A week closer to the start of the MLB season we will now cover the National League East to cover the Braves, Marlins, Mets, Nationals and Phillies. These articles will coincide with the division that we preview on the podcast that week. We will be starting in the west then and working our way east across the divisions. In this article I will highlight the team’s offseason losses and additions, some prospects that may make an impact this season, my player to watch, my projected team record, and finally my projected division standings.
The Braves finished 35-25, first in the NL East. The Braves lost Jack Mayfield via trade, declined the option of Darren O’Day and lost Mike Foltynewicz, Felix Hernandez, Cole Hamels, Shane Greene, Mark Melancon, Scott Schebler, Nick Markakis, Adeiny Hechavarria, Tyler Flowers, Tommy Milone, Charlie Culberson, Adam Duvall and Jeremy Walker via free agency. They added Abraham Almonte, Drew Smyly, Charlie Morton, Ehire Adrianza, Nate Jones, Jason Kipnis and Jake Lamb.
The Braves have 4 top 100 prospects including OF Christian Pache(12), RHP Ian Anderson(18), OF Drew Waters(35) and C Shea Langeliers(73). Pache and Anderson are slated to be on the opening day roster with Pache starting in center and Anderson listed as the third starter in the rotation. Anderson is looking to build on his impressive rookie campaign while Pache looks to prove himself in his first year. Pache can definitely defend but the questions are surrounding his bat at the big league level.
My player to watch for the Braves is Travis d’Arnaud who had a phenomenal year in the shortened season. d’Arnaud showed what his potential was supposed to be last season and looks to continue that this year. He was always touted to be a good offensive player and proved it in a small sample last year and I think he will continue this year with all the protection in that lineup.
I think the Braves lineup is very formidable while their pitching can be upper tier if Anderson doesn’t hit the sophomore slump and will get some rejuvenation when Soroka returns later in the season. They are a very good team and I believe they will finish 91-71.
The Marlins finished 31-29 and won a wild card spot last season. The Marlins lost Jordan Yamamoto via trade, declined the option of Brandon Kintzler and Nick Vincent, Brad Boxberger, Matt Joyce, Sean Rodriguez, Logan Forsythe, Fancisco Cervelli, Drew Steckenrider, Brandon Leibrant, Brian Moran, Josh A. Smith, Mike Morin, Jose Urena, and Ryne Stanek via free agency. They added Adam Cimber, Dylan Floro and John Curtiss via trade and Ross Detwiler, Sandy Leon, Anthony Bass, Adam Duval and Gio Gonzalez via free agency.
The Marlins have 5 top 100 prospects including RHP Sixto Sanchez(15), OF JJ Bleday(20), RHP Max Meyer(28), SS/2B Jazz Chisholm(66), and RHP Edward Cabrera(68). Sixto will look to slot in as the team's four starter this year building upon what he started last year and continue to live up to his hype. Chisholm will probably start in AAA but get called up at some point this season as well as Cabrera.
My player to watch for the Marlins this season is Brian Anderson 3B/OF. He has improved his slash lines every season he has been in the big leagues and will look to build on it again with a roster that has more depth than it has had in years. I’m looking for him to increase his RBI production as well as his slugging with more protection and more opportunities this season.
This division is a bloodbath and I think the Marlins are in a good place with a combination of veterans and young players. They don’t have the pitching to compete in this division this year but it’s a good look to the future with this mix of players, they will finish 72-90.
The Mets finished 26-34 and finished fourth in the division. This offseason the Mets lost Andres Gimenez, Amed Rosario, Steven Matz and Ali Sanchez via trade, declined the options of Wilson Ramos, Robinson Chirinos, and Todd Frazier and Erasmo Ramirez, Michael Wacha, Rick Porcello, Justin Wilson, Jared Hughes, Jake Marisnick, Yoenis Cespedes, Jed Lowrie, Erik Kratz, Rene Rivera, Paul Sewald, Chasen Shreve and Brad Brach. They added Francisco Lindor, Carlos Corrasco, Joey Lucchesi, Sean Reid-Foley, Jordan Yamamoto and Khalil Lee via trade and Adroys Viscaino, Jose Peraza, Same McWilliams, Trevor Hildenberger, Trevor May, Jerry Blevins, James McCann, Jerad Eickhoff, Brandon Drury, Jose Martinez, Aaron Loup, Albert Almora Jr., Jonathan Villar, Mike Montgomery, Tommy Hunter, Kevin Pillar, Taijuan Walker and Caleb Joseph via free agency.
