MLB 2017 Season Preview
National League East
FanPicks examines the National League East division for the upcoming Major League Baseball season. Get ready for fantasy baseball.
The Braves are in an enviable position for a team on a rebuilding track. They already have a franchise player in Freddie Freeman and the makings of one in Dansby Swanson. They have a couple of players who have already bloomed into good role players, but they really only have a starter kit for a pitching staff beyond Julio Teheran and too many positions where they will be fielding placeholders. The consensus is that the Braves have one of the best farm systems in the game after their flurry of trades, but while some of the youngsters will be seen at SunTrust Park this year, it will be another two years at least before they are collectively ready to make their mark.
Whether the Marlins snap baseball’s second-longest postseason drought (13; the Mariners’ streak stands at 15) depends upon their success at resolving the rotation. In the end, the biggest factor will be health. The Marlins were at the top of the Wild Card standings until injuries became too much to overcome with their lack of depth.
New York Mets
If the starting rotation of Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz all pitch to their talent level, the Mets could be scary good and have a rotation that rivals any in baseball. And the lineup could be in the top half of the NL, too, with enough hitters still around their prime. But there are no certainties with the Mets, as we’ve learned in recent seasons. If all goes well, this is a team capable of winning the World Series. If it doesn’t, the Mets could struggle to reach .500.
The experience gained by a handful of important young players should allow for more improvement in 2017, though the offense is still woefully short of making this team a contender. Finding out which young players are going to be difference makers and getting even more youngsters to the majors remains the chief goal.
Ninety-five wins, the same number as 2016, would be a pretty good over-under for the Nationals in 2017. They shouldn’t have too much trouble winning the NL East, a division they carried by eight games last year. But the question remains whether they have the firepower to get past whatever other team emerges as playoff competition in October. But success in October is fickle, and this year could be the Nats’ year, if only because the law of averages says it should be.