2011 National League East Preview

MLB Divisional Previews – 2011 NL East

The Phillies were the toast of the National League East Division last year, and 2011 will probably bring more of the same.  There was a fair amount of inter-division moves made during the offseason which should bring some added zing to quite a few NL East matchups in 2011.  Uggla moving from Florida to the Braves and Jayson Werth heading down from Philly to play for the Nationals were just two of the biggest moves within the NL East.  Let’s see how things played out last year in MLB’s National League East.

2010 NL East Final Standings
Team Win Loss
Phillies 97 65
Braves 91 71
Marlins 80 82
Mets 79 83
Nationals 69 93


2011 Philadelphia Phillies Preview

2011 Phi Phillies Projected Starters
Position Name
SP1 R. Halladay
SP2 C. Lee
SP3 C. Hamels
SP4 R. Oswalt
SP5 J. Blanton
Catcher C. Ruiz
First Base R. Howard
Second Base C. Utley
Third Base P. Polanco
Shortstop J. Rollins
Left Field R. Ibanez
Center Field S. Victorino
Right Field B. Francisco

If it’s true that pitching wins championships, then the Phillies should be this year’s favorite to win it all in 2011.  The rest of the National League East will see no rest as the Phillies literally have four starters in their rotation that could/would be number 1 starters elsewhere.  Barring injury, the starting pitching staff alone should account for 80 wins.  The infield looks pretty much the same as it did last year, with the exception of Polanco at third base.  I wouldn’t call it an upgrade or a downgrade, I would call it a lateral move.  The 2011 Phillies will feel the absence of Jayson Werth in the middle of their lineup, but Ben Francisco has at least put up decent numbers in the last two full seasons he has played. Ibanez isn’t getting any younger out in left field and Victorino, while providing a spark on the basepaths, has never hit over .300 in his career.  If the Phillies have a weakness, it is in the outfield.  Don’t expect any of that to matter, however. The Phillies could score 350 runs all year and still win 90 games – their pitching is that good. You won’t want to miss a moment of the action at Citizens Bank Park. Get your tickets for the 2011 season today.

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2011 Atlanta Braves Preview

2011 Atl Braves Projected Starters
Position Name
SP1 T. Hudson
SP2 D. Lowe
SP3 J. Jurrjens
SP4 T. Hanson
SP5 M. Minor
Catcher B. McCann
First Base F. Freeman
Second Base D. Uggla
Third Base C. Jones
Shortstop A. Gonzales
Left Field M. Prado
Center Field N. McLouth
Right Field J. Heyward

If you want to talk about a team that is in the wrong place at the wrong time, it’s the 2011 Atlanta Braves.  They are a team that is solidly put together from top to bottom, has a great mix of budding stars and wily vets. But they are also a team that has to play the Phillies a lot more than they would like, and will be doing it for the first time in 20 years without Bobby  Cox at the helm.  In the outfield, Jason Heyward is one of the best young outfielders in the game, and, if they stay healthy, Prado and McLouth should put up some good numbers to go along with Heyward.  The infield is a bit patchwork, but I think the Braves will make it work.  This could very well be Chipper’s last year in the majors, which is a bit sad to think about – even as someone who isn’t particularly a Braves fan.  The right side of the infield could get hairy with Uggla and untested Freddie Freeman, but both of them have a lot of upside at the plate which they will need to compete for a 2011 National League East title.  Tim Hudson returns to the top of the Braves rotation followed by overpaid Derek Lowe.  Jurrjens is coming off of a down year, but hopes to regain his dominant form in 2011.  If it wasn’t for the Phillies in this division, I would predict them to win the NL East and possibly win 90+ games again, but they didn’t improve as much as the Phillies did which will cost them the division and probably 5-7 wins. Regardless, this is going to be a great team to watch, especially with Heyward in his second year and Chipper possibly in his last. Head on down to Turner Field and catch all of the action.