The Mets have 4 top 100 prospects including C Francisco Alvarez(48), SS Ronny Mauricio(67), RHP Matthew Allan(75), and 3B Brett Baty(94). None of these guys are going to make the opening day roster or probably play for the team this season. These guys can be cornerstone pieces if they develop like they are projected having the left side of the infield on lock for years to come like with Wright and Reyes as well as a solid piece behind the plate and a stud pitcher who is learning from the best pitcher in the MLB Jacob deGrom.
My player to watch for the Mets this season is Brandon Nimmo. With the way that his man hits and gets on base it is nearly impossible to take him out of the lineup. He may lack slightly as a defensive center fielder but if he keeps hitting like he does there is no reason to take him out of this lineup. He is poised to have another good offensive season, let's see if he can improve his defense enough so people stop talking.
The Mets on paper have the best lineup in the division along with a top 2 rotation along with the Nationals. I think this will be a dogfight between all the teams but the Mets lineup, bench and pitching depth will help them to win games and keep leads, and they will finish 94-68.
The Nationals finished 26-34 and last based on a tie-breaker with the Mets. This offseason the Nationals lost Wil Crowe via trade, declined the options of Anibal Sanchez, Adam Eaton, Howie Kendrick, and Eric Thames as well as losing Sean Doolittle, Brock Holt, Asdrubal Cabrera, Kurt Suzuki, Austen Williams, and Michael A. Taylor via free agency. They added Josh Bell via trade and Yasmany Tomas, Luis Avilan, Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester, Hernan Perez, Brad Hand, Blake Swihart, Alex Avila, Gerardo Parra, Jordy Mercer, and T.J. McFarland via free agency.
The Nationals have 1 top 100 prospect in RHP Cade Cavalli(99). He is a 22 year old drafted in the first round of this past draft with above average fastball and curveball is projected to possibly break into the rotation as early as next season if all goes to plan.
My player to watch for the Nationals this season is Carter Kieboom. He has only played in 44 games in his career and isn’t showing his true potential. I think he will break out this year going through a full spring and getting into a routine. He will be hitting lower in the lineup so there will be less pressure with the power at the top and middle of the lineup.
The Nationals have a team to compete for the playoffs and beyond and I think they will do that. They have a strong pitching staff headed by Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin along with the power of Soto, Schwarber and Bell they can make waves this season, I think they will finish 88-74.
The Phillies finished 28-32 and third in the division. This offseason they lost Garrett Cleavinger, Cole Irvin, and Johan Quezada via trade, declined the options of David Robertson and David Phelps and Jake Arrieta, Brandon Workman, Jose Alvarez, Jay Bruce, Adam Morgan, Heath Hembree, Blake Parker, and Phil Gosselin. They added Jose Alvarado, Sam Coonrod and C.J. Chatham via trade and Neftali Feliz, Miguel Ynoa, Archie Bradley, Ivan Nova, Matt Moore, Hector Rondon, Chase Anderson, Brandon Kintzler, Matt Joyce, Travis Jankowski, Jeff Mathis, Tony Watson and Brad Miller via free agency.
The Phillies have 2 top 100 prospects including RHP Spencer Howard(42) and RHP Mick Abel(76). Both will not start the season with the major league club with Abel being drafted this past season. Howard will look to come up at some point this season as he has pitched in the MLB in previous years. Howard has a plus fastball and will be a building block for the future.
My player to watch for the Phillies this season is Zach Wheeler. He had a good season last season in a small sample size last year and was good on the Mets before leaving. I think he will be able to string together a good season after having a lot of time off to get healthy. If he can be consistent he has some unhittable stuff and I think we will see it this season.
The Phillies have a veteran lineup with Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto, as the cornerstones, but their starting pitching is a huge question mark. Behind Nola is Wheeler who can be inconsistent and then other guys who are not strong pitchers. This team has the offense but no pitching and I think they will not compete this year, finishing 78-84.
New York Mets – 94-68
Atlanta Braves – 91-71
Washington Nationals – 88-74
Philadelphia Phillies – 78-84
Miami Marlins– 72-90