NL East predictions 2013

NL East

  1. Washington Nationals (1)
  2. Atlanta Braves
  3. Philadelphia Phillies
  4. New York Mets
  5. Florida Marlins

This seems to be a tough division to pick for many.  I see a lot of Nats and Braves in the top spot, with a few experts picking the Phillies.  I have to go with the Nats, they’re as loaded as a team can be, and I don’t think it will be that close.  They stole Denard Span from the Twins for Alex Meyer.  Meyer may end up being a good SP and the trade made sense for both clubs, but Span was a steal.

Ian Desmond (25 HR’s, 21 SB’s) and Danny Espinosa (17 HR’s, 20 SB’s) make up the best SS-2B combo in the NL IMO. Prying C Kurt Suzuki away from the A’s in 2012 was another great move.  We all know the potential of Bryce Harper (2012 NL ROY).  Jayson Werth was overpaid, but is still a solid player.  It was key at the time for the Nationals to get players to want to come to D.C.  In 300 AB’s, Werth only hit 5 HR’s but hit .300 with a .387 OBP.  Ryan Zimmerman (25 HR’s, 95 RBI’s) and Adam LaRoche (33 HR’s, 100 RBI’s) at the IF corners bring plenty of pop.  If Zimmerman’s shoulder holds up, he could be a NL MVP candidate.

And here’s the thing, the Nats offense isn’t even close to their biggest weapon, it the SP’s.  1-5, the Nats have the best rotation in the NL with Stephen Strasburg (197 K’s in 159.1 IP) leading the way, but he’s far from the only ace on the staff.  Gio Gonzalez (21-8, 2.89 ERA, 207 K’s in 199.1 IP), Jordan Zimmerman (2.94 ERA) and newly acquired Dan Haren (career 7.6 SO/9) are all capable of giving the Nats many long winning streaks in 2013. #5 starter Ross Detwiler isn’t too shabby either.

Even though the Nats had two more than capable closers in Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard (32 saves), they went ahead and spent big bucks on Rafael Soriano who made 42 saves for the Yankees in 2012 when Mariano Rivera went down.  The Nats should win over 100 games in 2013.

The Braves made a few nice moves, but they have 5 players that struck out over 100 times in 2012.  Those players are Dan Uggla (168), Freddie Freeman (129), Jason Heyward (152), Justin Upton (121) and B.J. Upton (169).  Brian McCann is going to start the season on the DL with Gerald Laird replacing him.

Pitching will keep the Braves in hunt for a wild card, with Tim Hudson as the opening day starter followed by Paul Maholm, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran.  SP Brandon Beachy will be out until at least June.  The Braves do have the best closer in the NL in Craig Kimbrel (116 K’s in 62.2 IP).  Kimbrel, along with Johnny Venters as the setup man will keep late leads secure.

The Phillies are the most interesting team in the NLE.  It all starts with Roy Halladay, who is having all kinds of problems with his velocity and trouble so far this spring bouncing back from shoulder and back problems.  Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels follow, and all 3 will need to pitch lights out to keep Philly in the race.  All three are legit CYA candidates when healthy.

Jonathan Papelbon will hold down leads, it’s just a matter of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard being healthy again to provide the offense.  This team is aging fast, and this may be the last year before the Phillies try to blow it up and start over.  Jimmy Rollins is still producing at a high rate, but after Utley, Rollins and Howard the lineup looks weak.  3B Michael Young has also seen his better days.  I just don’t think an OF made up of Domonic Brown, Ben Revere and John Mayberry is enough.  Catcher Carlos Ruiz will start the season with a 25 game ban.

The Mets will be without Johan Santana to start the year, and Shaun Marcum might start on the DL as well.  On offense, it’s David Wright, Lucas Duda and Ike Davis.  The rebuilding has begun.  Speaking of rebuilding, that’s the direction the Marlins went after getting their new ballpark.  They added Placido Polanco, but all they really have is Giancarlo Stanton.  It’s going to be a long year for both the Mets and Marlins.

The Nationals will have the #1 record in the NL.  I’ll do the NL Central picks tomorrow.

This entry was posted in March2013 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to NL East predictions 2013

  1. jen77 says:

    Watch out for those Phillies. I think any of the top three teams have a legit shot.

  2. WainwrightandMiller says:

    Well done J.D., I agree with this one except for flip flopping the Mets and Marlins, but who really cares.

  3. bstanley says:

    Braves-Wash-Phils-NY-Flo

Leave a Reply