Atlanta Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, left, gets a high five from Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson, right, after Olson's solo home run in the first inning during spring training baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at CoolToday Park, Sunday, April 3, 2022, in North Port, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

NL East 2022 MLB Preview

Baseball season is back, and the NL East is set to be one of the top divisions in baseball. It will feature the reigning MLB Champions in the Atlanta Braves, along with the 2019 World Series winners, Washington Nationals. Both the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies added key pieces and will be joined by the Miami Marlins.

Atlanta Braves

While the Braves won the World Series in 2021, they will look a bit different in 2022. Former MVP Freddie Freeman was a free agent this offseason and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, the Braves made a big splash with the addition of Matt Olson from the Oakland Athletics.

The powerful left-handed hitter also signed long-term and will be a staple in the Braves order for the next eight years. Atlanta also signed closer Kenley Jansen to bolster its strong bullpen consisting. It already had Will Smith, Darren O’Day and A.J. Minter.

The Braves will still be without Mike Soroka for the start of the season. The young right-hander is recovering from an Achilles injury. Outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. will also be out to start the season but is expected to be back in May.

Washington Nationals

It was a pretty quiet offseason for the Nationals. They did add slugger Nelson Cruz to their team, with the designated hitter coming to the National League. Stephen Strasburg will not be ready for the start of the season, but Washington still has Juan Soto in the middle of the order.

Washington also will have Josh Bell, Cesear Hernadez, Alcides Escobar and Keibert Ruiz as big-time bats in its order. On the mound, it is extremely inexperienced other than left-hander Patrick Corbin. The Nationals have several veteran relief pitchers in Steve Cishek, Will Harris and Sean Doolittle.

New York Mets

The optimism was high in New York, with the Mets throwing out one of the strongest pitching rotations in baseball. Unfortunately, they learned that two-time CY Young Award winner Jacob deGrom will be shut down for a month while free-agent signee Max Scherzer and Taijuan Walker are dealing with minor injuries.

Pitchers like Chris Bassitt and Carlos Carrasco and will be needed early alongside some depth starters in Tylor Megill, David Peterson and Trevor Williams. However, the Mets have a powerful lineup behind first basemen, Pete Alonso.

They added Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha to an already strong group with Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith. Robinson Cano will also be back from his second PED suspension this year. New York will also need closer Edwin Diaz to be sharp, with Seth Lugo, Trevor May and Adam Ottavino as late-inning pitchers.

Philadelphia Phillies

Led by a strong rotation of Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler, the Phillies are contenders to make the postseason with the expanded postseason. They will have Ranger Suarez, Kyle Gibson and Jack Eflin, likely rounding out their rotation but will need to improve their bullpen. The Phillies struggled a great amount the past few years closing games out and will turn to Corey Knebel in the ninth inning.

Philadelphia’s lineup remains extremely strong with Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto. It also added outfielders Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber while having Alec Bohm and Jean Segura in its infield.

Miami Marlins

Other than the signing of Soler from Atlanta, the Marlins will have a similar team to last year. With Sandy Alcantara and Trevor Rogers leading the rotation, the Marlins will turn to some young pitchers in Jesus Luzardo and Sixto Sanchez.

 

Offensively, Don Mattingly’s crew will feature Jesus Aguliar, Garrett Cooper, Avasiili Garcia, Jesus Sanchez, Jazz Chisholm and Bryan Anderson. Miami recently added two bullpen arms in Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser.

About Matthew Rothman

Check Also

A look at Gators in the MLB

Lots of Gators are on the Opening Day roster for the 2022 season. With Opening …