Major League Baseball is only 15 days away from officially beginning its 2023 season. The first of six division previews examines the loaded NL East. This division features the reigning National League champions in the Philadelphia Phillies along with the 2021 World Champion Atlanta Braves and a stacked New York Mets team. Throw in the possibility of the upstart Miami Marlins and the NL East is deadly.
Washington Nationals – projected record 57-105 – 5th NL East
The Nationals are going to be bad, really bad. Joey Meneses is the team’s projected three-hole hitter while the only other notable names in the lineup are Keibert Ruiz, CJ Abrams and Corey Dickerson. The hitting simply lacks depth and any established major talent. The rotation has a few young arms like Josiah Gray and MacKenzie Gore but is headlined by Patrick Corbin and Trevor Williams. The bullpen has little to no value as Washington’s projected closer is Kyle Finnegan. Players like Smith, Dickerson and Williams will likely be moved at the deadline as the Nats continue another rebuild. It is going to be a long season in the nation’s capital.
Miami Marlins – projected record 78-84 – 4th NL East
The Marlins might surprise some people this season as its roster has come together nicely. Miami offers a lineup that just hovers over the mediocre line with the addition of 2022 AL batting champion Luis Arraez. Jazz Chisholm, Jorge Soler, Avisail Garcia and Jean Segura solidify Miami’s order into one that can put up some runs. The Marlin rotation is also solid as 2022 NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara headlines a group with Jesus Luzardo, Jonny Cueto, Trevor Rogers and Edward Cabrera. If the lineup holds up, the ultimate downfall of this team will be its bullpen. If the Fish are still in the playoff hunt come mid-August, do not be surprised if starting pitcher prospects Sixto Sanchez and Mac Meyer are pulled up to help the pen.
Philadelphia Phillies – projected record 94-68 – 3rd NL East
The defending NL Champs got better this offseason, yet will finish third in its division. This is not a knock on the Phillies at all but just a reality check on how good this division is. Philadelphia signed superstar Trea Turner over the winter to hit first and add another element to a power-first lineup. Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper and company are all back and could threaten to break the MLB team home run record. Philly’s starting pitching is also solid as Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler anchor the roation and will now be joined by Taijuan Walker. The Philadelphia bullpen had been its pain point last season but was very good in the postseason. Seranthony Dominguez, Gregory Soto, Craig Kimbrel and Jose Alvarado will cause their opponents major issues late in games. The Phillies are going to be dangerous once again come October.
Atlanta Braves – projected record 102-60 – 2nd NL East
It was very hard to not have Atlanta winning this division again. The Braves are straight up stacked. Starting with its hitting, a lineup with Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson, Austin Riley and Sean Murphy is ridiculous. Ozzie Albies possibly being the sixth or seventh best hitter on the team seems almost unfair. Not to mention the rotation is five deep with Max Fried and Kyle Wright up top with Ian Anderson strikeout wizard Spencer Strider at the bottom. Throw in veteran Charlie Morton and the Atlanta rotation is one of the best in baseball. The Brave bullpen could use some help but is still solid with Joe Jimenez, A.J. Minter and Collin McHugh giving way to Raisel Iglesias for the ninth inning. Atlanta is the second of three serious threats in this division to win it all this season.
New York Mets – projected record 103-59 – 1st NL East
Could this finally be the year the Mets don’t blow it? I think it could be, well at least in the regular season. This Mets team is absolutely loaded. Starling Marte, Francisco Lindor and Pere Alonso center the New York lineup whole Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil provide balance around the sluggers. While New York lost Jacob deGrom to the Texas Rangers, its staff arguably got better. Ageless wonder Justin Verlander will headline the staff that consists of Max Scherzer and Carlos Carrasco. Perhaps the biggest signing for the Mets this offseason was Japanese pitcher Kodai Senga as he could give the Mets that final push to take them over the edge. The rotation will also get a boost when Jose Quintana returns in July. The New York bullpen looks solid, as it features closer Edwin Diaz, Adam Ottavino, Drew Smith and David Robertson. The Mets mean business and could play deep into the fall this season.
Projected NL East Standings
|New York Mets||103||59||—||YES – NL #2|
|Atlanta Braves||102||60||1.0||YES – NL #4|
|Philadelphia Phillies||94||68||9.0||YES – NL #6|