Through the first three weeks of the season, my preseason predictions could not be farther from the truth. With the exception of the Phillies and Mets, everybody else has been either a lot better or a lot worse than predicted–both by me and others. The current standings in the NL East are:
Now Philadelphia, as previously mentioned, is not shocking anyone being at the top of the division. And the Mets’ financial and on-field woes are not anything too crazy to believe. But the Braves have not been living up to their expectations this season. With Freddie Freeman and Jayson Heyward on the rise, and after adding Dan Uggla and a few other free agents, I really expected to see the Braves at the top of the division this year. That has not happened.
The Nationals and the Marlins have surprised in positive ways this year. Washington was 9-7 two days ago, they’ve dropped two straight, but still remain .500. The Nats swept the Brewers at home including a walk-off and sweeping a double header. But moving forward, the Nats need to be able to beat the best teams in order to be any contending threat.
Florida is now 11-6 after sweeping Pittsburgh, and despite many of their best players not producing, the Marlins have been doing the little things to win. Hanley Ramirez is batting just over .200, and has not hit a home run this year. Chris Volstad, Anibal Sanchez, and Javier Vasquez all have ERAs above 5.50. Logan Morrison is now injured for up to four weeks, and he has been one of the most consistent hitters on the team. The Fish have only hit 11 home runs so far this year, near the back end in baseball. On the bright side, Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco have been dominant with a combined 5-0 record. JJ leads the majors in ERA (1.00). And the bullpen has been the best for Florida in a long time, solidifying wins for them. Besides the Phillies, the Marlins have not played another team with a winning record, and they are now preparing for a home series against Colorado, boasting the MLB’s best record.
A big topic right now is contract extensions. As publicized, Ryan Braun just signed another extension through 2020, and Troy Tulowitzki is signed with the Rockies through the same year. In 2008, Hanley Ramirez signed a six year deal through 2014. But the face of the Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman, has not received such a payday yet. He has expressed interest in staying with Washington, and he ranks right up there with Tulo, Braun, and Hanley–just look at fantasy drafts. So I would not be surprised if we see Zimmerman sign a similar contract in the near future.