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National League East 2020 preview

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Let’s talk baseball.

World Series - Washington Nationals v Houston Astros - Game Seven Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Baseball is back! At least most of the players are, for now. There is a 60-game schedule, and we’ll see how much of it is played this year. But with the Winter Meetings having happened over eight months ago, you have probably forgotten who is on what team. Today we’ll begin a division-by-division preview to refresh you on what teams look like in this bizarre truncated season.

Atlanta Braves

2019 record: 97-65

2019 pythag: 91-71

2020 ZIPS projection: 33-27

Notable additions: 1B Yonder Alonso, C Travis d’Arnaud, LF Marcell Ozuna, LHP Will Smith

Notable losses: LHP Jerry Blevins, 3B Josh Donaldson, RHP Felix Hernandez (opted out), OF Matt Joyce, LHP Dallas Keuchel, RF Nick Markakis (opted out), C Brian McCann, RHP Anthony Swarzak, RHP Julio Teheran

The Nats may have won the World Series, but it was the Braves who actually finished in first place last year. They return much of their young, talent-laden team with Marcell Ozuna replacing Josh Donaldson as the big bat in the lineup. Atlanta revamped their bullpen at the trade deadline last summer and continued that this off-season by signing Will Smith. However Smith, All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman, and pitcher Touki Toussant are all out indefinitely with COVID-19.

Braves projected lineup

Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
RF Ronald Acuña Jr. .280 .365 .518 715 41 5.7
2B Ozzie Albies .295 .352 .500 702 24 5.2
LF Marcell Ozuna .241 .328 .472 549 29 1.9
1B Freddie Freeman .295 .389 .549 692 38 4.0
C Travis d'Arnaud .251 .312 .433 391 16 1.0
CF Ender Inciarte .246 .343 .397 230 5 0.6
DH Austin Riley .226 .279 .471 297 18 0.1
SS Dansby Swanson .251 .325 .422 545 17 1.5
3B Johan Camargo .233 .279 .384 248 7 -0.6
Bench Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
C Tyler Flowers .229 .319 .413 310 11 -0.3
1B Yonder Alonso .199 .296 .346 335 10 -0.9
IF Adeiny Hechavarria .241 .299 .443 221 9 0.9
IF Charlie Culberson .259 .294 .437 144 5 0.1
OF Adam Duvall .267 .315 .567 130 10 0.6

Braves projected pitching staff

Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
RHP Mike Soroka 2.68 3.45 174.2 7.3 2.1 5.5
LHP Max Fried 4.02 3.72 165.2 9.4 2.6 3.0
RHP Mike Foltynewicz 4.54 4.97 117.0 8.1 2.8 0.5
LHP Cole Hamels 3.81 4.09 141.2 9.1 3.6 3.2
RHP Touki Toussant 5.62 4.99 41.2 9.7 5.6 -0.5
Pit Bullpen ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
RHP Mark Melancon 3.61 2.86 67.1 9.1 2.4 0.9
LHP Will Smith 2.76 3.23 65.1 13.2 2.9 2.1
RHP Shane Greene 2.30 3.79 62.2 9.2 2.4 2.0
RHP Luke Jackson 3.84 3.24 72.2 13.1 3.2 0.7
RHP Chris Martin 3.40 3.25 55.2 10.5 0.8 1.5
LHP Sean Newcomb 3.16 4.24 68.1 8.6 3.8 1.2

Miami Marlins

2019 record: 57-105

2019 pythag: 61-101

2020 ZIPS projection: 26-34

Notable additions: 1B Jesus Aguilar, RHP Brad Boxberger, C Francisco Cervelli, OF Corey Dickerson, RHP Yimi Garcia, OF Matt Joyce, RHP Brandon Kintzler, OF Jonathan Villar

Notable losses: RHP Austin Brice, 2B Starlin Castro, LHP Wei-Yin Chen, OF Austin Dean, OF Curtis Granderson, RHP Tayron Guerrero, RHP Tyler Kinley, IF Martin Prado, IF Neil Walker

The rebuild continues in Miami, but they did add some veteran hitters like Jesus Aguilar, Corey Dickerson, and Jonathan Villar to an offense that finished dead last in runs scored in 2019. The young pitching staff holds some promise and it is not inconceivable that 2020 first-round pick Max Meyer could join the staff at some point this year. Still, the only thing keeping the Marlins from losing 100 games is the shortened schedule.

