National League East Predictions

National League East Predictions
By Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports
March 23, 2006

Passan: Gazing into the crystal ball

Division Predictions: AL East | AL Central | AL West | NL East | NL Central | NL West

 MLB Division Predictions: NL East
Proj Team (Projected 2006 Record)
 1 Atlanta Braves 94-68
Overview: Unwritten Baseball Rule No. 2,549: Thou shalt not pick any team aside from the Atlanta Braves to win the NL East. Seriously, why bother? The Braves have booked 14 of them in a row, trot out a rotation headed by Tim Hudson and John Smoltz, and plugged the loss of Rafael Furcal with Edgar Renteria, who is bound to recover from an awful season with Boston. Outfielder Jeff Francoeur and catcher Brian McCann are budding stars, and talent abounds in Atlanta's minor-league system. Now, if they could only find a closer …
 2 New York Mets 88-74
Overview: Just wondering, but how does a rotation that includes Steve Trachsel, Victor Zambrano and Brian Bannister equate to the team that is supposed to dethrone the Braves? Pedro Martinez's toe will cause manager Willie Randolph many a sleepless night, and Tom Glavine just celebrated his 40th birthday. Yes, the lineup is scary, with Carlos Beltran ready to earn his $119 million and David Wright making the leap. Seriously, though, Victor Zambrano?
 3 Philadelphia Phillies 83-79
Overview: By now, the Phillies figured Cole Hamels and Gavin Floyd would be rotation mainstays instead of prospects that have lost their patina. As such, the Phillies enter the season short on pitching – again – and calling on Robinson Tejeda or Eude Brito to fill the back end of its rotation. Though their lineup is formidable, the Phillies can only hope the next round of pitching prospects, Gio Gonzalez and Daniel Haigwood, turn out better than Hamels and Floyd.
 4 Washington Nationals 68-94
Overview: Well, this couldn't have been much worse a spring for the Nationals. They still don't have an owner. Starter Brian Lawrence, acquired in the offseason, will miss at least half the season with an arm injury. Reliever Luis Ayala blew out his elbow during the World Baseball Classic. Alfonso Soriano, 30 going on 13, won't move to the outfield. Hey, at least they're in the same division as the Marlins.
 5 Florida Marlins 56-106
Overview: Since the Marlins will finish with baseball's worst record this season, let's highlight the positive. Miguel Cabrera is good enough to pull an Andre Dawson and win MVP. Dontrelle Willis can pitch (though he looked mighty awful in the WBC). Joe Girardi has taken the team's fire sale like the professional he is, and he'll be the rock for a team with about 327 rookies. And they have a second baseman, Dan Uggla, whose surname describes what the team will look like this season, and that counts for something.

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Updated on Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 1:37 pm, EST

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