This is the start of a weekly update that will follow the NL East all year long. Included will be division power rankings, injury updates, trade news and the NL East Player of the week.
1) Washington Nationals
Washington may have lost franchise icon Bryce Harper to the rival Phillies, but they were able to improve positions of weakness. They traded for Yan Gomes and signed Kurt Suzuki to form one of the best catching tandems in the game. Daniel Murphy’s hole at second was filled by Brian Dozier who is a perfect bounce-back candidate. His power will help fill the void left by Bryce Harper.
Rookie of the year candidate and top prospect Victor Robles has been handed the keys in center field. His emergence will be key to the Nationals regaining supremacy in the NL East.
Washington boasts one of the best pitching staffs in the game and added to it by signing Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez.
Anthony Rendon is in a walk year and may finally win the MVP let alone be named to his first All-Star game.
Washington’s bullpen is a weakness once again. That and injuries are the only thing standing in Washington’s way from competing with the other three powerhouses in the division.
2) Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies had themselves an offseason that was highlighted by signing Bryce Harper. They traded for Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto, as well as signed Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson. The weakness for now is the starting rotation as its top heavy. After ace Aaron Nola and veteran Jake Arrieta, the rotation is full of uncertainty. Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin and Vince Velasquez have to all show steady improvement or the rotation could collapse.
3) Atlanta Braves
The Braves won the division in 2018 but, didn’t make many moves to help bolster a rapidly improved NL East. They did sign former MVP Josh Donaldson to a one year deal. He has been battling injuries, but Donaldson is a game changer when healthy.
Ronald Acuna Jr. will be looking to take the next step after winning rookie of the year. He has been picked by some analyst to win the NL MVP. He will be tasked with defending their division title from what has become a very competitive NL East.
Atlanta needs help in the starting lineup and to pay attention to the Dallas Keuchel market. The move makes sense and would drastically improve the pitching staff.
Atlanta has to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke. They have the fourth best pitching staff in the division and are leaning heavily on their lineup to carry the load. If Donaldson bounces back to 2015 form and Acuna takes the next step then Atlanta may win the division for the second year in a row.
4) New York Mets
New Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen chose to retool instead of rebuilding. He pulled off the blockbuster trade for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. He then followed this up by signing Wilson Ramos, Jed Lowrie, Jeurys Familia and extended ace Jacob deGrom for five more years.
The Mets have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball and added to the offense that has been lackluster. Injuries are still a concern with the Mets which is why they are fourth in the first power rankings.
If Brando Nimmo, Amed Rosario and Michael Conforto can take the next step while the team stays relatively healthy, then the Mets will be on the verge of a playoff spot since 2016.
5) Miami Marlins
The Marlins traded star catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies for top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez. The Marlins will spend the season in the cellar and may lose even more games this year than last.
New York Mets- Key contributors Jed Lowrie and Yoenis Cespedes will start the season on the DL. Cespedes will be out till at least the All-Star break. Lowrie won’t be back until he’s 100 percent.
Washington Nationals- Michael A. Taylor, Howie Kendrick and Koda Glover are all starting the season on the DL. This hurts theteam’ss depth so any crucial early injuries to the starting lineup could really set this team back. All three should be back in the next few weeks.
Nothing yet. Look for the hot stove to pick up in the next few weeks after the teams feel each other out.
NL East Player of the week
Not available until the season starts.
Feature Image From Bleacher Report.
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