2012 NL East Season Predictions

Only 10 days away until the first game of Seattle vs Oakland in Japan. And only 19 days remaining before everyone’s opening day begins!

Time for my division by division predictions for the 2012 season! Beginning with the NL East division. NEXT SERIES OF POST UP THROUGH OPENING DAY will be these posts with my league by league predictions!

Final 2011 NL east standings were

  1. Phillies final record: 102-60
  2. Braves final record:  89-73
  3. Nationals final record: 80-81
  4. Mets  final record: 77-85
  5. Marlins final record: 72-90

My predictions for the 2012 Season:

  1. Phillies  (98-64)
  2. Braves  (86-76)
  3. Marlins  (83-79)
  4. Nationals (82-80)
  5. Mets  (62-100)

Analyst: Phillies were eliminated in the first round by the eventual world champion St Louis Cardinals after winning 102 games in the regular season. I think with the three aces of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hammels, and the addition of Jonathan Papelbon to shut the door will be enough to propel the Phillies to another NL East title by a comfortable margin over Atlanta. Don’t forget Hunter Pence, should have a big year in that ballpark!

Braves Analyst: Good 2011 season by the braves winning 89 games despite ending short of a playoff bid. It was a step in the right for first year manager Fredi Gonzalez and co. Expect a good race for 2nd place between Marlins, the Nats, the Braves. Comparing the Braves pitching staff to the other two teams, I give a good edge to the Braves. Solid pitching staff made of veteran Tim Hudson (16 game winner in 2011), young gunner Jair Jurrjens (2.95 era in 2011) and Tommy Hanson. Braves offensively has some good players, but questions marks all over. Brian McCann does a great job controlling the pitching staff and also puts up very impressive numbers batting. Question marks lie on the shoulders of long-time player Chipper Jones and Jason Heyward. Jones turn 40 years old and has been shuffling in and out of the braves lineup after injury riddle seasons the past few years. Question: will he be able to stay healthy and produce decent stats? only time will tell. Was Jason Heyward just stuck in the sophmore slump? after a 277-18-72 season in 2010; Heyward only hit for an BA of .227 with only 14 longballs and only drove in 42 runs. I think a good pick is if the braves are going to be a player this season, it will be from the pitching side of the ball.

Marlins Analyst: Big off season for the Marlins, picking up big additions of SS Jose Reyes, SP Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell. They also have a new ballpark starting this year and a name change from Florida Marlins to Miami Marlins. Expect the Marlins to improve more this season with a good lineup on paper. Watch the combo of Jose Reyes (Batting champ of 2011); Phenom LF Mike Stanton continues to impress hitting 34 bombs in the ’11 season, only 22 years of age, figures only to become even better as he moves on to his prime. Dont forget the other Marlin play makers Logan Morrision who hit 23 homers but also had a not so great BA of .247. Hanley Ramirez dropped off big time (243 BA 10 homers) in 2011…with the Reyes pick-up Ramirez moves to third base..lets see if that does any impact on his play. Pitching staff of the Marlins: Josh Johnson had a 1.64 in 9 starts before ending his season with an injury. Veteran Mark Buehrle backs Johnson up. Pretty good move to pick up the veteran southpaw who tossed a perfect game in 2009 as a pitcher for Chicago White Sox. Behind those two guys are Ricky Nolasco who was a solid leader for the Marlins after Johnson went down with injury. Possibly the most intriguing pickup of a few for the Marlins was bringing in Carlos Zambrano who has had rocky seasons along to go with his temper the past few years in his stay with the Cubs.

Nationals Analyst: Finally Nationals gave their fans something to cheer about winning 80 games in 2011. And they may only improve- they acquired Gio Gonzalez, Edwin Jackson to anchor their young pitching staff along with John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann, and yes Stephen Strasburg. Although rumor has it that Strasburg will start up in Harrisburg, PA to begin the season with the Harrisburg Senators. Either way Strasburg looks likely to return to the big leagues sooner rather than later at some point this season. Nats lineup features sluggers in the infield of 2B Danny Espinosa (21 Hrs) and Ryan Zimmerman a past AS was locked up long term by the Nats; now locked up with a $100 million dollar contract that keeps him in National uni until 2020! Those a very possible risk factor after a injury played 2011 campaign limited him to only 12 homeruns. If he returns to full health he could play very good defense at 3B while hitting near or over .300 BA and 20-30 homers. The outfield of the Nats features Michael Morse who has been quiet all along until last season when he belted the cover off the baseball hitting for average and power (.303/31 homers and 95 RBIs). Jayson Werth in his first season after accepting that monster contract was a mini bust- he did hit 20 home runs- but average was only down into the 230’s and the run production was just absent for the most part. If he returns to his Philadelphia like days, it coulf give the Nats a big boost. And the big question mark is if any of the OF get hurt or struggle will they call up #1 pick 19 year old RF Bryce Harper? Manager of the nats saids Harper has a shot to make the roster, but if he does will he make an immediate impact? Watch for a more slight improvement in the 2012 season but for a playoff team- I believe isn’t this season.

Mets Analyst: What to say about the Mets? They let Jose Ryes walk, Angel Pagan also gone. I think its pretty obvious that the Mets are going to struggle majorly this season. If they are well out of the race by the trade deadline they might just well deal David Wright to a contender in need. Met fans are not please at all with the team. Couple of positives for the mets- 1.) Ike Davis who hit for a pretty good season, though struggle at times and 2.) Johan Santana is returning after being out since 2010. Question marks surround Santana- will he be able to pitch like he did with the Twins? Either way it going to be a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong season for the Mets faithful. I fear a 100-loss season is on the way for this team!

In review- my NLE picks

  1. Phillies
  2. Braves
  3. Marlins
  4. Nats
  5. Mets

Though the Marlin/Nats may swap posistions as both teams look even on paper.

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