Saturday, March 30, 2013

Can anyone challenge the Nats?

Photo by USA Today

2013 N.L. East Preview

It was quite the interesting offseason for teams in the N.L. East as major free agent splashes were made by some teams while another club traded nearly everyone they had. With all the movement that went on within the division this offseason, let's look at each of the Nationals' division foes to see what they have going as the season gets ready to start.

Atlanta Braves

2012 record: 94-68
2012 finish: Wild Card, 2nd in N.L. East
Key additions: Justin Upton, B.J. Upton, Jordan Walden, Chris Johnson
Key departures: Chipper Jones, Michael Bourn, Martin Prado, Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, David Ross

After losing in the one-game wild card playoff last season, the Braves overloaded much of their roster to get faster and younger. In come both of the Upton brothers to join All-Star Jason Heyward in what could be the best outfield in the majors. Both Uptons bring questions of consistency, but each are of the most talented at their position in the game. If they both have seasons that get even close to their potential, Atlanta’s lineup could be scary. They are balanced up and down with speed and power.

Atlanta’s bullpen will once again be among their strengths, not much has changed besides adding Jordan Walden. But their rotation holds a few wild cards. Kris Medlen will be counted on heavily to reproduce his 2012 season (10-1, 1.57 ERA) and Mike Minor will have to stay consistent. They also have Julio Teheran expected to be the fifth starter, he is super talented but has yet to find success at the major league level.

Philadelphia Phillies

2012 record: 81-81
2012 finish: Missed playoffs, 3rd in N.L. East
Key additions: Michael Young, Ben Revere, Mike Adams, John Lannan, Delmon Young
Key departures: Vance Worley, Placido Polanco, Juan Pierre, Brian Schneider

The Phillies are easily the hardest team to predict in this year’s N.L. East. Part of what they have going suggests they could be back as contenders, with some of their best players healthy and an infusion of players like Young and Lannan. But questions still remain across the board with Carlos Ruiz set to serve a suspension and Roy Halladay having such a terrible spring. Ruiz will be back at some point, but that rotation looks a lot different without Halladay. You’re then talking about Lannan as your third starter.

What could help Philadelphia overcome those problems is the potential emergence of their young outfielders. Ben Revere can get on base and steal bags, and Dominic Brown had as good a spring as anyone. They also look to have an improved bullpen with Adams on board. Either way, a lot of things will have to go right for the Phillies to get back into the playoffs and atop the N.L. East.

New York Mets

2012 record: 74-88
2012 finish: Missed playoffs, 4th in N.L. East
Key additions: John Buck, Shaun Marcum, Travis d’Arnaud, Marlon Byrd, Brandon Lyon, LaTroy Hawkins
Key departures: R.A. Dickey, Jason Bay, Jon Rauch, Andres Torres, Scott Hairston, Josh Thole

The Mets took a big blow to their 2013 chances with the loss of pitcher Johan Santana for the season this week. Losing him and not having Dickey will make their rotation look far less formidable. They don’t have the bats to overcome that deficiency either, which could make for a long year in New York. 

Realistically, the Mets will look to use this year to build towards 2014. They have very good young players in Zack Wheeler and d’Arnaud, but they both look one year away. Anything can happen in baseball, no one saw the Orioles and Athletics making the playoffs last season. But the Mets play in the game’s toughest division and that may make contention near impossible.

Miami Marlins

2012 record: 69-83
2012 finish: Missed playoffs, 4th in N.L. East
Key additions: Adeiny Hechevarria, Henderson Alvarez, Juan Pierre, Placido Polanco, Kevin Slowey, Jon Rauch
Key departures: Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, Heath Bell, Carlos Lee, John Buck, Carlos Zambrano

The Marlins shipped out so many players for prospects they now look like a Triple-A team. They still have Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison, plus Ricky Nolasco. But just about everyone else on the roster is a prospect or an over-the-hill veteran. Miami looks to be rebuilding around young players as they do every couple of years and this may take a while. They will be lucky to win 70 games this season.

The best-case scenario for the Marlins may simply be to have their young players showcase a talent that sends positive signals for 2014. Maybe they can play spoiler a few times and have a few rookie of the year candidates. Unfortunately for them, the N.L. East will be a cruel place for bad teams in 2013. A worst-to-first Cinderella story is very unlikely to happen.

