Tough Division: NL East
In the magical world of baseball, we will look at what many consider to be the toughest division: the NL East.
Let’s start with the first alphabetical team: The Braves.
Many people want to run the Braves out of town after their fluke run. The trade of Freddie Freeman has many wondering what was going through the mind of top brass. The acquisition of Matt Olson, plus the healthy return of Ronald Acuña, Jr. and healthy pitching has led them to a solid second place as of print time. A recent 14 game win streak has them holding solid in a wild-card spot. However, the one gripe that many will point out is that their recent win streak was against under .500 teams. They have to put a strong outing together in order to have any semblance of defending their title. Atlanta needs to be aggressive by the trade deadline, and I hope they can get bullpen help to shore up that area. As we get closer to August, I would like to see the Braves clutch up and play great ball.
House: Braves will finish either second or first.
As mentioned in my recent episode with Bill, Miami is a weird team. They have the pitching that can do serious damage. Sandy Alcantara is a machine, and Pablo Lopez is sometimes unhittable. A recent addition of vagabond Jorge Soler can help bolster this team down the road. A strong core of hitters revolving around electrifying Jazz Chisolm can help shore up this team for 5 years to come. I would absolutely love this team to play spoiler and ruin every Mets, Braves, and Phillies fan out there. I think the Marlins can and will be a fun team to watch. I want one of those throwback black and blue jerseys though, man.
House: Miami—third or fourth.
As far as bookies go (and the insufferable Phillies fan in me), the Mets are the worst team in this division because they are so darn good. They have the two-headed pitching monster of deGrom and Scherzer, as well as Taijuan Walker. Pitching was the name of the game so far, and it has not let them down. The hitting corps has remained, for the most part, healthy, and it shows in their overall production. The fielding and hitting of King Francisco and Big Meat Pete Alonso has led this blossoming team to the top of the East as of this writing. As we go to July and August, this team has nothing to lose, yet they have everything to lose. This is the year that they can either go big or just be down in the dumps.
House: Mets finish first or second.
Phillies are the true definition of mercurial. They started strong, then cooled off which resulted in the show-trial and execution of Joe Girardi. Now, under Philly Rob Thomson, they are 17-3 in June as of writing. Bryce Harper is hitting great despite being a DH and Kyle Schwarber is wanted in seven states for murdering baseballs once again. The starting three have been powerful, but the back end of rotation has been bleh. The team must be competitive and not play down to competition in order to make a strong case for postseason play. As June turns to July and August, I would love to see this team get strong bullpen help and see Bryce get healthy. Will they be buyers of bullpen arms or just try to push through with the city’s new savior?
House: Philly will be first, second, or third.
Washington is in the same boat as Miami. They have just started a rebuild and are trying to build around Lord Juan Soto, who may or may not be on this team in the future. Plus, the leech known as Stephen Strasburg, who hasn’t pitched fully since 2019, he is making off with a boatload of money following a possible diagnosis of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Going through the dog days, the Nationals will do their best to play spoiler and I would love to see them play spoiler to Mets or Phillies fans. No one knows what timetable he has for his return, but Washington needs to pull it together and use their farm in order to pull themselves out of the basement. Not much else to say about them here.
House: Washington will finish fifth or fourth.
In closing, I hope to see this, in no order:
Mets, Phillies, and Braves run to the wire to get either the NL East crown or last wild card spot.
Marlins play a crucial role in deciding who stays and who goes.
Phillies to make a push to try to be true contenders, not false kings.
Braves to stay healthy and maybe make a last minute run.
Nationals to just stay put and allow themselves to focus on building for the future.
Written by Dave Hummel