As Spring Training roles on, Opening Day is getting closer and closer for the Washington Nationals. And while there are still a few weeks to go before the 2015 season officially gets underway, it’s never too early to start looking forward to what promises to be an exciting season for the NL East.
The Nationals, of course, are expected to run away with the division title and play deep into the postseason come October. Washington was one of the best teams in baseball last season and undoubtedly the best team in the NL East, beating the second-place Atlanta Braves by a whopping 17-game margin.
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But baseball is an unpredictable game, and while the Nationals are expected to win their third NL East title in the last four years this season, anything can happen over the course of a 162-game season. There are a number of things that could make things hard for the Nationals this season, not the least of which being injuries––which have already begun to bite the team this spring.
For this reason, it’s important to keep track of news from around the NL East to monitor how the other teams in the division have been doing in recent weeks. The Nationals may be favorites to win the division right now, but every other team will enter the season hoping to pull the upset and strip the title from the Nationals.
With that in mind, here are some great NL East articles from around FanSided to get you up to speed on news from around the division:
Spring Training Ins and Outs
Out but Not For Good
After two weeks of full time spring training the Braves sent the prospects with names we all know by now to minor league camp. Jose Peraza, Mallex Smith, Rio Ruiz and Jason Hursh are at or near the top of the prospect list and in the case of Smith and Ruiz it was a chance for a first look at players obtained in the retooling process undertaken by John Hart and company. Read full article here.
Phillies Make First Spring Cuts
The Phillies began making their move towards forming the final 2015 Opening Day roster today by cutting down to 52 players in major league camp. None of the players reassigned to minor league camp or released were really unexpected.
Given his outright release was outfielder Xavier Paul, who went 1-9 across 6 games. His lone hit was a homerun. The 30-year old veteran of parts of 6 major league seasons will now try to catch on with another organization. Read full article here.
Can Dee Gordon really be Juan Pierre?
Almost immediately after the Miami Marlins acquired Dee Gordon from the Los Angeles Dodgers (and in one place, even before the trade), he started to draw comparisons to a notable former Marlin. Due to the speed and gaudy stolen base numbers and lack of power, many have began to compare Gordon to Marlins standout and fan favorite Juan Pierre. Surely, there are some similarities on the surface that would make a comparison look like a no-brainer. They’re both left-handed hitting stolen base threats that utilize bunting for hits. But is Gordon really similar to Pierre? Can Gordon be expected to put out the same level of production?
First, the easy part. The one indisputable fact regarding Gordon is his great speed translates to games. He is a very good baserunner and base stealer and so far in his career, he has averaged 8.6 baserunning runs (BsR) per 162 games played. In his first full season last year, he posted 9.4 BsR. Gordon provides tremendous value from being on the bases. Baserunning was obviously a major part of Juan Pierre’s game, yet he averaged “just” 6.7 BsR per 162 games in his career. Read full article here,
New York Mets
Zack Wheeler diagnosed with torn UCL in right elbow
The Mets announced on Monday that Zack Wheeler has been preliminarily diagnosed with a torn UCL in his right elbow.
Wheeler, who underwent an MRI in Florida that was sent to New York and reviewed by team doctor David Altchek, is flying to New York to be examined and for the diagnosis to be confirmed.