I will begin in the N.L. East with my previews for this season. It should be fun! At the close of the 2010 season the division looked like this....
Mets: 79-83 (I won a bet because of this postion in the standings!)
I think this season we will be looking at a similar situation. We've all heard about the Philadelphia rotation for this year. It is hard to argue that it is excellent. Roy Halladay is widely considered as the best pitcher in baseball. Cliff Lee has been a post season machine the last two seasons and, although he struggled a bit with the Rangers during the regular season, he will win baseball games. He walked 18 batters in 212 innings....lol wut? Cole Hammels and "The Other Roy" Mr. Oswalt have both been dominant pitchers and both have struggled as well. It's hard to say just how well they will pitch but I think this is the first rotation to even have a chance at four 20 game winners. If Rollins, Utley, and Howard can produce they way they have in the past, and stay healthy, and Brad Lidge can close the few games they need closed (their staff will have an insane number of complete games and middle relievers will be completely useless), this division is over.
The Atlanta Braves will be fighting to continue a winning tradition with a new skipper at the helm. It's a tough thing to do. Chipper Jones is looking to end his career on a high note and I know he will be playing hard to see that that happens. Whether or not his age will catch up to him is another issue, but he will be trying very hard to make his team a winner. The addition of Dan Uggla should be very helpful as he may be the second best offensive 2nd baseman in the game. Martin Prado had a break out season and if he can repeat and settle into an outfield spot he should score a lot of runs. Jason Heyward, if healthy, looking to avoid a sophmore slump will be key for them. The pitching staff should be fun to watch. Tommy Hansen is a great young starter and along with veteran Tim Hudson will look to anchor that rotation. I'm hoping to see Kimbrel close this year because I love his arm and I think he has the stuff. The Braves also possibly have the best pitching prospect in baseball not named Strasburg in Julio Teheran. I don't know if he'll see The Show this year but I can't wait for his call up. I see the Braves in 2nd place once again in 2011.
The Florida Marlins! 3rd place. All done. Just kidding. You can't talk about the Marlins without mentioning a few key guys. Hanley Ramirez needs to grow up. When he does we may see his full potential which is Mickey Mantle at short stop. He must lead by example. Josh Johnson will do what he does. Can Ricky Nolasco and the other guys in that rotation provide other leads for Leo Nunez to try and protect? It's by no means a sure thing. The young talent down there is hugely promising though. Mike Stanton looks like a greek god with a baseball bat, and the ball jumps of his bat like a lightning bolt thrown by Zues. Gaby Sanchez and Chris Coghlan both look to be good pro ball players.
Next up the New York Mets......I am a Yankee fan so I'm going to try and be gentle.....The Mets are in for a rough season. Opening day they will be tied for first place. Closing day they will be lucky to be in 4th. Rumor has it that Johan Santana will be making it back near the end of June, which is a bright spot on the cloudy horizon. However until then their rotation is a collection of 4 and 5 starters. Their pen is a Who's Who of WHO?! and the line up is David Wright and the admissions list from the local hospital. IF Bay, Beltran, and Reyes can ALL come back and play well, they may score enough runs to play .500 baseball. I think they need to trade Reyes at the break if he's playing well for a few young arms and go for it in 2012.
Optimistically The Nationals may get Strasburg back for September. It will be too late. Ryan Zimmerman and Jason Werth will get their hits and home runs and RBIs but without a serious step up but those young arms they will not compete this year. With my contempt for the Phillies, Mets and Braves I would love to see these young guys step up and shove it to the big fellas but I just don't see that happening yet. If we are lucky, however, this September we may see Bryce Harper in Major League Baseball!
The way I see it, the N.L. East will finish this way,