The Atlanta Braves are the current favorite to win their seventh consecutive division title in 2024. However, the MLB Network's Hot Stove panelists believe the NL East will have a new winner for the first time since 2017.
On Wednesday, Harold Reynolds and Matt Vasgersian of MLB Network's Hot Stove predicted who they believe will win each division in 2024. Despite the Braves being favored, both panelists agreed that the NL East will have a new winner for the first time in seven seasons.
Both Reynolds and Vasgersian predicted the Philadelphia Phillies as the winner of the NL East in 2024. The panelists went against BETMGM's choice. The online sportsbook had the Braves at -250 to win the division, with Philadelphia at +350 to emerge in first place at the end of next year's regular season.
Reynolds' reasoning for choosing Philadelphia as the 2024 NL East winner is the Phillies pitching. Vasgerian was a little vague in his explanation for choosing Philly.
"I'm going to flip a coin between the Braves and Phillies, and I'll probably land on the Phillies too, just because they have a thing playing together," Vasgerian said. "I just believe in what they've done."
Phillies pitching a strength in 2024, even without Yamamoto
The Phillies rotation includes 2023 NL Gold Glove winner Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Ranger Suárez, Taijuan Walker, and Cristopher Sánchez. If they manage to sign free agent Yoshinobu Yamamoto or add another mid-rotation starter in free agency or via trade, that will make their projected rotation even deeper.
Bryce Harper is doing his fair share of attempting to recruit the Japanese star and ultimately persuade him to sign with Philadelphia. It would be surprising for Yamamoto to choose the Phillies as he is anticipated to sign with one of the big-spending clubs such as the New York Yankees, New York Mets, or Los Angeles Dodgers.
The bullpen currently features José Alvarado, Jeff Hoffman, and Seranthony Domínguez. Other pitchers include Matt Strahm, Gregory Soto, and talented youngster Orion Kerkering. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski may decide to add another reliever in free agency or via trade before Spring Training.
Philadelphia has a talented lineup including veterans Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto, Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, and Harper. Younger players include Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott, and Brandon Marsh. The Phillies are expected to make another run at winning the NL East in 2024. If they do finish first, it will be their first division title since 2011.