75 comments:

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Chase, you are killing me. Please change that photo to a cool Nats picture.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Nice to see key additions/departures in the NL East. Now let's play real games and see how/who it shakes out.

SonnyG10 said...

Looks like we'll fight it out with the Braves and the Phillies. Let's stay healthy, boys.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

WaPo has done a 2 week breakdown of how the pitching matchups could shake out through the 1st Braves series:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2013/03/30/nationals-early-pitching-matchups/

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

WaPo I'm fairly certain is inccorrect as the Nats are off on the 2nd and then play the 3rd and 4th although the pitching rotation is correct.

April 1, vs. Marlins, 1:05 p.m.: Stephen Strasburg vs. Ricky Nolasco

April 2, vs. Marlins, 7:05 p.m.: Gio Gonzalez vs. Nathan Eovaldi

April 4, vs. Marlins, 4:05 p.m.: Jordan Zimmermann vs. Wade LeBlanc

Whack-a-Mule said...

I am increasingly excited about Monday and Opening Day! The N.L. East would appear to shape up as a tough 3-way battle, with all 3 contenders as realistic possibilities for a Division flag. To quote the late Earl Weaver: "All teams will win and lose 60 games apiece. It's what they do with the remaining 42 that will make the difference." 6 months doth a long season make.
P.S.
Having made my debut as the "bartender" at Duffy's Tavern for the recording of "Let's All Cheer for the Washington Nats", any word on the appearance of the video?
W-a-M

NatsJack in Florida said...

Ghost......all my schedules show Tuesday as an off day.

gail said...

Well, the Yankees managed to beat them yesterday.

baseballswami said...

Andy Pettite beat them. He can't pitch every day. Didn't the Braves just lose a reliever? In the Phils and Blue Jays-- saw Lannan, Nux, Langerhans, Andy LaRoche, Bonifacio- former Nats and Nats family .

baseballswami said...

That would be Nix.

Section 222 said...

Yes, the off day is Tuesday. They always do that just in case there's rain so the sold out crowds can just come the next day. Ricky Nolasco is a good pitcher and has done well against the Nats. But our #2 almost won the Cy Young award last year and the Marlins' is a promising youngster who they got for Hanley. That kind of says it all.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsJack, thanks for the confirm! By the way, I ran into StanK at a Dodgers high rollers event to sell premium packages. The Dodgers are going to give SFG a run at the NL West if Yo Adrian is at the top of his game behind Kemp. On paper it's the Nats and Dodgers.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Ghost.......did Stan have any Philly fans with him?

Section 222 said...

I'll believe the Dodgers when we see them actually perform up to expectations. They could be this year's Red Sox of 2011.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I enliken the Didgers to last years Marlins.....all hype with no thought to chemistry.

I give Grienke till the all star break before he starts to let on he got sold a used car from Kasten.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I see the West as a battle berween the Giants and my dark horse, the D-Backs.

MicheleS said...

The braves are the obvious threat. Who knows what is going to happen with the Phillies. The Mets seem cursed - I feel bad about Johan. I feel sorry for the Marlins Players, the owner is getting what he deserves.

In the rest of the league, the Reds & Giants are really good. Pirates & Brewers could contend, but not sure about their pitching. STL will always be in the fight. The Cubs are the Cubs (as much as it pains me to say that)

I am going to be really curious how the Dodgers will play. They also have a target on their backs too with all the $$$ spent. Plus the injury to Hanley. Kershaw and Greinke will make them competitive. The Dbacks could be interesting, but not sure they have enough to contend. And the Padres will be mediocre at best

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NJ, Phoolie shills! He is much different and confident as it's an easy sell for this team and he needs to make sure no SFGs infiltrate. That TV deal makes it easy for their revenue stream.

He hired the best stadium re-designer in the country Janet Marie Smith and everything looks great for the Nats in early May.

MicheleS said...

NJ.. On the DBacks do they have the Bats, i know th "gritty" stuff and all, but can they hit? Pitching - seems to be solid. I hope McCarthy does well.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

CHASE, CAN YOU UN-SPAM ME? thanks!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Michele.....I see the D-backs battling every pitch. They've built a team in the image of Kirk Gibson and their pitching staff is excellant....better than the Dodgers overall.

