Spring Training: One Thing to Watch From All 30 Teams - NL East

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Miami Marlins aside, the NL East is set up to be one of the more exciting divisions in baseball this season.  The Phillies have gone all in this off season bringing in Jean Segura, JT Realmuto, Andrew McCutchen, and capping it just last week with the mammoth 13 year, 330 million dollar contract with Bryce Harper.  Don't crown them yet though, as their pitching remains suspect behind Aaron Nola.  The Nationals will attempt to move on without their cornerstone player, but have brought in Patrick Corbin to further solidify their already strong pitching staff.  The Braves and their youth are another year seasoned, and even signed Josh Donaldson, while the Mets are better that people are giving them credit for.  Let's look into some intriguing Spring story lines down in the Grapefruit League.

Washington Nationals

Yes the Nationals have said goodbye to the prodigal son, Bryce Harper, but the show must go on.  That show is named Victor Robles.  One of the top prospects in the Nationals organizations for years now, he was overshadowed by Harper and then leapfrogged by Juan Soto.  Well, this season Robles is finally destined to be an everyday player for the Nationals in the vacant right field.  Now Robles does not possess the power that Harper does, but he makes solid contact and he possesses good speed.  He has a chance to make himself a long career by being roughly a .275 hitter with 30 plus steal potential while occasionally knocking one over the fence.  He will give you a little bit of everything, and it all should be on display early this Spring.

Philadelphia Phillies

Bryce Harper Phillies GearWell I think this one is now clear as day. Bryce Harper.  After what seemed like forever, Harper finally chose Philadelphia last week to spend the rest of his baseball days.  It will be very interesting to see how Bryce enjoys his first camp with his new squad and how he fits in.  But more importantly, how he performs.  Even with it only being Spring Training, he has a MASSIVE contract to live up to and fans will expect him to hit the ground running.

Atlanta Braves

Reigning NL East champs seem to be getting written off already because of the amount of moves the Phillies have made.  Well, the Braves made moves too.  One of which was bringing in Josh Donaldson to add pop to the middle of the order and be a strong 1-2 punch alongside Freddie Freeman.  Donaldson suffered through an injury plagued 2018 season, but just the year before launched 33 home runs.  The Braves are hoping last year was a one-off and he can return to form this season.  Looking good in Spring Training would go a long way to putting the memories of last season to rest and set Atlanta up to defend their NL East title.

New York Mets

The Mets did not do as much to improve as their NL East foes, but they did not sit idle either.  They brought in both Robinson Cano and last year's saves leader, Edwin Diaz from Seattle, and signed both Jed Lowrie and Wilson Ramos.  Ramos has quietly been one of the better hitting catchers the past couple of seasons.  And lets not forget, they do boast last year's NL CY Young award winner at the top of their rotation in Jason deGrom.  I feel what to watch out of Mets camp is their offense as a whole.  How does Michael Conforto look as he finally enters a Spring Training 100 percent healthy?  What does Robinson Cano have left in the tank?  The Mets biggest weakness last season was not scoring runs, and they should be able to change that this year.

Miami Marlins

Derek Jeter has absolutely gutted this team.  A small part of me actually is okay with it, in the mindset that if you ran your own squad, wouldn't you want to run it your way with your players?  So he wants to to start from the ground up.  But jeez - this team is rough looking.  If you're a Marlins fan, all you can focus on this Spring (and the entire Summer for that matter), is the team's youth.  Keep an eye on newly acquired pitcher (from the Realmuto trade) Sixto Sanchez who possesses electric stuff.  They also have the prize of the International Free Agent pool. Victor Victor Mesa. That's right, that's not a typo. Victor Victor Mesa.  His speed and defense is big league ready already, but his bat lacks any flare.  A high contact hitter, but with little drive or power.  If Mesa could improve his plate skills just a bit, he could find himself in a Marlins uniform by year's end.

Be on the lookout for NL Central edition next week.

Catch up on past Spring Training Storylines here:

AL East

AL Central

AL West

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Spring Training: One Thing to Watch From All 30 Teams - NL East
Spring Training: One Thing to Watch From All 30 Teams - NL East
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