For all of the one-sidedness that defines each division race in the American League, the National League East is the opposite. Four of the five teams (sorry Marlins) have a legitimate shot to win the division and make a deep postseason run.
Division Champions: +200
Regular Season Wins: 90.5
The Braves enter the season as the favorites largely because they’ve won the division each of the last two years. They will miss Josh Donaldson, who signed this offseason with the Twins. But their lineup still boasts Ronald Acuna, Jr., Freddie Freeman, and newcomer Marcell Ozuna.
Twenty-two-year old Mike Soroka is a great top of the rotation arm, and even though Cole Hamels is expected to miss the start of the season, his offseason signing gives this team good veteran leadership.
Division Champions: +250
Regular Season Wins: 88.5
Perhaps it can be seen as a slight to be the defending World Series champions who are returning almost their entire team and still only be picked to finish 2nd in your division. But seeing as the Nationals won that World Series following a second-place finish, they probably aren’t too fussed.
Gone is Anthony Rendon, but there is still lots to like about a lineup with Trea Turner and Juan Soto. The key will be the health of 35-year old Max Scherzer, who struggled with injury last season and was a scratch during the World Series.
New York Mets
Division Champions: +280
Regular Season Wins: 87.5
There is no better pitcher in baseball than Jacob deGrom, who is coming off back-to-back Cy Young award-winning campaigns. In fact, the rotation is so deep that Rick Porcello, a Cy Young winner in 2016 with Boston, is only projected to be the 5th starter.
There’s also a guy in the lineup named Pete Alonso who just hit 53 home runs as a rookie. The Mets just missed out on a playoff spot last year, and there’s every reason to think that they will be in the mix again this coming September.
Division Champions: +310
Regular Season Wins: 85.5
The Phillies have pushed all their chips into the center of the table and are in full win-now mode. Joe Girardi is the new manager, Didi Gregorius is the new shortstop, and Zack Wheeler is the new star pitcher.
Bryce Harper will still be his regular get on base, run-producing self. And if Andrew McCutchen can return to form following last season’s ACL tear, the Phillies will be in this race to the end.
Division Champions: +10000
Regular Season Wins: 64.5
The one team not in the race, and the season hasn’t even started yet, is the Marlins. Although it is not as though the Derek Jeter-led ownership group doesn’t have a plan, or is seeing some of that plan come to fruition. Miami’s minor league system has become one of the best in baseball.
The problem is at the Big League level, where the talent in Don Mattingly’s lineup is rather absent. This team is still a couple of years away.