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MLB Division Preview: Can Mets hold off Nats in the East?

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It was certainly a magical year for the New York Mets in 2015. Not only did they win their first division title since 2006 but they fought and clawed their way to their first World Series birth since their loss in the “Subway Series” to the Yankees back in 2000. Can they repeat as champs of the NL East in 2016? Will it be the Marlins year with “Donny Baseball” now at the helm in Miami? After a 2015 full of playoff and even World Series expectations, can the Nationals finally deliver in the capital? Or can the Braves and Phillies make some noise in the division and find their way back into the post season?

Let’s find out, shall we?

  1. New York Mets – By now you guys know I’m all about pitching winning championships. The Mets have the scariest rotation in this division and that will lead to another title in 2016. Throw in a powerful lineup with guys like Granderson, Duda, Cespedes, and Flores and this team won’t have a problem scoring runs, either.
  2. Washington Nationals – I think the Nats can give the Mets a run this season. NL MVP Bryce Harper, who’s just 23 years old by the way, is going to have himself yet another MVP-caliber season and that rotation is finally going to help carry this team to a post-season birth. The top two of Scherzer/Strasburg can be a very scary duo if the latter can remain healthy for 30+ starts. Losing Jordan Zimmerman will hurt – so the rest of that rotation, especially Gio Gonzalez, needs to step up if this team is going to make that push.
  3. Miami Marlins – They’ll be better in ’16 with Don Mattingly calling the shots. How much better? That’s going to depend on the health of some of their stars – more importantly Giancarlo Stanton (who had 27 HRs in just 74 games in ’15) and ace Jose Fernandez. The rest of the rotation scares no one and the offense, with the exception of Dee Gordon and slugger Justin Bour is nothing without Stanton in the middle of that lineup. I see an 80-win season a real possibility for Miami if health issues don’t plague their big guns, again.
  4. Atlanta Braves – They can’t hit. They can’t pitch. The once mighty Braves have fallen fast and haven’t done anything but bring in a bunch of journeymen to try and find a diamond in the rough to help make them respectable again. Could be another long year for the Braves and quite possibly a 100-loss season in Atlanta.
  5. Philadelphia Phillies – Could flip-flop with the Braves all year for the basement in the East. Gone are the days of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley leading this team to post-season success. There’s no more Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee anchoring the rotation. They are a mess in the front office and showing no signs of any sort of promise to return to any sort of contention. Could the Phils 100 games for the first time since 1961? It’s a very real possibility.

While the NL East will most likely be a two-team race in 2016, the Marlins are in good hands and have a lot of good, young talent to make their future very promising. The race between the Mets and Nationals should be a fun one to watch. So strap in and let’s see how this one finishes – because it’s bound to be a heavyweight fight at the top of the East.

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