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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

NL East Preview

1. Atlanta Braves *Division Winners
2BMarcus Giles
SS Edgar Renteria
3B Chipper Jones
CF Andrew Jones
RF Jeff Franceur
1B Adam LaRoche
C. Brian McCann
LF. Ryan Langerhans/Kelly Johnson

RHP Tim Hudson
RHP John Smoltz
RHP John Thompson
RHP Jorge Sosa
LHP Horacio Ramirez/Mike Hampton
Closer: Chris Reitsma

Very close call here, but I have to roll with the Braves after the display they put on last seaosn. Bobby Cox is brilliant at bringing up youngsters and getting them to succeed quickley. The only problem with the Braves is their bullpen. Reitsma did ok at times last season as the stopper, but the pen is a little weaker overall this year. It's going to be interesting to see how well Giles adapts to the leadoff spot.

2. New York Mets
SS Jose Reyes
CF Carlos Beltran
1B Carlos Delgado
3B David Wright
LF Cliff Floyd
C Paul LoDuca
RF Xavier Nady
2B Kaz Matsui

RHP Pedro Martinez
LHP Tom Glavine
RHP Steve Trachsel
RHP Victor Zambrano
RHP Aaron Heilman
Closer: Billy Wagner

Their lineup has improved and their pen has gone from one of the weakest in the game, to the strongest in the East. Their rotation is a question mark. They have power in numbers, but they are getting pretty old, only Pedro scares me at this point.

3. Philadelphia Phillies
SS Jimmy Rollins
CF Aaron Rowand
2B Chase Utley
RF Bobby Abreu
LF Pat Burrell
1B Ryan Howard
3B David Bell
C Mike Liebrethal

RHP Jon Lieber
RHP Brett Myers
RHP Corey Lidle
RHP Ryan Franklin
RHP Gavin Floyd
Closer: Tom Gordon

Philly's pitching has took a tremendous hit with the lose of Billy Wagner, and Vicente Padilla is heads and shoulders above Ryan Franklin. Still, the Phillies potent lineup should keep them in games and in the NL East race until late August.

4. Washington Nationals
LF Ryan Church
2B Jose Vidro
1B Nick Johnson
LF Alfonso Soriano
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Michael Tucker
C Brian Schnieder
SS Christian Guzman

RHP Livan Hernandez
RHP John Patterson
RHP Ramon Ortiz
RHP Brian Lawrence
RHP Tony Armas Jr.
Closer: Chad Cordero

Even with the loss of Esteban Loazia and Hector Carrasco, I really like the Nat's pitching staff. Hernandez and Patterson have the ability to eat up 500 innings in a season, and Ortiz, Lawrence and Armas all have potential to be very solid starters. The problem with the Nats, is they lost Vinny Castilla, Brad Wilkerson, Preston Wilson and Jose Guillen (injury) and the top player they added (Soriano) won't agree to play anywhere but 2nd base. It could be a very interesting April in DC to see how that saga unfolds. They will likely be forced to deal him and get about half of his value in return.

5. Florida Marlins
CF Eric Reed
LF Chris Aguila
RF Jeremy Hermedia
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Mike Jacobs
C Josh Willingham
SS Hanley Ramirez
2B Pokey Reese

LHP Dontrelle Willis
RHP Josh Johnson
LHP Jason Vargas
RHP Sergio Mitre
RHP Brian Moheler
Closer: Joe Borowski

The Marlins have gone through yet another fire sale, leaving them with triple A castoffs and young 20 year-old prospects to fill their roster. They still have two of the brightest youngsters in the game in Willis and Cabrera, and a few up-and-coming can't miss studs like Ramirez, Willingham, and Hermedia, but this Marlin team will need to a few years of seasoning before they are contenders again.

The Giants Baseball Blog


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