2009 Preview: NL East

After looking at the AL East, here are my predictions for the National League East:

1. Philadelphia Phillies- Division Winners

The Phils will try to defend their title, something that hasn't been done since the Yankees from 1998-2000. Other than a few minor injuries, the Phillies stayed healthy in 2008, an important key to a World Series team. Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz each had surgery and Cole Hamels experienced soreness in his elbow during spring. Jayson Werth, Chris Coste, Chad Durbin and Brad Lidge all had a few setbacks this spring, but all appear to be healthy now.

Another key factor for the Phillies success was their bullpen, one of the best in baseball. Lidge was perfect in save opportunities, a rare feat that seems impossible to repeat. J.C Romero, a key contributor is also suspended for 50 games.

With Pat Burrell in Tampa, the Phillies will have to rely on Raul Ibanez in left, who should put up numbers somewhere in Burrell's ballpark. That makes three left handed bats in the batting order, a nightmare for right handed pitchers. The Phils have a potent lineup that includes Ryan Howard, who led MLB in HR and RBI last season.

The rotation looks the same, other than Chan Ho Park will be the fifth starter instead of Kyle Kendrick, who is the minor leagues. If Park does not succeed, the Phillies always have J.A Happ.

2. New York Mets (Wild Card Winners)

The reason the Mets didn't win the division in 2008 was because of their bullpen. The Mets turned their bullpen from the worst to one of the best this off season with the additions of J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez.

The Mets ace remains Johan Santana, one of the best in the business. Mike Pelfrey, who had a good 2008 season will start behind Santana. John Maine will back in the rotation after recovering from an injury and newly acquired Livan Hernandez will be the 5th starter.
The Mets also have to MVP caliber players in David Wright and Jose Reyes. Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado also return.

3. Florida Marlins

The Marlins have a lot of young talent. Ricky Nolasco, their ace, had a terrific season last season, and Chris Volstad looks to be a promising young pitcher. While Hanley Ramirez is the best player on team, the Marlins could have a rising star in outfielder Cameron Maybin.

4. Atlanta Braves

The Braves improved their rotation with the additions of Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez. They have a lineup that included Brian McCann, and if Chipper Jones stays healthy and Jeff Francouer comes back from a down season, they have a terrific lineup.

5. Washington Nationals

The Nats aren't going to lose 100 games again, but they will likely finish last. They are an improved team and have some young talent on the rise. They added slugger Adam Dunn, Scott Olsen, Daniel Cabrera, and Josh Willingham. They are also high on catcher Jesus Flores and fifth starter Jordan Zimmermann.


Post a Comment