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2019 NL East Previews and Predictions

Atlanta Braves

Preview: The Braves are coming off of a 90-win season in which they won the NL East. With the return of All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman and young studs Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies, as well as the addition of Josh Donaldson, the Braves have the opportunity to repeat. However, it won’t be easy as the Phillies and Mets have both improved this offseason and the Nationals still have one of the best pitching rotations in all of baseball. The Braves lineup returns basically everybody, it only improved with Josh Donaldson. Donaldson only played in 52 games last season, but he has proved over the years to be a threat at the plate. He will takeover third base this year in Atlanta and likely be hitting somewhere in the middle of the order. Also in the middle of the order for the Braves will be Freddie Freeman who put together an MVP-caliber season in 2018 with a .309 BA, 23 HRs, and 98 RBIs. Maybe the most exciting player returning to the Braves lineup is reigning NL ROY, Ronald Acuna Jr. Acuna batted .293 with 26 HRs and posted a .917 OPS in his rookie season, establishing himself as one of, if not the most exciting young player in baseball. Starting pitching isn’t Atlanta’s biggest strength, but they are an underrated group in my opinion. All four returning starters had an ERA of less than 4.00 last season. One of those four is Mike Foltynewicz who had a breakout season in 2018 posting a 2.85 ERA in 31 starts. Atlanta will be eager to see how former first round pick Touki Toussaint pitches this season. The 22 year old right-hander posted a 4.03 ERA last year in 29 IP. Toussaint could help solidify the starting rotation on a contending team. A fully healthy Arodys Vizcaino returns to the Braves bullpen on a one year deal. Vizcaino is the favorite to be the closer, but LHP A.J. Minter is also a closer candidate after a solid 2018 season in which he had 15 saves. Relievers Johnny Venters, Jesse Biddle, and Danny Winkler also return to the Braves bullpen after impressive 2018 seasons along with veteran Darren O’Day. The Braves may not be the NL East favorites anymore after the Phillies’ Bryce Harper acquisition, but they very well could crash the Philly bandwagon party and take the NL East pennant again.

Prediction: 88-74

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The MLB Playoffs are Here: Here is What Every Playoff Team needs to fix RIGHT NOW!

By Griffin Hill

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox have the offensive power to go the distance this year; no question about it. Sadly for the loyal fans in Boston, the consistent problems in the bullpen may prevent them from any post season accomplishments. While the Sox have over 100 wins on the season with 5 games to play, the only team this season to reach that mark thus far, the bullpen struggles have become even more severe in the 2nd half of the season. The Sox own an MLB worst 12 bullpen blown saves since the All Star break. Time is running out in Boston to fix this issue; the Yankees, Astros, and Indians will surely capitalize on this weakness if it isn’t turned around. See All Teams Here!