Great news! Another baseball season is on the horizon!
The National League East is expected to be home to two of Major League Baseball’s better teams – the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies.
As for the rest of the division, the Miami Marlins, New York Mets, and Washington Nationals aren’t looked at as serious threats in 2024, but it’s baseball, and anything can happen.
There’s going to be plenty of stuff to talk about once spring training gets underway, but until then, looking at what could happen over the next seven months is a fun exercise to go through.
With that, here are a bunch of NL East-related betting odds, player projections, and predictions for the upcoming season.
Right now, BetMGM has a lot of different odds set for 2024. They’ve set each MLB team’s over/under for wins, along with the odds to win their respective division, league, and the World Series.
Here are those odds for each NL East club:
|Over/Under Wins Total
|Odds to win division
|Odds to win National League
|Odds to win World Series
|New York Mets
The Braves’ odds to win both the NL and World Series are second-best in MLB, trailing only the Los Angeles Dodgers. Meanwhile, the Phillies have the third-best odds to win the pennant and the sixth-best odds to win the World Series. As for the Marlins, Mets, and Nationals, they’re all longer shots to make a deep playoff run.
When it comes to awards, there are a few NL East players who are either favorites or have respectable odds of taking home some hardware later this year.
2023 NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. is the favorite to win the same award this year, with his odds over at BetMGM sitting at +525. Following Acuña among NL East players is Bryce Harper, with the sixth-best odds (+1200), and his teammate, Matt Olson, with the seventh-best odds (+1400) to win NL MVP. Some other NL East players with respectable odds for MVP are Trea Turner (9th at +2200), Austin Riley (t-10th at +2500), Francisco Lindor (t-10th at +2500), and Pete Alonso (11th at +3000).
When it comes to the NL’s Cy Young Award, two familiar names have the best and second-best odds of winning that this year. BetMGM has Atlanta’s Spencer Strider (+525) as the betting favorite for the award. Right behind him is Zack Wheeler of the Phillies, whose odds sit at +900. Some other arms within the NL East with decent odds to win the NL Cy Young are Max Fried (t-5th at +1400), Kodai Senga (t-8th at +2000), Aaron Nola (t-9th at +2200), Jesús Luzardo (t-10th at +3000), and Eury Pérez (t-11th at +3500).
As for NL Rookie of the Year honors, Dylan Crews (t-10th at +3000), AJ Smith-Shawver (t-11th at +4000), and James Wood (t-12th at +5000) have the best odds among the NL East’s young guns to win the award. Neither Crews nor Wood, both in the Nationals organization, have made their MLB debuts yet. Smith-Shawver did, making six appearances for the Braves last year with a 4.26 ERA in 25 1/3 innings.
Fangraphs‘ projections for 2024 have been released. And there are plenty of players expected to have great years, according to their respective Steamer projections.
Below are the top three position players and pitchers for each NL East team this year, according to projected wins above replacement, along with a few other projected numbers.
|Ronald Acuña Jr.
|Michael Harris II
Acuña’s projected wins above replacement total is not only the best on the Braves, but also the best in baseball. On top of that number, the reigning NL MVP is forecasted to slash .318/.405/.578 with a 162 wRC+ and 38 home runs. He’s also projected to lead the majors in stolen bases again with 56.
Right behind Olson and Harris for projected fWAR on the Braves are Austin Riley (4.0) and Ozzie Albies (3.9). Olson is projected to lead Atlanta with 40 home runs and Harris is slated to lead the club with 35 doubles.
Strider’s projected wins above replacement leads both Atlanta’s pitching staff and the majors. The right-hander is also projected to lead baseball with 257 strikeouts and have the lowest ERA (3.18) among starting pitchers.
Both Strider and Fried are predicted to finish 184 2/3 innings. Fried’s projected ERA is 3.58. Meanwhile, Sale’s innings total is set at 141 with an ERA of 3.74. Outside of those three, Charlie Morton (2.1) and Bryce Elder (1.2) are the Braves’ best-projected pitchers, according to fWAR.
|Jazz Chisholm Jr.
