Feb
28
2021

The NL East Is The Best Division In Baseball

As spring training starts, MLB fans worldwide are preparing for a more typical year of baseball. A 60-game sprint won’t happen; the marathon march to October is back. The increase in games will see several divisions become one-horse races. The AL Central is a prime example of that. However, there is one division that mightn’t become clear until September.

The NL East boasts five good teams with different strengths and weaknesses. That creates unpredictability in an already unpredictable sport. It seems like we won’t see the expansion in playoff teams from last year. If there is no expansion, it makes the division race even more important. Through Spring, Summer, and Fall, the best baseball will come from the east.

Atlanta Braves

The Braves are the team to beat in the NL East. They are the defending division champs as the team reached the NLCS last year. Brian Snitker’s squad owns the perfect blend of explosive young talent and veteran players. Youngsters like Ronald Acuna jr, Christian Pache, and Ian Anderson are vital pieces that the Braves will build around for years to come. Add those excellent players to reigning MVP Freddie Freeman, Marcell Ozuna, and Charlie Morton, and the Braves are in a healthy position to repeat as NL East champions.

The batting lineup is a smart mix of power hitters and consistent hitters. Batters like Freeman complement sluggers like Acuna; that is the right recipe for success in the majors. It is no surprise that the Braves ranked in the top-five for hits, runs, home runs, average, and slugging. It is a brilliant lineup that tests opposing pitchers for nine innings. The Braves are the best batting lineup in the NL East.

The batting lineup is a smart mix of power hitters and consistent hitters. Batters like Freeman complement sluggers like Acuna; that is the right recipe for success in the majors. It is no surprise that the Braves ranked in the top-five for hits, runs, home runs, average, and slugging. It is a brilliant lineup that tests opposing pitchers for nine innings. The Braves are the best batting lineup in the NL East.

On the pitching side, Atlanta bolstered its rotation with the signing of veteran pitcher Charlie Morton. Simultaneously, young arms Ian Anderson and Touki Toussaint should improve over a more extended season. The Braves’ batting depth is superb, plus the team added experience to a developing pitching staff. Atlanta is the team to beat in the east.

Miami Marlins

Despite all the Covid drama, the Miami Marlins battled back to make the postseason. This rag-tag bunch of prospects and journeymen fought their way to finish second in the division. The Marlins may not be contenders to win the east outright. Nonetheless, Miami is one of the fastest-rising teams in all of baseball. The Marlins farm system is the third-best in MLB. Derek Jeter’s front office is doing a brilliant job of restocking the team.

The Marlins compete in every game; the team is more than the sum of its parts. With smart veterans like Starling Marte and Corey Dickerson, the Marlins will be a tough out in their awkward stadium. Miami is on the come-up, and these youngsters will bloody some noses. Miami is the hipster’s team; they play with a great attitude and never quit. The Marlins are the trendy underdog.

New York Mets

The upstart Mets are making waves this offseason. With new owner Steve Cohen in charge, the Mets attempt to reverse New York’s other team’s fortunes in 2021. The big move the team made in the winter was the acquisition of Francisco Lindor. The superstar shortstop is now the cornerstone for the Mets infield.

New York’s most significant strength is pitching. Marcus Stroman, Carlos Carrasco, Rick Porcello, and former Cy Young winner Jacob DeGrom form a formidable pitching staff. After finishing fourth in the division, pitching will underpin the Mets’ success. In a big-ball park like Citi Field, quality pitching can power the Mets.

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Offensively, the Mets possess plenty of power. Peter Alonso is a tremendous slugger. Meanwhile, JD Davis, Lindor, Albert Almora, and Brandon Nimmo are solid complimentary hitters. The Mets look like Atlanta’s most significant threat; they own the best starting rotation in the division and have plenty of power in the dugout.

The Mets will compete for the division title. There are All-stars, gold gloves, and Cy Young winners all over this roster. The New York Mets fans expect a division race. They must deliver.

Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia’s first team got labeled a juggernaut by star outfielder Bryce Harper. It’s hard to disagree. New GM Dave Dombrowski re-signed several free agents for 2021. Star veterans like JT Realmuto and Didi Gregorius are coming back. That is a massive boost for Philly. With Harper, McCutchen, Segura, Bohm, etc., the Phillies have a superstar lineup full of destructive hitters. The Phillies roster boasts a ton of individual superstars that can win a game on any day.

On the pitching front, Philadelphia’s two stars are Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. Both of these pitchers are aces who are capable of pitching deep into games. Philadelphia’s weakness is the bullpen. Can Joe Girardi trust the pen to close games? I don’t know; therefore, the Phillies will participate in plenty of close games. With their boom-or-bust hitters, the Phillies will be incredibly exciting to watch.

Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals are much better than what they showed in 2020. The 2019 world champions still own vital pieces from that team. Juan Soto and Victor Robles are star batters that can launch balls into orbit. Then, there is the future HOFer on the mound.

Mad Max Scherzer is a perennial Cy Young candidate; he is one of the great pitchers of the last 20 years. Alongside him is Patrick Corbin, who is a bonafide stud. Experts are sleeping on the Nats. The talent is clearly there on the roster; veterans such as Stephen Strasburg, Trea Turner, and Alex Avila will ensure that the Nats will compete in the division.

The team is no stranger to the underdog role; they started poorly in 2019. Yet Washington was able to catch up and get into the playoffs. If you like sizzling, starting pitching with a dash of big-hitting, the Nats will be highly entertaining in the NL East.

Don’t Miss The Divisional Series’

All five teams in the division are at different stages of their cycle coming into 2021. Even with that, all five teams possess stars all over the field. Depth-wise, no other division comes close to the talent level in the NL East. That is the beauty of baseball; it is an individual game within a team framework.

In 2021, this division will showcase the best individuals going head to head regularly. The world wants to watch Scherzer vs Harper, Morton vs Alonso, and all the other star matchups that can happen. Throw in the cut-throat nature and grind that is the regular season; these games are unmissable. The division picture will change throughout the year, so grab your popcorn, postpone the yard-work and get the TV switched to this division. Spring is almost here.