NL East Preview: Nationals, Braves will vie for crown

 

The NL East torch has been passed to Bryce Harper and the Nationals. Credit: Getty Images
The NL East torch has been passed to Bryce Harper and the Nationals. Credit: Getty Images

It wasn’t long ago that the Phillies were in the conversation, annually, about the teams favored to take the NL East crown. But with the Phillies injury-prone and coming off lackluster 2012 and 2013 campaigns, those days are long gone.

Washington Nationals

The Nationals rotation is stacked — led by Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmerman and Gio Gonzalez.

They also have a talented offense anchored by Bryce Harper, and a deep bench. Look for the Nats to approach or even exceed 95 wins in 2014.

Atlanta Braves

The Braves are a very close second to Washington, with a star-studded lineup that includes Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and the Upton brothers.

The Braves also have the strongest bullpen in the East, led by arguably the best closer in the league, Craig Kimbrel.

Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia could finish as high as third, and as low as fifth, (like ESPN.con predicted). If they can at least stay a little bit healthy they should be able to win 75 or 80 games.

New York Mets

A full season of Curtis Granderson and David Wright will help the offense, but the pitching staff will really miss Matt Harvey.

Miami Marlins

The Marlins have some impressive young talent, namely Jose Fernandez, but their offense is depleted, as is their bullpen.



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