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NL East Beat Report: March 30 – April 9

Major League Baseball is back and in full swing. With the first handful of games already in the books, let’s recap what happened in the National League East with the division’s important news, top performers, and current standings.


Notable News and Transactions

Atlanta Braves:

March 30: SS Orlando Arcia and the club agreed to terms on a three-year, $7.3 million extension. The deal covers 2023, 2024, and 2025. There is also a club option for 2026.

April 3: It was announced that Andruw Jones’ number 25 will officially be retired in a ceremony on September 9. Jones will be the 11th former Brave to have his number retired by the organization.

April 3: LHP Jared Shuster was optioned to Triple-A after making one start. The club selected the contract of LHP Dyland Dodd to take Shuster’s place in the rotation.

April 4: LHP Max Fried was placed on the 15-day injured list retroactive to April 1 with a hamstring strain. The left-handed starter tweaked his hamstring covering first base during his start on Opening Day. RHP Bryce Elder was called up to take Fried’s spot in the rotation.

April 6: RHP Collin McHugh was placed on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation. LHP Jared Shuster was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett.

April 7: OF Michael Harris II was placed on the 10-day injured list with a lower back strain and OF Eli White was recalled to the big league club.

April 8: LHP Jared Shuster was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett and LHP Danny Young was promoted to the majors. RHP Seth Elledge was designated for assignment.

April 9: C Travis d’Arnaud was placed on the 7-day concussion injured list after a collision at the plate on April 8. C Chadwick Tromp was recalled to Atlanta.

Miami Marlins:

March 30: 1B Yuli Gurriel’s contract was officially selected. Gurriel signed a minor league deal during spring training. To make room on the 40-man roster for the veteran first baseman, RHP Max Meyer, who underwent Tommy John surgery late last year, was placed on the 60-day injured list.

April 4: In a handful of roster moves, RHP Johnny Cueto (15-day) and INF Joey Wendle (10-day) were both placed on the injured list. Cueto was diagnosed with right biceps tightness and Wendle with a right intercostal strain. The club recalled LHP Braxton Garrett and INF/OF Garrett Hampson from Triple-A to fill out their 26-man roster. Also, LHP Daniel Castano’s contract was selected and RHP Jeff Lindgren was designated for assignment.

April 9: LHP Daniel Castano was optioned to Triple-A and LHP David Smeltzer’s contract was selected from Triple-A. RHP Eli Villalobos was designated for assignment.

New York Mets:

March 31: RHP Justin Verlander was placed on the 15-day injured list retroactive to March 28 with a low-grade teres major strain. RHP Tylor Megill was recalled from Triple-A to take Verlander’s spot in the rotation. The veteran right-hander will continue playing catch during his time on the IL.

April 2: 1B Darin Ruf was released. Ruf was in competition for a bench spot this spring but was designated for assignment on March 27.

April 4: RHP Tommy Hunter was placed on the 15-day injured list with back spasms. RHP Denyi Reyes’ contract was selected from Triple-A Syracuse.

April 5: Justin Verlander underwent another MRI that revealed reduced inflammation in his teres major muscle. The veteran right-hander will continue throwing. There is still no update on when he could return to the rotation.

April 7: C Omar Narváez was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left calf strain. C Francisco Álvarez was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse.

April 7: Justin Verlander is confident he can return to the mound before the end of April.

Philadelphia Phillies:

March 29: CF Cristian Pache was acquired from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for RHP Billy Sullivan. Pache, a former top prospect with the Braves, was brought in as a defense-first outfielder for the bench.

March 30: RF Bryce Harper was placed on the 10-day injured list. Harper, who underwent Tommy John surgery in the offseason, was originally slated to return sometime around the All-Star break in July. However, the organization is now optimistic the two-time NL MVP could be back sooner than that.

April 3: RHP Yunior Marté was optioned to Triple-A. The contract of RHP McKinley Moore was selected to replace Marté in the bullpen. In order to make room for Moore on the 40-man roster, OF Jhailyn Ortiz was designated for assignment.

April 7: 1B Darick Hall was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to April 6. INF/OF Kody Clemens was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Hall will undergo surgery and is expected to be out for a couple of months.

