Washington was supposed to win the National League East last season but Atlanta had other plans. Those who invested in the Nationals on the betting lines proved to be very disappointed as they collapsed under the pressure. The Nationals should get back on track in 2014 and end up on top of the division.
1. Washington Nationals
Odds To Win World Series: +1000
The Nats struggled as everyone expected them to win 100 games and while they may not reach that peak this season, they have enough to win the East. Doug Fister joins Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman in one of the best rotations in the majors, while all eyes will be on Bryce Harper in his all-important third season. The wild card is Matt Williams, who is a manager for the first time. He has the talent at his disposal, now he just hast to figure out how to use it.
2. Atlanta Braves
Odds To Win World Series: +1750
The Braves took advantage of Washington’s stumbles to go to the playoffs, but they lost to the Los Angeles in four games. They will take a step back this season and it will be interesting to see how they handle behind the plate; Brian McCann left for the New York Yankees and there will be a lot of pressure on the duo of Ryan Doumit and Evan Gattis to fill his shoes. If B.J. Upton can turn things around and not be awful anymore, the Braves could contend for the wild card.
3. New York Mets
Odds To Win World Series: +11500
The addition of Curtis Granderson should help an offense that was terrible in 2013, and the Mets will need all the help they can get on that side of the ball. Matt Harvey started the All-Star Game, and will now miss all of 2014 after getting Tommy John surgery. The rest of the rotation isn’t that bad, to be honest, and they will probably pick up a few wins the Mets don’t deserve. The offense is the key, however.
4. Philadelphia Phillies
Odds To Win World Series: +5000
The Phillies are starting their first full year with Ryne Sandberg as manager, and he has more than a few questions throughout the roster. Ryan Howard has been decimated by injuries over the last couple of years, along with Chase Utley, although it was promising to see Dominic Brown play 139 games. Cole Hamels won’t be ready for the start of the season, but he and Cliff Lee were on the trading block at the end of last year. A.J. Burnett has nine straight years with 10 wins or more, but he turned 37 in January.
5. Miami Marlins
Odds To Win World Series: +20000
Miami is the epitome of a mess, especially offensively. They had two players reach double digits in homers, with Justin Ruggiano now playing for the Chicago Cubs and Giancarlo Stanton is going to get antsy soon; don’t be surprised if he ends up on the trading block for the notoriously cheap Marlins. However, when it comes to pitching, they have a potential star in Jose Fernandez, and the staff was 11th in the majors in ERA. The pitching will have to lead the way for Miami in 2014 but you’d need some serious courage to bet on their MLB futures.