Phillies will be facing stiff competition in National League
Early projections for National League standings this year indicate that the Phillies have a tough road ahead to reach the playoffs.
Thanks to the additions the Phillies made during the offseason, they have the makings to be a serious contender this season. Early power rankings already indicate the team is among the ten best in MLB, but they still should expect stiff competition this year.
USA Today released their projected win totals Tuesday, and they predict a dogfight in the National League. The Dodgers are the clear-cut top team at 94-68. From there, seven teams are projected to finish with between 87 and 89 wins, with Philadelphia among them.
The NL East is essentially up for grabs per these projections with Gabe Lacques writing “Welcome to hell.” The Nationals and Braves are at 89 wins and Philadelphia is at 88. The Mets are in striking distance with 83 wins while the Marlins are projected to be the worst NL team and second-worst team in baseball with 100 losses.
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Jacques cited the “emotional investment” each team has into performing well. The Phils obviously are out to prove that giving Bryce Harper $330 million was the right decision, while Washington needs to show they can win without him. The Mets are in a similar boat to the Phils as they also want to show their offseason moves made a dent. Meanwhile, the Braves are hoping to repeat and prove their 2018 season wasn’t just a flash in the pan.
The NL Central was also deadlocked with three teams (Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers) all projected to win 89 games. The Dodgers have a firm grasp on the NL West in these projections, but the Rockies are still in the wild-card picture at 87 wins.
Baseball Prospectus’s updated PECOTA projections tell a fairly similar tale for the NL East, but they predict a step back for the Braves. The NL West is projected to finish the same way. However, the NL Central is wildly different with the Cubs projected to finish with the worst record in the division at 79-83.
Whichever predictions you give more credence to, one thing is certain: the NL will be a war of attrition. The division alone will be tough to come out on top in, and with as many as nine teams vying for five playoff spots, things will be tight all season long.