The team to beat in the N.L. East: The NY Mets


Josh Markowitz

Right Fielder Starling Marte taking an at bat during Mets spring training in Port Saint Lucie, FL. Marte was an all star for the Mets in 2022 with 16 home runs and 63 RBI

Matthias Jaylen Sandoval, Opinion Editor

The National League East is by far the most competitive division in all the Major League Baseball (MLB), though there are really only three contenders to win the division and play October baseball. Those three are my New York Mets, the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies. Despite these three in serious playoff contention, I believe that the New York Mets will move on to beat the East.

The amazin’ NY Mets are currently 14-9 just finishing a dominant West Coast trip, sweeping the Oakland A’s, winning the series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and splitting the series with the San Francisco Giants. The Mets offense is booming with first baseman Pete Alonso leading the charge on the offense. Last year, Alonso, an MVP candidate, hit 40 home runs and led the majors with 131 runs batted in (RBIs). Through the first 23 games of the season, Alonso has kept his MVP form so far with 10 home runs, 23 RBIs, and much improved defense. Alonso is on pace to be one of the best hitters in the majors again and potentially win his first Silver Slugger and MVP. The other star of the Mets, Francisco Lindor, has also had a strong start to the season. The star shortstop has been one of the best defensive and overall best shortstop in the league. So far Lindor has racked up 18 RBI with 4 homers. He’s also picked up 11 walks through the first 23 games. 

The Mets have also been stellar on the defensive side of the ball. With great defenders all around the field with Starling Marte and Brandon Nimmo in the outfield, and stellar defenders McNeil and Lindor in the infield they will finish top 5 in defense again like they did last year. Though the Mets are currently injury riddled, when fully healthy, they are the best team in the majors and have the best pitching rotation in the majors. They will soon get back ace pitchers Justin Verlander and Jose Quintana. When healthy, the Mets genuinely have 3 aces in their starting rotation and two future Hall of Famers with Scherzer and Verlander. This team is full of star power, veteran leadership, depth in all positions, and new young faces like promising top prospects Brett Baty and Francisco Alvarez. On top of them having the best fans in baseball, they are certainly the team to beat.

The team that will most likely place second in the division is the Atlanta Braves. Though they finished in first place last year, they had the same record as the Mets (101-61) and they have only gotten worse since. They pose the biggest risk to the Mets, but I’m not worried about them at all. The loss of their star shortstop Dansby Swanson to the Chicago Cubs makes them a much worse team. They lost a lot of his all-star level offense as he hit 25 homers and 95 RBIs while batting .277 last year. They also lost his elite defense playing short. His replacement Orlando Arcia just won’t be able to match any of that offensive or defensive production at all. Their pitching rotation is nothing special either. Other than promising young pitcher, Spencer Strider, the Braves have one of the weaker pitching rotations in the N.L. East. The Braves have a strong infield with superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. but their outfield isn’t as strong as the Mets. They have a good team, but the Mets will just overwhelm and overpower the Braves with their star power and depth.

My pick for third in the NL East is the Philadelphia Phillies. On paper, they are a much stronger team than the Atlanta Braves. Their pitching rotation with the 1-2 punch of Wheeler and Nola with former Met Taijuan Walker on the back end of the rotation is spectacular. They are also a great hitting team that’ll always get you lots of runs on the board with players like Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto, and Nick Castellanos. The only problem plaguing this team is the long term injuries. With Hoskins out for the whole season after he tore his ACL and Bryce Harper who may be limited in his return after Tommy John surgery, they just don’t have enough star power to win the NL East when facing the Mets or the Braves.

The Mets overall have the best team in the division and arguably the best team in the entire MLB. I believe that the team is so strong that they will go onto win the National League Pennant and go on to win their first World Series since 1986.

What team will win the N.L. East?


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