TeeCoZee’s NL East Preview 2022
I partook in a weird activity this morning that’s usually only done by the most desperate fans, just needing one little tiny drop of dopamine before Spring Training inevitably starts: I watched a simulated Mets game. There was one single camera behind home plate showing Max Scherzer pitch to live batters while Todd Zeile told stories about Kirk Gibson. It’s a strange experience that I would highly recommend to any baseball fan. For a brief moment, you can be on the outside looking in. There’s nothing special or exciting about it. It’s just dudes being dudes, practicing baseball. And when you’re still two days away from Spring Training (I don’t count the measly 4 games tomorrow), it’s just plain nice to see baseball!
New York Mets
What’s New: Max Scherzer, duh. But also, Starling Marte and Mark Canha. Steve Cohen is the responsible rich parent that did all the Christmas shopping early so he wouldn’t be rushing in Christmas Eve to buy a Turboman on the black market. But then he still went out on Christmas Eve to give us Adam Ottavino and Chris Bassitt. You know, as stocking stuffers. Also, they have a brand new skipper in Buck Showalter who has already functioned as a kick in the ass for the franchise.
What’s Gone: Jeurys Familia, Michael Conforto and a lot of bad vibes. Also, more first round draft picks.
Coze’s Prediction: 92-70
Naysayers be damned, Uncle Steve opened up his checkbook and made Flushing an exciting place to be this year. Despite his hiccups last year, we know that Francisco Lindor is going to go back to something resembling his old self. There’s nothing wrong with the guy, it’s just jitters. And now the outfield finally has the depth it’s been lacking for as long as I’ve been watching baseball. Also, deGrom-Scherzer-Bassitt is the best 1-3 in baseball. In this year, much more than any other, I actually believe. And that’s probably a mistake.
What’s New: Matt Olson will be their first baseman for seemingly the rest of his career. They also picked up Collin McHugh to bolster their already-solid bullpen
What’s Gone: The elephant in the room is that Freddie Freeman is no longer a Brave. He still doesn’t have a team, but he has already been replaced.
Coze’s Prediction: 84-78, just edging a Wild Card berth
It’s going to be an uphill climb. The last 3 defending champs have failed to even win the division the next year. And now they’re already plagued with injuries. Ronald Acuna is out until May with an ACL injury. Mike Soroka may or may not come back in July following his gruesome Achilles heel rupture. On top of that, Charlie Morton might now be ready for opening day. So we might be dealing with Max Fried vs The World. But it could be worse…
What’s New: They got their guy in Kyle Schwarber, who will fit right into their culture of “win big, lose when it matters”.
What’s Gone: Andrew McCutchen, their credibility
Coze’s Prediction: 80-82, after an early surge and an August plummet to hell
They had it all last year. The best catcher in the game with JT Realmuto. Zack Wheeler placed 2nd in Cy Young voting. Hell, Bryce Harper was the fucking league MVP. And yet, the Phillies were only able to go one game above .500. This team is the personification of “Mid”. No matter how stacked their lineup is, they can and will find new ways to lose. They’re the NL Angels, but with none of the charisma or Mike Trout.
What’s New: The Nats capitalized on the universal DH by signing the best DH in baseball, Nelson Cruz. But suspiciously, not much else.
What’s Gone: Max Scherzer, duh. But then again, he was already gone. The team is still reeling from the mid-season fire sale they had last year.
Coze’s Prediction: 73-89
Just like the second half of last year, it looks like it’s just going to be Juan Soto playing baseball by himself. While the addition of Cruz is great, this is still a team lacking any sort of soul. Unless Dee Gordon can magically hit .300 without PEDs, I don’t see the Nats doing much of anything this year. Or even the year after that. But maybe, just maybe, the year after that.
What’s New: Willians Astudillo, the cult hero catcher (?) from Minnesota that’s definitely good for 25 taters and a .259 average
Whats Gone: Derek Jeter BLUH
Coze’s Prediction: 65-97
Remember when they made the playoffs in 2020? Yeah, me neither. Derek Jeter came in, took out the beautiful home run sculpture, stripped the team of everything and everyone that made it good, limped into the postseason once and then bailed when they failed to repeat the magic. The franchise at large is a much worse place than it was when he came in. Oof.