaMETSh Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Bartolo Colon. This rotation has the potential to completely dominate their opponents night in and night out. In any given game, you can expect to see an absolute gem out of each of these pitchers. Unfortunately for Mets fans, they are missing a few bats. Other than Yoenis Cespedes, Lucas Duda, and Curtis Granderson, no one on this team hit over 16 home runs last season and the same can be expected this season as well. If Bartolo Colon can stay fit and Steven Matz can continue to develop, the pitching will likely make up for the spotty offense.

Their superlative: Most likely to throw back-to-back-to-back-to-back complete game shutouts

Projected record: 88-74

Miami Marlins

MarlinsGiancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez are undoubtedly two of the most talented players in the league, but two players can’t win a division. Aside from those two, they have Dee Gordon. Then what? Justin Bour? A.J. Ramos? This Marlins team simply isn’t deep enough to make a serious splash in the NL East. The Marlins certainly have a strong base upon which to build, but that process could take a few years.

Their superlative: Dynamic duo of 2020

Projected record: 78-84

Atlanta Braves

After uBRAVESnloading a good portion of last year’s squad, the Braves are in a rebuilding period. This year could be ugly for Atlanta as they lack starting pitching, a viable bullpen, and have almost no depth in infielders. Their bats could suffer too because they rely on an injury prone Freddie Freeman and a 39-year-old A.J. Pierzynski. On the bright side, the Braves have a promising farm system and look to be competitive in a few years.

Their superlative: Moneyball pt 2?

Projected record: 68-94

Philadelphia Phillies

The PPhillieshillies have arguably the least depth of any team in the league. They don’t have a single dominant pitcher, they don’t get on base, and even when they do get on base, they don’t have anyone to knock in those runs. I would say the Phillies are rebuilding, but that implies that I see them being better in a few years. I don’t.

Their superlative: Most likely to lose 100 games

Projected record: 62-100