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2014 NL East Division Odds / Season Predictions + Win Total Lines

Handicapping MLB 2014 Division Odds – NL East

The offseason has been dominated by the Atlanta Braves as they locked up every one of their young prospects, except the bat boy, to long term contracts.

Those were all strong financial moves but will it make them a better team on the field? More importantly are the Upton brothers going to make regular contributions this season? Atlanta is good but so are the…

…Nationals. When they made the deal for Doug Fister to kick off the hot stove league it looked like they were wrapping up the division with a bow thanks to one of the top rotations anywhere in baseball. This team certainly looks ready to challenge all the way to end this season.

Washington Nationals -120

Win total: 87.5

The Nationals dropped 10 wins last year and missed the playoffs. It would have been easy to stand pat with so many key young players but the Nationals were active in the offseason doing their work early in stealing Fister from the Tigers. Now they have as good a top 4 of the rotation as any team in the league. However, they need ace Stephen Strasburg to take the next step and pitch more than 200 innings for the first time in his career. The fact is that all those 5 and 6 inning outings take their toll on the bullpen. If he can the rest of the rotation lines up nicely

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Washington has a solid lineup but it is not that fearsome unless their other young star, Bryce Harper, takes a step as well. He needs to stay healthy and improve to become the cornerstone of the lineup so that better than average players like Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond are not exposed. 2B Anthony Rendon has to give them something as well.

Atlanta Braves +125

Win total: 87.5

Atlanta is constructed differently than Washington with a very good lineup that has the potential to be great. 1B Freddie Freeman and 3B Chris Johnson are sweet swinging corner infielders while 2B Dan Uggla and SS Andrelton Simmons supply power up the middle. This year Evan Gattis will play almost exclusively at catcher, where his power is a plus. The key is the outfield were Jason Heyward and the Upton brothers had disappointing season. Between the three of them there is potential for 100 homers and 100 steals. If they can approach that the offense will be among the best in baseball.

On the mound the Braves have a very good bullpen featuring closer Craig Kimbrel. In the rotation they have a nice mix but lack that true ace. Also, only one of their projected 5 starters broke 200 innings last year (Mike Minor) and a couple pitched less than 80 innings in the bigs leagues. I wonder if they are going to be able to make the next step without running out of gas.

Philadelphia Philles +950

Win total: 76

I like the Phillies as a sleeper this season. Recent acquisition A.J. Burnett showed last year with Pittsburgh that he has plenty in the tank. Combine him with Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee and you have an impressive top three that averaged more than 200 innings last year. Kyle Kendrick is a pretty good #4 and Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has all the potential in the to be a big contributor. When all is said and done it wouldn’t surprise of the Phillies have the most productive staff in the division.

If so that takes pressure off a lineup full of aging stars. Chase Utley had a renaissance last year and Ryan Howard can still lift the ball out of the park. If they and Jimmy Rollins can achieve even 80% of their former selves Philadelphia should have enough production to make the NL East a three team race. OF Domonic Brown has to be more consistent though.

GTBets

New York Mets +2800

Win total: 73

The Mets suffered a tough break in their development when Matt Harvey went down and needed Tommy John surgery. Still that didn’t stop them from trying to get better quickly as they signed veterans Bartolo Colon and Curtis Granderson. Colon was shockingly fantastic with Oakland last season but you have to wonder how long he can keep it up while I think Granderson was more a signing for the fans as his skills won’t play as well at Citi Field as they did at Yankee Stadium. I actually like the addition of Chris Young to play centerfield a lot better because he at least is a strong defensive player and there are not a lot on this team.

If they are going to challenge at all this season it will be because pitcher Zack Wheeler has a good one. He was not as touted as Harvey but he has ace calibre stuff if he can reduce his walks and pitch more to contact. If he can give them a reasonably good top three with Colon and Jon Niese then maybe they are still in the race at the All-Star Break.

Miami Marlins +4000

Win totals: 69.5

It is anybody’s guess what the Marlins strategy is. Lucky for their fans they have two players who are worth getting excited about. One plays everyday – OF Giancarlo Stanton – the other about once a week – SP Jose Fernandez who had the best rookie season for a starter since Dwight Gooden and has set a lofty goal of a sub 2 ERA for the upcoming season. Even if Fernandez achieves that goal and Stanton has a 40 homer season the Marlins are going to be hard pressed to push past last season’s 62 victories. There are just too many things that would have to right for them to advance a win total that has slipped in each of the last 4 seasons.

In case you were wondering where players like Rafael Furcal and Casey McGehee are playing now the answer is Miami. Furcal did not play at all last season and is expected to bat leadoff for Los Marlins – just one of the many indicators as to why the prospects for this team are so dim. Their cleanup hitter is Jarrod Saltalamacchia. I almost feel sorry for Stanton and Fernandez.

NL East Prediction: Atlanta Braves

I think it is pretty much a toss up between Washington and Atlanta. Since the Braves have the better value with a chance to double your money I will take them and their powerful young lineup to repeat as division champs.

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About The Wiesguy

The Wiesguy is a newcomer to the handicapping scene. Hailing from Toronto, Canada he is always sweet on the underdogs and you can often find his thoughts, musings and picks at moneydogs.blogspot.com.


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