Starters for each NL East team at each position are based on these depth charts.
So, enough with the preliminaries. Let’s dive right in and get to ranking.
1. J.T. Realmuto – Phillies (3 pts)
2. Kurt Suzuki – Nationals (2 pts)
3. Wilson Ramos – Mets (1 pt)
Note: An offseason trade does nothing to affect Realmuto’s place as the top catcher in NL East (by a wide margin).
1. Robinson Cano – Mets (3 pts)
2. Ozzie Albies – Braves (2 pts)
3. Brian Dozier – Nationals (1 pt)
Note: Cano, the poster-child for consistency, showed he was the same player post-PED suspension. Albies’ upside can’t be ignored, but he hasn’t yet shown it for a full season. Can Dozier rebound from a down 2018?
1. Ronald Acuna, Jr. – Braves (3 pts)
2. Michael Conforto – Mets (2 pts)
3. Juan Soto – Nationals (1 pt)
Note: I see Conforto as a 2019 breakout candidate and Soto as a 2019 regression candidate. Andrew McCutchen just missed the cut at this talent-laden NL East position.
1. Ender Inciarte – Braves (3 pts)
2. Victor Robles – Nationals (2 pts)
3. Odubel Herrera – Phillies (1 pts)
Note: Inciarte’s consistency pitted against Robles’ sky-high, five-tool potential versus Herrera’s hot and cold streakiness.
1. Brandon Nimmo – Mets (3 pts)
2. Nick Markakis – Braves (2 pts)
3. Adam Eaton – Nationals (1 pt)
Note: Nimmo’s career arch appears to be on the rise while Markakis is probably nearing the end of his. Eaton would have a chance to top this list if he could stay on the field (only 410 at-bats over the last two seasons).
The Staff Ace:
1. Max Scherzer – Nationals (3 pts)
2. Jacob deGrom – Mets (2 pts)
3. Aaron Nola – Phillies (1 pt)
Note: Nationals ace just too consistently dominant to be overtaken at the top by deGrom’s 2018 Cy Young brilliance.
Number Two Stater:
1. Noah Syndergaard – Mets (3 pts)
2. Stephen Strasburg – Nats (2 pts)
3. Jake Arrieta – Phillies (1 pt)
Note: I’ll take Syndergaard’s potential to stay healthy and perform at the highest level over Strasburg’s.
1. Patrick Corbin – Nationals (3 pts)
2. Zack Wheeler – Mets (2 pts)
3. Kevin Gausman – Braves (1 pts)
Note: The potential for Wheeler to build on his second-half success from last season in his contract year is so high that I would prefer to put him at the top spot, as I’m all in on Wheeler this year. But Corbin earns the nod here based on the strength of the stellar contract year that he just had (and subsequently cashed in on this offseason).
1. Steven Matz – Mets (3 pts)
2. Anibal Sanchez – Nationals (2 pts)
3. Julio Teheran – Braves (1 pt)
Note: As the caliber of starter begins to take a downturn, Matz seems to be the best of what’s left.
T-5. Touki Toussaint – Braves (1 pt) T-5. Sandy Alcantara – Marlins (1 pt)
T-5. Jason Vargas – Mets (1 pt)
T-5. Joe Ross – Nationals (1 pt)
T-5. Vincent Velasquez – Phils (1 pt)
Note: Your guess is as good as mine here. One point rewarded to each team due to a five-way tie.
1. Edwin Diaz – Mets (3 pts)
2. Sean Doolittle – Nats (2 pts)
3. David Robertson – Phillies (1 pt)
Note: Arodys Vizcaino also deserves mention, but just missed the cut partly because he has yet to reach the 20 save mark in either of his two seasons as the Braves closer.
So, there you have it. Could we have ranked the other bullpen arms, the strength of the teams’ benches, organizational depth, and managers and their respective coaching staffs, etc, etc, etc.? Of course.
In the end, there’s not all that much that distinguishes the cream of the crop from the middle of the pack there and it’s just not compelling enough to look too deeply into.
For example: quick, who is the current manager for Atlanta Braves?
I believe we have enough “data” here to put to use and figure out where things stand for our purposes.
I’m eager to see how everything turns out team-wise based on the individual scoring from above. I’ll take care of the math, but feel free to join the fun and play along.
Oh, and Brian Snitker is the Braves’ manager, by the way.
(insert Jeopardy music)
And the numbers are in. Drum roll, please.
Team Scoring Totals
New York Mets: 28 points
Washington Nationals: 27 points
Atlanta Braves: 19 points
Philadelphia Phillies:14 points
Miami Marlins:1 point
Interesting, but what, exactly, do these scores tell us?