The National League East place two teams in the playoffs last season, but if you asked Grey Papke of Larry Brown Sports, the division the Miami Marlins are part of is the worst in Major League Baseball.
“In 2016, the American League East produced three playoff teams and a fourth with a record over .500, while the Chicago Cubs won the National League Central by 17.5 games and had competition from only one other team over the .500 mark. Being in a weak division can give you something of an easier pass to the postseason, while a tough, competitive group can really toughen you up and give you a harder road to October,” Papke wrote.
Of course, he has the American League East as baseball’s toughest division.
Despite its success last season, Papke sees glaring holes in the majority of the NL East, with Washington being chosen as the favorite once more to take home the division title. As he wrote:
“The Washington Nationals and New York Mets are very good, and both could make it to October again. In fact, both could make some serious noise when the playoffs come around if they are able to get there.
So what’s the difference between this and the AL Central and other divisions? Get past those two and there is absolutely nothing.
The Miami Marlins are still reeling from Jose Fernandez’s tragic death and simply don’t have the talent to contend in 2017. The Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are both rebuilding.
Washington and New York will, more or less, be able to beat up on everyone else and do real battle when they face each other. There’s simply no depth in the NL East. The Mets and Nationals will be worth watching, but they won’t be challenged by anyone but each other.”
The comments are vague and it would appear the writer did not do his homework as this could be MLB’s most improved division. He doesn’t mention the offseason moves by the Braves or the new bullpen by Miami. If they are healthy, both the Nationals and Mets could be playoff contenders.
As Papke wrote, he ranked the National League East behind the American League Central, the National League Central, National League West, American League West and American League East.