The National League East had a sort of weird off-season. The Marlins cleaning house over the winter has made the division weaker. Yet at the same time, the arrival of Arrieta and Santana in Philadelphia have definitely given the division more strength. The Braves provide a young, talented presence that almost equals the Phillies’ talent. As for the Nationals, well they’re the Washington freaking Nationals man!
The Braves are young and determined. Not much noise was made during the off-season by Atlanta. Despite that, you could consider the Braves similar to Philadelphia’s squad. Both teams are developing their young talent. In a rotation led by Julio Teheran, they should be pretty solid throughout the season if they stay consistent. Freddie Freeman will be the anchor of the lineup while No. 1 prospect Ronald Acuña is working on things down in the minors. He will definitely get the call sooner or later.
It’s sad to see what happened in Miami. They went from a “division contending” ball club to the exact opposite in one off-season. The losses of Stanton, Yelich, and company really strike a huge dent in their success this season. They’re simply in “rebuild mode” now and if you want my opinion, I don’t expect anything great from Miami this season.
The Phillies are definitely looking to make a push for the division this season. New members Jake Arrieta and Carlos Santana definitely bring a veteran presence. Along with the return of Pat Neshek, they will look to lead a team that’s still in a “young rebuild mode”. Aaron Nola will be a solid number two for the club if he stays consistent. Rhys Hoskins is probably going to keep hitting home runs.
New York Mets
I think this is a big year for the Mets pitching staff. With a team that added and brought back some talent (Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce), they’re going to need to get back to business. Since the World Series run in 2015, the four leaders of the staff seem to have become flat. The healthiness of the rotation is key to their success. Syndergaard gets the ball opening day, I’m excited to see if he can stay consistent as the Mets’ ace.
The Washington Nationals are without a doubt the favorites to win the division. Max Scherzer (16′ and 17′ Cy Young Award Winner) and Stephen Strasburg are looking to dominate as the fearsome duo they are in the rotation. Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy are looking to, yet again, have consistently great seasons. First year manager Dave Martinez will look to have great success in his first year. He can be described as a “bench coach pioneer” as he has been in that role with the Rays (2008-2014) and the Cubs (2015-2017). He looks to bring a championship mentality to the ball club, as he was the bench coach for the Cubs after their iconic World Series win in 2016. The Nationals are going to be a force to be reckoned with this season, and don’t be surprised if you see Harper’s name at the top of the MVP race either.
New York Mets