Arráez is projected to be Miami’s best overall position player again. Aside from fWAR, he’s forecasted to lead the team in hits (187), doubles (33), wRC+ (118), and runs (85). As for Chisholm and Burger, they’re projected to finish first and second on the Marlins in terms of home runs with 28 and 27, respectively.
Aside from those three, Miami’s best-projected hitters, according to wRC+, are Josh Bell (113) and Jesús Sánchez (107).
Aside from fWAR, Luzardo is also projected to lead Miami pitchers with 31 starts, 180 2/3 innings, and 206 strikeouts. The left-hander is also projected to finish the year with a 3.74 ERA. Garrett is right behind Luzardo in projected innings (164 1/3) and ERA (3.96). As for Pérez, the young right-hander is expected to make a jump in big-league workload this year and is projected for 131 2/3 innings in 24 starts with a 4.08 ERA.
Behind Luzardo, Garrett, and Pérez in terms of projected fWAR are fellow starters Edward Cabrera (1.8) and Trevor Rogers (1.8). Miami’s top projected reliever is hard-throwing lefty Tanner Scott (0.9).
New York Mets
|Francisco Alvarez and Pete Alonso
Lindor is expected to be the Mets’ best player this year thanks to his overall projected value as a hitter (115 wRC+) and defender (7.8 Def). Ahead of Lindor in forecasted wRC+ are Alonso (131) and Nimmo (126). Alonso is also projected to lead the club with 41 long balls. Alvarez is projected to slug this year, too, with a 17-double, 25-home run season.
Senga is projected to pitch 186 2/3 innings with a 3.75 ERA and 215 strikeouts. Steamer is projecting that Manaea will finish 147 2/3 innings with a 3.99 ERA. Quintana is projected to be serviceable alongside Manaea with a 4.23 ERA across 29 starts.
Outside of those three, starter Luis Severino (1.6) and closer Edwin Díaz (1.3) are forecasted to be the Mets’ best pitchers in terms of projected fWAR. Díaz is also projected to finish the year with a major-league-best 35 saves, tied with Camilo Doval of the San Francisco Giants.
|Bryson Stott and J.T. Realmuto
Harper is projected to lead the Phillies with a 142 wRC+ and be their only hitter with a plus-.500 slugging percentage (.518). Turner is projected to post a 111 wRC+ and lead the Phillies with 25 stolen bases and 35 doubles. As for Stott and Realmuto, each is expected to be around a league-average hitter who will also provide value in the field.
Wheeler (2nd) and Nola (4th) are both top-five when it comes to projected fWAR among big-league pitchers. They’re each expected to make 32 starts and reach the 200-strikeout milestone, according to Steamer projections. The left-handed Suárez is forecasted to make 28 starts and finish with a 4.04 ERA.
|Luis García and Keibert Ruiz
Abrams is projected to lead the Nationals in hits (149) and Defense (8.4), according to Steamer. García is slated to rack up 39 extra-base hits, while Ruiz is projected to lead the club with a 105 wRC+. Thomas is projected to lead Washington with 32 doubles and 24 home runs.
|Josiah Gray and Jake Irvin
Gore is expected to lead all Nationals starting pitchers with a 4.17 ERA across 151 2/3 innings. Corbin is projected for a 29-start, 166 1/3-inning season with a 4.88 ERA. Meanwhile, Gray is forecasted to lead the club with 161 strikeouts and 31 starts. The right-handed Irvin is projected to post a 4.96 ERA in 123 2/3 innings.
Now that the betting odds and player projections are covered, here are five NL East-related predictions for the 2024 season.
1. The Braves finish with under 101.5 wins
Yes, Atlanta has put together back-to-back 100-plus win seasons. But, I’ve never felt comfortable predicting a team to win more than 100 games in a single season. After all, that’s a lot of wins. And with the length of MLB’s regular season, one bad month can ruin a team’s chances of reaching the triple-digit wins mark.
