NL East Power Rankings

Written by Colin on January 15, 2008 – 11:46 am

So we’ve looked team by team at the NL East. You may agree or disagree with what we’ve said so far, but this is where we break down the analysis into power rankings. Of course we have our five categories – Offense, Defense, Starting Pitching, Relief Pitching, and Coaching. You may disagree, so feel free to comment and let me know what your thoughts are. And Mets fans, no whining.

Offense:
#5 – Washington Nationals – The worst offense in the NL East isn’t looking much better this year.
#4 – Florida Marlins – These guys have a long way to go, but they’re not as bad offensively as the Nationals.
#3 – New York Mets – Weak spots in Ryan Church and Bryan Schneider (former Nationals players don’t help this) as well as old blood leave the Mets at #3.
#2 – Atlanta Braves – These guys only have a couple unknowns – everyone else is a proven raker.
#1 – Philadelphia Phillies – Without a doubt, the best offense in the NL East. These guys are #1.

Defense:
#5 – Florida Marlins – Youth and inexperience leaves these guys down here.
#4 – Washington Nationals – They’re decent, but not great.
#3 – Philadelphia Phillies – The Phillies have Gold Glove winner Jimmy Rollins at short stop, but lost Aaron Rowand and haven’t added
#2 – Atlanta Braves – Even with the loss of Andruw Jones, the Braves remain a great defensive team. Francoeur won a Gold Glove and Kotsay is among the best center fielders in the game – Wren says he has a better arm than Jones did.
#1 – New York Mets – Beltran and Wright are Gold Glove winners, and if they make the trade for Santana, he’ll just add to the mix.

Starting Pitching:
#5 – Florida Marlins – these guys are going to be young and struggle a bit. Batting practice, anyone?
#4 – Washington Nationals – they’re not great but they’re not horrible either.
#3 – Philadelphia Phillies – Hamels is the ace of this rotation, and Myers adds some veteran experience, but they aren’t proven all around.
#2 – New York Mets – They can’t rely on the oft-injured Pedro and John Maine to carry this rotation, and Perez is hit and miss. The Braves proved last year that you can’t contend legitimately with just two solid starters.
#1 – Atlanta Braves – Smoltz, Glavine, and Hudson provide a strong three that’s as strong as anyone in the majors. You Glavine haters need to chill out now, he’s got gas left in the tank. With Chuck James benefiting from Glavine’s experience as a left-hander, and the potential return of Mike Hampton (he’s running again after his hamstring injury), this rotation could be a very, very dangerous group.

Relief Pitching:
#5 – Florida Marlins – the fish at #5? Shocking.
#4 – Washington Nationals – not super surprising – these guys aren’t great.
#3 – New York Mets – Billy Wagner is a great closer, but the Met’s bullpen only assisted in the collapse last year – going 2-9 with a 5.50 ERA and 7 blown saves in 16 chances in the final 36 games of the year. Only big move this off-season is getting rid of Mota. One closer does not a bullpen make.
#2 – Philadelphia Phillies – Brad Lidge will close and they have decent setup men, so we’ll see these guys compete for the #1 bullpen spot in the division.
#1 – Atlanta Braves – The edge goes to the Braves, who with Rafael Soriano as closer and Peter Moylan as main setup man, have a solid setup. Solid left-hander Will Ohman (Braves scouts are really high on this guy) and the return of Mike Gonzalez and Blaine Boyer from injury will solidify the ‘pen on the front end. If that isn’t enough, expect to see the leftovers from the rotation fill out the bullpen roster – there’s depth here for sure.

