Roughly one month from our previous installment, here, not much has changed. A few small moves, mainly on the bench and bullpen sides of each team, with the biggest upgrades coming in the form of Marcell Ozuna to the Braves and Taijuan Walker to the Mets. The Mets remain the favorites to win the division based on projected fWAR, but it’s a tight race and every team has taken a slight jump since our last edition.
The only addition here is Taijuan Walker replacing Joey Luchessi in the Mets rotation, but fangraphs must’ve updated their projections as every teams projected WAR for their rotation group increased slightly. The Braves jumped from 10.8 to 12.2 due to jumps in Morton, Fried and Soroka’s projections.
The Braves and Marlins made the most notable changes in the lineup category, Ozuna returning to Atlanta pushes Ender Inciarte to the bench, a huge upgrade for Atlanta’s lineup. Also if the DH is added the Braves most likely candidate is Jake Lamb, an upgrade over Johan Camargo. The only other notable change here is Adam Duvall has crossed the division to join forces with the fish, strengthening their lineup significantly. It is also worth noting the projections on all 4 of the Braves NLE opponents decreased in this area since the last projections.
As of now, the Braves bullpen is projected to be the same cast of characters as it was prior to Spring Training. Shane Greene remains unsigned. The Phillies have attempted to sure up their pen with the additions of Kintzler and Watson, while the Marlins made a splash trading for John Curtiss. The Braves bullpen still projects to be a strength, but my guess would be we’ll see a new name or two on this list in the next few weeks as games play out.
Most teams movement came on their bench. The Braves notable addition here is Jake Lamb, as well as Ender being moved to the bench. These two changes moved the Braves out of negative bench WAR. The Mets added three new names which added more than 1 WAR to their bench unit. Parra and Miller were both interesting pickups for the Nats and Phils that should help them over the course of the season. Keep an eye on Adrianza, he’s looked good early in Spring Training but this bench spot will surely be a battle.
The Braves were able to tighten the gap on the Mets, moving to a deficit of 2.2 projected fWAR from 4.5. There are still moves to be made, but I’d expect these numbers to be fairly close to projections just before Opening Day when we update this list. The Nationals and Phillies still can’t be counted out, and I’ll reiterate that this young Marlins club won’t go down without a fight. Spring Training truly is a wonderful time in the baseball year, with new hopes and championship aspirations abound. I like what I see coming from the Braves camp thus far.