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In what might be the most wide-open division in baseball, four teams have a legitimate shout to win the NL East this season, and the Miami Marlins aren't your typical bottom-feeders, either.
Look no further than the division's win totals to see just how close oddsmakers are projecting the race to be.
|New York Mets||32.5|
Back-to-back NL East winners, the Braves enter 2020 looking to rebound from another disappointingly quick playoff exit. There were few hiccups in their regular-season campaign as they managed a .599 win percentage, which would equate to just shy of 36 wins in a 60-game season.
The front office did an excellent job of improving the bullpen over the winter as Will Smith, Chris Martin, and Darren O'Day joined the club. Meanwhile, their young, dynamic rotation got a bit deeper with the addition of Cole Hamels, and the lineup remains potent as ever, highlighted by MVP candidate Ronald Acuna. Hamels is dealing with tendinitis in his triceps, but even if he's not ready for Opening Day, there's nothing to suggest regression looms in Atlanta.
The delayed start to the season could mitigate any potential World Series hangover for the Nationals, who had just 27 wins through their first 60 games last season.
The defending champions did well to retain ace Stephen Strasburg but will feel the loss of Anthony Rendon, who in many regards was the catalyst of that lineup. Rendon led the team in RBIs, hits, and runs last season and was also co-leader in home runs. The Nats will have to rely heavily on prospect Carter Kieboom, whose offensive inconsistencies are quite worrisome, and hope that young outfielder Victor Robles takes a step forward despite contact stats that are far from flattering. In a competitive division, 34 wins might be a bit ambitious.
It feels we expect the Mets to finally put it all together and make waves in the NL East every year, but perhaps a 60-game season is when they finally live up to their potential. Toward the end of 2019, it certainly felt as though they had put everything together as they closed out the year on a 40-21 run.
There are a couple question marks in the rotation, but the lineup is terrific - and could receive an unexpected boost from a healthy Yoenis Cespedes, who should see plenty of at-bats thanks to the universal DH. The Mets have a really high floor heading into 2020, and with their potential to make some real noise, over 32.5 is my favorite win-total bet in this division.
Zack Wheeler and Didi Gregorius were brought in during an otherwise quiet offseason for a team that underachieved in 2019, finishing 81-81. The Phillies have perhaps the widest range of outcomes heading into the shortened 2020 season.
Will they get pre- or post-All-Star Bryce Harper? Can Scott Kingery step up? Will the 2018 or 2019 versions of Rhys Hoskins or Aaron Nola show up? Do Andrew McCutchen and Jake Arrieta have much left in the tank? Can Nick Pivetta figure it out? With so many uncertainties, I want no part of this total.
Even in a competitive NL East, the Marlins are going to surprise many in 2020. This roster is significantly improved after losing 105 games last season. Jonathan Villar and Corey Dickerson will provide big boosts to a lineup that also shrewdly added Jesus Aguilar, Matt Joyce, and Francisco Cervelli, and the club should also get improved contributions from youngsters Lewis Brinson and Isan Diaz.
This lineup is poised to take a massive leap forward after finishing second-last in MLB last season in runs scored. Their inability to produce offensively was the driving force behind their struggles, as their young, talented pitching staff put in some impressive work. The rotation will continue to progress and should benefit greatly from a shortened season. I strongly lean to the over here.
Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.