Marlins projected starting lineup

Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
CF Jonathan Villar .274 .339 .453 714 24 3.9
3B Brian Anderson .261 .342 .468 520 20 3.7
LF Corey Dickerson .304 .341 .565 279 12 0.8
1B Jesus Aguilar .236 .325 .389 369 12 -0.3
2B Isan Diaz .173 .259 .307 201 5 -0.8
C Jorge Alfaro .262 .312 .425 465 18 1.3
DH Matt Joyce .295 .408 .450 238 7 0.7
RF Lewis Brinson .173 .236 .221 248 0 -2.0
SS Miguel Rojas .284 .331 .379 526 5 1.4
Bench Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
CF Francisco Cervelli .213 .302 .348 160 3 0.3
1B Garrett Cooper .281 .344 .446 421 15 1.6
IF Jon Berti .273 .348 .406 287 6 1.6
OF Harold Rameriz .276 .312 .416 446 11 0.3
OF Magneuris Sierra .350 .381 .425 42 0 0.2

Marlins projected pitching staff

Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
LHP Caleb Smith 4.52 5.11 153.1 9.9 3.5 1.7
RHP Sandy Alcantara 3.88 4.55 197.1 6.9 3.7 2.8
RHP Jose Ureña 5.21 4.74 84.2 6.6 2.8 -0.3
RHP Pablo Lopez 5.09 4.28 111.1 7.7 2.2 0.5
RHP Jordan Yamamoto 4.46 4.51 78.2 9.4 4.1 0.7
Pit Bullpen ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
RHP Brandon Kintzler 2.68 3.56 57.0 7.6 2.1 1.8
RHP Yimi Garcia 3.61 5.19 62.1 9.5 2.0 0.2
RHP Brad Boxberger 5.40 4.68 26.2 9.1 5.7 0.0
RHP Ryne Stanek 3.97 4.28 77.0 10.4 4.6 0.4
LHP Adam Conley 6.53 5.19 60.2 7.9 4.3 -1.2
RHP Eliser Hernandez 5.03 5.58 82.1 9.3 2.8 0.2

New York Mets

2019 record: 86-76

2019 pythag: 86-76

2020 ZIPS projection: 32-28

Notable additions: OF Jake Marisnick, RHP Rick Porcello, RHP Michael Wacha

Notable losses: LHP Luis Avilan, 3B Todd Frazier, CF Juan Lagares, 2B Joe Panik, RHP Zack Wheeler

Say what you will about the Mets, but they certainly are interesting. They smashed a club-record 242 home runs last year, paced by Rookie of the Year and National League home run champ Peter Alonso, who hung 53 dongs. Defense could be an issue and the pitching staff will need contributions from free agents Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha, but the Mets could be in a good position to make a Wild Card run, if not a challenge for first place.

Mets projected starting lineup

Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
CF Brandon Nimmo .221 .375 .407 254 8 0.7
3B Jeff McNeil .318 .384 .531 567 23 4.9
1B Pete Alonso .260 .358 .583 693 53 5.2
2B Robinson Cano .256 .307 .428 423 13 0.3
LF J.D. Davis .307 .369 .527 453 22 1.0
RF Michael Conforto .257 .363 .494 648 33 3.4
C Wilson Ramos .288 .351 .416 524 14 2.2
DH Dominic Smith .282 .355 .525 197 11 0.7
SS Amed Rosario .287 .230 .432 655 15 2.4
Bench Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
C Tomas Nido .191 .231 .316 144 4 -0.8
1B Matt Adams .226 .276 .465 333 20 0.1
IF Luis Guillorme .246 .324 .361 70 1 0.4
OF Yoenis Cespedes Did not play
OF Jake Marisnick .233 .289 .411 318 10 1.4

