March 27, 2006

NL East

Many people are pointing to the NL East as the most interesting division this season. It certainly was last year - all 5 teams were in contention for a major part of the year. This year however the prevailing wisdom seems to be that the massive decline of Florida combined with the big acquistions of the Mets should result in a runaway victory for New York. I beg to differ. As much as I hate to say it, I think the Braves will win the division, AGAIN, and the Mets will again be the target of the gleeful NY tabloids.

The Mets' big pickups were Delgado and Wagner. This certainly addressed issues the Mets had last season, and they will probably score a lot of runs (there's no way Beltran has another lousy season like last year). However, they very much DO NOT have the pitching to compete in the national league. Their staff isn't even as good as the Yankees', who will need to score a lot of runs to support their staff. Look at their starters: Glavine will run out of gas this season, Pedro is battling a bizarre foot injury and has his best years behind him anyway, Trachsel has always been a junkball thrower, and Zambrano and Heilman are consistently inconsistent. Similarly, in their bullpen they have no one after Wagner and Julio, and they will need bodies to pitch even if their old starters pitch well since they can't go deep into games. The mets should finish around .500

The Braves will likely win the division, and only the Phillies will be able to give them a run for their money. My final predictions for this division is

Braves 90 wins
Phils 87 wins
Mets 80 wins
Nats 78 wins
Fish 60 wins