2017 National League East Division Team Predictions
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The pitching for the Nationals is going to be lights out whenever Max Scherzer is on the mound. Stephen Strasburg is capable of whirling out a Cy Young candidate-worthy season if healthy while Gio Gonzalez is a decent third or fourth option along with Joe Ross on the rotation. The bullpen is a big question mark with the departure of Mark Melancon during the offseason, which puts extra pressure—at least for now—on the shoulders of the offense.
Harper is an all-around talent and Trea Turner looks to parlay a great rookie campaign this 2017. Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman secure the backend of the batting order. It’s World Series or bust for the Nationals, who are -160 to win the NL East.
Writer’s Prediction: Washington places second in the division with a 92-70 record.
New York Mets
The brilliance of Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom almost makes Matt Harvey’s struggle to get his form back something the Mets could live through. Throw in Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler and the Mets arguably have the best set of starters in the majors, let alone in the NL East. Yoenis Cespedes stays with the team, assuring New York of a great source of hitting and excellent defense out in the outfield.
Curtis Granderson has to show he’s far from slowing down while Jay Bruce needs to bounce back in order for the Mets to truly maximize the solid outing their starters will put up. The team’s watchability takes a hit with Bartolo Colon gone but the ceiling is high for the Mets—+125 to win the division.
Writer’s Prediction: New York concludes the regular season with a division title on a 94-68 record.
It sucks for the Marlins that they’ll start a new season without Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident last year. Without Fernandez, the Marlins don’t have a solid No. 1 starter. The offense will have to carry Miami. Giancarlo Stanton headlines Miami’s hitting that should be very good. Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon make up most of the Marlins’ offense that ranked fourth in the majors in 2016 in batting average. The Marlins need more power bats though, placing just 28th in RBI and 27th in slugging percentage in the big leagues last year.
Writer’s Prediction: Miami takes the third place in the NL East with a 77-85 record.
Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey team up to give the Braves’ rotation some support. That almost feels like saying that the Boston Celtics bolstered their lineup by adding Bill Russell and Bob Cousy. Colon and Dickey are both old and while they can give serviceable performances, they’re not the type of starters a team would win a division title with. Julio Teheran is the pitching talent we all should be paying attention on the Braves’ rotation. Dansby Swanson gives Atlanta a reason to dream of a brighter future but that bright future isn’t going to happen this 2017 season, wherein the Braves have +2,800 to top the NL East.
Writer’s Prediction: Atlanta improves a bit from a 68-93 2016 campaign and ends 2017 with a 71-91 record.
The Sixers aren’t the only Philadelphia sports team that trusts the process.
The Phillies have been the doormat of the NL East for quite some time now but things could start to trend upwards for them sooner than later with plenty of Philadelphia prospects polishing their games in the minors.
All those young talents isn’t going to translate to a division title this season but the Phillies should still experience some bump in wins with the team addressing issues on its bullpen by signing Joaquin Benoit and adding Pat Neshek. Jeremy Hellickson is the No. 1 starter this season while Aaron Nola and Vince Velasquez aims to show that their flashes of brilliance last season is more than just flashes of brilliance.
The offense doesn’t seem to be in for a big leap forward with no big offseason additions to shore up the hitting that produced just 610 runs, the fewest in the majors last year.
Writer’s Prediction: Philadelphia licks the feet of the NL East’s standings with a 71-91 record.
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