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UCB Project: NL East Predictions

Posted on March 31, 2009 at 8:01 AM
Filed Under: United Cardinal Bloggers
Yesterday, we took a look at the American League, making my predictions for what will happen over there.  Today, we start taking a look at the important stuff, starting with the NL East.  As with yesterday, be sure to check out the official United Cardinal Bloggers website to get a link of all the blogs participating.

To determine my standings for the NL East, I used the same depth chart/ranking system that I used for the AL.  I didn't come up with the answer I expected, but I"m going to stick with it.  Not like I usually get these right anyway.

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1) Philadelphia (30 points): Even with all the offseason activity by their rivals to the north, the Phillies still top the charts as the team to beat.  Their offense is a very dangerous thing, especially in their ballpark.  While Ryan Howard is probably a little overrated, he's still a very dangerous bat, especially with people like Chase Utley to help out.

Their pitching staff is more than Cole Hamels and company, though the latter half of the rotation is a little questionable.  The end of the pen, though, was lights out last year and will probably regress some this year, but they have room to do so.

Top players: Howard, Utley, Jayson Werth, Brett Myers, Brad Lidge

2) New York (34 points): Odds are, if the Mets get a lead in September, they are going to close the door on it this year.  I mean, three straight fades in a row?  They'd have to move to Chicago if they kept that up.

Their pitching staff is good, though it could use some work if Livan Hernandez really is going to be their number five starter.  Their offense is kinda working on a "stars and scrubs" mentality; a number of strong players and a number of iffy ones.

Top players: David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana, John Maine.

3) Atlanta (43 points): It seems to me that this division really pairs off.  Either NY or Philly could take the crown without too much surprise and either Atlanta or Florida could wind up third.

Atlanta doesn't have the best of the best like they did during their heyday, but they still have a solid lineup with a pitching staff that could be surprising.  Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez only rate threes because they are lined up behind Santana and Hamels (in Lowe's case) and Myers and Josh Johnson (for Vazquez).  In other words, the points may not be there, but the talent is.

Atlanta could struggle for runs, though, especially if Chipper Jones slides off of last year's pace, which would not surprise anyone.  They'll have to hope that pitching staff can keep them into games and someone can pop one.

Top players: Brian McCann, Jair Jurrjens, Tom Glavine.

4) Florida (46 points): Florida has an exciting team, but I don't know that offensively it's up to the task of taking on the Mets and the Phillies.

Of course, Hanley Ramirez makes any offense instantly legitimate, and Dan Uggla has shown he has some pop in his bat (even if his glove rings when you drop it) but other than that, there are a lot of young guys and filler players.

Like Atlanta, they should be able to play some close games because of the young studs they have populating their pitching staff.  None of their starters get a one, but they have strong competition in those roles.  The total rotation got a 13, which tied the Phillies and was just one point shy of Atlanta and New York.

Top player: Ramirez.

5) Washington (57 points): Then there are the Nationals.

Likely to be another long season in the nation's capital.  I didn't rank one of the starters nor the closer out of last place.  The offense is a little better, but not a whole lot.  If the Nationals win more than 75 games, I think it's got to be very encouraging.  They may hit a few longballs and their outfield might develop into a strength, but there is just so much more work to do.

Top player: Adam Dunn


1 Comment | Leave a comment

Nice picks... same order as mine! I do think, however, the 2, 3, and 4 spots in this division could be a toss-up.

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