NL East: Nationals with Ease (to my dismay)


The team that should be favored!

How quickly things change. Once this was a really interesting division, but unless some young players mature really fast, this is MLB’s weakest division.

Will Win: It would take monumental ineptitude for the Washington Nationals not to win. That distresses me because I thoroughly dislike the Nationals and MLB executives for allowing this team to leave Montreal. They are Brooklyn-to-LA for me. Still, how can you lose with Scherzer, Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Roark on the mound? Harper is among MLB’s elite, Robels will dazzle as a rookie, and there’s Zimmerman, Murphy, Rendon in the same lineup. Talent-wise, no one else in the division is even close.

Dark Horse: Both the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies have been rebuilding for the past several years. As the Yankees proved last year, sometimes projects arrive earlier than expected. If there is a dark horse in this division—and I doubt if for 2018—it’s probably the Braves or the Phillies.

Predicted Finish:

1. Washington Nationals: An easy flag followed by my fervent hope they lose in the first round of the playoffs.
2. Atlanta Braves: I’m out of a limb here, but Acuna is seen as MLB’s top rookie prospect and they still have ageless wonder Freddie Freeman. The pitching is sketchy beyond Teheran, but maybe someone will catch fire.
3. New York Mets: Two years ago they had the best 1-5 staff in baseball; last year they all got hurt. I doubt they’ll get healthy all at once. They need to pitch exceptionally as the lineup has more holes than a teenager’s jeans.
4. Philadelphia Phillies: Other than free agents Carlos Santana and Arrieta, you won’t recognize many of these guys. You will soon, but ’18 is probably too early. It wouldn’t shock me, though, if the Phils vaulted to second.
5. Miami Marlins: A joke, a travesty, and a team not done dismantling. The Fish could easily stink their way to 100+ losses. Let’s hope they slink out of town to an actual MLB city.  

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