April 9: Manager Rob Thomson told reporters Alec Bohm will move over to first base and Edmundo Sosa would receive most of the playing time at third base moving forward.

Washington Nationals:

April 2: LF Corey Dickerson was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left calf strain. The club promoted CF Stone Garrett from Triple-A to take Dickerson’s place on the active roster.

April 3: C Kevin Plawecki was signed to a minor league contract.


Top Performers:

Offense:

Braves first baseman Matt Olson is off to one of the best starts in baseball. He’s currently hitting .350/.447/.700 with a 200 OPS+, three home runs, and five doubles. The left-handed hitter also has 11 RBIs.

For the Marlins, Luis Arraez has started his career in Miami on a good note. The 26-year-old is hitting .471/.538/.529. He is tied with Freddie Freeman of the Dodgers for the most hits in the NL with 16. Arraez’s .538 on-base percentage leads all MLB.

Pete Alonso and Starling Marte are leading the way for the Mets at the plate. Alonso’s five home runs are tied with Bryan Reynolds of the Pirates for the most in baseball. Meanwhile, Marte is slashing .303/.378/.485. His 128 OPS+ is second on the Mets behind Alonso.

The Phillies’ offense has been led by three of their younger players. Brandon Marsh leads the team with a 201 OPS+. Alec Bohm is off to a good start slashing .313/.389/.563 with two home runs, two doubles, and five RBIs. And Bryson Stott, who has a nine-game hitting streak to start the year and has 15 total hits, is slashing .429/.444/.514.

The Nationals have a trio of outfielders who have each had a good start to the year. Victor Robles is hitting .387/.472/.452 with a 156 OPS+, which leads the team. Alex Call is slashing .269/.417/.423 with a 132 OPS+ and Lane Thomas has started the year hitting .359/.419/.410 with a 129 OPS+.

Pitching:

The Braves have been shuffling their rotation early on and an injury to Max Fried hasn’t helped. But Spencer Strider has continued his dominance from last year into this year so far. In his two starts, the right-hander has thrown 11 innings with 18 strikeouts and six walks. His ERA is 2.45. In the bullpen, Joe Jiménez has made four appearances, pitched three and two-thirds innings, struck out four batters, and hasn’t allowed a run.

Marlins starters Sandy Alcantara and Jesús Luzardo are both off to great starts. Alcantara, who pitched a complete game shutout in his second start of the year, has thrown 14 2/3 innings in his two starts while punching out seven batters and walking five. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner’s ERA is currently 1.84. The left-handed pitching Luzardo has also made two starts. He’s pitched 12 2/3 innings and has 15 strikeouts and five walks. The Southpaw has only allowed one earned run so far.

For the Mets, Kodai Senga has started his big league career off very well. The Japanese-born right-hander has made two starts so far, pitching 11 1/3 innings with 14 strikeouts, six walks, and a 1.59 ERA. Tylor Megill, who replaced Justin Verlander in the rotation, has also made two starts. He’s pitched 11 innings with a 1.64 ERA. In the bullpen, David Robertson has two saves and has pitched four innings without allowing an earned run.

As a whole, Phillies pitchers haven’t had a great start to the season, however, starter Bailey Falter and reliever Andrew Bellatti are both pitching well early in the year. In two starts, Falter has thrown 10 1/3 innings with a 2.61 ERA. The right-handed Bellatti has appeared in six games and has six strikeouts in five and one-third innings pitched. Bellatti hasn’t allowed a run.

Left-hander MacKenzie Gore is off to a good start in his first full season with the Nationals. In his first two starts, Gore has pitched 11 1/3 innings with 12 punchouts and six walks. His ERA is 2.38. Reliever Mason Thompson is also off to a good start. The righty has made four appearances out of the bullpen and has thrown eight innings. He has seven strikeouts, hasn’t allowed a walk, and only surrendered one run.


Current Standings

TeamRecordGB
Braves6-4
Mets5-51.0
Marlins4-62.0
Phillies3-62.5
Nationals3-73.0
Standings as of the morning of April 10.

Featured Photo: Twitter / @Braves

Bailey Digh

I've been writing for Diamond Digest since July 2022. I'm also currently a contributor for Phillies Nation. You can find me on X @bailey_digh.

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