NL East Preview 2022
One of the toughest divisions in all of baseball looks to be equally as dominant with the new MLB season just days away.
The NL East features not only the reigning World Series champions, but also two other teams that made big moves in the offseason and look ready to make some noise.
Let’s start out with those reigning champions, the Atlanta Braves.
The Braves made a huge move in the offseason by moving on from a former MVP and franchise legend in Freddie Freeman as the first baseman signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Freeman was replaced by another All-Star first baseman in Matt Olson who the Braves acquired via trade with the Oakland Athletics.
Olson is coming off a season where he hit 39 home runs and finished eighth in MVP voting in the AL and should perform nicely hitting behind Ronald Acuna Jr. when he returns from injury.
The Braves biggest competition may come from the Big Apple with the New York Mets.
Despite not having two-time Cy Young winner Jacob DeGrom for the start of the season, the Mets went out and signed another ace in Max Schrezer in a contract where he will be making $43 million over the next three seasons.
Schrezer, alongside the newly acquired starter Chris Bassit from the A’s should keep that rotation dominant until DeGrom’s return.
The Mets also made big moves on the offensive side of the ball by signing outfielders Starling Marte and Mark Canha from the A’s as well as infielder Eduardo Escobar from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Those offseason moves to go alongside the core that won 77 games a year ago should be poised for big things this year.
The Philadelphia Phillies also made some big moves in free agency coming mostly in the power department.
In free agency, the Phillies were able to sign both outfielders Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber to beef up their lineup.
Both players were named All Stars a season ago and combined for 66 home runs.
Those two paired with last year’s MVP in Bryce Harper should create problems for the rest of this division.
From here, the division sees a noticeable drop as the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals are both expected to struggle once again this season.
The Marlins made a few moves during the offseason, with the biggest one being signing last year’s World Series MVP in Jorge Soler, stealing him from the rival Braves in the process.
Soler hit 27 home runs last year but struggled with his batting average and was miles behind his 2019 season, when he led the league with 48 home runs while playing with the Kansas City Royals.
Perhaps the biggest story with the Marlins was the resigning of CEO Derek Jeter after being with the team for four seasons.
Lastly, the Nationals continue to rebuild after trading stars such as Schrezer and Trea Turner during last year's trade deadline.
The Nationals also didn’t make too many moves to bolster the current roster with designated hitter Nelson Cruz being the main addition.
The 41-year old made the All Star game last year after a hot start with the Minnesota Twins, but struggled after a mid-season trade to the Tampa Bay Rays.
While the Braves have taken home the division crown each of the past four years, this season fans around the league can truly say it’s a wide open race in the NL East.
Logan Bourandas is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Third-Year / Broadcast Journalism