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Opening Day is on the horizon, and over the course of spring training Wolf Tracks will be doing a division by division breakdown of all 30 MLB teams, continuing with the National League East.

1. New York Mets

Seeing the Mets ahead of the Nationals might be a bit of a surprise for some, especially considering the attention Washington has been getting all offseason. The Mets have flown under the radar, but with the best rotation in baseball, they should be the favorite in almost any division. Yoenis Cespedes, one of the game’s best players, anchors a lineup that was fifth in baseball in home runs last year. After battling through an incredible number of injuries to make the playoffs last year, a healthy Mets team should be one of the best in baseball in 2017.

2. Washington Nationals

On the surface, the Washington Nationals look like baseball’s best club outside of Chicago. However, there are many question marks when you dig a bit deeper into the roster. Washington tried all winter to sign or trade for an elite closer, ultimately coming up empty. The rest of the bullpen is weak, and the lineup is very thin behind the star players. With almost no depth, even moderate injuries could derail the Nationals season.

3. Atlanta Braves

None of the bottom three teams in the NL East – Atlanta, Philadelphia, or Miami – have posted a winning record since the 2013 Braves went 96-66. With a rotation led by fireballer Julio Tehran and ageless wonder Bartolo Colon, and a lineup that includes top prospect Dansby Swanson, this year’s Braves team could break the streak. They posted a winning record in the second half last year, and they should continue their upward trend.

4. Miami Marlins

It’s hard to expect much out of the Marlins this season with so much uncertainty surrounding the franchise. The rotation is in shambles after the tragic death of Jose Fernandez in September, and the lineup lacks the power to make up for it. With the team reportedly for sale, it’s hard to imagine much support from ownership. It’s going to be another long season in Miami.

5. Philadelphia Phillies

While the Phillies are still a couple years away from competing, they should show some signs of life this year. With almost all of the veterans who made up the team’s championship squad now gone, there is room for the young players to grow. With one of the better farm systems in baseball and lots of disposable income, the Phillies have a bright future.

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