Overall, the Braves may have the second-best roster in the game heading into 2024. I think they’re going to win plenty of games. Just not 100. I’m going to predict the Braves will win anywhere from 95 to 99 games this year.
2. The Phillies finish with over 89.5 wins
BetMGM setting Philadelphia’s over/under at 89.5 wins makes sense. The club is coming off a 90-win season and hasn’t made a lot of noise this offseason. President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski seems comfortable running it back with essentially the same roster as last year.
Philadelphia has started slowly in back-to-back years. They finished both seasons strong, though, and made deep playoff runs in 2022 and 2023. I think this is the year Philadelphia plays good baseball all season long. I’m going to predict the Phillies will win anywhere from 91 to 95 games in 2024.
3. The Braves hold off the Phillies to win the division
Predicting Atlanta to win 95 to 99 games and Philadelphia to win 91 to 95 games means I see this year’s NL East race as a tight one. I think the Phillies will make a serious push come September to potentially dethrone the Braves, but I like Atlanta just a smidge more than Philadelphia in 2024.
An interesting scheduling note for these two clubs is that they don’t play a full series against one another in September. Their final game against each other is scheduled for Sept. 1 at Citizens Bank Park and is the final of a four-game series.
Again, I like the Braves’ roster a little more than the Phillies’. I’m going to predict Atlanta will win their seventh straight division title this year, but will have to wait until the final weekend of the season to do so.
4. The Marlins, Mets, and Nationals have a combined seven All-Stars
Clearly, the Braves and Phillies are projected to be two of the NL’s best teams this year. It’s also clear I feel those projections are accurate. So to include the other three teams in the division in the predictions section of this article, I’m going to guess who makes the NL All-Star team from each of the Marlins, Mets, and Nationals.
For Miami, I think Arráez and Luzardo will represent their club in the Midsummer Classic on July 16 at Globe Life Field. Arráez is probably the most skilled contact hitter in the game. It’s not so hard to see him making the NL All-Star team again. As for Luzardo, the left-hander had a strong start to the year in 2023 and will need to be the ace of Miami in 2024 with Sandy Alcántara set to miss the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier in the offseason. I think Luzardo is in for a big season and will be a first-time All-Star.
The Mets season is going to be interesting. They won’t be horrible, but I’m not so sure they make the postseason, either. However, I do think they’ll have three All-Stars on their roster. I’m predicting Alonso, Lindor, and Senga will be on the NL All-Star roster this year. Alonso is one of the best raw power hitters in the sport. Lindor is still one of the game’s best shortstops and I think he’s in for a big year. Senga is entering year two in the majors and I think he’ll be even better than what he’s projected to be. With that, all three will be All-Star-worthy come mid-July.
For the final two players, I’m going to predict they come from the Nationals. I think Abrams and Gore take steps forward this year for a rebuilding Nationals team. Abrams has shown spurts of promise and Gore has, too. I feel both will put together strong performances during the first half, along with the entirety of the 2024 campaign. I also think Gore and Abrams will cement themselves as clear building blocks for the next great run of Washington baseball in 2024.
5. Bryce Harper wins his third NL MVP
According to BetMGM, Harper has the sixth-best odds of winning NL MVP this year. He’s the type of player who can turn it on and be one of the most valuable players in the sport whenever he wants. I think he does that this year for two specific reasons.
First, Harper understands the Phillies’ shortcomings in recent years — no division titles and heartbreaking, just-short of winning-it-all postseason finishes. He came to Philadelphia to win and he knows the club will have to start, and stay, hot all year to compete for a both division and Word Series title. He’s shown how he can carry an offense before and I think he’ll do that this year, putting him in the MVP conversation from the jump.
Second, there have been rumblings about Harper wanting some kind of contract extension or restructure. Adding a third NL MVP, which would be his second with the Phillies, would be a great bargaining chip to add to the table for Harper who doesn’t have much leverage — he has no opt-outs and eight years left on his current contract.