We are six days away from Opening Day! Which means it’s time for part two of my countdown series, moving on to six NL East players I’m least excited to face in 2023. If you missed the first edition of this series, follow the link below.
The Nationals might be the worst team in baseball. I can’t even name 95% of their roster, but Joey Meneses deserves to be highlighted. He played in just 56 games as a rookie last year, hitting a ridiculous 13 homers while boasting a .324 average. The rest of the Nationals don’t even strike fear into the Gwinnett Stripers, but when Meneses steps into the box, I’ll be holding my breath.
How could I not include the reigning NL Cy Young winner? I have no idea what the Marlins are doing as a franchise as a whole. I don’t even know if they know what they’re doing, but every time Alcantara takes the mound, they have the best chance to win. The guy managed to go 14-9 last year, despite having the worst offense in baseball behind him. Alcantara threw a ridiculous six complete games, which is something you never see in the modern day game, and boasted a 2.28 ERA. He might be the best pitcher in baseball right now, and no part of me is looking forward to the matchups between him and the Braves this year.
Why do my favorite players always find their way to the Phillies? First Bryce Harper, now they have Trea Turner for the next 10 years! That’s the last thing I wanted to happen this offseason. Offensively, Turner is the best shortstop in baseball, and he showed why in the World Baseball Classic, mashing five homers for Team USA, which is the most ever by a player in the tournament. To make matters worse, Turner has crushed the Braves over his career. In 98 games, he has 17 homers, 24 doubles, and 32 steals. The Braves are just going to have to take their medicine every time he steps into the box.
Speaking of Bryce Harper, the Braves will have to face him a lot this season. He may miss the first couple of months because of injury, but he’ll be healthy when it matters, and I dread the day I have to see him in the box against the Braves for the first time. Harper has mashed 39 homers against Atlanta in 170 games and is coming off an epic postseason performance. I love watching him play, so I hope he heals quickly, but let’s pray his best moments don’t come against Atlanta this season.
Justin Verlander/Max Scherzer
Okay, I’m a cheater, but it’s difficult to choose just six players in such a loaded NL East. Scherzer and Verlander are now on the same team, and they are similar pitchers in terms of track record, so it makes sense to lump them together. They are both coming off tremendous seasons, and even though they are 40-years-old, they seem to get even better with age. The division could very well come down to how much success the Braves have against these two guys.
Zack Wheeler/Aaron Nola
Another one of the best pitching duos in baseball, Wheeler and Nola proved how dominant they are during the Phillies postseason run last year. Wheeler might be the most underrated pitcher in baseball. He hasn’t recorded an ERA above 3.00 since he joined the Phillies in 2020, and Nola quietly led all pitchers in fWAR last season. Anytime you get unlucky enough to face those two in a series, it is going to be extremely difficult to come out on top.
Who in the NL East are you least excited to see?
Photo: David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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