Results tagged ‘ Washington Nationals ’
Alright well we are only 10 days away from opening night, so I figured now is a great chance to start my divisional previews. Since I’m a national league guy, we’ll start right at the top with the National League East. I will rank the teams in 3 categories, hitting, pitching, and peripherals (if you will). Let’s get to it.
- The Mets come in to 2009 with something to prove. They have two consecutive years of choking in September which both resulted in missing the playoffs. This team’s offense has been one of the best in the game the last 5 years. In 2008, they averaged 4.9 runs a game, tied for 2nd in the national league. This lineup features great hitters in Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado, along with a young left fielder in Daniel Murphy with loads of potential.
- The world champion Phillies tied the Mets for 2nd in the NL in runs per game last year. Their offense was led by Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Pat Burrell. The Phillies lost Burrell to free agency this offseason, but picked up Raul Ibanez to help fill the void. All-in-all, this lineup is deadly and could very well lead the Phillies to their 2nd division title in as many years.
- The Marlins are full of youth. This unit averaged 4.8 runs per game last season, a very solid number. The signs show this team going no where but up. The offense is led by Hanley Ramirez, and supported by Jeremy Hermida, Dan Uggla, and soon to be 22 year old Cameron Maybin. I definitely see the Marlins contending with the top of this division, almost singly because of this offense.
- The Nationals made a splash this offseason by adding Adam Dunn, who is far and away the best hitter on this team. That should provide done with a lot of confidence, and my guess is he’ll be swinging for the fences every single at bat. This could result in a 50+ home run season for one of the big league’s best power hitters. Dunn will be helped by (still young) Ryan Zimmerman, Lastings Milledge, and Elijah Dukes, who all have potential to put up good numbers this year.
- It seems like the Braves have been going downhill for a couple of years now. They’re record streak of division titles ended in 2007, and the offense doesn’t look potent. They averaged 4.6 runs per game last year. Their offense (still) features Chipper Jones, however it’s kind of weak after that because of the offseason loss of Mark Teixeira. Brian McCann is a budding young slugger at the catcher position, but it’s bad news when you rely on your catcher for most of your offense. Guys that need to step up this year are Josh Anderson, Kelly Johnson, and Casey Kotchman.
- The Phillies ranked first in the NL East in runs allowed last year. Their pitching is what got them to the World Series. Cole Hamels is an already established ace who will just keep getting better, barring that elbow issue. Brett Myers, Joe Blanton, and Jamey Moyer should lead the Phillies to once again rank first in runs allowed this year.
- Two words : Johan Santana. Johan is probably my pick for Cy Young this year. He is going to be unbelievable. The problem is, there isn’t much in this rotation after him. Mike Pelfrey and John Maine could both have solid seasons, but there are question marks. If those guys pitch well, this pitching staff could be the best the Mets have had in awhile.
- I almost took the Braves to be second in this category. The offseason additions of Derek Lowe and Javier Vasquez should do nothing but improve last year’s mark of 4.8 runs allowed per game. 2008 breakout Jair Jurrjens makes a very nice looking 3 starter. I really like this pitching staff for the Braves. Although Mike Gonzalez is kind of shaky in the closer role. I’m rooting for him though.
- The Marlins are very youthful on this side of the ball as well. At the top of this staff is Ricky Nolasco, who could have a monster season. Josh Johnson and Chris Volstad are also guys with a lot of upside. Andrew Miller will be in the 5 spot, which could really determine how this rotation fairs. Miller was a top prospect and has nasty stuff. If he takes positive strides this year, this Marlins rotation could surprise you.
- I was generous to the Nats in putting them 4th in the hitting race, but it’s not going to happen here. John Lannon, Scott Olsen, Daniel Cabrera, and another Zimmerman? Really? Nationals lose a ton of games because of this rotation.
So here’s my final standings for the 2009 National League East:
New York Mets…………………..98 – 64
Philadelphia Philles………….. 90 – 72
Florida Marlins…………………..85 – 79
Atlanta Braves……………………78 – 86
Washington Nationals…………68 – 96