The NL East has evolved into the National League’s powerhouse division, with the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets coming off 101-win seasons and the Philadelphia Phillies winning the pennant as the last Wild Card entrant.
It’s the first time since multiple Wild Cards in each league were introduced in 2012 that the East had two in the same season. That’s one fewer than the division totaled the previous nine years combined.
In addition to the Phillies, the division has produced three of the past four NL pennant winners, with the Washington Nationals advancing in 2019 and Atlanta in 2021. Both won the World Series, too.
Check out our NL East odds and predictions.
Odds To Win 2023 NL East Division + Team-by-Team Predictions
Here’s a look at the five division squads and their chances of winning a world championship. Odds listed are from DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and PointsBet.
|NL East Odds||DraftKings||FanDuel||BetMGM||PointsBet|
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Atlanta Braves (101-61, +1000 PointsBet)
The Braves will be going for their sixth consecutive East flag and this time with a deeper pitching staff and an attack that led the league in slugging percentage.
These guys clearly know how to win.
On the mound, Max Fried (14-7, 2.48) and Spencer Strider (11-5, 2.67) are atop the rotation. Kyle Wright, last season’s MLB wins leader (21-5, 3.19), is slotted only fourth largely because he’s had a sore shoulder and is just now getting a chance to pitch in exhibitions.
Strider, meanwhile, suffered an oblique injury in the closing weeks of the 2022 season and when he returned to face the Phillies in the NLDS, he didn’t appear ready to go and was yanked in the third inning. In the regular season, he went 4-0 versus Philadelphia. This spring, he’s worked 12 innings and has a 2.25 ERA.
There’s more. What about the X-factor of Mike Soroka, who was 13-4 for Atlanta as a 21-year-old in 2019 before suffering Achilles and hamstring injuries that have kept him off the field for all but three games since? He’s also just starting to throw in earnest in spring training.
In the bullpen, Raisel Iglesias (acquired from the LA Angels at the trade deadline last season) is the new closer, replacing Kenley Jansen (now with the Boston Red Sox). Iglesias could be a major find based on him yielding only one earned run in 26.1 relief innings for the Braves last season.
As far as offense goes, third baseman Austin Riley hit 38 homers to lead a Braves team that was second in home runs last season with 243, behind only the Aaron Judge-led New York Yankees. Former Oakland A’s standout first baseman Matt Olson had 34. Adding to the mix is the NL Rookie of the Year, center fielder Michael Harris II, who hit .297.
The Braves must be so potent they didn’t flinch when veteran shortstop Dansby Swanson signed a mega seven-year free-agent deal with the Chicago Cubs in the offseason. He contributed 25 long balls last year.
Prediction: The Braves appear to be ready to overtake the Mets a little earlier this season and not rely on late-season heroics. They just have to avoid another 13-17 start in April and May.
New York Mets (101-61, +950 DraftKings)
For the past two years, the Mets appeared to be the runaway division champions only to falter.
In 2021, they held a five-game lead entering August and then lost 19 of their next 25 games en route to finishing 11.5 games behind Atlanta in third place.
Last year, it was a wilder roller coaster ride that took longer to go off the rails.
On June 1, they led the East by 10.5 games. They didn’t blow their lead until the last week of the season when they were swept in three games in Atlanta, giving the Braves the division crown via a head-to-head tiebreaker.
Then came a Wild Card round loss to the San Diego Padres while the Braves relaxed. Ouch!
Early this offseason, though, Mets fans put their happy faces back on with the signing of 2022 AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander to join three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer atop a staff that that just lost workhorse RHPs Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker (combined for 59 starts).
Now, they also have lost the NL Reliever of the Year, Edwin Diaz, who suffered a knee injury last week during an on-field celebration after playing in Puerto Rico’s victory in the World Baseball Classic. He’s reportedly out for the year barring a remarkably quick comeback.
His loss is a crusher for a team that never lost a game last season entering the ninth inning with the lead, going 89-0. Their new closer is David Robertson, who wasn’t given too many high-leverage outings late last season with Philadelphia. While Diaz’s average pitch velocity was 99.3 mph last season, Robertson’s was 92.5; no need to elaborate.
At bat, the returning core of the offense is among the best — and healthy. Second baseman Jeff McNeil (last year’s leading hitter in the majors) is joined by first baseman Pete Alonso, who was second in the NL with 40 homers and tied with Aaron Judge for the RBI lead with 131.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor continues to hit for power (26 HRs and 107 RBIs) and run the bases (16 steals).