MicheleS said...

NJ, the only thing that worries me is they have a couple of Guys starting the year on the DL. Ross is and that new stud rookie they have as well (he is out longer with an elbow issue).

NatsJack in Florida said...

Just watch. It's going to be fun.

NatsJack in Florida said...

And I think the Dodgers have someone on the DL too.

MicheleS said...

NJ.. Having Hanley on the DL might be a blessing in disguise. He is such a cancer. I am more worried about the health of Kemp and Gonzalez. Part of the reason is was smart to move Bryce to LF was the wear and tear that CF takes on the big boys

waddu eye no said...

hey whack a mule -

drop me a line

gyfngpfb@gmail.com

baseballswami said...

So the last couple of years, the NL central had six teams, one of which lost over 100 games. Milwaukee, StL, Cin, Pit and the Cubs don't have the Astros around anymore to help pad their win totals. I will be interested to see what their records end up being in 2013. I think it will have an effect. I also see inter- division battles, like SF and LA affecting each team, with Ariz chiming in. The Barves dogged us all season, but both of us ended up with high win totals. You play your division a LOT.

Doc said...

MicheleS and NatsJack, not sure but Greinke is either on the DL or is on 'temporary rest', which I presume has to do with his arm, not his nerves.

MicheleS said...

Doc, not on the DL, had the issue early in spring with the Elbow, haven't seen anything else yet. On the Dodgers website they have him listed as starting against the Pirates (4th game of the season)

Doc said...

Thanks for the update MicheleS!

We'll see how Grienke's elbow problems play out. Methinks that we'll hear more about it as the season progresses.

Being an underdog fan, and a Kirk Gibson fan, I'd like to see the DBacks put a stick in the Dodger bicycle.

IKN8wxU2 said...

Great article on how the Phillies make personnel decisions:

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20130328_Phillies_continue_to_rely_more_on_scouting_than_sabermetrics.html

baseballswami said...

Remember when we had a player with a babysitter on staff? Well, ok, he was a cop. Some players have their own translator. I think there others that need live- in shrinks. So glad the Nats all seem so boringly normal. They express themselves with facial hair and hairstyles.

MicheleS said...

Swami, it's a great thing when the team is devoid of total knuckleheads. Personality is fine, but when you need a cop to babysit a player.. UGH

peric said...

The Braves or Barves thinking like Rizzo and Clark gee who would have thunk it?

Both Upton brothers to go with Jason Heyward's left-handed power bat. Chase fails to mention Uggla and Freeman who both can be offensive forces. Their shortstop has otherworld talent in the field its at the plate that things get dicey and the Braves surely wish they had Anthony Rendon or even Matt Skole to line up at third. Catching will be a bit of a issue due to the age and injuries of McCann so they are stuck with Laird and Gattis more often than not.

The Braves bullpen is awesome no doubt but their starters not so much. Makes one wonder why they didn't strike out and pick up Kyle Lohse when they had the chance? I suspect they might have some other irons in the fire and that can't be good for the Nats. This is an FO that somehow managed to unite both Upton brothers, who along with Heyward, gave them the best overall outfield in the majors. Who would have thunk it? Have to think they've got something up their sleeves given the situation in their rotation.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Chase, the Phillies outfielder spells his name "Domonic," not "Dominic."

Unknown said...

Braves are either a 100-win team if the Upton's do their thing or an 87 win team if Kris Medlen returns to Earth and the brother's Upton continue to play below their potential.

The Phillies could be a 75-win team if their roster continues to decline or a 90-win group if Roy Halliday returns along with Chase Utley.

But if the Nationals play up to their potential--and remain healthy, something that hasn't happened since they returned to DC--Washington could easily surpass 100 wins.

I'm just not smart enough In late March to figure out which of all those scenarios will play out.

If things get tough, I'll just recall the years 1972-2004 and remain happy that we have a team.

Farid @ Idaho

peric said...

Harumph Natjack you can watch the DBacks I'll be keeping an eye on those Cubbies who I think will surprise a lot of folks this season.

Meanwhile, some folks still speak fondly of Giggleman's Isle just like the old sitcom:

Here on Giggleman's Isle

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
Ghost.......did Stan have any Philly fans with him?

