Of the three teams winning their divisions in the National League in 2021, the Atlanta Braves had the worst record and lowest winning percentage. The Braves finished at the top of the NL East with a 88-73 record and a .547 winning percentage. Despite having the fifth-best winning percentage in the National League, the Braves won the NL pennant and the 2021 World Series.
The finishing order of the NL East in 2021 was Atlanta (88-73), Philadelphia Phillies (82-80), New York Mets (77-85), Miami Marlins (67-95) and Washington Nationals (65-97). The Mets, Braves and Phillies are the top three teams in the NL East with almost 60 games played in the 2022 season, but they are not in the same order they were at the end of the 2021 campaign.
2022 National League East picks
|To Win 2022 National League East|
|New York Mets||-450||-450||-450||-450|
The New York Mets opening day payroll in 2021 was $167.415 million. That number, which gave the team the eighth highest payroll that year, jumped to $253.120 million for 2022. That put the team second to the Los Angeles Dodgers in spending. The team added big contracts for Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar to hit that number. The spending has paid dividends for the Mets.
The Mets have a 38-20 record as of this writing, which is the best in the National League. The team’s record is second to the New York Yankees (40-15) in MLB. The Mets hold a 1.5 game lead over the pricier Dodgers in the NL. They are eight games ahead of the second place Braves in the NL East.
The Mets have the player with the fourth highest batting average in the NL (Jeff McNeil: .311), the NL home run leader (Pete Alonso: 16), the NL RBI leader (Alonso: 54), the NL pitching leader in wins (Carlos Carrasco: 7) and the NL pitcher with the fifth most saves (Edwin Diaz: 11).
New York is playing solid team ball so far this season and will be hard to catch.
After some inconsistent play in the early days of the 2022 MLB season, the Braves are currently riding a six-game winning streak. However, the team is not out of the woods. Two of those six wins went into extra innings and two other victories came in one-run games. Scoring has been an issue with the Braves in 2022. While the Mets have a run differential of +75, the Braves are fourth in the NL East in that stat with a +5. With 246 runs scored at this point, the Braves have only put up 14 more runs than the last place Nationals, who are -87 in differential.
While the Mets payroll is working out, the same cannot be said of the Phillies. Philly had the fourth highest payroll at the start of the season at $221.738 million. They are 2.5 games behind the Braves who are spending about $50 million less. The Phillies have more than $90 million tied up in Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Nick Castellanos and Kyle Shwarber.
Philadelphia shook things up recently by firing manager Joe Girardi. That’s a signal that ownership is not happy with the team’s performance.
The Miami Marlins have two starting pitchers who are in the top-10 in ERA in the majors this season. When one looks at just the NL, those two pitchers Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez have the second and third lowest ERAs in the National League. Alcantara is 6-2 with a 1.81 ERA and Lopez is 4-2 with an ERA of 2.18.
On the hitting side of the equation, the Marlins only have one hitter in the top 50 in batting average and that is Garrett Cooper. Cooper is hitting .305 with 53 hits, four home runs and 26 RBIs.
The Washington Nationals have not fielded a team that has finished over .500 since 2019. That year the club was second in the NL East with a .574 winning percentage and a record of 93-69. If things continue on the path they are on in 2022, the Nationals could end the season with the lowest winning percentage in team history. Washington is 57-21 right now. The club has finished with a lower winning percentage than that twice since moving to Washington from Montreal and four times overall. The worst finish in franchise history was 52-110 in 1969 in Montreal. The team’s worst record in Washington was its 59-103 finish in 2009.
If the Mets can stay healthy they should be able to stay in the top spot in the NL East for the remainder of the season.
Pick: New York Mets to win the National League East in 2022.
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