Just imagine the firepower of the offense if the Mets had been able to land star infielder Carlos Correa, but he didn’t pass his physical and is back in Minnesota.
Prediction: Even if the Mets get off to a fast start, they are not to be trusted with a lead in the standings — especially at these odds. Speaking of odds, what would they be if someone wanted to bet that neither Scherzer (age 38) nor Verlander (40) would go on the IL at some point this season?
Philadelphia Phillies (87-75, +1700 DraftKings)
The Phillies were a lot like the Braves early last year, only worse, standing at 20-29 in early June and ready to fire manager Joe Girardi.
That was before two-time NL MVP Bryce Harper suffered a fractured thumb and missed two months of the season.
From June 3 onward, the Phils went 65-46 to gain the third Wild Card and then trampled St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta, and San Diego to reach the World Series under interim boss Rob Thomson, who now has the job full time.
Can the Phillies outgun the Braves and Mets and avoid the Wild Card route again? Sure, but probably not.
They did make headlines with their free-agent acquisition of speedy shortstop Trea Turner from the LA Dodgers, who is a career .302 hitter. He also had 27 steals last year, which is more than any Phillies player had in a season since 2014.
Then there’s All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, who not only is one of the finest backstops of his era at foiling the enemy running game, but also stole 21 bases last year. His 22 homers and .276 average make him a valuable offensive commodity, too.
We can’t forget NL home run champ Kyle Schwarber, who hit 46.
On the down side, Harper probably will be unavailable until about the All-Star break while recovering from elbow surgery. He had a sensational playoff run with six homers and 13 RBIs. A left-handed hitter, he no doubt can’t wait to return now that infield shifts have been outlawed.
As for the pitching staff, RHPs Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola were solid throughout the long season and often give the bullpen breaks by pitching deep into games. At the back end of the rotation, lefty Ranger Suarez is dealing with a forearm issue, and 19-year-old righty Andrew Painter (who was in line to be in the rotation) has an elbow injury that could jeopardize his season. However, the Phils are optimistic he’ll play this year.
Prediction: The Phillies are shaky in the starting rotation after Nola and Wheeler, and they have issues with corner outfield defense with Schwarber and Nick Castellanos and probably won’t be able to keep pace with the Braves. If the Phils are in the thick of things when Harper returns, they could relegate the Mets to third.
Miami Marlins (69-93, +12000 FanDuel)
The Marlins’ hopes hinge on whether RHP Sandy Alcantara can have much the same success as he did last year in winning the NL Cy Young with a 14-9 record and 2.28 ERA for a team that finished 24 games under .500.
Miami’s problem is that while they upgraded their batting order to get more pop, 2021 All-Star lefty Trevor Rogers staggered home last year with a 4-11, 5.47 ERA and now is down to being the team’s third starter. They need him to return to the form that enabled him to have a 2.64 ERA in 2021.
At the plate, Miami hit only .230 last year (ranking 28th in the league) and had only 144 homers (ranking 24th). Little was done to remedy this.
When it comes to stealing bases, second baseman Jon Berti was the MLB leader with 41. With the larger-size bases this season cutting down the distance from first to second and the new pickoff rule, this guy could go bonkers.
Prediction: In this division? Little hope for a Marlins team that lacks punch and pitching depth.
Washington Nationals (55-107, +200000 SuperBook)
It’s hard to believe this team won the World Series in 2019 with such stars as RHPs Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, shortstop Trea Turner, and outfielder Juan Soto.
Since then, the Nats have finished last three years in a row and are a logical choice to do so again this season.
Of that aforementioned group, only Strasburg hasn’t been traded away, but that’s largely because of thoracic outlet syndrome recurrences. He has pitched only 31.1 innings in the past three seasons.
On top of that, RHP Cade Cavalli, the team’s first-round draft choice in 2020, was injured last week and needs Tommy John surgery.
If there’s the slightest positive vibe, maybe it’s the new scheduling policy that reduces the number of games against division rivals from 19 apiece to 13. That’s great news for a team that went 13-44 against Atlanta, New York, and Philadelphia last season.
Prediction: Does anyone really have to be told what not to do?
Read more: AL East odds and predictions | AL Central odds and predictions | AL West odds and predictions | NL Central odds and predictions | NL West odds and predictions