The Champ’s MLB Preview: NL East

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Champ here. I’m all about having fun. You know, get a couple cocktails in me. Start a fire in someone’s kitchen. Maybe go to Sea World, take my pants off. It’s the NL East today. WHAMMY!

Atlanta Braves

 

Is it the 90s again? Are the Braves about to begin another decade of dominance? Eh, maybe. The Bravos have quite a few young players ready to make impacts, moreover a few young pitchers just about ready for the big leagues like Mike Minor, Randall Delgado, Julio Teheran, and Brandon Beachy. Maybe Fredi Gonzalez learned his lesson last year and won’t try to destroy Craig Kimbrel’s rotator cuff by running him out on the mound for 35+ pitches every night. Fredi, this ain’t the SEC. These are million dollar athletes with shelf lives. Outside of that, ATL’s offense looks to be pretty decent. Hopefully Jason Heyward can bounce back and Freddie Freeman can grow on what was a solid rookie season. The NL East is wide open this year and the Braves just might find themselves on top in September. Except this time it won’t end up with them having massive diarrhea all over themselves in the final week of the season.

91-71, 1st in NL East

Miami Marlins

The Marlins completely rebranded their franchise this offseason. New logo, new stadium, new name, new shortstop, new closer, new everything. If the fish can turn that big free agent money into success at the big league level, then they can wear whatever the hell they want and put whatever type of monstrosity they want in center field. I really like the Marlins. Really. Their lineup is fantastic with the addition of Jose Reyes and the development of Giancarlo (formerly Mike) Stanton and Logan Morrison. Hanley Ramirez struggled at the dish last year, but Ozzie Guillen’s tough love approach with him might actually give El Nino the boost he needs to regain his MVP form. If Josh Johnson can stay healthy and Carlos Zambrano can keep a lid on his drunk sorority girl-like emotions, the Marlins will be a contender for sure. Their stock is rising.

85-77, 3rd in NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

 

There’s aging gracefully and then there’s whatever the Phillies are doing. Don’t get me wrong, the Phils are still a really, really good baseball team. But you have to wonder if the window has started to close. Roy Halladay still might be the best pitcher in the National League at 35 and after him you’ve got Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. All still dynamite. Shit, then you add Vance Worley after them and you have the best rotation in the division. When you take a look at the lineup, the age starts to become an issue. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz all showed signs of age last year and Utley and Howard both start the season on the DL. I still have faith in the Phils, it’s just a question of whether or not they can stick one last hurrah out before it’s all too late.

89-73, 2nd NL East, 2nd Wild Card

New York Mets

 

LOL. What a mess. Best of luck to you. Here’s five dollars. No but seriously, the Mets got finagled by Bernie Madoff (cue the Shitty Guy commenting below), built a stadium that they couldn’t afford and Bobby Bonilla is their third highest paid outfielder. Yes, Bobby Bonilla (be careful with deferred contracts, kids). Yeah, there’s Jason Bay, David Wright, Ike Davis and then a collection of who? And another who? Followed by “this guy here is dead!” Poor Mets, you guys never win anything…

64-98, 5th NL East

Washington Nationals

 

Hey, lookie there! It’s those awesome baseballers from our nation’s capital. You know what’s awesome? They’re good. The Nats finished 80-81 last season (not a typo, they had one game completely wiped off the schedule), despite losing Strasburg, Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman for either the entire season or a majority of it. Don’t know about you, but it makes me happy that there’s a chance that DC might be a baseball hotbed by season’s end. Then add the anticipation of Bryce Harper’s debut sometime this season and you’ve got one hell of a PR dream for the Nats. Add into the equation that the Nats signed Edwin Jackson and Brad Lidge and traded for Gio Gonzalez this offseason. DC is a contender, for real. Expect the Nationals to keep spelling their name right on their jerseys and win more games than they lose.

85-77, 4th NL East

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  1. 2
    Fratman175

    This is a fairly accurate analysis. There is no way the phillies will be able to win 102 again this year. I see them winning 85-90. They lost oswalt, plus howard and utley are missing around two months of the season. The nationals will be the surprise team of the year, cannot wait for Bryce Harper, next Ken Griffey Jr.

    ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • 1
      Tallapoosa Snu

      I’m a Braves fan, and I’m worried about the Nats… They’ve got surprising depth in the bullpen and if Bryce Harper turns out to be what they think he is, he might get their runs up enough to scare the phils and braves

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • 1
      carolinahaze

      The Nats are also saddled with Werth, who has become the biggest contract bust since Barry Zito. That 7-year, $126 million anchor they’re hauling around their neck is going to hinder their efforts at putting together a contender. The pitching has gotten better, but don’t expect playoff baseball in our nation’s capital anytime soon.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • 0
      Fratman175

      I just don’t see the phillies being as successful, with the complete transformation this division has gone through this season. The marlins and nationals are the two most talented young teams in the league. Your argument about polanco and victorino providing offense is a interesting. Neither of those guys have been know for offense, and their numbers have dipped in the last few years

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • -1
      Fratisfied

      Oswalt was not a factor at all for the Phillies last year. I hate admitting it but that team does everything right. They have a great minor league system and excellent coaching. Will they win 100+ games in 2012? No, probably not. They still have plenty of offense in Victorino, Polanco and don’t forget that they acquired Hunter Pence at the end of the 2011 season. Also, don’t count out Jimmy Rollins. Once Utley and Howard come back they will go on their usual summer streak of steamrolling every team they face. I’m not a Phillies fan but its hard to count this team out.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • 0
      OfficerAndAGentleman

