2020 NL East Rankings
5. Miami Marlins are a team of mediocrity. They enter 2020, searching for their first .500 team since 2009. However, the future could be bright. They have played terrible enough over the last two years ( 205 losses) to land 5 of the top 100 prospects. With the 4th ranked farm system (According to MLB.com), the future is bright for this young team. A shortened MLB season combined with an expanded playoff could be precisely what this team needs.
4. New York Mets undertake 2020 with only one goal on their mind. To make it into the playoffs. Unfortunately, this will not be their year. The lack of star power and depth in this team forces them to rely too heavily on their elite starting pitching. Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen bet on this team last year trading coveted prospects for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. Robinson Cano played only 107 games hitting 13 home runs with a mere .256 batting average. Edwin Diaz was easily the biggest bust in all of baseball last year. With his 5.68 ERA, he surrendered an MLB single-season record 15 home runs in the 9th inning. This team has not won more than 90 games in a regular-season for 14 years, and unless they acquire another potent bat in this lineup, they look to make it 15.
3. Washington Nationals are not as good as last year. A lot of things went right that won't happen this season. Anthony Rendon's production won't be replaced by 22-year-old Carter Keiboom, who is prone to striking out and has proved time and time again that he cannot make the routine plays. Max Scherzer and Aníbal Sanchez will be 36 years of age by the time this season kicks off. Sanchez has yet to have a 200 inning season in his 14-year career. Their health will be an issue this season and beyond. The Nationals bullpen shows potential with Will Harris and Daniel Hudson along with a solid Sean Doolittle. However, the lineup is too weak. The 4-5-6 hitters are Howie Kendrick, Eric Thames, and Ryan Zimmerman. Eric hasn't batted over .250 since 2011 and only has slightly above-average power. 36 year old Howie Kendrick will slow down, and Zim can't seem to get back to peak 2017 form. Resigning Strasburg, instead of Rendon, was a huge mistake, and the Nationals will see the consequences in 2020.
2. Philadelphia Phillies fans are dying to see their first above .500 season since 2011. This is a team loaded with stars, including the 330 million dollar man Bryce Harper and young stud Rhys Hoskins. At times last year, the deadly duo showed flashes of what could come. Additionally, the 2020 lineup includes Jean Segura, J.T Realmuto, and Didi Gregorious. J.T is the best catcher in the MLB offensively and defensively. Jean Segura is extremely consistent, and Didi is bound for a breakout year. Aaron Nola, Zach Wheeler, and Jake Arrieta will lead this team on the mound. With productive pickups before the trade deadline, I don't see any weaknesses with this team. They will be atop the wild card standings when the season is over.
1. Atlanta Braves are poised to win the division this year. The humiliation of last year's game five exit vs. the Cardinals would be forgotten with their first NL pennant since the '90s. Even the World Series-winning Nats couldn't catch up to them last year. Ronald Acuna Jr. and Freddie Freeman are perennial MVP contenders. Mark Melancon, Will Smith, and Luke Jackson provide a solid enough bullpen to keep the games close. This deleterious lineup includes Ender Inciarte and youngster Ozzie Albies. Acuna's 40/40 season might be on hold due to the virus, but the intensity and excitement he brings to Suntrusit park will be there regardless of how many games are played. The combination of young and veteran talent will surge the Braves to their first World Series in decades.