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Predictions for the NL East

New York Mets: PROJECTED FINISH: THIRD IN NL EAST

Last year in the NL East, one team dominated the division with a rotation that was not only stellar, but dominant. As for the other teams, one saw the end of a Hall of Fame manager’s career; another saw their playoff hopes collapse again, and another team has revamped themselves in the offseason.

Here are my predictions for the NL East for this upcoming Season:

Philadelphia Phillies:

PROJECTED FINISH: FIRST IN NL EAST

Reasons why: This team has a dominant pitching rotation. Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Cliff Lee are 3 of the best pitchers in baseball right now. Their lineup is also solid from batters 1-9 down. Manager Charlie Manuel will get his players to focus and work this year. They’ll battle the Mets and the Marlins down the stretch, but look for them to get the division title when it’s all said and done.

Miami Marlins

PROJECTED FINISH: SECOND IN NL EAST

Reasons why: This team is a new-look team that looks revamped this year; new manager Ozzie Guillen will make these players work. The acquisitions of Mark Beuhrle and Carlos Zambrano will shore up their rotation, and the acquisition of Jose Reyes will shore up the top of their batting order. They’ll battle the Phillies for first place. Look for them to be in a tight race throughout the season.

New York Mets

PROJECTED FINISH: THIRD IN NL EAST

Reasons why: This team has the talent to be a contender, but they don’t have enough depth to win the division title. Getting Johan Santana back in their rotation will help, but I don’t know how effective he’ll be coming off major surgery in the offseason. The only two guys you have to account for in their lineup are  David Wright and Jason Bay. My question is without guys like Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado who were sent packing in the offseason in their lineup, how productive will they be now that their protection in the lineup is gone? They’ll battle the Braves for thirdplace. Finishing over .500 would be an accomplishment.

Atlanta Braves

PROJECTED FINISH: FOURTH IN NL EAST

Reasons why: This team has a lot of talent, but like the Mets, they don’t have enough depth. I like the guys in their lineup, but their pitching leaves something to be desired. After Tim Hudson and Jair Jurrjens, their rotation is very suspect. They have good players off the bench such as Eric Hinske and Jack Wilson, but after that, who knows. I’d be a little worried about Jason Heyward. He’s coming off major surgery and will be counted on more than ever to produce after a tough season. Hats off to Chipper Jones on a historic career. He’ll be retiring after this season and will be missed by the baseball world.

Bottom line: They’ll battle the Nationals for fourth place and will look to try and rebuild their team for the future.

Washington Nationals

PROJECTED FINISH: FIFTHIN NL EAST

Reasons why: This team thinks there a top contender in the division. I feel they’re a few years away from contending. Don’t get me wrong, they have a lot of depth and talent, the problem is majority of their star players are coming off major surgeries for injuries that shelved them for majority of the season and I don’t know how effective they’ll be this year. They’ll battle the Braves for last place. This team is talented, but they’re still years away from contending.

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