New York Mets
Last season: 90-72 (1st)
Last World Series: 2015 (Lost to Royals)
Postseason potential: With the best rotation in the NL — led by Matt Harvey (2.71 ERA), Jacob deGrom (2.54 ERA) and Mansfield Legacy grad Noah Syndergaard (3.24 ERA) — the Mets have the arms to repeat as East champs. Second baseman Neil Walker replaces Daniel Murphy, whose hot bat was instrumental late in ’15. Outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson combined for 61 homers and 175 RBIs in ’15, and first baseman Lucas Duda added 27 homers and 73 RBIs. But the team batting average of .244 was near the bottom of the league.
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Last season: 83-79 (2nd)
Last World Series: Never
Postseason potential: New manager Dusty Baker inherits a team that lost two starters (Doug Fister and Jordan Zimmermann) to free agency but returns Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. The trio combined to win 36 games in ’15. If rotation replacements Tanner Roark and Joe Ross rise to the occasion under new pitching coach Mike Maddux, the Nationals should have the pitching to contend for a wild-card berth. MVP candidate Bryce Harper is surrounded by holes after losing shortstop Ian Desmond and center fielder Denard Span, but additions, including second baseman Daniel Murphy and outfielder Ben Revere, should help produce more runs.
Last season: 71-91 (3rd)
Last World Series: 2003 (Beat Yankees)
Postseason potential: Slugger Giancarlo Stanton played just 74 games after needing wrist surgery but still managed to hit 27 homers. Other prime producers missed time as well, including ace Jose Fernandez (6-1, 2.92 ERA). The rest of the rotation is sketchy, with Wei-Yin Chen, Jarred Cosart and Tom Koehler. Chen threw 191 1/3 innings last season with a 3.34 ERA and is the clear No. 2. The offense was near the top of the league in batting but at the bottom in scoring. A healthy Stanton for a full season could remedy that.
Last season: 63-99 (5th)
Last World Series: ’09 (Lost to Yankees)
Postseason potential: This franchise no longer resembles the division-winning teams from eight years ago. Ryan Howard is the only everyday player from that era still in the lineup as the Phillies go whole hog with a youth movement. The youngsters are talented and many of them certainly will be long-term fixtures, including former Rangers farmhand pitcher Jerad Eickhoff, but inexperience will undoubtedly contribute to another 90-loss season. Two older veteran pitchers joined the rotation in Jeremy Hellickson and Charlie Morton, but both bring ERAs of more than 4.60 from last season.
Last season: 67-95 (4th)
Last World Series: ’99 (Lost to Yankees)
Postseason potential: The Braves are trying to out-youth the Phillies, which should help the Mets (if not the Nationals) trot effortlessly into the postseason. Like the Phillies, the Braves have a bunch of young, talented prospects who will be pushed along sooner than later. First baseman Freddie Freeman, 26, is the most established element in the rebuilding process, but they’ll need more than his 18 homers, 66 RBIs and .276 average from last season to make even the slightest dent in the East.