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National League East Breakdown

National League East Clay Hensley via


National League East

As the 2016 MLB season draws nearer to completion, we take a look at the National League East division. This division has been dominated by the Washington Nationals this season but could produce two playoff teams. The New York Mets enter Friday in the second NL wild card spot. Now lets take a look at how the National League East stacks up this year.

Washington Nationals

Currently, the Washington Nationals hold an eight game lead over the New York Mets. With a +140 run differential, the Nationals have a 99.9% chance of making the playoffs according to The Nationals have scored 667 runs this season which ranks 8th in the majors. Their high-powered offense is a big part of their 82-58 record.

Daniel Murphy has been a man among children this season. He has 25 home runs, 101 RBI’s and a .345 batting average. The second baseman is making a great case for NL MVP this year.

Along with the potent offense, the Nationals have a very strong pitching staff. As a team, they rank 2nd in ERA with a 3.46 and 3rd in batting average against with a .233. The man of the hour for the starting rotation is Max Scherzer. He leads the team in ERA (2.88), wins (16) and strikeouts (243).

In addition to Scherzer, the Nationals have also relied on starting pitcher Tanner Roark. In 28 starts this season, Roark has posted a 2.89 ERA with 142 strikeouts in 180.1 innings.

With injuries to pitchers like Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross, the Nationals have had to dip into a pool of younger pitchers.  A.J. Cole and Lucas Giolito have stepped up and filled in when asked.

The Nationals are poised to make a deep playoff run this season. With a powerful offense led by Daniel Murphy and a very good starting staff, the Nationals have the potential to win the World Series. The only knock against Washington is the injuries to their rotation. Strasburg left his most recent start with discomfort in his elbow but is not expected to miss much time. If they can get and stay healthy, the Nationals are a World Series contender.

New York Mets

Trailing the Nationals by eight games are the New York Mets. With a win against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, the Mets moved to 74-66 on the season and ran their win streak to five games. Of course the biggest headline surrounding the Mets this week has been the signing of former football star Tim Tebow. The Mets felt like Tebow has enough talent to maybe help their team at some point in the future.

Even though the Mets rank in the bottom half of the league in runs scored, batting average, OBP and slugging percentage, they currently hold the second NL wild card.

The only bright spot for the Mets offensively this season has been outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. He has a .292 batting average, 28 home runs and 71 RBI’s in 111 games played.

Pitching has carried the Mets this season. They rank 3rd in the league in ERA with a 3.56, 8th in WHIP and 11th in batting average against. Noah Syndergaard has been everything the Mets hoped he would be this season. He has a 2.48 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 13 wins in 27 starts this season.

Other starters such as Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz have chipped in to carry the Mets this year. Closer Jeurys Familia has 47 saves on the season along with a 2.44 ERA. He is having a great season and will be very valuable to the Mets if they make the playoffs.

The Mets are currently in a heated race for one of the two wild card spots in the national league. They are firmly out of contention within the division but have a legitimate shot at the wild card. If the Mets can scrape together enough offensive production and remain somewhat healthy within the rotation, then they could become playoff contenders.

Miami Marlins  

Thirteen games behind the Nationals are the Miami Marlins. The Marlins were a playoff contender earlier in the season but have fallen on tough times and have slipped out of the playoff discussion. They are firmly out of the conversation within the division but are only five games back of the second wild card.

Their lack-luster offense will have to get it together if they hope to make a push toward the playoffs. With 575 runs scored, the Marlins rank 26th in the majors in that department. Giancarlo Stanton leads the team in home runs with 25 but has missed time with injuries. He will need to stay healthy for the Marlins to be relevant in playoff talks. Martin Prado and Christian Yelich have combined for 25 home runs this season as they are both batting over .300.

Jose Fernandez has been ace-like for Miami. He has a team-leading 3.03 ERA with 224 strikeouts and 13 wins. Fernandez is a big reason the Marlins rank 8th in the majors in team ERA with a 3.93 mark.

The Marlins added starting pitching depth at the trade deadline in San Diego Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner. In seven starts for the Marlins this season, Cashner has a 4.78 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 37.1 innings.

As the season nears end, it looks more and more like the Marlins will miss the playoffs this year. They will need to discuss concerns within their rotation and lineup in the off-season if they hope to contend in the 2017 season.

Philadelphia Phillies  

With a 63-77 record, the Philadelphia Phillies are 19 games back of the division lead and 11 games back of the second NL wild card. With an offense that ranks no higher than 29th in the four major categories, it is no wonder why the Phillies are as bad as they are.

Third baseman Maikel Franco leads the struggling Phillies with 22 home runs and 73 RBI’s in 131 games this season. Cesar Hernandez has a fair .289 average which leads the team. The second baseman has 6 home runs in 133 games played this season.

The Phillies pitching has been a touch better than the offense. With Jerad Eickhoff leading the way with a 3.86 ERA and 10 wins, the Phillies own the 23rd best ERA in the majors at 4.52 and the 16st best WHIP at 1.34.

Philadelphia is soundly out of playoff contention but has a bright future with players like Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera to build around.

One up-side to this bad season is the fact that the Phillies should get a good draft pick in the next MLB draft.

Atlanta Braves

Bringing up the rear of the National League East is the Atlanta Braves. They own a 54-86 record and are 28 games out of the division lead. The Braves have been bad this season but will get a fresh start as they move to brand new Sun Trust Park in 2017.

First baseman Freddie Freeman leads the team in home runs with 29 while Ender Inciarte leads the team with a .293 batting average.

Braves fans got a glimpse of the future earlier in the season when the Braves called up rookie shortstop Dansby Swanson. The Braves acquired Swanson in a trade that involved starting pitcher Shelby Miller. In 17 games, Swanson is hitting .270 with 2 home runs and 8 RBI’s. The front office of the Braves hope that Swanson can become a cornerstone for their franchise to build around in the coming seasons.

The pitching side of the coin for the Braves has been sub-par this season. With a 4.55 team ERA, they rank 25th in the majors while they also rank 25th in quality starts with 56.

Julio Teheran has done his part to help the pitching situation this season. He has a 3.01 ERA with 143 strikeouts in 158.2 innings. Teheran was a name that the Braves were thinking about trading away at the trade deadline. He has been their ace this season and could continue to be for the next couple of years.

Atlanta certainly has some pieces to build around with the likes of Freeman, Swanson and Teheran but they just need more talent if they hope to compete in their new park next season.


The National League East is pretty much locked up by the Nationals. The only question is whether the Mets can grab a wild card spot and send two NL East teams to the playoffs.

For the near future, this division looks like it could be dominated by the Nationals unless the Mets can add more depth to their lineup. Until that happens, expect to see the Nationals own this division for the next couple of seasons.