Prediction Time- National League East
It is almost time for baseball season to begin for real. It is an annual rite of passage that predictions are to be made for the upcoming season. Every team starts equal and hope springs eternal. At least it does for a few days, weeks and months for various teams. The United Cardinal Bloggers have done the predictions blog for several years and now is the time to make mine. If you don’t like mine, then go to the UCB website and find one you do like.
#1-Washington Nationals (95-67) Last Season 86-76
Why a nine game jump up in wins? The addition of Doug Fister will help this team that is all about pitching. Stephen Strasburg is ready to dominate in 2014.
Matt Williams takes over as manager and can make out a roster full of complete players. Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman can and likely will mash the ball. Throw in some defense with Denard Span and utility man Nate McLouth with Ian Desmond and not many holes show up for the Nationals. Take the ball to the mound and find Fister, Strasburg, Ross Detweiler, Tanner Roark and Odorizzi and the starting pitching is fantastic. Then, late in the games, they bring in Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano. This team can make a run for several years.
#2- Atlanta Braves (90-62) Last season 96-66
Close but no cigar in 2014. Now they have lost the heart and soul of the pitching staff with Tim Hudson leaving and the mainstay and team captain Brian McCann and have only brought in mediocre help in Gavin Floyd. The Upton brothers need to both have good years and hope for BJ to get his game back. Evan Gattis will be allowed to play fulltime and they future MVP Freddie Freeman will offensively lead this team. Kris Medlen has health issue and now Julio Tehran and Mike Minor will need to get wins. Brandon Beachy will be gone for the year and now Ervin Santana has been signed to take up the slack. They still have Craig Kimbrel to close games and he is one of the best.
#3- New York Mets (74-88) Last season 74-88
There is nothing about this team to consider them better. Some will argue Curtis Granderson can do that but he hasn’t shown his skills for several seasons. Offense is needed from Ike Davis and David Wright while oldie Bartolo Colon comes to pitch in Citi Field along with Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler.
#4- Miami Marlins (73-89) Last Season 62-100
Garrett Jones, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Rafael Furcal have been added to a very young team with Giancarlo Stanton heading the offense. Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich can now play every day for Miami. Jose Fernandez is a good start to the pitching rotation. Fellow youngsters Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez and Jacob Turner can flat out pitch. I would expect to see Angel Sanchez crack the rotation out of Spring Training to round out the rotation.. Behind closer Steve Cishek, the Marlins will be better than many believe in 2014.
#5- Philadelphia Phillies (69-93) Last season 73-89
Ryne Sandberg will lose his mind managing this team. The off-season saw them lose Roy Halladay and add Marlon Byrd. That is not doing much to help the team. Oldies Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins are all running on fumes. Dominic Brown and Cosy Asche are good but not difference makers. Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee anchor the rotation that was one of the worst last season. Make catch the Marlins but still not very good.