What Are The Biggest Strengths For Each NL East Team In 2023?
Just one day remains of the 2023 MLB offseason. With that being said, we have little time to evaluate every team’s biggest strength heading into the 2023 season. Here’s the first National League division: the NL East.
I wrote an in-depth analysis and gave predictions for every team in MLB. My first of which was the NL East. I’ve argued throughout the offseason that this division is the best or second-best in the entire league.
Time to break down each NL East team’s biggest strength.
Washington Nationals: Young Pieces
The Washington Nationals are in the thick of a rebuild and are nowhere close to competing. While this roster is pretty awful, there are some young pieces here to have some optimism around. Especially those that were acquired in the Juan Soto trade.
Washington’s return from Soto was shortstop C.J. Abrams, 22, pitcher MacKenzie Gore, 24, and two other prospects. These two names are notable because they will both be slotted into starting roles this season at their respective positions. Unfortunately, many were excited about Cade Cavalli, but he’ll miss 2023 with Tommy John surgery.
They just locked up Keibert Ruiz to be their catcher on a team-friendly deal. Luis García was a quietly nice player last season. Now, I’m not saying Washington will have anything resembling a competitive baseball team this season. But, they may have some young pieces to look forward to in 2023. Maybe some trade deadline candidates as well.
Miami Marlins: The Exciting Front Line Guys
I could just waltz in here and say that the biggest strength of the Miami Marlins in 2023 will be their rotation as everyone has been saying for the last three seasons. But I don’t believe that unit is all that great, and it’s certainly not their biggest strength.
When I say exciting front-line guys, I mean the big names that pop out on the stat sheet. In the rotation, those guys are Sandy Alcantara, Jesús Luzardo and Edward Cabrera. That trio should pitch a lot of innings, and they need to be strong every fifth day if this team wants to compete in this viscously competitive division.
The lineup isn’t without high-end talent either. Most notably Luis Arraez and Jazz Chisholm. This duo can make any Marlins fan excited for the future. The lineup, like the pitching staff, is also top-heavy. Depth will be Miami’s biggest challenge this season. I like Miami’s frontline bullpen guys too, like A.J. Puk and Dylan Floro. But even with that unit, the depth can be considered questionable.
A team like the Marlins shows the true strength of the NL East. They could finish anywhere from 75 to 90 wins. Miami should be more competitive in 2023, as they continue to build up a respectable roster. They just don’t have the depth to compete with the big guys just yet.
Philadelphia Phillies: Lethal Bats
It comes as no surprise to anyone at all that the strength of the Philadelphia Phillies 2023 squad will be their lineup. Their bats rival just about anyone in the league. Up and down the order, you don’t even get a break or hole from this capable starting nine. Although, losing Rhys Hoskins to an ACL tear is very unfortunate. They’ll also go through a period of time without Bryce Harper.
Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto carried Team USA in the World Baseball Classic and will carry the Phillies in the first couple of months of 2023. Those three stars will be their offensive difference-makers this season. Down the stretch of last season, Alec Bohm really found his swagger in a Philadelphia uniform and could continue to blossom in his third season. Nick Castellanos looks to bounce back after a rough first season as a Phillie.
I could have gone with the rotation or the firey bullpen arms for the strength of this team, but it’s really hard to beat that lineup. Having a lot of strengths definitely isn’t a bad thing, though.
Atlanta Braves: The Best Roster in Baseball?
Five straight NL East championships for the Atlanta Braves. It’s pretty shocking to think that they have grabbed the title five times in a row, but here we are. I simply cannot pick one strength for this team. I’d argue that Atlanta has the best roster, in all three phases, in the sport.
Let’s check in on the lineup. With catching tandem Sean Murphy and Travis d’Arnaud, Atlanta most likely has the best catching room in baseball. Matt Olson and Austin Riley can be MVP candidates any season, they’ll man the corner infield spots. The outfield could be lethal, with Michael Harris and Ronald Acuna Jr. as the ringers. Let’s not forget about Eddie Rosario and Ozzie Albies.
The rotation isn’t slackers either, but it somehow may be the weakness of this team. Two guys that are mainstays are Spencer Strider and Max Fried, but the rest of the rotation has something to prove.
Atlanta’s bullpen may be the best in the National League by a landslide. A.J. Minter, Lucas Luetge, and Dylan Lee are three left-handers who are extremely hard to hit. Speaking of lefties, they’ll be without one of their best relievers in 2023, Tyler Matzek, whose season is lost due to Tommy John. Raisel Iglesias, who may be Atlanta’s best bullpen arm, will start the season on the IL.
It’s hard to find a more complete roster in the entire sport than in Atlanta. They have top-line players at almost every position. But like every MLB team, there are question marks to be addressed. Is the rotation deep enough? Will the Braves stay healthy enough to win their sixth straight NL East title?
New York Mets: Great Rotation
You can go a lot of ways for the Mets’ biggest strength. Maybe it’s the infield trio of Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor. Maybe it was Edwin Diaz. Evaluating it all, I’m pretty confident that the strength of this team will be the rotation and what comes with it.
Of course, you’ve got the duo of legendary workhorses and former teammates with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. How can you argue with that one-two punch? Behind those guys posed some question marks for some Mets fans. Steve Cohen quenched the thirst of fans by landing Kodai Senga from Japan to man the third spot. Carlos Carrasco is still around. José Quintana was brought in to be the four starter, but went down with a lat injury that will have him sidelined for several months. Not to worry, as the Mets’ depth continues with David Peterson and Tylor Megill.
This team has all sorts of strengths and spots on the roster that can be difference-makers in 2023. Most notably, this pitching staff can be really, really good. Do they have enough to finally climb the Atlanta mountain? They may.
This division is cutthroat. The NL East strengths can’t be undervalued. If a team starts getting a ton of injuries, they will be jumped by someone who’s ready to win. There could very realistically be three playoff teams in from this division in 2023, as there were in 2022.
The questions about this division are very intriguing. The Phillies, Mets, and Braves are the big boys. Can the Marlins keep up with these three? How badly will Bryce Harper’s absence affect the Phillies? Are the Mets going to be the same team without Edwin Diaz? Gear up, it’s gonna be a fun season for the NL East.
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