Blog Entry

Spring position battles: National League East

Posted on: February 11, 2012 10:44 am

By C. Trent Rosecrans

We finish our look at spring training's position battles with the National League East, home of some of the most intriguing teams in the game -- and the Mets.

Previous spring position battles: AL West | NL West | AL Central | NL Central | AL East

Atlanta Braves
Fifth starter: Mike Minor vs. Randall Delgado vs. Julio Teheran

There's not a team in baseball that wouldn't drool over having to make this decision. The three are expected to be the keystone to the rotation in the future, but Minor's still the oldest of the bunch having just celebrated his 24th birthday the day after Christmas and therefore expected to be the first to make an impact in the majors. Delgado turned 22 on Thursday and Teheran celebrated his 21st birthday last month. The left-handed Minor made 15 starts last season for the Braves, going 5-3 with a 4.14 ERA. Meanwhile, Delgado dazzled in his seven starts, going 1-1 with a 2.83. Teheran didn't live up to the expectations many had for him -- but he was just 20 and made only three starts. He'll be fine. More than fine.

Miami Marlins
Center field: Emilio Bonifacio vs. Chris Coghlan vs. Yoenis Cespedes?

This is up in the air until Cespedes makes his decision, although it seems more and more like he'll be a Marlin. There's no question the Marlins want him and there's no question they want him in center field. If he does sign with Miami, the team will have to see how ready the 26-year-old is for the big leagues. He may not start in Miami, but the goal would be to have him there for the long-haul. Bonifacio is coming off a career-best .296/.360/.393 season with 40 stolen bases, but he was aided by a .372 batting average on balls in play -- something that will likely drop, but should still be high because of his speed. He also increased his walk rate, which helped as well. Coghlan won the 2009 Rookie of the Year, but a knee injury in 2010 has hampered him since his first season. He hit just .230/.296/.368 with five home runs and seven stolen bases in 298 plate appearances last season and his future is up in the air.

New York Mets
Second base: Daniel Murphy vs. Justin Turner vs. Ronny Cedeno

Murphy's likely to get the nod, as long as he can field the position adequately. Murphy made the majority of his starts at first base last season, but with the return of Ike Davis, Murphy needs a home thanks to his .320/.362/.448 line. Turner hit .260/.334/.356 as the team's primary second baseman (71 starts), but is probably no more than a utility player in the long run. Cedeno was signed from the Pirates to back up Ruben Tejada at shortstop, but he could figure in the second base situation if worst comes to worst.

Philadelphia Phillies
Left field: John Mayberry Jr. vs. Domonic Brown vs. Laynce Nix

The job is probably Mayberry's to lose after hitting .273/.341/.513 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI last season. Brown, the team's former top prospect, struggled in his 56 games and 210 plate appearances with the Phillies last season, hitting .245/.333/.391 with five homers. Brown has the talent, but it has to actuate for him to earn more playing time. The left-handed Nix is a backup, but could add depth to the outfield with the absence of Ryan Howard at first base. A good fielder, Nix struggles against left-handed pitching, so he's not an everyday type player.

Washington Nationals
Center field: Rick Ankiel vs. Roger Bernadina vs. Bryce Harper

Well, Harper won't be in center field, but he's basically fighting for that spot. If he makes the team out of spring, he'll be in right and Jayson Werth will be in center. That still seems unlikely, as good as the 19-year-old is. Ankiel won a spring-training battle with Nyjer Morgan last year, leading to Morgan's trade to Milwaukee. The Nationals brought Ankiel back on a minor-league deal, but he's still probably the favorite. He hit .239/.296/.363 with nine home runs last season. Like Ankiel, Bernadina hits left-handed. Last year he put up a .243/.301/.362 line with seven home runs in 91 games and 50 starts in center field.

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Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: February 29, 2012 6:58 pm

Spring position battles: National League East

If the Nats believe they can win games and start hot, they may take the division.  It is a weird year with no clear cut favorites.  The Nats have the horses to play with the Phils and Braves.  Ozzie in Miami may be great, may be volatile, who the hell knows?  The Mets are gonna drag the back end of the division.  If you are bold with your Vegas ducats, buying a ticket on the Nats train this year could make you a rich person.  I pick the Braves to win the WC, with injuries derailing the Philly train, and Miami's favorite latin soap opera - Ozzie and Z-arriet - hogging up valuable win space as the young-un's try to learn combat Spanish - including Ozzie's favorite expletives to describe Zambrano's (lack of) manhood.

Since: Feb 12, 2010
Posted on: February 23, 2012 11:53 am

Spring position battles: National League East

I always enjoy the predicting of division winners. Phils won last year, spend the most money, they must be the favorites right? The Nationals have a better lineup than anyone in the division and a deep staff. Will Werth bounce back? How will Morse do? Can Ryan Zimmerman stay healthy? No one wants to say the Nats are the best team because people in white jackets will carry you off for a little quiet time. I don't think its that crazy to predict the Nats winning the division. They are the most talented team in the division.

Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: February 14, 2012 9:22 am

Spring position battles: National League East

I like the Phillies to win the division again this year. Especially with that pitching. I also expect the Braves, Marlins and Nats battling for the wildcard. All 4 teams have great pitching to be able to make this the toughest division to play in.

Since: Aug 2, 2011
Posted on: February 13, 2012 7:03 pm

Spring position battles: National League East

This division could be a tight one to call, Phillies and Braves are going to be everybody's favourites, but I expect all five teams to be contenders, and conceivably the NL wildcard could come from the runner up in this division. All have quality and depth. The Mets, with their off field problems are the team who may struggle over the course of the year but overall it is the strongest division.

Since: Sep 19, 2008
Posted on: February 13, 2012 4:34 pm

Spring position battles: National League East

Seriously CBS, ban this kind of nonsense.

Since: Feb 13, 2012
Posted on: February 13, 2012 8:29 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Oct 23, 2011
Posted on: February 12, 2012 9:20 pm

Spring position battles: National League East

MRS sniff sniff my nuts !

Since: Oct 23, 2011
Posted on: February 12, 2012 9:18 pm

Spring position battles: National League East

The Atlanta Braves still SUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since: Oct 23, 2011
Posted on: February 12, 2012 9:16 pm

Spring position battles: National League East

MRS  are you gay ????????????

Since: Oct 23, 2011
Posted on: February 12, 2012 9:14 pm

Spring position battles: National League East

Sorry  i meant MRS sucks and smells toes too.

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