As we did last week with AL teams, we will go 5-1 with a short breakdown as to why I think each team finishes where they do. This division is probably the hardest to predict after 5. But the top 4 are all so good and talented. It's going to come down to divisional games.
5- The Miami Marlins take the cake for the bottom of the division, with some high upside signings for them. Unlike their NFL counterpart Dolphins who are repurchasing their way into contention. New arrivals of Corey Dickerson, Brandon Kintzler, Francisco Cervelli, Matt Joyce, Yimi Garcia, Stephen Tarpley, Johnathan Villar, Jesus Aguilar are among the group that hopes to rebuild value and find themselves on a better team and in a better situation. With young JJ Bleday, Braxton Garrett, Trevor Rodgers, Jose Devers, Edward Cabrera, Jazz Chisholm, and Sixto Sanchez, they are all expected to factor into roster battles and be seen in and around the MLB level soon enough. I don't see this team winning a lot of games at all. I do see them winning a few games on the back of Brian Anderson and Corey Dickerson. But outside of that, don't expect too much.
---These next four teams I am only 1-3 games off from each other. All these teams are so good, loaded, and talented without any huge weakness made for hard decisions. It is a matter of belief for me, much like it came down to the AL West last week.
4. The Washington Nationals with the new arrivals of Will Harris, Starlin Castro, Eric Thames. But while losing Rendon to FA and Joe Smith and Ryan Zimmerman to COVID, the replacements are just not there for me. With Scherzer getting older and having a couple of possible lingering injuries puts the rotation in flux. With talent in Carter Kieboom, Victor Robles, Ryne Harper, and Ben Brayman. They also are getting back Austen Williams, Hunter Strickland, and Roenis Elias from injuries. This team was only projected in a 162 game season to finish 88.5 wins with the sprint that will be on. I don't think that Nationals have enough to get all the way there. But who knows, ANYTHING could happen in the NL East
3. The NY Mets fall to 3rd place for me. The chips haven't been kind as Noah Syndaagard is gone this season to injury. But the additions of Betances, Porcello, Wacha, and Brach to the rotation and pen mix. With Stroman and DeGrom there as well. The pitching will be fine. The question for me is the offense and health. Lucky for them, they are getting a healthy Cespedes and McNeil along with the other key players on the roster. The pitching alone will carry this team and keep it in games. The only place I can see things falling apart, and it's unlikely, is if Edwin Diaz doesn't get it done in the 9th. Which again, I do not see happening. The Mets are healthy and ready to ball out!
2. The Philadelphia Phillies fall to 2nd for me in the NL East and push for WC spot in the playoffs. With additions of Zack Wheeler, Didi Gregorius, Maikel Franco, Tommy Hunter. Before the end of spring training, the team had many good veteran role players in camp fighting for spots. We will see who sticks. But among those names were Francisco Lariano Logan Forsythe, Niel Walker, Anothony Swarzak, Bud Norris, Josh Harrison, and Phil Gosselin. All the above names were all projecting for bench spots. Which would give this team probably the deepest, most experienced bench in the division? Mix the prospects of Alec Bohm, Spencer Howard, Micky Moniak, Garret Cleavinger, Mauricio Llovera, Jojo Romero, and Christopher Sanchez. These players were supposed to be in the high minors if not in a bench role to start the season. Add all this into an already talented group of players in Realmuto, Harper, Hoskins, Nola, McCutchen, Arano, and Herrera. This team is just so deep and has so much great experience with proven records of success it's hard not to see this team making a deep run in the division and NL as a whole.
1. My top team is 100% a belief pick. It's hard like I have said, that all these teams are 1-3 games apart. But the Atlanta Braves take the cake for me. This is the next dynasty in the NL. with Acuna there for years to come, the Braves will only get better. With Will Smith, Marcell Ozuna, Cole Hamels, Travis d'Arnaud, and resigning Darren O'day. The most significant loss was Josh Donaldson. But the additions more than make up for what was lost. With King Felix there in the mix for the rotation, add in more good prospects in Drew Waters, Shea Langeliers, Ian Anderson, Kyle Muller, Brandon Shewmaker, Christian Pache, Jasseel De La Cruz, Phillip Preifer, William Contreras, Tucker Davidson. Everyone from Pache should get a pretty good look in summer camp and end somewhere on the Taxi Squad. With Touki Toussaint, Ender Inciarte, John Camargo all coming back from injuries. With an already impressive group of talent in Acuna, Albies, Swanson, Freeman, Markakis, Soroka, and established. This team doesn't have any apparent weaknesses that are detrimental to the team. With the talent, the group's progression, and the mix of veteran leadership, I 100% think this team wins the NL East.
1- Braves 47-13
2- Phillies- 45-15
3- Mets- 43-17
4- Nationals- 40-20
5- Marlins- 25-35