On Monday, STT previewed the NL West. Today, the Eastern division in the Senior Circuit is on tap.
Last season the Nationals surprised many (but not me, they were my pick to win the division) by accumulating the most wins in baseball, while the Braves made the fake playoffs and lost a coin flip game that featured garbage being thrown on the field. The Phillies disappointed and the Mets made a pretty good first half run. The Marlins stumbled and then blew up their franchise in a way only the Marlins could.
The Nationals and Braves both had big offseasons while the Phillies did weird stuff like signing Delmon Young to play defense. The Mets dealt Dickey for a good haul and extended David Wright. The Marlins traded everyone who isn’t Giancarlo Stanton, and he’ll be gone inside twelve months two I’m sure.
Here’s how the 2013 NL East looks according to STT. [Division Rank. Team (2013 W/L prediction, 2013 Preseason MLB Power Ranking]
5. Miami Marlins (63-99, 29)
I’ve made no secret of my disgust with the Marlins fire sale over the last several months and won’t rehash it at length here. They have but one player on their entire projected opening day roster that is a lock to have a 2 WAR or better season if healthy. Only Giancarlo Stanton is anything more than a bench type player going into 2013. They will no doubt have some surprises and I’m excited to see former Tigers Jacob Turner and Rob Brantly get a shot at the big leagues, but this team is so devoid of talent it borders on the criminal.
4. New York Mets (78-84, 18)
I’m actually kind of bullish on the Mets. I think their rotation of Santana, Niese, Harvey, Gee, and eventually Wheeler could be very good and they’ve made some good bullpen signings. David Wright is a centerpiece and they have some good supporting pieces in guys like Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy. The Mets need an outfield. I think they’re one great player and one pretty good player away from being a legitimate contender and maybe only one good player away from making noise. Even if they don’t make a playoff run, I’m excited to watch the Mets rotation in 2013.
3. Philadelphia Phillies (84-78, 13)
The Phillies rotation is too amazing at the top for them to be any lower on this list even if the rest of the team is questionable. Up the middle, the Phillies can play with anyone with the likes of Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Ben Revere to match Halladay, Lee, and Hamels. The problem is that the corners are potential black holes of terrible. Michael and Delmon Young are written in as starters for 2013 and they were literally among the five worst starters in baseball last season costing their teams more than two wins combined. Ryan Howard has been a bit of problem at first given his lack of four tools. Each of these players could have bounce back years, but I’m not betting on it. The pitching and the middle will hold the Phillies up, but they won’t make it to the top.
2. Atlanta Braves (90-72, 4)
The Braves added Uptons for 2013 but lost Chipper Jones and Martin Prado, which makes me think they’ll be about as good in 2013 as they were in 2012. Which was good. The Braves have a great outfield and infielders who have the potential to really contribute. Their starters are solid and their bullpen is second to none. The Braves are a well-balanced club with no glaring holes. Other than Dan Uggla’s defense.
1. Washington Nationals (95-67, 1)
I’ve also made no secret of my belief in the Nationals on these pages and this is merely a formality. They were baseball’s best team last season and got better by any definition. Even if you expect regression by some, you should probably anticipate improvement by others. Their pitching staff is only challenged by the Tigers and Rays for the best in baseball and the Nats have a good bullpen and well-rounded offense. It’s hard to imagine a scenario without disproportionate injuries that doesn’t have the Nationals among the best teams in baseball for 2013.
NL East Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg
NL East MVP: Jason Heyward
Most Potentially Pivotal Player: Justin Upton
Division Storyline that Will Surprise Us: Chase Utley stays healthy and has a big year.
Boldest of the Bold: Freddie Freeman will make the All-Star team.