1) NEW YORK METS
What tips the balance towards the New York Mets is age. If healthy, their oldest starter is 28.
More from District on Deck
- Washington Nationals Minor League Spotlight: Robert Hassell III
- Washington Nationals Tuesday Q&A
- 3 Free Agents the Nationals Should Gamble On
- A Washington Nationals Christmas Wishlist
- Washington Nationals: Is Seth Lugo Still an Option?
Like the Nats, health is the big issue. Matt Harvey returns from a disastrous 2016 ending with thoracic outlet syndrome. Zack Wheeler returns from his Tommy John injury while Robert Gsellman and Steven Matz are both expected to be ready Opening Day.
Although Colon departed for Atlanta, the Mets still have Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom at the front of the rotation. Syndergaard’s stuff is as filthy as Scherzer’s while the ERA is lower. Both feature WHIP’s around 1.200 and pinpoint control. At spacious Citi Field, the ball rarely leaves the yard fair.
The true key is staying healthy. Matz has had a hard time avoiding the disabled list and deGrom tossed 24 out of 33 starts. Why the Mets earn the top spot is depth. Add Seth Lugo to the mix and you have a staff of pitchers capable of posting ERA’s under four.
You really do not think a healthy Harvey will boast a 4.86 ERA again, do you?
While the offense is riddled with questions and the bullpen is thin, the starting rotation is the Mets strength. With seven pitchers under 30 capable of shutting teams down multiple times through the lineup, New York is the strongest threat to Washington in the division. Syndergaard, at 24, might already be among the best starters in the game.
They can win this division alone, a claim no other staff can make starting the season.
That is our take, what’s yours? Tell us in the comments below.