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NL East Mid-Season Report

CJ Abrams high fives his third base coach after hitting a home run.

It has been a strange season in the NL East division. A reason for this is due to the inconsistency from many of these teams.

The NL East has been one of the better divisions in baseball the last few years, and that is still true in 2024. Here is how each team looks halfway through the season.

Philadelphia Phillies, 1st in NL East

Team Record: 58-32

First-Half Best Player: Bryce Harper

First Half Underperformer: Taijuan Walker

This season has been very good to the Phillies, who currently hold the best record in baseball. It all starts with a solid offense, one of the best starting rotations, and a vastly improved bullpen. Nothing has gotten in Philadelphia’s way as they currently looked poised to make a better playoff run this season. After last year’s fall against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS, this team is very motivated. For how it is looking right now, you do not want to face this Phillies team in October if they can repeat this current trend heading into the second half of the season.

One of the top stories for this team’s success is 1B Bryce Harper. He is indeed having himself an MVP type of season. Harper leads the team in homers, OBP, and OPS. But there also other players that deserve credit for their recent success. Players like 3B Alec Bohm, OF Nick Castellanos, SS Trea Turner have all done a nice job as well. Then you also have the starting rotation as. SPs Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler have been fantastic thus far.

Bold Prediction for Second Half:

With the way things are trending, I expect the Phillies to end up with the best record in baseball. Even better, I can see them breaking the 2001 Seattle Mariners record if nothing gets in their way.

Atlanta Braves

Team Record: 49-39

First-Half Best Player: Marcell Ozuna

First-Half Underperformer: Matt Olson

It has been a strange first half for this Atlanta Braves team. They already dealt with major blows to the team. Earlier this season, they lost OF Ronald Acuña Jr. and SP Spencer Strider due to season-ending surgeries. But that shouldn’t have stopped this team from having a decent first half. Other players have a nice done job filling in for them. The one player that deserves a lot of credit for keeping Atlanta in the wild-card playoff race is DH Marcell Ozuna. This season he has been one hell of a difference maker in this star-studded lineup. He leads the team in homers, OBP, AVG, and OPS. But he isn’t the only storyline for the Braves this season.

Offseason acquisition LHP Chris Sale is also having a very good season.  He was acquired in a deal that sent INF Vaughn Grissom to the Boston Red Sox. So far, this deal has been paying off. Sale has been having a Cy Young type season. No one thought he would be this good thanks to injuries that have ended his season multiple times in his career. But he is having himself quite a good season. If he can keep up this trend without the delays of injuries, he may find himself in line to be the favorite for Cy Young and Comeback Player of the Year awards.

Bold Prediction for Second Half:

My prediction for the Braves in the second half is for Marcell Ozuna to continue to mash without the team’s top star. As a result of his power surge, he finds himself entering the MVP race.

New York Mets

Team Record: 44-45

First-Half Best Player: Mark Vientos

First-Half Underperformer: Pete Alonso

It has been a mediocre first half of the season for the New York Mets. After a disappointing 2023 season, the Mets were supposed to be one of the teams to contend in the division. Unfortunately, their early struggles in 2024 explains why they currently stand alone in third place in the NL East. One reason for their struggles is the bullpen. Their relief pitchers have not been doing their jobs closing out or holding leads. Relief pitching is going to be one of the areas the Mets need to address as the trade deadline looms. But there are some positive things to note about this Mets team.

In the last month of June, it did look like they were climbing their way out of their miserable days. Ever since their team meeting on May 29, the Mets sure did look like the team that was expected of them the following days. The Amazin’s went on a roll in June where they finished with a record of 16-8. That is the second-best record in baseball behind the Houston Astros and the best in the National League. As it stands right now, New York is not far away from a wild card spot. They just need to keep winning crucial games.

Bold Prediction for Second Half:

With the trade deadline looming closer, I can see the Mets making a big trade. With that move, the team will inch closer to one of the wild card spots and stay in contention the rest of the season.

Washington Nationals

Team Record: 42-49

First-Half Best Player: CJ Abrams

First-Half Underperformer: Patrick Corbin

The 2024 Washington Nationals have not been good nor bad but just okay. This team looks very promising for the future. Most of their future stars have stepped up for the team this season. The one star who looks poised to becoming the next superstar is SS CJ Abrams. To be clear, Washington hasn’t had a player develop this well right away since OF Juan Soto was a rookie. Credit also goes to the pitching as well. The rotation outside of SP Patrick Corbin has shown encouraging signs of what’s to come in the near future.

Bold Prediction for Second Half:

If Washington can continue to play solid baseball right now, I can see them finishing with a record above .500. That goal is not out of reach. They just cannot lose unnecessary games that prevent them from reaching the .500 mark. More to the point, they can even make a wild card spot.

Miami Marlins

Team Record: 32-58

First-Half Best Player: Josh Bell

First-Half Underperformer: Tim Anderson

After making the wild card last year, 2024 has not been too kind for the Miami Marlins. They currently own the third-worst record in the entire league and are buried in the NL East. It was not shocking when the team waved the white flag early two months ago. As a result of poor fundamentals as a team, they had to make tough decisions. One of the tough decisions was to ship 2B Luis Arraez to the San Diego Padres in a trade deal. Even worse, they had to DFA SS Tim Anderson because he was playing so poorly. He was not the same player he once was when he was in his prime years with the Chicago White Sox.

Bold Prediction for Second Half:

I predict that with the way the Marlins are playing, they will fire their manager at the start of the second half.

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