The NL East has different classes of teams.
Of course, the perennial powerhouse Phillies sit alone atop the division, and to no one's surprise, they lead the division at 24-12.
The Marlins are a young team with a lot of upside, and with the emergence of young stars such as Mike Stanton and Gaby Sanchez, the Marlins look set to make a run to the postseason this year.
Atlanta has one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Veterans Derek Lowe and Tim Hudson are always reliable and star pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson work perfectly with young phenom Brandon Beachy. The Braves may not have the offensive power needed to make the playoffs, but their fabulous rotation certainly gives them a chance.
The Nationals have struggled as a franchise since moving to the nation's capital in 2005, but they have recruited some young stars such as Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. Unfortunately, neither of them will be putting on Nats uniform this year, leaving it up to stars Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman to carry a weak ball club.
Expect the Nats to finish under .500 again this year.
The Mets are the joke of the MLB nowadays. They are in financial trouble and have dealt with numerous injuries over the last few years. Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran are among many Mets mentioned in trade discussions.
So far this year, the Mets are 16-20, sitting last place in the division. They have a below-average rotation and a struggling bullpen, but the Mets do have a great offense when healthy.
Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, David Wright, Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and Ike Davis are all worthy of putting up All-Star numbers. The Mets have a lot of speed and energy, and can have power from numerous players in their lineup. If the Mets can stay healthy, they should be able to stay competitive in the division.
With that said, here are my end-of-year predictions for the NL East:
1. Phillies 98-64
2. Braves 86-76
3. Marlins 84-78
4. Mets 83-79
5. Nationals 74-88
Although the NL East is one of the best and most competitive divisions in baseball, the Phillies are still the class of it. Expect another outstanding year from the best team in the National League. The Marlins, Braves and Mets all finish with good records in the middle of the division, and the Nats finish at the bottom with a record under .500.
But have faith, Nats fans.
With the Phillies aging and the Nats' young talent, this division could completely turn around in a few years.
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