March 30, 2013 4:02 PM


They don't let Phoolies on the West Coast! Stan is on soft sell these days as the hype of signing Greinke paid dividends and the team is getting great buzz. If they fail this year, expect lots of cancellations of STHs (let's hope).

The stadium is going through a facelift as Stan got designer Janet Marie Smith to work for him. The plans look great.

Stan & Magic have been very smart to put Dodgers greats like Sandy Koufax on team payroll. That is a huge bene to rub elbows in the stadium club with Dodgers greats.

I hope Stan's plan collapses on the W/L record but that TV deal is for real and will make them very profitable regardless.

It just shows the Nats have an opportunity to do huge things if they can ever get their fair share of TV revenues.

baseballswami said...

Too bad we are not clairvoyant. Pretty sure the Barves have a reliever visiting Dr. Andrews right now. Don't know which guy. Now that is doom- worthy for any team.

MicheleS said...

Swami, it's Venters who is with the Doctor.

Ghost, I have a feeling that the TV deal won't get resolved until someone in Baltimore is forced out.

baseballswami said...

This Tv thing is frustrating. Just seems like no one really cares. Now we have to keep on enduring joint this and joint that. Ugh. DC and Baltimore might as well be Venus and Saturn.

peric said...

Stan has done a tremendous job with the Dodgers but the player selection and acquisition still looked more about throwing around money and not so much about chemistry and talent.

I'm seeing SF fans far more enthused about their team than the Dodger Blue followers ... what I can't understand is hardly any love for those overachieving A's? And they still have Tommy Milone even if Bradley Peacock now starts for former Nats third base coach Bo Porter. The 'Stros are going to be miserable with that rotation and bullpen. They're the Nats of 2009 and 2010.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

MicheleS said...
Ghost, I have a feeling that the TV deal won't get resolved until someone in Baltimore is forced out.

March 30, 2013 6:26 PM


It's just not right that Selig the p**** will allow Peter F'ing Angelo$er hold the Nats hostage.

By the way, the Orioles made the playoffs last year and their ending payroll will be lower than this years Opening Day payroll. He has no interest in doing anything right by his own fanbase and will do nothing to that will benefit DC unless it benefits him more. His own broadcast team and especially Gary Thorne made horrific comments on air to scold Rizzo on the Strasburg handling.

I can't stand the troll and his thinly veiled attack tactics.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

WaPo corrected the April 2nd/3rd scheduling mistake in that article. Only took them 4 hours and they expect people will pay for their site? They are lucky that their non-paying readers help them with their corrections and edits!

peric said...

It's just not right that Selig the p**** will allow Peter F'ing Angelo$er hold the Nats hostage.

In the end Ted is going to have to take care of this problem ... and it seems certain all of baseball will go along with his solution. Selig is pretty worthless except when it comes to making pseudo salary caps to keep the team his daughter owns viable (the Brewers).

NatsJack in Florida said...

For the uninformed.....As someone who is no fan of Selig..... it's a lot more complicated with alot more entities involved.

MicheleS said...

NJ.. I am guessing that as well. I have a feeling that we have had virtual silence on the TV deal because they have brought in the big guns (Other Networks) to try to resolve this. It's going to take Mega $$$ to buy him out. Baltimore's TV Deal will be significanlty dimished once they are away from the Nats.

MicheleS said...

Peric, she doesn't own the team anymore, they were sold in 2005 to Mark Attanasio

NatsLady said...

Here is the story on Venters. He will start the season on the DL.

Venters

http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/baseball/braves-venters-to-have-elbow-checked-by-andrews/nW6tG/

peric said...

Peric, she doesn't own the team anymore, they were sold in 2005 to Mark Attanasio

For some reason I don't entirely believe it. Another Greek bearing gifts like Peter Angelos.

baseballswami said...

Never want to wish the good Doctor on anyone. Really. I mean it. Sincerely. Even a Barve. Really and truly.....

peric said...

The Barves have other relief pitchers they can use ... its in the rotation they are weak. If they lose Hudson they are pretty much done.

Rich P. said...

"NatsJack in Florida said...

For the uninformed.....As someone who is no fan of Selig..... it's a lot more complicated with alot more entities involved."

Well, duh. But Selig is the only one with the power to move ALL the entities involved toward actually reaching a decision. Which, of course, he won't.

baseballswami said...