Coaching:
#5 – Washington Nationals – Manny Acta is a young unproven manager, but we’ll see how he develops.
#4 – Florida Marlins – Fredi Gonzalez is a good coach but is not proven as a manager. I think we’ll see him develop over the years if the Marlins spend a little bit more.
#3 – New York Mets – Willie Randolph would be competing for #2 had the collapse not been ridiculous down the stretch. He has some clean-up work to do to return the Mets to a team that can compete.
#2 – Philadelphia Phillies – Charlie Manuel is a good coach, but he needs some long-term success to take him to the next level.
#1 – Atlanta Braves – Bobby Cox has a clear advantage in experience and record over the other managers in the NL East. And he gets thrown out more often, too.

Pre-Season Overall Power Rankings
#5 – Florida Marlins
#4 – Washington Nationals
#3 – New York Mets
#2 – Atlanta Braves
#1 – Philadelphia Phillies

Despite the Mets fans who feel that they’re part of the race this year, the Mets just don’t have the personnel to compete with the Braves and Phillies – and that’s not just my opinion, it seems to be a bit of a consensus if you read around.  The Phillies are the team to beat as they’re the reigning champion, but the Braves should give them a run for their money.  That said, if the Mets acquire an ace (Santana? Doesn’t seem likely), they’ll have a completely different rotation and be right in the mix.


Posted in League Analysis | 17 Comments »


17 Responses to “NL East Power Rankings”

  1. By Libby on Jan 15, 2008 | Reply

    I agree with you guys. I believe it will come down to the Braves and the Phillies this year. The Mets may surprise us but God knows I hope they don’t!

  2. By Rue Grant on Jan 15, 2008 | Reply

    i disagree on the coaching staff. switch 2 and 3, i think you have it right.

    it’s also gotta be hard to put the marlins and the nationals head to head, however, i think the nationals may surprise a few people a time or two this season.

  3. By Jonathan on Jan 15, 2008 | Reply

    I’m still maintaining that the Braves pitching staff is a big IF factor this season. The success of our pitching staff hinges on a couple things:

    1. Mike Hampton manages to get healthy and stay healthy.
    2. Smoltz and Glavine stay healthy for the duration of the season.
    3. The 4/5 spots in the rotation pan out as expected.
    4. Peter Moylan continues to pitch well in a setup role.
    5. A little bit of luck.

  4. By Rue Grant on Jan 15, 2008 | Reply

    i disagree with you jonathan. i think we have one of the deepest teams in terms of pitching in the league. sure you can name two or three other very good pitchers from each of the heavy contenders, but you can’t stand there and tell me that behind the names of smoltz, glavine, and hudson that you need to question the ability of the “fall backs” who normally would have started for us last season. sure, most of them weren’t stand outs, which was a huge problem for us, but i think a big goal was to fix that. we could rely on smoltz, and that’s what we did. i remember countless times going to games just because he was pitching, and now we are looking at putting another “sure thing” on the mound. yes, glavine is old, and it’s not a bad thing. i remember thinking that smoltz couldn’t throw above 90 mph one game, and he was throwing mid 80s for most of the times i was paying attention. didn’t seem to matter much honestly. there’s a lot to experience and a lot to say for technique. i know this, i’m an engineer – i build stuff that shouldn’t work but does because it uses almost perfect motion instead of wasting it to vibration. ok, off of my nerdiness. behind those reliable 3, we still have lots of guys. i’m pumped to see moylan. i really am. the more his name comes up, the more i recall watching him play and being excited about what could come of him. granted, i always think “potential” and not in the here and now, but i think peter moylan has been a developing player and we haven’t seen all we can get out of him. t hen of course we have buddy. quite honestly i’m a little mad at buddy right now because i read an interview where he said he was “average” and that sometimes you get fans and lose fans depending on how you pitch. that’s crap, and that’s a horrible attitude if you’re going to be the big time. so unless that attitude changes, i see all the potential in the world draining away from buddy carlyle because he himself doesn’t think he can cut it. i’m excited to see soriano close. i think we need to focus more on finding another one. we can’t call him out every game, or can we? how many games did someone pitch the whole game last season? was it zero? i don’t want to play games with a closer either. i don’t want to “see how he does” when we bring out someone new to end a game for us. friggin bob wickman man, that ego couldn’t fit in the same room, but if we were home, he worked it. i want to see that, only with consistency. i think we undoubtedly have the best pitchers in the league. and i’m done typing now, and no, i won’t go back and spell check.

