Even without their star first baseman re-signed, FanGraphs is still high on the Braves going into the 2022 season:
The Lockout Projected ZiPS Standings: National League Edition https://t.co/BFukTfFcdf
— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) February 1, 2022
FanGraphs ZIPS projection has the Braves finishing at 90-72, two games ahead of the Mets and capturing the NL East. Their forecasts have the Braves holding a 49.1% chance of winning the division, a 21.2% chance of making a Wild Card, and a 70.3% chance to make the playoffs. Their World Series win percentage is set at 7.7%. Even without Freeman, the Braves are still favored in their model:
As I expected when discussing Atlanta’s projections, the Braves show up in ZiPS as a mild favorite, even with the baked-in assumption that Freddie Freeman will depart in free agency. His still-likely return would put a few more games between the Braves and the Mets, though that return isn’t certain until there’s a signed contract to that effect. The Mets, meanwhile, have holes, but they probably underperformed their abilities as a group in 2021 and are close enough that with a bit of luck — I know, not a typical Mets phenomena — they can catch the Braves, especially in the Freeman-less scenario.
The Marlins and Phillies project similarly to one another, though they’re teams going in opposite directions. Miami’s pitching staff, especially the rotation, is already playoff-worthy. The offense is…not. But the Marlins have some long-term upside that I’m not sure is present for the Phillies, a team that has been content to simply keep a .500ish roster together. The Marlins are still probably about a year away from making the Braves or Mets nervous about a stumble, but a 6% division chance is not a 0% one.
The Nationals basically project as an awful team that has the benefit of the services of Juan Soto, who can make nearly any team watchable. And in this case, he puts Washington just on the cusp of playoff relevance if a lot goes right, rather than being a near-lost cause.
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