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2011 Florida Marlins Preview

2011 Fla Marlins Projected Starters
Position Name
SP1 J. Johnson
SP2 R. Nolasco
SP3 J. Vazquez
SP4 A. Sanchez
SP5 C. Volstad
Catcher J. Buck
First Base G. Sanchez
Second Base O. Infante
Third Base W. Helms
Shortstop H. Ramirez
Left Field L. Morrison
Center Field C. Coghlan
Right Field M. Stanton

The Marlins. Wow, I could probably end my preview of this team right there, but I’ll press ahead.  This team finished a shade under .500 last year, but really doesn’t have the firepower or pitching to compete in any division, let alone the National League East in 2011.  Josh Johnson is an amazing pitcher at the top of the Marlins rotation, and has steadily been getting better since 2008 which is scary.  From there, things fall off pretty quickly on Florida’s pitching staff.  Their projected #2 starter had an ERA over 4.4 last year, although he posted 14 wins.  The success of this team in 2011 will depend on run support.  As we look up and down the lineup, we find it difficult to see where this run support will actually come from.  Other than Hanley Ramirez and Omar Infante, there is hardly a player in this lineup that hit over .300 in the last 5 years.  There are some new guys and unproven talent that could turn out to be a pleasant surprise, but the 2011 Florida Marlins are at one of the low points in their building process.  Head on out to Sun Life Stadium (which is in its final year) and catch some Marlins’ games. Seat’s shouldn’t be too hard to find.

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2011 New York Mets Preview

2011 NY Mets Projected Starters
Position Name
SP1 J. Santana
SP2 M. Pelfrey
SP3 J. Niese
SP4 R. Dickey
SP5 C. Young
Catcher J. Thole
First Base I. Davis
Second Base L. Castillo
Third Base D. Wright
Shortstop J. Reyes
Left Field J. Bay
Center Field A. Pagan
Right Field C. Beltran

The 2011 New York Mets are a financial disaster on and off the field.  They are dealing with some off-field issues in 2011 which involve Bernie Madoff and Ponzi Schemes, but the real drama is taking place under the bright lights at Citi Field.  This team is full of expensive stars, many of which haven’t lived up to their big contracts.  Johan Santana is the projected #1 starter, but he really hasn’t been the same since coming over from Minnesota.  His ERA has been higher and has failed to reach 200 innings each of the last two years – not exactly what the Mets paid for.  Pelfrey is in the second slot in the rotation, but he is so off and on, it is tough to predict what pitcher will show up for the Mets in 2011.  Jason Bay came to the Mets last year and immediately saw a dropoff in stats.  He played less than 100 games due to injuries, hit only 6 homeruns and drove in just 47 runs.  Beltran has seen his power numbers go down each year since 2006 and has been dealing with injuries himself.  Jose Reyes has that winning mixture of being injury prone and lazy – the true stuff of MLB champions.  David Wright, probably my favorite New York Met, is the only player who has shown any consistency over the past few years.  Since 2005, he has played in 140+ games every year while crushing 20+ homers and drove in 100+ in five out of the last six years.  All that money and no National League East title for the Mets in 2011.  Don’t let their losing record stop you from heading out to the ballpark to watch them, however, there is a ton of talent on this team when they are healthy and want to play, including former Sun Devil Ike Davis! Get your tickets today.

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2011 Washington Nationals Preview

2011 Was Nationals Projected Starters
Position Name
SP1 L. Hernandez
SP2 J. Marquis
SP3 J. Zimmermann
SP4 T. Gorzelanny
SP5 J. Lannan
Catcher I. Rodriguez
First Base A. LaRoche
Second Base D. Espinosa
Third Base R. Zimmerman
Shortstop I. Desmond
Left Field R. Bernadina
Center Field N. Morgan
Right Field J. Werth

At least the Nationals are trying.  After finishing last in the National League East, they made some bold moves in the offseason, picking up Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche.  They should compliment speedster Nyjer Morgan quite nicely, giving NL East managers a reason to think twice before writing this team off.  Ryan Zimmerman will also put up solid numbers at third base, giving more potency to this lineup.  The rest of the offense, however, really doesn’t pose much of a threat. There are too many gaps for the Washington Nationals to sustain any big innings.  On the mound, Livan Hernandez is leading the charge.  Sure he had a solid season last year, but come on – he’s not a number one starter anymore.  Their second starter, Jason Marquis hasn’t posted an ERA under 4.0 since 2004.  This rotation really lacks any depth which is in stark contrast to the teams who will contend for the 2011 National League East title.  At any rate, the acquisition of Werth and the chance to watch Nyjer Morgan burn up the basepaths is enough reason to head on over to Nationals Park in Washington DC.

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The Rest of Our 2011 MLB Previews


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