2009 NL East Preview
In the National League West last year, the battle between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets went into the final week. But the Mets chocked and the Phills played like the champions they would be. In the meanwhile, the Washington Nationals proved to be the worst team in the league, the Atlanta Braves found their pitching crumbling and the Florida Marlins ran out of gas.
The Philadelphia Phillies certainly have a chance at repeating and the New York Mets could contend for the top spot. The club's pitching staff is one of the best around and there's plenty of punch in the lineup. Pitchers Cole Hamels and Brett Meyers are a solid one-two punch. Brad Lidge is a done deal closer. The back-to-back bats of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are mammoth killers of some of the best pitching the league has to offer.
The New York Mets' GM Omar Minaya has worked hard to improve the team. Last season's late-season slump was an embarrassment. New manager Jerry Manuel looks to be a good fit with this club. After choking two seasons straight, management and players will be determined to prove themselves. The pitching is deep and includes number one man Johan Santana and closer Francisco Rodriguez. There's power in the Mets' bats.
The fact is that the Florida Marlins despite their petite payroll and constant turnover will be in the mix for much of the season. The team is definitely young but they are also talented. Larry Beinfest, who serves a President of Baseball Operations, and Michael Hill, the Marlins' GM, are a dynamic duo that's geared towards recognizing the best inexpensive talent around. This is not a team that will win the division, but they could make a run at the Wild Card.
Bobby Cox is still a fine manager who is able to make his Atlanta Braves play their best baseball. But no matter how good Cox is, it will be close to impossible for him to get this team to finish any better than fourth. Chipper Jones is still a gifted hitter who can win games with one stroke of his bat. Over the years, Atlanta has slowly lost its pop. This season, there's little on board that will help them get it back.
Little improvement has been seen in the National's camp. This season this young team from our nation's capital will be asked to develop into topnotch MLB players and a cohesive team by playing a season in the majors. Manager Acta is an excessively positive force and GM Bowden will try to seal some deals that will help make the Nationals more competitive throughout the season. No matter what this is a team that's out of the running from the start. In a year or two, they could be a feared group.
This is the Phillies division to lose. The Mets should finish in second place and the Marlins right behind them. The Wild Card will most likely come from the Central and not the East.
2009 National League East Predictions
Projected Order of Finish:
Click on team name for individual team preview.