4. Washington Nationals
Juan Soto is the future, but he can’t do it alone this season, and he’ll need help after the loss of Harper and Anthony Rendon in successive seasons. But rather than rebuild around Soto, the Nationals quickly retooled. Trey Turner remains a 5=fuve-tool talent at the top of the order, and after last season’s display of power and a crazy low strikeout percentage, I’d expect even more out of Turner this year.
Following Turner will be Soto and two former All-Stars turned castaways, Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber. Bell is only one year removed from hitting 37 bombs, and last season’s lack of production could stem from just a serious lack of talent with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Schwarber never really had a position to call home in Chicago, but he’ll set up shop as the starting left fielder in D.C. Schwarber, like Bell, had a monster 2019 campaign but struggled mightily last season, despite posting excellent bat-to-ball numbers.
The Nats got both Bell and Schwarber for next to nothing, so it could pay off big time this season. Moving on, they also have a couple of veterans bridging the order in Starlin Castro and Yan Gomes, followed by Victor Robles and Carter Kieboom. Robles is stellar in the field, but he’ll need to improve upon the .220 average he posted in 2020. I wouldn’t expect much from Kieboom, who’s been in the system for a long time.
The Nationals are lineup in this division with the biggest gap in terms of floor-to-ceiling potential, and with the pitching staff they have, this lineup could play up even more.
5. Miami Marlins
What was once an extremely youthful organization will now be led by a group of veterans, furthered by the recent acquisition of Adam Duvall, a 2020 breakout player.
This group is full of solid players that grind at-bats, which is part of the reason they got themselves into the playoffs last season. Corey Dickerson and Starling Marte will anchor the top half of the lineup, followed by the meat of the order in Brian Anderson and Jesus Aguilar.
Beyond that, there’s not much to speak of in terms of offensive production, as the Marlins are still far from contending for a World Series. A few years of system development and free agency should change that, but for now, the Marlins remain cellar dwellers for lineups in this division.