Mets projected pitching staff

Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
RHP Jacob deGrom 2.43 2.67 204.0 11.3 1.9 8.2
RHP Marcus Stroman 3.22 3.72 184.1 7.8 2.8 4.6
RHP Rick Porcello 5.52 4.76 174.1 7.4 2.3 1.2
LHP Steven Matz 4.21 4.60 160.1 8.6 2.9 2.5
RHP Michael Wacha 4.76 5.61 126.2 7.4 3.9 0.1
Pit Bullpen ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
RHP Edwin Diaz 5.59 4.51 58.0 15.4 3.4 -0.5
RHP Dellin Betances 0.00 0.00 0.2 27 0.0 0.0
RHP Seth Lugo 2.70 2.70 80.0 11.7 1.8 2.4
LHP Justin Wilson 2.54 3.91 39.0 10.2 4.4 1.3
RHP Jeurys Familia 5.70 4.88 60.0 9.5 6.3 -0.4
RHP Robert Gsellman 4.66 4.12 63.2 8.5 3.3 0.1

Philadelphia Phillies

2019 record: 81-81

2019 pythag: 79-83

2020 ZIPS projection: 30-30

Notable additions: IF Logan Forsythe, SS Didi Gregorius, IF Josh Harrison, IF Neil Walker, RHP Zack Wheeler

Notable losses: OF Corey Dickerson, 2B Cesar Hernandez, 3B Maikel Franco, RHP Jerad Eickhoff, RHP Juan Nicasio, LHP Drew Smyly, LHP Jason Vargas

The Phillies won 102 games in 2011 and haven’t had a winning season since. They finished right at .500 last year, short of expectations after landing mega-free agent Bryce Harper. They spent again this past winter, signing pitcher Zack Wheeler to a five-year, $118 million contract. He’ll join Aaron Nola who could be poised to be among the best pitchers in the league, but the rest of the Phillie rotation looks rather thin.

Phillies projected starting lineup

Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
LF Andrew McCutchen .256 .378 .457 262 10 1.6
3B Jean Segura .280 .323 .420 618 12 1.5
RF Bryce Harper .260 .372 .510 682 35 4.3
1B Rhys Hoskins .226 .364 .454 705 29 1.6
C J.T. Realmuto .275 .328 .493 593 25 4.5
DH Jay Bruce .216 .261 .523 333 26 0.6
SS Didi Gregorius .238 .276 .441 344 16 0.3
2B Scott Kingery .258 .315 .474 500 19 2.8
CF Adam Haseley .266 .324 .396 242 5 1.8
Bench Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
C Andrew Knapp .213 .318 .324 160 2 0.1
IF Logan Forsythe .227 .325 .353 367 7 -0.2
IF Neil Walker .261 .344 .395 381 8 0.6
IF Josh Harrison .175 .218 .263 147 1 -0.9
OF Roman Quinn .213 .298 .370 122 4 -0.2

Phillies projected pitching staff

Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
RHP Aaron Nola 3.87 4.03 202.1 10.2 3.6 4.2
RHP Zack Wheeler 3.96 3.48 195.1 9.0 2.3 3.7
RHP Jake Arrieta 4.64 4.89 135.2 7.3 3.4 0.9
RHP Vince Velasquez 4.91 5.21 117.1 10.0 3.3 0.7
RHP Zach Eflin 4.13 4.85 163.1 7.1 2.6 1.6
Pit Bullpen ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
LHP Adam Morgan 3.94 4.33 29.2 8.8 3.0 0.4
RHP Nick Pivetta 5.38 5.47 93.2 8.6 3.7 -0.5
RHP Seranthony Dominguez 4.01 4.02 24.2 10.6 4.4 0.0
LHP Ranger Suarez 3.14 3.89 48.2 7.8 2.2 0.9
RHP Hector Neris 2.93 3.83 67.2 11.8 3.2 1.8
RHP Jose Alvarez 3.36 4.21 59.0 7.8 2.7 0.8

