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The annual PECOTA projections have been released. The computer system that factors projected lineups, starting pitching rotations, bullpens, & schedule to project divisional races spit out projections for all of MLB’s year-end rankings has the Braves as the fourth ranked team in the National League East. It is worth noting however that PECOTA has projected the Braves to finish third or worse in the NL East each of the last four seasons.
This year’s PECOTA projections have the NL East finishing, in order: Mets, Nationals, Phillies, Braves, then Marlins.
The funny part is is that PECOTA has the two NL East postseason teams from last year as the bottom two finishers.
The Braves won the division last year despite a demolished starting rotation that had to resort to bringing bullpen pitchers into the rotation, Ozzie Albies out for the majority of the season due to injury, Ronald Acuña Jr out multiple times due to injury, & having no other option than to keep Ender Inciarte in the lineup despite being the worst batter in baseball for parts of the season by multiple metrics among qualified batters.
This year’s Braves returns all of last year’s offensive production (2nd in MLB) minus Adam Duvall. They also bolstered the rotation in a major way by signing Charlie Morton, & will get Mike Soroka back later in the year from last year’s injury.
The Mets have definitely built a roster that can win the division, but can they outrun the annual Mets-ing that takes them out of contention, if they were even there in the first place?
The Phillies spent over $100 million to return the same exact team from 2020 minus reliever Brandon Workman & the addition of Brandon Kintzler.
The Nationals brought in Kyle Schwarber & Jon Lester. Lester being the bigger impact signing, in my mind. Their rotation boasts a gauntlet of studs, in: Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, & Jon Lester.
The Marlins have made it clear they’re not focused on building on last year’s postseason qualification. Publicly stating they’re “evaluating for the future”. Their biggest addition is last year’s Braves left fielder Adam Duvall. But in their defense, he mashed in Miami. So maybe they’re hoping he can continue that trend this season when he plays half his games in their ballpark.
I project the NL East to shake out like this, in order: Braves, Mets, Nationals, Phillies, & Marlins.