Next, we are going to get into the NL East. I might end up saying this about 4 of the 6 divisions because in my mind it’s true, but this is also one of the most interesting divisions in MLB this season. It seemed like it was going to be the Braves and Mets fighting for the division lead, then late signings by the Phillies and Nats bolstered their rosters. The Marlins also made some big offseason additions and expect to at least be in the chase, so let’s get into it.
MLB Expert John Bollman's NL East Betting Preview - 2022 Season
First, let’s start with my hometown team the Nationals. Nationals traded Max Scherzer and Trea Turner before the deadline last season, pretty much signaling they were going into a rebuild. They also lost World Series closer Daniel Hudson to free agency. There are some massive gaps on this team, which originally had me thinking to play the Nationals Under 70.5 Regular Season Wins.
However, even with the losses I think this line is about dead on. They added Nelson Cruz and they should get an injured Stephen Strasburg back for the season. They got Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz back in the Scherzer and Turner trade, and both are very high upside prospects that will contribute immediately. Cesar Hernandez is a decent new option, and Victor Robles is more than due for a breakout season. They also still have Patrick Corbin who seriously underperformed last season. So while this might look like an easy under with the naked eye, I could definitely see this team winning at least 71 or 72 games.
I want to go to the Marlins next because they could either be very bad or very good this season, and I don’t think there will be an in between. Marlins and CEO Derek Jeter parted ways in the offseason so it is interesting to see where this franchise goes from here. They signed Sandy Alcantara to a long-term deal and he will head their pitching staff. They have very good options behind him too in what is one of their strengths.
Trevor Rogers, Pablo Lopez, Jesus Luzardo and Elieser Hernanandez are very good starting rotation options. However, they don’t have much depth behind them. Dylan Floro should start as their closer, but they really don’t have any bullpen names after that.
They did make some big offensive additions that made headlines. They added Avisail Garcia and Jorge Soler. They also traded for a defensive beast in catcher Jacob Stallings. These players add to Jazz Chisholm, Miguel Rojas, Jesus Sanchez and Bryan De La Cruz. This team has tons of talent, and they even have solid lineup depth now, which is something they have been missing since trading Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna in the 2017 offseason.
Their win total is set at 75.5 which is a good number. This team could be a pest for the rest of the NL East, or they could get beat up on if they have any long term injuries. This team could go either way, so I am staying away from the total.
Next, we will go to the Phillies. Phillies just made news because they added Kyle Schwarber to their outfield. They also signed Nick Castellanos in the offseason to make their outfield one of the best hitting outfields in the league with Bryce Harper. It would be easily the worst defensive outfield as well, but with the DH this season, the Phillies will find ways to get a player like Odubel Herrera starting defensively in Centerfield. Defense is definitely still an issue for this team, but this lineup can matchup with the big boys. They also suddenly have a very good pitching staff. Aaron Nola seriously struggled last season, but I highly doubt he continues to struggle. Kyle Gibson and Zach Wheeler made big steps for the pitching staff last season, and Ranger Suarez came out of nowhere to be one of the best pitchers in the league. Not sure if he will be able to back up his 2021 season but I am very interested to find out, because all the peripherals show he wasn’t just significantly overperforming. The bullpen has always been a problem for this team, but they added Brad Hand and Corey Knebel. They will help, but the bullpen will definitely be their weak spot again.
The Phillies win total is set at 84.5 which I think is about right. This team seems to somehow win about 83 or 84 games every season, regardless of the talent. They are +450 to win the division but I still don’t think they can matchup with the Braves or Mets for a full season. However, an interesting line that I did see was Phillies +100 To Make The Playoffs. There is an extra playoff spot in the NL this season and the Reds would have made the playoffs with just 83 wins last season. The Phillies don’t need to put together an incredible season to make the playoffs, and they will add pieces at the deadline assuming they are remotely in the race. I think they can definitely win 86 or 87 games, and that would have put them in the playoffs based on last year’s records. As long as there is a plus and not a minus in front of the Phillies To Make the Playoffs line, take it.
PHILLIES TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS @ +115
The reason I don’t like the Phillies to win the division is because of the two top teams in the division, including the reigning World Series Champion Atlanta Braves. The Braves are just +145 to win the division and +1200 to repeat as World Series Champions. They did lose Freddie Freeman in free agency, but they traded for Matt Olson to offset his loss. In two or three years, this move will have paid off for Braves fans. But this year and next year I still expect Freeman to be much better than Olson. I do think Olson is a solid replacement, but I have to make it clear that the Braves front office thinks more about the long term than most teams. Ronald Acuna will also miss at least the first couple months of the season rehabbing from an ACL tear. They won’t risk his future or the franchise’s future rushing him back, even to play DH, especially after winning a World Series. So don’t believe your favorite writer that says he will come back to DH before playing in the field. They also get Marcell Ozuna back and they re-signed Eddie Rosario. They did lose World Series MVP Jorge Soler to the Marlins though.
Charlie Morton should be back after breaking his leg in the playoffs last season, but Mike Soroka might not be back until the end of the season. They lost Mark Melancon but signed Kenley Jansen to replace him. On paper, they filled all their losses with replacements and should be ready to make another run. But at the same time, they only won 88 games last season and that definitely won’t do it in the NL East this season. We also have to account for the team chemistry that was there last season, that just won’t be there with all these new additions. The Braves win total is set at 90.5 which I think is pretty spot on. This will be a very similar team to last season, and they should make the playoffs. But all their futures are overpriced after last season, so I would stay off.
Finally, that brings us to the Mets. Where a lot of turnover for a World Series winning team is not good, a lot of turnover for a severely underperforming team is very good. Jacob Degrom should hopefully be back for a full season and the Mets signed Max Scherzer to give them the best 1-2 punch in the Majors. They lost Marcus Stroman, but they added Chris Bassitt and they still have Taijuan Walker. Trevor Williams and Adam Ottavino are also nice additions for this team and they should contribute immediately. There is no doubt Francisco Lindor will bounce back from his terrible 2021 season and they made some big additions to the lineup too. They added Starling Marte who is one of the rare, and maybe best, five tool players left in the Major Leagues. They also added Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha. Jeff McNeil will have a better season and Robinson Cano should be back in the lineup, although who knows if he’ll produce. This team is very deep, and they should be able to withstand injuries at just about any part of their roster.
Their Regular Season Win Total is set at 90.5 and I love that over. This team added tons of new pieces, so they are far removed from 77 wins despite it being last season. They are also slightly favored to win the NL East at +140. I also love this play for them to win the division. They get the veteran presence in the clubhouse in Max Scherzer and they added the pieces they need. They have an owner who is willing to spend, and they will most definitely be spenders at the trade deadline. Take the Mets to win Over 90.5 wins and to win the NL East at +140.
METS OVER 90.5 REGULAR SEASON WINS @ -110
METS TO WIN THE NL EAST @ +140
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