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MLB Futures – Handicapping the NL East

MLB Baseball Futures Betting

There are many observers who think this year’s World Series champion might come out of the same place as last year’s champs. That’s the NL East, where the Mets have faded two years in a row and the Phillies reigned supreme last year. Those two will be contenders, but will anyone else emerge as a possible surprise?

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

BetUS Sportsbook Online MLB Odds

To Win NL East

Atlanta Braves +400
Florida Marlins +600
New York Mets +120
Philadelphia Phillies +165
Washington Nationals +4500

The NEW YORK METS (+120 in BetUS odds) have a terrific pitcher in Johan Santana and a bunch of others who are not at All-Star level, but serviceable. Mike Pelfrey, John Maine and Oliver Perez are all fairly solid, and the Mets may just need for them all to finish a couple of games over .500 like they did last year. I like Tim Redding and think he should be able to grab the fifth spot in the rotation. He’s got upside. This team was completely betrayed by its bullpen last season, as it blew 29 saves in 72 chances, and one thing we can guarantee is that if Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz stay healthy, that isn’t going to happen again. In fact, when you factor in that Livan Hernandez and Freddy Garcia could be available for some setup work, and you are looking at a real team strength. For the Mets, there are no excuses this season.

The PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (+165 at BetUS) lost power hitter Pat Burrell in the off-season, and got Raul Ibanez to replace, and I’m not sure they’re not getting the better of that exchange. We all know they’re going to get a lot of production out of Ryan Howard, Jimmie Rollins and Chase Utley, and we’ll expect that the complementary players like Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino can step up again. But there is mediocrity in other places, and I am not convinced that the Phillies winning the World Series with a rotation like that (save for Cole Hamels) wasn’t an aberration. Relief pitcher J.C. Romero is missing almost a third of the season with a suspension, and so what might need to happen is for Brad Lidge, the REAL Most Valuable Player in the NL last year, to repeat his 41-save, 1.95 ERA season again.

The ATLANTA BRAVES (+400 at BetUS) will have to wait until August to get Tom Hudson back in the rotation, but they went out and signed some talent for the staff in Derek Lowe and Javier Vasquez. Three veterans are gone – Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Mike Hampton – but this hardly feels like a changing of the guard. The Braves missed out on a chance to sign Ken Griffey Jr., who went back to Seattle. Garret Anderson comes on board, and he should fill some gaps. Chipper Jones is, well, Chipper Jones, but there are too many unproven people between the lines, and putting together some power is going to be a problem. They will be hoping and praying that Josh Anderson, the best prospect they have for the major league level, will take center field by the horns, and that Jeff Francoeur can get back to a 100-RBI season. I don’t see them challenging over the full season.

I would say the FLORIDA MARLINS (+600 at BetUS) might be in a Tampa Bay Rays-type situation, except that they were in contention for a long time last year, and wound up with 84 wins, so they aren’t exactly coming from nowhere. Still, this is a rotation that could cause quite a stir if it can all come together at the same time. Ricky Nolasco broke out big-time last season; big Josh Johnson was a sizzling 7-1 after coming back from injury; Anibal Sanchez has the ability – he was 10-3 with a 2.83 ERA as a rookie in 2006. Chris Volstad, who is taller than Jonson at 6’8″, had a 2.88 in 14 starts as a rookie, and Andrew Miller, at 6’6″, is said to have more possibilities than all of them. If they get production from rookies like Cameron Maybin and Gaby Sanchez, it’s going to be a fun year in Miami, even if the Marlins can’t get their new stadium. This is a definite “dark horse.”

When I was doing last week’s piece about (“Who is the next Tampa Bay story”), I was considering using the WASHINGTON NATIONALS (+4500 at BetUS) because I felt (a) this was a team that so severely underachieved last year, (b) There were some interesting pitchers on the roster, and (c) Because they have the kind of bucks to make a move or two. The more I think about it, they’re going to have a hard time putting together a starting rotation beyond John Lannan and Scott Olsen, and Odalis Perez, who is dissatisfied with his minor league contract, is a no-show at camp as we speak. On the positive side, there is the signing of Adam Dunn in a park that was originally built with offense in mind. Joel Hanrahan throws smoke, but he he’d have to go a long way to duplicate what Chad Cordero has done.

Know Who Wins the NL East This Season? Proove it! Lay some $ Down On The Winner at Betus >>>

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Comments

Comments

  1. I believe the East will come down to another Mets and Phillies fanstastic finish. It is hard to believe the Mets will fade three years in a row, but you never know. I would keep an eye on Florida as they were impressive for three quarters of the season last year and could be primed to upset the balance of power in the East.

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