  5. By Jonathan on Jan 15, 2008 | Reply

    Hudson threw a complete game in mid-September last season. I definitely think you can rely on a closer every game. The ideal closer is someone that you can count on for one solid inning per game, every game, no matter what.

  6. By Stephen Gray on Jan 15, 2008 | Reply

    I’d have to agree with Jonathan here, I think we’ve actually seen all we could expect from Moylan, he pitched in 80 games and still maintained a 1.80 ERA. How could he possibly get any better? Moylan can’t step up and fill holes left by Villereal and Mahay. He has a large work load already. If all went without incident and Hampton came back 100% (stretch) we would have arguably the best rotation in baseball. If we could get 7 innings out of our starters every night our bullpen would be ok, but since that probably won’t happen, we need to find someone to fill some of the voids in the bullpen, and it simply cannot be Moylan.

  7. By robert on Jan 16, 2008 | Reply

    i agree that we have a solid defense, the only thing in question in my oppinion is left field.

  8. By Mike on Jan 16, 2008 | Reply

    You guys have got to be kidding thinking the Braves or the Phillies would beat the Mets this year. The Phillies won because the Mets had a catastrophe. What are the odds that happens again? As far as losing Glavine, its just not that big a deal. I think the Phils and the Braves are good but you are seriously selling the Mets short. Even without pitching they had a huge lead until their egos got the best of them.

  9. By Matt on Jan 16, 2008 | Reply

    Mike-What exactly have the Mets done this off-season? The Mets went 12-6 against Philly last year and that had a lot more to do with why they didn’t win than how they played in September. And to prove my point even more, look at how Philly started the season and how the Mets ended it. Pretty similar if you ask me. And if you take away the Injuries that the Phils and Braves had in ’07 and the Mets probably finish a distant 3rd. And there are so many holes on the Mets’ roster that potentialy getting one guy(as great as he may be) who only plays once every 5 days and only will go 7 innings is not enough to make them serious contenders.

  10. By Rue Grant on Jan 16, 2008 | Reply

    I have to admit, I don’t know crap about the Mets, but my boyfriend is a Phillies fan, so I can at least keep track of them much easier. I too, used to be a Phillies fan growing up just north of Philadelphia, so that makes it easy too. I really do think they are better than the Braves at this point, and whoever made the left field comment was dead on. Personally I’m a bit nervous about the outfield. Optimistic, but nervous. I’m going to have to see it.

    I’ll make it a point to research the Mets a little better, sometimes it gets hard with my ridiculous bias. By the way, I’ll probably be on bravescast’s podcast this sunday, if anyone wants to listen to make fun of me and hear my ignorance.

  11. By Libby on Feb 2, 2009 | Reply

    I agree with you guys. I believe it will come down to the Braves and the Phillies this year. The Mets may surprise us but God knows I hope they don't!

  12. By Rue Grant on Feb 2, 2009 | Reply

    i disagree on the coaching staff. switch 2 and 3, i think you have it right.

    it's also gotta be hard to put the marlins and the nationals head to head, however, i think the nationals may surprise a few people a time or two this season.

  13. By Jonathan on Feb 2, 2009 | Reply

    I'm still maintaining that the Braves pitching staff is a big IF factor this season. The success of our pitching staff hinges on a couple things:

    1. Mike Hampton manages to get healthy and stay healthy.
    2. Smoltz and Glavine stay healthy for the duration of the season.
    3. The 4/5 spots in the rotation pan out as expected.
    4. Peter Moylan continues to pitch well in a setup role.
    5. A little bit of luck.

