Atlanta Braves - One of MLB’s more significant year-over-year makeovers (make-unders?) here. Even the remaining outfielder from the forgettable 2014 vintage has changed his name. The rotation and bullpen are decent, with some young arms. But predictions of a power outage resulting from trades of Evan Gattis, Justin Upton and Jason Heyward seem legit. Can catcher Christian Bethancourt wield the bat at all? Dude has yet to hit a major league home run. Nick Markakis and Jonny Gomes may help stave off irrelevancy.
Miami Marlins - Where the Braves cycled down, the Fish geared up. Mat Latos and Dan Haren augment a rotation that should see Jose Fernandez return at some point. Dee Gordon is coming off a great year in L.A. and will produce. They’ve also added known professional baseball players Martin Prado and Mike Morse. Will Giancarlo Stanton have another MLB-caliber year? That contract makes Blog kind of dizzy. Blog will be seriously considering retirement options by the time it runs its course.
New York Mets - David Wright yelled at Noah Syndergaard and threw his lunch away! Then Zack Wheeler popped his UCL! Good thing they didn’t trade ol’ Dillon Gee! So much Met madness this March! Addition of Michael Cuddyer is a nice plus. Can 2nd-year catcher Travis d’Arnaud add to the offensive alchemy? Blog thinks they’re going to be decent, maybe good even, with more home run pop then the Flushing faithful are accustomed to.
Philadelphia Phillies - Blog happened to watch the Phillies on Monday. They looked undermanned and listless. Their pitching staff looked especially undermanned and listless, with Cole Hamels seemingly sleep-walking ahead of an oft-rumored trade to [YOUR TEAM HERE]. Last month the Inquirer quoted Phils’ bench coach Larry Bowa as saying “There’s nothing in the contract that says you’re going to be playing on a team that is over .500.” Oy. Ryan Howard looks like he’s having a nice spring though. Can he play well enough for a team in need of a bat to take a look?
Washington Nationals - The lone team to finish above .500 in this division last year, the Nats are coming back and they’ve got Max Scherzer to boot. They have a few injuries to fret about – the Denard Span thing could be a headache – but they have viable options. Can Ryan Zimmerman match the production of departed first baseman Adam Laroche? Can Tanner Roark close? Tanner Roark was born to close! The Nats are the best team in the NL this spring and they’re hungry — so look out!
Predicted order of finish:
* wild card mix