It’s Day 2 of the predictions from the United Cardinal Bloggers and today we take a gander at the National League East. It’s a division that always gets attention, especially since one of the New York teams is in it. How will it shake out, though? Don’t ask me, but that won’t stop me from writing about it.
National League East
Washington–The best team in the division last year went out and got better, signing Max Scherzer to add to an already deep pitching staff. When Stephen Strasburg is perhaps third in your rotation, you are doing something right. Couple that with an offense led by Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth and there should be no lack of runs being scored. They won’t need much, of course, but it should keep them from a lot of 1-0 games like the Cardinals saw last year.
New York Mets–I’m not saying that they are going to be close to the Nationals, mind you. Someone has to finish second in this division and I think pretty much 2-4 can swap around. Even though the Mets have lost Zack Wheeler, they do have Matt Harvey coming back. I think David Wright will have a better year this season and will help the offense push past some of their closer competitors.
Miami Marlins–While he probably won’t be back to start the season, having Jose Fernandez available for the stretch could be a huge difference maker. Again, I’m thinking there could be a lot of similarities in these clubs and having an ace like that in your rotation can be huge. Having a focused Giancarlo Stanton can’t be a bad thing either and some of the young talent that the Marlins have been developing should be about ready to blossom.
Atlanta Braves–It’s been a bit of a puzzling offseason for the Braves, but it’s difficult to say that they got any better. Gone are Justin Upton, Jason Heyward and Evan Gattis, taking a large portion of the offense with them. While there’s still pitching in Atlanta–and we’ll likely all be rooting for Shelby Miller in a Braves uni–it’s tough to know if that’ll be enough to get them past the others in the midst of the middling division.
Philadelphia Phillies–As we said in Pepper, it’s hard to believe four years ago they were in the playoffs, only seven years ago winning a World Series title. Time wins every battle and some of the stranger moves of Ruben Amaro Jr. are coming home to roost. The rebuild has started, but there’s still Cole Hamels to move. If he gets shipped out for prospects, expect the Phillies to be very comfortable in the cellar this year.
Tomorrow, we tackle the best (or at least our favorite) division in baseball!