Anyone else watching the 2013 Preview show on MLB? I know they are going to re- hash that day in October and that thing with our pitcher. Remote is handy.

Rich P. said...

Dr. James Andrews has almost cornered the market in working for teams with racially-insensitive nicknames. Are any Cleveland Indians experiencing elbow, shoulder or knee pain?

baseballswami said...

They have Desi's new 'stache picture!!! Listed as a breakout player.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

By the way, congrats to Bryce's big brother Bryan Harper for his promotion to the Hagerstown Suns.

Wouldn't be surprised if Ron & Sheri are in DC all summer to watch both sons!

baseballswami said...

Too bad they did not keep producing male children. They are quite good at making baseball players :)

NatsJack in Florida said...

To Rich P.....oh, if only it was that simplee

baseballswami said...

HRod still feeling ok?

Rich P. said...

No one said anything would be simple. But stalemate has its own inertia unless someone starts pushing to make something happen. Selig should be pushing, but clearly he's not.

MicheleS said...

Swami.. Bryce & Bryan have a nephew named Colton. Next in line from the Harper family tree.

And as someone who suffered through having a sister that was a gifted athlete, I am rooting for Bryan.

Rich P. you forget that Angelos is a a Lawyer. He is digging in.

baseballswami said...

Can you even imagine what Bryan's journey has been like? And isn't he older? Solid family, though.

Rich P. said...

Everyone is dug in. They'll stay dug in until someone with the power starts trying to get them dug out. Who else could/should be doing that, other than Selig?

baseballswami said...

Is it a problem for the team to have so much time off?

MicheleS said...

Rich P. - Angelos didn't get rich by being a dumb lawyer. He is holding out for the largest $$$$$ b/c his teams value DIMINISHES significantly with the loss of the Nats broadcasting rights. It's going to take a current cable network (Fox or CSN) to basically bribe Angelos to ditch the Nats.

MicheleS said...

Swami.. Bryan is 3 years older and yes a solid family. And I LOVE that you are such a worry wort about 2 days off at the beginning of the season. They are practicing tomorrow at Nats Park, so I don't think it will be too bad.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Michele, you are a wealth of knowledge! Good to know the practice schedule!

Drew said...

Old friend alert: Brad Peacock rode a good March to the No. 4 spot in the Astros' rotation.

Congrats, Brad. Welcome to the AL West. Meet Mr. Pujols, Mr. Trout, Mr. Hamilton...

baseballswami said...

Michele-- haha, yes, searching for something'to worry about, I guess. Two days off is certainly not good for me!

Joe Seamhead said...

I'm up early, getting excited about opening day. I'm also worried about all of the lofty predictions and expectations for this team. We've got a very good team that plays in a very tough division where we play each of those teams 18 times. None of them are going o roll over and concede any one of those games to us. We've also got a tough schedule outside of the division and every one of those teams will no longer be guilty of looking past the Nats. On the contrary, every one of them will want to knock this team off of its perch.I made predictions early last year that the Phillies were in trouble, the Nats would win the division by beating out the Braves in a dogfight, and that Davey Johnson would be manager of the year. This year, though I worry about all of the paper awards already being handed to us in the press, I have confidence that if there is anybody that can keep them from getting too cocky about it, it's Davey Johnson. I doubt seriously that we will run away with the division from right out of the gate. We'll struggle at times, the Legion of Doom will ruffle our feathers, but ultimately I think we will win the NL East after another exciting finish. NOW, LETS GO YOU NATIONALS! GYFNG!!!

Joe Seamhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Seamhead said...

Oh, yeah, also wanted to mention about a minor league outfielder that I think may be seriously worth watching at Potomac this year named Billy Burns. He is said to be the fastest player in the organization, hits good,great glove and tracking ability, and possesses a cannon for an arm.

Positively Half St. said...

One question on the depth the Nats will need to succeed. Chris Young hasn't signed anywhere, as best I can tell. Is he out buying a ticket to Syracuse?

slidell2 said...

Regarding the 2 days off- it would have been interesting to do what several other teams did yesterday- play an exhibition game with a farm team. Going up to Harrisburg yesterday for example would have been a neat gesture and the Senators' fans would have eaten it up.
Maybe the Nats brain trust will give it a thought for next year.

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