In the next six days, we'll take a tour of the six major league divisions with my predictions for each.
National League East
- Philadelphia Phillies: Yes, a (native) hometown pick. But I think they've put everything together. They've got a great pitching staff, and are strong at every position, especially if Marlon Byrd plays well enough to supplant Doug Glanville in CF. It will be interesting to see if management can pull the trigger on a deadline deal that helps the team, and that doesn't mean dumping Scott Rolen.
- Atlanta Braves: The addition of Gary Sheffield and moving Chipper Jones to LF gives the Braves one of the best outfields of all time. The only problem is that Rafael Furcal is the only infielder with any pop. Their pitching will always help them be a contender, though it seems a lot thinner than it has been. I think they begin to fall here.
- Florida Marlins: Exciting, young team that plays in front of friends and family in Miami.
- New York Mets: I don't think the chemistry is going to be right here, and this is team will wilt under intense pressure. I predict that Valentine, and then Phillips, will be fired here. Great looking team on paper, but I think injuries and lackluster starting pitching will catch up to them.
- Montreal Expos: What a weird situation! Lots of talent, but it's hard to see them playing well in their lame-duck status. It will be interesting to see how this team deals at the deadline, whether they're in contention or not.