NL East Predictions

February 28, 2008 at 7:27 am 3 comments

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The NL East looks be a dogfight this year. The Mets have upgraded. The Phillies are defending champs and J-Roll thinks they will win 100. And the Braves have a very good team. This division should produce two 90 win teams and may produce the NL Wild Card.

[TABLE=64]

Strengths
1) Speed – They led the NL in stolen bases last season with 200, 66 more than 2nd place. They should lead the league again in that category.

Weaknesses:
1) Depth – The Mets ;ack depth in the outfield, in the infield, and in the pen. All areas that may get addressed in July.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Mike Pelfrey is the only candidate that has a real shot at breaking out other than Ryan Church. If Pelfrey re-learns his breaking ball and gets a little better command he could be another John Maine circa 2007.

[TABLE=65]

Strengths
1) Management – Bobby Cox is possibly the best in the business at his job. He blends the perfect mixture of veteranss and youth and knows how to handle his youth correctly. He also knows when to play a player and isn’t afraid to pull a hot hitter out of AAA just for a few games of his hot bat.

Weaknesses:
1) Defense up the middle – Kotsay isn’t what he used to be. Escobar is a little fringe at SS but could be above average with time. Kelly Johson is still learning 2nd. And McCann could be a little better behind the plate.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Kelly Johnson will be in just his 2nd full season and is primed to get better. When you are putting up .375 OBP and learning a new position in your first full season you are primed for a very good-to-great season.

[TABLE=66]

Strengths
1) Offense – The Phillies tied for the league lead in OBP, were 1st in SLUG, OPS, runs, and triples. They will have a 3B who can hit a little (but can’t get on base) and a platoon in the OF that will produce.

Weaknesses:
1) Pitching – Other than Hamels and Myers the rotation is average at best. The pen is suffering too. Lidge is struggling to stay healthy and all they have is Gordon to close. They could use an arm or five!

Breakout Candidate:
1) Jayson Werth is the only player that hasn’t broken out that has the potentail to. I’ve liked his bat since he was a catcher in high school and if he can hit just .270 against righties he will have a fine season.

[TABLE=68]

Strengths
1) Outfield – With a young (but troubled) outfield that has Milledge, Mo Pena, Dukes, and Kearns you can’t go wrong. The new park will be closer to neutral so we should see better offensive numbers and Dukes and Milledge could be 20-20 guys with 500 at-bats each.

Weaknesses:
1) Pitching – The rotation could be the worst in the league and the pen is shallow, especially with the talks of trading Cordero and Rauch.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Lastings Milledge is one of the happiest players to be traded. He gets a fresh start in Washington DC and a starting gig. He should put up fine numbers and be a steal in most fantasy drafts as he was in this trade.

[TABLE=67]

Strengths
1) Hanley Ramirez – Seriously, other than Uggla and Hermida, who else is there? This offense is bad and in a pitcher’s park and Hanley is the lone superstar right now on the team.

Weaknesses:
1) Payroll – This could be the most ridiculously low payroll of all-time when compared to league average.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Jeremy Hermida has been waiting to be healthy and to contribute to this team. He will get a chance to be the second star on this team and I see it happening soon. He could easily put up a .310/.400/.500 season with 25 homers and 20 steals. Check out his post All-Star break numbers in 256 at-bats: .340/.401/.555 with 10 homers and 23 doubles. Look for Hermida to bacame the player we fantasy players drafted for two years ago.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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NL Central Predictions AL West Predictions

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Aaron Boynton  |  February 29, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    I have a hard time seeing the Nats win less games than last year but we’ll see.

    Reply
  • 2. Erik  |  March 1, 2008 at 10:05 am

    I think the Nationals could surprise, mind you not win the division or finish ahead of the braves, mets or phillies but will do a bit better than what you list…

    Reply
  • 3. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 1, 2008 at 10:17 am

    I just can’t see them doing better than last year at all. I don’t see Dmitri Young maitching last season’s numbers, I don’t see Christian Guzman doing it, I don’t see the pitching improving while moving out of RFK. I also think Rauch and Cordero will get traded and that will hurt the pen.

    Reply

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