NL East Predictions

As we inch ever closer to the start of the MLB regular season, free agents are starting to come off the board at a faster pace, major league teams are making roster cuts, and sports writers are making predictions. Well, I guess it is our turn for the latter. Along with Connor Pittman, we will be breaking down all 6 divisions (I will be doing the NL, Connor the AL).

2018 NL East Standings

  1. Atlanta Braves (90-72)
  2. Washington Nationals (82-80)
  3. Philadelphia Phillies (80-82)
  4. New York Mets (77-85)
  5. Miami Marlins (63-98)

The 2018 NL East was surprising in many ways. In fact, the only team that was not a surprise was the dismal Miami Marlins. The Braves rebuild accelerated much faster than many expected, leading to a division title and breakouts from a very promising young core. The Nationals vastly underperformed under first year skipper Dave Martinez, however, a breakout rookie season from Juan Soto has Nats fans not licking their wounds too much. The Phillies, like the Braves, seemed to turn a corner in their lengthy rebuild and exceeded expectations, even though they ran out of gas in August and September, missing the postseason. The Mets, who started the year off very well, had the injury bug hit them yet again. Even though a promising young core, and a top 5 pitcher in the game emerged, they underperformed yet again. Last but not least (well, about that…), the Marlins did exactly what we expected. They lost, quite a bit. The rebuild process is well under way, and there’s not much more to say about that.

2018/19 Offseason Summary

Atlanta Braves:

Key Additions- 3B Josh Donaldson, C Brian McCann

Key Subtractions- C Kurt Suzuki, SP Anibal Sanchez, RP Brad Brach

Washington Nationals:

Key Additions- SP Patrick Corbin, SP Anibal Sanchez, 2B Brian Dozier, C Yan Gomes, C Kurt Suzuki, RP Kyle Barraclough, RP Trevor Rosenthal, 1B Matt Adams

Key Subtractions- OF Bryce Harper, SP Tanner Roark, RP Ryan Madson

Philadelphia Phillies:

Key Additions- OF Bryce Harper, C J.T. Realmuto, OF Andrew McCutchen, SS Jean Segura, RP David Robertson, RP James Pazos

Key Subtractions- 1B Carlos Santana, SS J.P. Crawford, C Jorge Alfaro, RP Luis Garcia, RHP Sixto Sanchez (#27 prospect)

New York Mets:

Key Additions- 2B Robinson Cano, RP Edwin Diaz, C Wilson Ramos, IF Jed Lowrie, RP Justin Wilson, OF Keon Broxton, RP Jeurys Familia,

Key Subtractions- OF Jay Bruce, RP Anthony Swarzak, IF Wilmer Flores, OF Jarred Kelenic (#56 prospect), RHP Justin Dunn (#91 prospect)

Miami Marlins:

Key Additions- IF Neil Walker, OF Curtis Granderson, RP Sergio Romo, C Jorge Alfaro, RHP Sixto Sanchez (#27 prospect), Victor Victor Mesa (#99 prospect)

Key Subtractions- J.T. Realmuto, Kyle Barraclough

2019 Season Outlook

Of all the divisions in baseball, the NL East was probably the busiest in all of baseball. The Mets new GM, Brodie Van Wagenen, made huge splashes early when he traded for Cano and Diaz of the Mariners, giving up two top-100 prospects in the process. He also made very nice moves in the signings of Wilson Ramos, Jed Lowrie, and bringing back Familia. As long as the Mets stay healthy, I give them a legit shot at the division, or a wild card spot. The Nationals were also very busy early in the offseason, when they signed Patrick Corbin to a 6yr/$140 mil contract. In more under the radar moves, they signed Anibal Sanchez, Matt Adams, Trevor Rosenthal, and Kurt Suzuki, as well as trading for Yan Gomes and Kyle Barraclough. The major question going into the year for the Nats will be how they can function without Bryce Harper’s presence in the lineup. The breakout from Juan Soto, a healthy Adam Eaton, and Anthony Rendon continuing to mash, along with their star-studded rotation should firmly place them as contenders. The Phillies made the most noise of any team this offseason. They swung major trades (Segura/Pazos from the Mariners, Realmuto from the Marlins), and obviously went on a free agent binge with the signings of McCutchen, Robertson, and Harper. I still think they need more in the rotation to back up Nola, but their lineup alone should make them front runners, or at least contenders in the division. The defending division champs were relatively quiet. They brought back Nick Markakis and Brian McCann, as well as signing Josh Donaldson to an expensive 1 year deal, but they also lost important contributors from last year’s team in Anibal Sanchez, Kurt Suzuki, and Brad Brach. Nevertheless, the young core of this team is scary good, and will presumably be progressing. If they can add one more rotation arm, I really, really like this team. Aside from bringing on some potential trade bait/”clubhouse” guys in Neil Walker and Curtis Granderson, the Marlins accomplished one. major thing this offseason; they finally traded Realmuto. They swung Sixto Sanchez, the Phillies top prospect, but I feel they should have gotten a little more. Hopefully, for their sake, some of their young core can develop at the big league level, but expect another long summer in Little Havana.

Overall, I expect this to be a relatively tight 4 team race. The Phils, Nats, Braves, and Mets all are very interesting. Health will of course be a major factor, but if all 4 of these teams can stay relatively healthy, I fully expect this division race to come down to the final games of the season, as well as these teams being alive in the Wild Card hunt late. Here are my 2019 projected standings, with records, for the NL East:

  1. Philles (91-71)
  2. Braves (90-72)
  3. Nationals (87-75)
  4. Mets (80-82)
  5. Marlins (66-96)

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