Predicting the 2024 NL East Standings

MLB: JUN 08 Mets at Braves

Opening Day kicks off this week for Major League Baseball, as the Braves open their season with a marquee matchup against their NL East foes in Philadelphia. The two teams have met in the NLDS in each of the last two seasons, with the Phillies winning both, despite finishing well behind the Braves in the standings.

When it comes to the regular season, the Braves are still kings. They’ve won the division six straight times, and last year, first place was wrapped up by the middle of September. If you’ve followed my bold predictions series for the Braves this season, you already know how I feel about the NL East race this year, but this remains one of the most competitive divisions in baseball from top to bottom, capable of sending 2-3 teams to the playoffs.

5. Miami Marlins (72-90)

The Marlins were the surprise team in the National League last season, earning the second Wild Card spot behind an incredibly impressive pitching staff. However, Sandy Alcantara will miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, and that’s just the start of the Marlins rotation issues early this Spring. Eury Perez, another potential young superstar for the Fish, is already experiencing elbow discomfort, even if he’s been cleared to begin throwing again. Braxton Garrett and Edward Cabrera also won’t be ready for Opening Day.

Because the Marlins don’t have much offensive firepower, they are heavily reliant on their rotation. I’m expecting them to get off to an ugly start, and if they lose anybody else for an extended period, it’s hard imagining them being competitive in the NL East, which is why I have them taking a step back and finishing in last.

4. Washington Nationals (76-86)

The Nationals are going to be a thorn in the Braves side in the not-too-distant future. They finished last season on fire and nearly caught up to the Mets for fourth place after a dismal start to the year. This is an organization that features gobs of young talent on the verge of being big-league ready that will soon become household names, most notably, James Wood and Dylan Crews. The former of which has hit .325 with three homers this Spring. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nationals flirted with a .500 record, but I’ll say they are one year away from being seriously competitive as of now.

3. New York Mets (83-79)

Steve Cohen continued to show some patience, signaling they are really going to go for it next offseason after some of their young talent establishes themselves. Last season was a disaster in Queens; one that began with World Series aspirations and ended with them selling off Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and others at the trade deadline. Despite that, this is a team that won more than 100 games in 2022. They were probably pretty lucky that year, but they were very unlucky last season. They still have some talent, so I expect them to compete for a Wild Card spot in 2024.

2. Philadelphia Phillies (89-73)

I would have loved to write this piece and say I believe the Phillies will miss the playoffs, because I don’t think they are anything special over a 162 game season. Their lineup features a ton of streaky hitters that are disasters defensively. In a five or seven games series, that can be overlooked, but it matters over 162 games. Many believe this could be the year the Phillies challenge the Braves for the NL East crown. I don’t think that could be further from the truth. The talent discrepancy is too great, and the cream always rises to the top in the regular season.

1. Atlanta Braves (110-52)

Am I a homer? Yes. Do I actually believe the Braves will win 110 games this season? Absolutely.

For my money, this is the best Braves team ever put together. An argument could be made they have the best offense, rotation, and bullpen in baseball. This is a team that let their foot off the gas a year ago after winning the division and still won 104 games. They also did that with Kyle Wright missing the entire season and Max Fried making less than half a season’s worth of starts.

Now, the Braves have added Chris Sale, Reynaldo Lopez, Aaron Bummer, Tyler Matzek, Jarred Kelenic, and Adam Duvall to the roster without losing much of anything. If they can just stay relatively healthy, they’ll break the franchise record for wins in a season which is held by the 1998 Braves, who won 106.

Photo: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire


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