There is a lot of tremendous young talent in Major League Baseball. Reviewing the National League East shows that a lot of said talent falls into that division. The Washington Nationals, perennially the safe bet to win, have been overcome by this young talent as the upstart Atlanta Braves rode their way to the division crown.
2018 National League East
Atlanta Braves-Young and Dangerous
This team was not expected to contend this season and now they are division champions for the first time since 2013. The team has a core of young superstars. The two biggest stars are Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies who have taken the league by storm.
Supplementing their young core are veterans Freddie Freeman, who has produced one of the best years of his career, and Nick Markakis, who was an All-Star for the first time in his young career. These two provide veteran leadership every day. They both lead the league with 155 games played through September 23rd and are both hitting over .300.
Philadelphia Phillies – Kapler can manage
The Phillies are another young, surprising team in the National League East. Though they have faded down the stretch, the Phillies have been a pleasant surprise this year. The general feeling was that they were a year away from contending, but the rookie manager, Gabe Kapler has helped the team thrive.
At the end of play on September 23rd, they find themselves just four wins away from their first winning season since 2011. Not bad for a man that some in the City of Brotherly Love wanted to be fired after an Opening Day loss. A loss in which he pulled current Cy Young candidate Aaron Nola with a lead after five innings and 68 pitches. Kapler can manage, and the Phillies should continue to improve next season.
Washington Nationals – All around Disappointment
After four division titles in six years, and zero playoff series wins, the Nationals were already viewed as a disappointment. 2018 only strengthened that reputation as they sit at 78-78 after play on September 23rd.
This team was expected to run away with the division again and make one last run before Bryce Harper‘s impending free agency. Instead, the team seemed to be out of contention all year while and dealt away players like Daniel Murphy.
The only two bright spots to this season in Washington are hosting the All-Star Game, with Harper winning the Home Run Derby, and Max Scherzer dominating his way to another likely top-three finish in the Cy Young voting.
New York Mets – Another Met year
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. Therefore, the New York Mets are insane.
They have been riding with the same core for the last few seasons, but relying on Yoenis Cespedes to be healthy is a lot to ask. He will be out until the middle of 2019 after surgery on his heels.
While a dismal June put the Mets out of contention, there are some positives to this season. Jacob DeGrom is at the forefront of the Cy Young conversation. Zack Wheeler appears to finally be pitching like the player the team traded for in 2011. Jeff McNeil has been a pleasant surprise and Ahmed Rosario has played better of late. David Wright returning to the lineup before his premature retirement will be a nice way to end the season in Queens.
Miami Marlins – Jeter in action
Jeter had a plan when his ownership group bought the team, and he has been executing that plan ever since he took over. While fans were not happy with trading away every star player that the team had under contract, there is a method to that madness. Jeter is asking the Miami community to be patient with him as he strives to make the team profitable on the business side but also contenders on the playing side.
Main Photo: ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 15: Freddie Freeman #5 for the Atlanta Braves hits a fly ball deep to right field against the Washington Nationals at SunTrust Park on September 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.(Photo by Kelly Kline/GettyImages)