As opposed to 2015, the NL East was one of the better divisions in the MLB in 2016. Their division included two playoff teams (Mets and Nationals) and included a very talented Marlins team who only finished 3 games under .500 and were in the playoff hunt for the majority of the season. There’s also hope for the bottom half of the NL East in which the Phillies and the Braves have both significantly improved over the past year. It will be interesting to see what the NL East brings to the table in the 2017 season. With that being said, here are my predictions for the NL East in the upcoming season.
Division Winners: New York Mets (92-70)
The New York Mets now officially have the second best rotation in the MLB, with the Cubs being the only team ahead of them. This team comes into the 2017 season with a chip on their shoulder after they suffered a devastating loss to Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants in the NL Wild Card game, however, in their defense, injuries held them back from making a deep postseason run. The Mets starting rotation now features “5 Aces” as Noah Syndergaard has previously tweeted.
This rotation includes
- Noah Syndergaard
- Jacob deGrom
- Matt Harvey
- Steven Matz
- Zach Wheeler
The scary part about this? They’re all 100% healthy. If the Mets can stay healthy, they will be your division champions.
2nd Place: Washington Nationals (86-76)
After a tough first round exit for the Nationals in the 2016 season, it seems as if they will be in the same boat for the 2017 season. The Nationals haven’t won a playoff series since being in the league in 2005 and the magic 8 ball says that this isn’t the year that the 11 year streak will be snapped. Although the top of their rotation is extremely strong with former Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, they are hurting at the bottom of the rotation and are weak in the bullpen as well. Unless the Nationals make some moves, it’s likely they will miss the playoffs in 2017.
3rd & 4th Place: Atlanta Braves (79-83) & Philadelphia Phillies (79-83)
The previous few seasons have not been pretty for Braves or Phillies fans. Luckily for fans of both clubs, both teams showed significant promise in their respective 2016 campaigns. With rising prospects on both teams, such as Odubul Herrera and Julio Teheran, it’s likely that both clubs will continue to show significant improvement in the 2017 season.
5th Place: Miami Marlins (71-91)
The tragic loss of star pitcher Jose Fernandez represented the most depressing ending to a season any Marlins fan could imagine. Although the Marlins still have young stars in Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, they have a lot of dark spots on their team and have a hard time staying healthy. Although they have a ton of talent displayed throughout their team and had a decent 2016 season, don’t expect the Marlins to finish any better than .500 this year.