Last year, the Atlanta Braves won the National League East and nearly punched their ticket to the World Series. Despite that, they weren’t the biggest story in their own division: instead, it was the resurgence of the Miami Marlins. Finishing in second place, punching a ticket to the playoffs and even beating the Chicago Cubs in the first round gave Miami a lot more attention than many felt they’d deserve.
That was last year, though. This year could be a whole different story. Atlanta and the New York Mets added more, Miami looks to add onto what they’ve started, and the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals look to get back to form.
Who will finish where? Who will rebound and who will drop? Here’s a look at the National League East!
2020 Record: 35-25
In few words, the Atlanta Braves had a good offseason. They didn’t lose any key pieces, they didn’t take any significant risks, and they added depth pieces and more pitching, which will go a long way. This roster of young stars is good enough that it didn’t need over improvement.
With a longer season, Atlanta should see much more success and should see a great run. Realistically, they’re a World Series contender and should be seen as one. The chink in their armor could be their starting pitching. That said, they have the ability to put up enough runs and provide plenty of defense to protect those leads.
Over/Under Wins: 93
2020 Record: 26-34
Last year did not do the Washington Nationals many favors. The team wasn’t bad but with the shorter schedule, it cut the team at the knees. They still have elite pitching, they have a very good line up built for contact and power, and they have a coach who can utilize their talents incredibly.
The one thing that could hold this team back is their bullpen. Their starters, including Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin can eat innings, but if it comes down to a shootout, they may not have the arms to compete in close and late game situations. Even with that, they could still be a wild card contender team and possibly upset one of the better teams in the playoffs.
Over/Under Wins: 86
New York Mets
2020 Record: 26-34
The New York Mets are the biggest boom or bust team in Major League Baseball right now. After acquiring major pieces like shortstop Francisco Lindor, catcher James McCann and pitchers Taijuan Walker and Carlos Carrasco, this team should be a team ready to make the jump from middle of the road to World Series favorites. So what’s holding them back?
Despite all the talent in the Big Apple, it could take a year for this team to reach the potential they have. With another new administration, there are bound to be some growing pains. It could potentially even show if Luis Rojas is the right manager for the job. Realistically, the Mets could either be top dogs or middle of road this season.
Over/Under Wins: 83
2020 Record: 31-29
The Miami Marlins will have the most hype going into this season after making the playoffs out of nowhere last year. However, this year is going drop them back down to earth. Their line up isn’t bad, and has some heavy hitters that can definitely get them back to the promised land, but some of the magic last year came from the shortened season.
There’s no telling what this team is capable of in a 163 game season. They’re going to have to prove that this team is sustainable for a full year. If they can do that, maybe they’ll get a wild card spot again. Just don’t be shocked if it turns out that last year was a fluke.
Over/Under wins: 78
2020 Record: 28-32
Where New York is going to have a boom or bust type season, the Philadelphia Phillies could have a lot of boom or bust games. When a team’s season is defined by multiple boom or bust games, then there’s potentially an issue with the team. If this team booms, you’re looking at a middle of the road team, but if they bust, they’re going to bust hard.
They have good bats in first baseman Rhys Hoskins, catcher J.T.Realmuto and outfielder Bryce Harper. They also have some good pitching in Zach Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Archie Bradley. Beyond that though, there’s quite a few question marks here, and if there’s no complete answers, then it could be a long year for the team.
Over/Under Wins: 72 Wins