2015 Record: 90-72
Key Losses: 2B Daniel Murphy
2016 Outlook: The defending NL east champs must be the favorite to take the division yet again. The Mets still boast what many call the best starting rotation in all of baseball as well as bringing back the big bat of Cespedes. Murphy, the postseason hero, did sign with the division rival Nationals, but signing Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker should work as a solid replacement. Along with veterans Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop and Antonio Bastardo to set up Jeurys Familia, the Mets should sit atop the NL East and seek revenge in the postseason after their crushing defeat in the World Series.
2016 Projected Record: 99-63
2015 Record: 83-79
Key Additions: 2B Murphy, OF Ben Revere
2016 Outlook: Many saw the Nationals taking the division in 2015 with the signing of Max Scherzer to their rotation. However, things went awry in the second half of the season as they missed the playoffs entirely. The hiring of Dusty Baker as manager should turn things around in the clubhouse as he has had his fair share of postseason trips. Reigning NL MVP, Bryce Harper, will look to pick up where he left off in 2015 as well as new second baseman, Murphy, who stays in the NL East where he thrived with the Mets last year. Many touted this team to earn 100 wins last year, so don’t be surprised if they put doubters to shame and make a run at the NL East and wild card races.
2016 Projected Record: 92-70
3. 3. Miami Marlins
2015 Record: 71-91
Key Additions: SP Wei-Yin Chen
Key Losses: SP Henderson Alvarez
2016 Outlook: The numbers were there in 2015 for the Marlins. The fish ranked 8th in total pitching and 14th in hitting, but the win total is all that matters at the end of the day. Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton must produce if the Marlins want to see any chance at the postseason. Fernandez, who was dominant in his 11 starts after recovering from Tommy John, will be fully healthy for 2016 while Stanton needs to belt more than his 27 homers of last season to get runs across the board. Don’t look for the Marlins to shake up the NL east, but their young talent is capable of scrapping together wins and going on a run.
2016 Projected Record: 76-86
4. 4. Philadelphia Phillies
2015 Record: 63-99
Key Losses: OF Dominic Brown
2016 Outlook: As the worst team in the MLB last season, one would except the Phillies have nothing to look forward to in 2016. As playoff chances are slim to none, Phillies fans will, however, get to see the future of the franchise in action this season. Young players like Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco and Aaron Altherr should start on Opening Day, and with the signing of Peter Bourjos, the base paths will be burning up in the City of Brotherly Love as the lineup reeks of pure speed. Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz, the veterans in the mix with the young guns, have not produced for a few seasons now. Howard, 36, has not hit over .270 since 2010 and will likely soon question retirement. Things may be bright for the Phillies in the future, but in 2016, the team should remain harmless in the NL East.
2016 Projected Record: 71-91
5.5. Atlanta Braves
2015 Record: 67-95
2016 Outlook: The Braves may have Freddie Freeman, A. J. Pierzynski and Nick Markakis, but you cannot compete without a decent pitching rotation, which is the case in Atlanta. Dealing Shelby Miller to the Diamondbacks may have landed a first overall pick in Dansby Swanson, but the Braves basically gave away the only man that produced quality innings for the ball club. Julio Teheran will now be SP1 even though he is very unpredictable. The signings of Ender Inciarte and Erick Aybar create a modest top of the lineup, but all things seem out of sorts in Turner Field, and the team has the potential to be the worst in baseball let alone the NL East.
2016 Projected Record: 65-97null