2008 NL East Preview
The National League East has three contenders—the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets. All three have the talent and all three have the motivation to fight to the very end and secure a post-season berth.
The Philadelphia Phills want to go back into the second season immediately. After taking the division last season, they were instantly eliminated in round one of the playoffs. The team will continue to score runs, and it possesses a fine one-two punch in the rotation. Manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee did yeoman’s work getting this team to the playoffs.
It’s been a strange streak for the Atlanta Braves as the perennial post-season contenders missed the playoffs for a second season straight. The Braves field a fine rotation that now includes veteran Tom Glavine. Overall, the team is solid and with Bobby Cox at the helm, they certainly have a chance to redeem themselves by ending their post-season drought.
Speaking of redeeming, manager Willie Randolph can certainly use some saving grace after seeing his team blow a seven-game lead in the final two weeks of the season. That saving grace may just be Johan Santana. The Mets have a solid rotation and players that can hit and run. If the pitching staff can hold it together, New York has a good chance of making or, once again, just missing the playoffs.
The Washington Nationals and Florida Marlins will occupy the bottom rung of the NL East’s ladder. The Nationals’ rotation is weak, while the team’s bullpen is one of the best around. Their offense is limited and the club’s “D” is not much better. The Nationals have brought in a bunch of reclamation projects. If they work out, Washington could surprise a few folks but not enough to finish higher than fourth-place.
The Florida Marlins will certainly field some fine young talent. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez is about to breakout as a true superstar. The pitching staff has potential. The bullpen is good considering how poorly the starters did last season. The Marlins’ management team is dedicated and smart and that bodes well for the future. The question is—when will the future become the present?
The NL East is an extremely tough division. In order to have a shot at the division title, a team has to be running on all cylinders. The top three are a toss up. The ability of each team’s vets to stay healthy and contribute and the depth of the farm system may determine the final standings. Look for all three GMs to make deals up to the final trade deadline.
2008 National League East Predictions
Projected Order of Finish:
Click on team name for individual team preview.