Miami Marlins' Jorge Soler hits a sacrifice fly to score Dane Myers during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Saturday, July 8, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

A Look at the NL East at the All-Star Break

The MLB All-Star break is coming to an end, and the National League East is one of the strongest divisions in the league. This division is full of surprises, with a disappointing Mets team and a surging Marlins team in second place. With the second half of the season beginning Friday, here’s how the teams stack up at the All-Star break.

Atlanta Braves

In first place in the division is the Atlanta Braves. The Braves currently have the best record in MLB at 60-29 and hold an 8.5 game lead over Miami. Atlanta has been slugging its way through the division with 169 home runs, which ranks them first in the league. The Braves also sit in first in the league in earned run average with a 3.63 ERA.

Miami Marlins

Miami has shocked the baseball community this year and are in second place in the NL East with a 53-39 record.

A bright spot in Miami’s lineup is Luis Arraez, who is chasing history this season. Miami was hoping to get a boost offensively when they traded Pablo Lopez for the second baseman, and Arraez has delivered. His average halfway through the season is .383, and he’s looking to become the first player since 1941 to hit .400. The team needed a boost in average after the team finished with a .230 clip in 2022. While he doesn’t hit for power, it isn’t needed when Jorge Soler is slugging .527 in the lineup.

Philadelphia Phillies

Third in the NL East is the Philadelphia Phillies with a 48-41 record. A team built around offense was slow to produce in the first half. The team had signed Trea Turner through 2033 on a $300 million deal. Known for his speed, Turner showed off his power during the World Baseball Classic in March. He had five homeruns in the WBC but was slow to replicate that power to start the regular season.

Bryce Harper came back from tommy john surgery on May 2. He made one of the quickest recoveries after this surgery, but he did not play the field. He is expected to be back on the field after the break, but not at his traditional position in right field. With Rhys Hoskins out for the season, Harper is expected to take the first base position and allow Kyle Schwarber to be the designated hitter.

New York Mets

The Mets have arguably been one of the most disappointing teams, this year. The team has by far the largest salary at $353,546,854 and is currently sitting in fourth place in the division with a 42-48 record. The team is also one of the oldest with an average age of 31.2.

Justin Verlander just came off of a Cy-Young winning season but has yet to return to that form. Verlander signed a three-year contract, matching teammate Max Scherzer for the highest average annual value at $43.3 million. Last year, Verlander finished the season with a 1.75 ERA in 170 innings pitched. However, this year is a different story. He currently has an ERA of 3.60 and only has 70 innings pitched. Additionally, he’s on pace for one of his lowest innings pitched in his career.

Washington Nationals

Washington is in last place in the NL East. The team is fifth in batting average but has a low on base percentage. The team lost superstar Juan Soto last year in a trade to the San Diego Padres and is looking to rebuild for the future. They selected outfielder Dylan Crews from LSU with the No. 2 overall pick in the MLB Draft. Crews was instrumental in helping the Tigers win the College World Series this year, and the Nationals added Crews to a list of exciting prospects. The team was never considered to make a playoff run, but with the prospects from the Juan Soto trade and coveted draft picks, they are hoping to have a successful rebuild.

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