Here is the 4th part of my MLB Divisional Previews, with the NL East. This will be a brief overview of their off season and what expectations to have for teams as well as what tier I see them in. I have 5 tiers; Favorites, Contenders, Playoff Teams, In the Hunt, Mediocre, and Bottom Feeders.
Atlanta Braves – Favorite
My World Series pick for the upcoming season is the Atlanta Braves, even despite the loss of star SS Dansby Swanson. Outside of some smaller moves to acquire depth off the bench and bullpen help, the highlight of their offseason was trading for Sean Murphy. The trade required them to give up their #1 prospect in Kyle Muller along with William Contreras, as well as 4 other players. This may be the best lineup in not just the NL but in the entire league with guys like Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson leading the way. The rotation will also be one of the better in the league with guys like Max Fried and Spencer Strider poised to make a run at a Cy Young award. The pen has some new guys joining the group, but remain the same at the top with Raisel Iglesias and AJ Minter. The team has the experience, top end talent, and the depth to make a deep run into the postseason as I have them finishing 1st in the NL East.
Miami Marlins – Bottom Feeder
Miami is a team that didn’t do too much in the free agency market as they’re top move was bringing in Jean Segura as well as bringing Johnny Cueto in. They made their moves in the trade market, bringing in several depth pieces highlighted by AL batting champ Luis Arraez in exchange for Pablo Lopez. One of the bigger non free agency news came out of Miami that they were having star 2B Jazz Chisholm Jr. transition over to play CF as the team truly lacked in the OF. Jordan Groshans and Xavier Edwards are some young guys I’m excited to see play when given the opportunity this season. This is a young and upcoming team and will need to see some upside from guys like Jesus Sanchez, Edwards, Groshans, and Jesus Luzardo to see if they’re worth keeping for when Miami is ready to compete. For now, I like them to finish in 4th place in the division.
New York Mets – Playoff Team
Another year of high expectations and ultimately being let down in the WC round against the Padres. In the off season coming off an 101 win season they went out and spent a ridiculous amount of $$$ to try and juice up the team and come back better. Losing DeGrom, Walker, Bassitt, and Lugo the Mets were at a significant lack of SP depth and went out and matched their losses by bringing in reigning ALCY Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, and Jose Quintana. Edwin Diaz goes down for the season after celebrating a WBC victory that sent his team into the quarter finals, which makes the bullpen look a lot worse than before now with the closer projected to be David Robertson. They brought in Omar Narvaez to do the catching, who has shown an impressive offensive skillset as a catcher in previous years, just until they feel top prospect Franciso Alvarez is ready to go be the team’s everyday catcher. While I don’t hate the team I just don’t feel that they got better from last season, especially with the injury to Edwin Diaz they are truly lacking in the bullpen to close out tight games which leads me to believe they’ll finish 3rd in the NL East.
Philadelphia Phillies – Playoff Team
Trea Turner joining a team that won the NL Pennant and played for a World Series should help push this team into the upper tier of the league and keep them in the playoffs for a consecutive season. Along with Turner, they brought in Tajuan Walker to add to an already good rotation of Aaron Nola, Zach Wheeler, and Ranger Suarez. The bullpen was also addressed by bringing in some veterans in Matt Strahm, Craig Kimbrel, and a trade for Gregory Soto. Bryce Harper will miss significant time while he recovers from Tommy John surgery, but could be back in the lineup at DH before he’s back playing the field. I’d say with the Mets getting worse while losing Diaz on top of that while the Phillies got better, that propels Philly ahead of them for the 2nd spot in the NL East.
Washington Nationals – Bottom Feeder
This team will be giving Oakland a run for their money for worst team in baseball this season. Last year’s 2 highest WAR players were 2 guys that were traded at the deadline, being Juan Soto and Josh Bell. The Nats weren’t overly aggressive this off season – why would they be, but still managed to make some decent pickups for guys they could end up flipping around the deadline. This year the guys to look at are CJ Abrams and Mackenzie Gore as they are getting their 2nd year of MLB baseball and were big pieces in the Juan Soto/Josh Bell trade made with the Padres at last year’s deadline. Joey Meneses is coming off a monster WBC performance for Mexico, including a 2 HR performance over team USA. Washington looks forward to the development of their guys, especially those in return for one of the best hitters in all of baseball as they find themselves on their way to another year of finishing 5th in the division.
That will wrap up the 4th part of my Divisional Previews, next up will be the NL Centralt. Feel free to comment at the end and let me know your own thoughts about any of the teams in the NL East!