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Casey Greer's 2008 MLB Season Preview
NL East



All baseball season previews have been compiled by Casey Greer.
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Atlanta Braves (84-78)

2007 Pythagorean* Record: 88-74

Key Additions:

  • Tom Glavine, LHP
  • Omar Infante, INF
  • Mark Kotsay, OF
  • Javy Lopez, C
  • Will Ohman, LHP
  • Jair Jurrjens, RHP

    Key Losses:

  • Octavio Dotel, RHP
  • Willie Harris, OF
  • Andruw Jones, OF
  • Ron Mahay, LHP
  • Edgar Renteria, SS


    Summary: The Braves are coasting into an era of mediocrity. The triplets, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine, have been apart for several years. Glavine is back in 2008, but both he and Smoltz have limited mileage left on their arms. The Braves lost Andruw Jones to free agency, though he had a down year in 2007. A full season with Mark Teixera will certainly help the Braves, and having Javy Lopez back in the saddle behind the plate could benefit the remaining legendary braves Smoltz and Glavine. Brian McCann figures to be the Braves everyday catcher, made clear by the trade of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. While the NL East got better, the Braves got older. They have enough pitching and prospects to keep their record respectable, but they have fallen from the ranks of NL Champion contenders.

    2008 Projection: 81-81



    Florida Marlins (71-91)

    2007 Pythagorean* Record: 72-90

    Key Additions:

  • Luis Gonzalez, OF
  • Mark Hendrickson, LHP
  • Dallas Mcpherson, INF
  • Andrew Miller, LHP
  • Cameron Maybin, OF

    Key Losses:

  • Aaron Boone, INF
  • Miguel Cabrera, 3b
  • Miguel Olivo, C
  • Dontrelle Willis, LHP


    Summary: The Marlins are the definition of the financial struggles that face small market teams. While the A's have sustained a decent team, the Marlins have been cyclical to an extreme. In the franchise's short history, they have won two rings, and also posted 11 below .500 seasons. Florida repeated their “Fire Sale” tendencies this offseason, trading away two young stars, Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis for prospects. The prospects they got in return, namely Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin, will contribute immediately. The Marlins have certainly built themselves for the future, and if they are allowed to move, or find another way to generate revenue, Larry Beinfest has the mind of a champion, and would be scary with a larger pocketbook.

    2008 Projection: 65-97





    New York Mets (88-74)

    2007 Pythagorean* Record: 86-76

    Key Additions:

  • Ryan Church, OF
  • Angel Pagan, OF
  • Johan Santana, LHP
  • Brian Schneider, C
  • Matt Wise, RHP

    Key Losses:

  • Johnny Estrada, C
  • Tom Glavine, LHP
  • Carlos Gomez, OF
  • Philip Humber, RHP
  • Paul Lo Duca, C
  • Lastings Milledge, OF
  • Guillermo Mota, RHP


    Summary: The Mets' offseason was highlighted by their trade for former Cy Young winner Johan Santana. Santana will fill in the slot vacated by Tom Glavine, and will be a significant upgrade. Not all of Omar Minaya's moves have made a whole bunch of sense, but this was a no-brainer. Oliver Perez will off-set Pedro Martinez very well. Martinez will likely be slotted in the rotation between Santana and Perez. Considering the differing arm angles and variety of quality pitches that opposing batters will see in a three game series, the Mets could have the best rotation in all of baseball. Two years ago, Perez was on my short list of players who could be had at a great value, and perhaps post All-Star numbers. On that list this year, for example, are Mark Prior and Joel Piniero.

    The Mets traded Lastings Milledge to the Nationals for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider, much less an asking price than one that would have included Barry Zito in 2006, though that could have precluded their interest in Johan Santana. The Mets lost a lot of their farm system, but certainly go into 2008 as the favorite to represent the NL in the World Series.

    2008 Projection: 97-65



    Philadelphia Phillies (89-73)

    2007 Pythagorean* Record: 87-75

    Key Additions:

  • Pedro Feliz, 3b
  • Geoff Jenkins, LF
  • Brad Lidge, RHP
  • So Taguchi, OF

    Key Losses:

  • Rod Barajas, C
  • Tadahito Iguchi, 2b
  • Kyle Lohse, RHP
  • Aaron Rowand, OF


    Summary: The Phillies won the 2007 NL East nearly by default. The Mets lost 12 of their last 17 games, and the Phillies won 13 in the same timespan. The Phillies claimed the division by one game, in one of the greatest late season comebacks in baseball history. Going into 2008, the Phillies have bolstered their rotation, moving former starter Brett Myers out of the bullpen, and back into a starting role. Myers draws comparison to Nuke Laloosh from Bull Durham; he's got a "million-dollar arm and a five-cent head." Hopefully Myers has matured; the Phillies will rely on him to overcome the much improved Mets.

    Brad Lidge will go into 2008 on the disabled list, but should be an adequate replacement for Myers in the closer role, when healthy. If Chase Utley stays healthy for a full season, and Jimmy Rollins remains an elite offensive player, the Phillies could repeat, but the Mets represent a large mountain to climb.

    2008 Projection: 88-74





    Washington Nationals (73-89)

    2007 Pythagorean* Record: 70-92

    Key Additions:

  • Aaron Boone, INF
  • Paul Lo Duca, C
  • Elijah Dukes, OF
  • Johnny Estrada, C
  • Lastings Milledge, OF
  • Rob Mackowiak, OF
  • Odalis Perez, LHP

    Key Losses:

  • Ryan Church, OF
  • Brian Schneider, C


    Summary: The Nationals are in an interesting situation. They have brought in a lot of young talent, and are opening a new stadium this year. Washington is in negotiations Ryan Zimmerman, a very promising young third baseman, over a contract extension, but the situation hasn't shown nearly as much promise as the player. Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge both have lots of potential, but are a long ways away from their respective ceilings.

    Washington has dwelled near the cellar of the NL East for most of their years as the Nationals. However, in 2005, they went 81-81 with a similar set of young homegrown products, troubled veterans, and jettisoned pitchers. In 2005 they still finished last in the similarly deep NL East.

    2008 Projection: 72-90



    *Note (per BaseballReference.com) - The Pythagorean Theorem of Baseball is a creation of Bill James which relates the number of runs a team has scored and surrendered to its actual winning percentage, based on the idea that runs scored/runs allowed is a better indicator of a team's (future) performance than a team's actual winning percentage.


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