      Same, I’d love for them to win, but I can’t see us beating the Phillies. They’ll have at least 92-95 wins, something we will fall just short of.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • -2
      More Frat Than You

      Actually its not, the Braves had the 4th best record up until september last year and that was with Dan Uggla hitting .130 in the first half, Heyward struggling and the horrid production from Alex Gonzalez at short. If McCann and Freeman can continue the pace they were on, Heyward bounces back, Uggla performs like he did in the second half of 2011, Pastornicky hits anywhere about .250 and the pitching staff does…well what an Atlanta Braves’ pitching staff is known to do…which is all very very likely, then the Braves will surprise everyone this year. Yeah, the Phillies have the rotation, but Doc Holliday didn’t look like himself in the spring, Hamels and half of the infield is really starting to feel the effect of their age and Howard is out for a month at least with that achilles tendon injury he suffered at the end of last season, not to mention their farm system is pretty depleted. The Phillies may look good on paper, but look a little closer and they’re not as much of a lock as they’ve been in the past.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
  2. 0
    Tits or GTFO

    I like the Braves just fine, and am definitely proud of my southern roots. But they are still a little too young to catch the Phillies. That being said I think by 2014, maybe even 2013 the Braves will be running shit again in the NL east. Go Rangers.

    ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
  3. -1
    Fratisfied

    Someone has been drinking the Washington Nationals Kool-Aid. They won’t finish over .500, The Braves finish in a distant second to the Phillies. They haven’t gotten any better. As long as the Phillies have Holiday, Lee and Hamels pitching in consecutive days its foolish to pick against them. The NL East goes Philies,……….Braves (missing the wild card), Marlins, Nats and Mets.

    ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
  4. -1
    Fratman175

    Exactly, the nationals have the pitching. The only concerning thing is that strasburg’s innings are going to be limited. Plus the phillies lost offense in letting ibanez go as well

    ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • 0
      Will Fratel

      They gained offense if anything by letting ibanez go. No one seems to remember that they have Mayberry and Dominic Brown (regarded as the best prospect in baseball not too long ago) waiting to break out on their bench.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
  5. -1
    JParksCaldwell1855

    I mean, if any of these teams were in the AL East, would ANY of them finish higher than fourth? Each team has huge bright spots, but this division also has the biggest collection of “If ___, then they’ll do well” in the majors. “If Washington can hit, they’ll be a WC.” “If Prado can stay healthy, the Braves will be able to tread water.” etc.

    Guys I like this year: Emilio, Worley, Jordan Zimmermann, Johan, Beachy.
    Guys I hate: Reyes, Hamels, Morse, Wright, Bourne.

    ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • 2
      Fully Torqued

      You hate Michael Bourne? Are you a fucking commie? Dude is an all american guy that does nothing but play the game hard. Fuck you, go braves.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • 1
      carolinahaze

      Yes, they would. None of them can beat the Yanks or Rays, but all of them (except the Mets) are probably better than the Sox and Blue Jays.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
      • 2
        Tits or GTFO

        Carolina hays clearly you don’t keep up with much baseball. The Jays are a popular playoff pick and the Sox have one of the most stacked line ups with pitching that will eat innings and keep you in games. Either of those teams would finish first or second in the NL East. The national league in general is incredibly weak this year.

        ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • 0
      JParksCaldwell1855

      ^What does being an “all-American guy” have to do with anything? I meant statistically (and admittedly, from a fantasy standpoint) I hate him for this year. He had an insane line drive rate last year (26.6%) and was overall a little lucky (.366 BABIP), so I think his average drops off a bit from .294 to about .278.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • 0
      Frattastic378

      All I’m saying is the last time we had a leadoff hitter like Bourne, was when we had Deion and Otis Nixon battling each other for playing time.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • 0
      Tits or GTFO

      So you like Johan who just came off arm surgery and missed all of ’11 but you hate Hamels who is in his contract year? Interesting.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • 0
      JParksCaldwell1855

      Honestly, I had a hard time thinking of which (healthy) Phil I didn’t like. Main reasoning behind picking Hamels was that his strand rate last year (78.4%) and BABIP (.255) say his ERA and WHIP will regress from 2.79 and 0.99 to, if I had to guess, about 3.40 and 1.20. Point being that I don’t think that (in fantasy drafts) he’s as valued as some think he is.

      Having said that, would I want him on the Tigs behind Verlander? You’re damn right, I would.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • -1
      Frattastic378

      As long as he gets on base, he will score. With Prado, Freeman, Uggla, and McCann hitting behind, I’d say it’s a safe bet our offense will be a bit more potent this year. I’ll reserve judgement on the Hey-train for a while, but I’m hoping last year was just a shitty sophomore slump.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • -1
      Fully Torqued

      J parks. Seems as though you are trying too hard. But I’m possibly trying too hard by making this observation. I’m out of my fucking mind right now.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • -2
      Frattastic378

      Bourne is the only real leadoff hitter we’ve had in years. His average does not matter a lick, but his OBP does and it will be somewhere around the league leader.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago

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