  14. By Rue Grant on Feb 2, 2009 | Reply

    i disagree with you jonathan. i think we have one of the deepest teams in terms of pitching in the league. sure you can name two or three other very good pitchers from each of the heavy contenders, but you can't stand there and tell me that behind the names of smoltz, glavine, and hudson that you need to question the ability of the "fall backs" who normally would have started for us last season. sure, most of them weren't stand outs, which was a huge problem for us, but i think a big goal was to fix that. we could rely on smoltz, and that's what we did. i remember countless times going to games just because he was pitching, and now we are looking at putting another "sure thing" on the mound. yes, glavine is old, and it's not a bad thing. i remember thinking that smoltz couldn't throw above 90 mph one game, and he was throwing mid 80s for most of the times i was paying attention. didn't seem to matter much honestly. there's a lot to experience and a lot to say for technique. i know this, i'm an engineer – i build stuff that shouldn't work but does because it uses almost perfect motion instead of wasting it to vibration. ok, off of my nerdiness. behind those reliable 3, we still have lots of guys. i'm pumped to see moylan. i really am. the more his name comes up, the more i recall watching him play and being excited about what could come of him. granted, i always think "potential" and not in the here and now, but i think peter moylan has been a developing player and we haven't seen all we can get out of him. t hen of course we have buddy. quite honestly i'm a little mad at buddy right now because i read an interview where he said he was "average" and that sometimes you get fans and lose fans depending on how you pitch. that's crap, and that's a horrible attitude if you're going to be the big time. so unless that attitude changes, i see all the potential in the world draining away from buddy carlyle because he himself doesn't think he can cut it. i'm excited to see soriano close. i think we need to focus more on finding another one. we can't call him out every game, or can we? how many games did someone pitch the whole game last season? was it zero? i don't want to play games with a closer either. i don't want to "see how he does" when we bring out someone new to end a game for us. friggin bob wickman man, that ego couldn't fit in the same room, but if we were home, he worked it. i want to see that, only with consistency. i think we undoubtedly have the best pitchers in the league. and i'm done typing now, and no, i won't go back and spell check.

  15. By Stephen Gray on Feb 2, 2009 | Reply

    I'd have to agree with Jonathan here, I think we've actually seen all we could expect from Moylan, he pitched in 80 games and still maintained a 1.80 ERA. How could he possibly get any better? Moylan can't step up and fill holes left by Villereal and Mahay. He has a large work load already. If all went without incident and Hampton came back 100% (stretch) we would have arguably the best rotation in baseball. If we could get 7 innings out of our starters every night our bullpen would be ok, but since that probably won't happen, we need to find someone to fill some of the voids in the bullpen, and it simply cannot be Moylan.

  16. By Matt on Feb 2, 2009 | Reply

    Mike-What exactly have the Mets done this off-season? The Mets went 12-6 against Philly last year and that had a lot more to do with why they didn't win than how they played in September. And to prove my point even more, look at how Philly started the season and how the Mets ended it. Pretty similar if you ask me. And if you take away the Injuries that the Phils and Braves had in '07 and the Mets probably finish a distant 3rd. And there are so many holes on the Mets' roster that potentialy getting one guy(as great as he may be) who only plays once every 5 days and only will go 7 innings is not enough to make them serious contenders.

  17. By Rue Grant on Feb 2, 2009 | Reply

    I have to admit, I don't know crap about the Mets, but my boyfriend is a Phillies fan, so I can at least keep track of them much easier. I too, used to be a Phillies fan growing up just north of Philadelphia, so that makes it easy too. I really do think they are better than the Braves at this point, and whoever made the left field comment was dead on. Personally I'm a bit nervous about the outfield. Optimistic, but nervous. I'm going to have to see it.

    I'll make it a point to research the Mets a little better, sometimes it gets hard with my ridiculous bias. By the way, I'll probably be on bravescast's podcast this sunday, if anyone wants to listen to make fun of me and hear my ignorance.

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