The 2009 NL east

NL east prediction

1st – Phillies

2nd – Marlins

3rd – Mets

4th – Braves

5th – Nationals

Blunders:

Phillies – Raul Ibanez is aging and if he succumbs is an injury risk, with him out of the lineup the Phillies are still an offensive force, but one with a gaping hole. A failure to sign Sheffield to secure more outfield depth may come back to hurt the phillies and prevent what should be a favorable season in the division.

Mets – K-Rod can dazzle on a team that gives him 70 plus save oppurtunities, no one can argue that fact. But the Angels were in the weakest division in baseball, and had an utterly stacked team by comparisson to the rest of the division. He is a violent flame thrower which accounts for alot of his sucess, but coming off an overworked season he has the increased potential to get a little wild. Luis Castillo did look great in spring, but translating that over 162 games at his age, and given his injury past, he will turn into the problem spot in the Mets order. If the young Daniel Murphy struggles, expect a mid-season trade for out of place Josh Willingham of the Nationals as an inexpensive yet consistent replacement. The New York front office cannot hesitate with struggling players in this division. 

Marlins – The bullpen let some very productive, and rather inexpensive names walk away this off-season and consequently if they don’t recieve a miraculous season out of Kiko Calero or Logan Kensing, and a consistent showing from Renyel Pinto, the bullpen could collapse behind what is the best starting rotation in the division. If Bonafacio struggles in the lead off spot, Fredi Gonzalez needs to be ready to pull the plug and switch his spot in the order with Cameron Maybin’s quickly to ensure a productive top-to-bottom offense. Even though he is a 5th starter, Andrew Miller’s upside arriving on the scene is paramount to the sucess of this team, it is all on the starting pitching this year.

Braves – An odd mix of veterans and very young players, the Braves are the most injury prone team in the division. Glavine and Chipper will face DL time, and if the young minor league of the Braves cannot immediately fill Glavine’s roll, the team will fall out of contention in a hurry like last year. Jiar Jurjjens is the key to this teams competitiveness though, in his second Major League campaign in which hitters will be ready, he must make the necessary adjustments to stay sucessful.

Nationals – A team stacked with five outfielders and three 1st basemen is doomed to have playing time issues and consistent production out of its platooned players at the plate. If the Nat’s attempt to carry this poorly constructed roster into the season without dealing some players for more pitching, they will likely sink to the bottom of the division very similarly to last year. The biggest road block for this team is it’s own front office. Olsen is the key point of this team. The offense will be dismal on a day-to-day basis, and if Olsen doesn’t provide steady outings in a division that has a habbit of pummeling him, he will have been a useless aquisition to a struggling franchise.

Suprises –

Phillies – Brad Lidge repeating his immaculate performance during the 2008 World Series run. If he can mimic even 90% of his sucess, this team will repeat as Division champs.

SO – 47

SV – 44

ERA – 1.89

Mets – Carlos Delgado had something to prove the second half of last season, and he continued proving it in the World Baseball Classic and Spring training where he’s hosted a god-like batting average. If he can translate this in the regular season, it is hard to imagine any right-handed pitcher getting the best of this potent line-up.

 BA – .293

HR – 36

RBI – 124

Marlins – Jeremy Hermida was once a highly revered prospect, and was expected to be an all-star in no time. Falling miserably short of these expectations for a few years now, while showing glimpse of this potential, don’t be suprised if Hermida who is running out of chances with this patient front office to finaly step it up.

BA – .302

HR – 23

RBI – 84

Braves – Chipper Jones repeating his performance of 2008 at the plate, but without a stint on the DL. He is arguably the best switch-hitter of all time, and don’t be suprised if he makes this popular opinion in the average fan’s mind by the end of 2008

BA – .347

HR – 21

RBI – 103

Nationals – Can Nick Johnson achieve 500+ ABs? If he does, the Nationals may not finish the season with 90 losses, and expect his line to look like this…

BA – .319

HR – 27

RBI – 109

 

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