Washington Nationals

2019 record: 93-69

2019 pythag: 95-67

2020 ZIPS projection: 33-27

Notable additions: 2B Starlin Castro, RHP Ryne Harper, RHP Will Harris, 1B Eric Thames

Notable losses: 1B Matt Adams, 2B Brian Dozier, LHP Matt Grace, RHP Jeremy Hellickson, OF Gerardo Parra, 3B Anthony Rendon, RHP Fernando Rodney, RHP Joe Ross (opted out), RHP Hunter Strickland, 1B Ryan Zimmerman (opted out)

The Nationals began the season 19-31, but ended the season hoisting the championship trophy. They were able to retain free agent pitcher Stephen Strasburg, but third baseman Anthony Rendon signed with the Angels. Washington will replace him with Carter Kieboom, who was ranked as the #15 prospect in the game by Baseball America after hitting .303/.409/.493 with 16 home runs for Triple-A Fresno. The Nats had the second-worst bullpen ERA in baseball last year at 5.68, and brought in Daniel Hudson at the deadline last year, and Will Harris over the off-season to stabilize the pen.

Nationals projected lineup

Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
SS Trea Turner .298 .353 .497 569 19 3.3
RF Adam Eaton .279 .365 .428 656 15 1.5
2B Starlin Castro .270 .300 .436 636 22 1.4
LF Juan Soto .282 .401 .548 659 34 4.6
DH Howie Kendrick .344 .395 .572 370 17 2.5
1B Eric Thames .247 .346 .505 459 25 1.6
CF Victor Robles .255 .326 .419 617 17 4.1
C Yan Gomes .223 .316 .389 358 12 1.3
3B Carter Kieboom .128 .209 .282 43 2 -1.0
Bench Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
C Kurt Suzuki .264 .324 .486 309 17 0.3
IF Asdrubal Cabera .260 .342 .441 447 18 1.8
IF Wilmer Difo .252 .315 .313 144 2 -1.1
OF Andrew Stevenson .367 .486 .467 37 0 0.2
OF Michael Taylor .250 .305 .364 97 1 0.0

Nationals projected pitching staff

Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
RHP Stephen Strasburg 3.32 3.25 209.0 10.8 2.4 6.4
RHP Max Scherzer 2.92 2.45 172.1 10.6 3.1 5.7
LHP Patrick Corbin 3.25 3.49 202.0 10.6 3.1 5.4
RHP Anibal Sanchez 3.85 4.44 166.0 7.3 3.1 3.3
RHP Erick Fedde 4.50 5.34 78.0 4.7 3.8 1.0
Pit Bullpen ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
RHP Daniel Hudson 2.47 3.97 73.0 8.8 3.3 2.0
LHP Sean Doolittle 4.05 4.25 60.0 9.9 2.3 0.9
RHP Will Harris 1.50 3.15 60.0 9.3 2.1 1.9
RHP Tanner Rainey 3.91 4.37 48.1 13.8 7.1 0.6
LHP Roenis Elias 3.96 5.07 50.0 8.5 3.2 -0.3
RHP Wander Suero 4.54 3.07 71.1 10.2 3.3 0.7

Poll

Who will win the National League East?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Atlanta Braves
    (20 votes)
  • 0%
    Miami Marlins
    (0 votes)
  • 13%
    New York Mets
    (5 votes)
  • 5%
    Philadelphia Phillies
    (2 votes)
  • 25%
    Washington Nationals
    (9 votes)
36 votes total Vote Now