Every week Baseball Essential’s Dan Siegel will answer questions from you the readers about the teams in the NL East. You can send in your questions by leaving a comment below or by sending them to Dan on Twitter @DanSiegelUnCut
Did the Braves rebuild work quicker then we expected?
Slow down, the first week is full of overreactions and this one of them. Offensively, just look at their batting leaders. Alberto Callaspo and Chris Johnson currently have batting averages of .500+, needless to say I don’t think they will keep that up. Also, Freddie Freeman struck out eight times over the opening week while only driving in three runs, he will find his hitting stroke sooner rather than later. The offense will be average, if Andrelton Simmons first week is a sign of his offensive game taking a step forward it would greatly help stretch out their lineup. The key for Atlanta is it seemingly always has been is their starting pitching. They’ve run a four man rotation here in the opening week, Julio Teheran and Alex Wood both won their first two starts with Teheran pitching very good and Wood putting in solid performances. Shelby Miller pitched five scoreless in his debut and the Braves need him to be the guy to go behind Teheran and be that 1A or 2 in the rotation. The Braves won’t be a throwaway team in the division like many thought, but they need Miller to slide in behind Teheran and Wood along with Eric Stults to give consistent solid performances to give that rotation some depth down to the fifth starter.
Did the Marlins show they’re overhyped already?
Again, it’s only one week, I’m pretty sure Giancarlo Stanton will eventually hit a home run and get his batting average over the Mendoza line. A lot didn’t manage to go right for Miami in the opening week. Four of their regular starters batted .200 or under in the opening week which doesn’t exactly lend itself to extending rallies. On the other side, their pitching certainly can improve. Henderson Alvarez was solid in his two starts but he left his last start with a right elbow issue and the team is holding their breath it’s not something serious. Jarred Cosart and Dan Haren both went six innings, only giving up a run each in their first starts which was good considering Mat Latos couldn’t make it out of the first inning in his Marlins debut before giving up seven runs in 2/3 of an inning. Combine that with seemingly no one in the bullpen wanting to have scoreless appearances and it was a bad mix for success in the opening week. Remember, while everyone seemingly jumped on the Marlins bandwagon to be a wild card team this year, the plan for that scenario hasn’t changed. Miami wants to tread water and be in the picture come June when the expected return of ace Jose Fernandez happens. If he returns and pitches to form to go along with the shot in the arm his return provides to the team, then the Marlins will be in a good position.
How big of an impact does Jenrry Mejia’s suspension have?
The Jenrry Mejia suspension carries more of an potential long term impact then it does short term. The story in spring training was even though Mejia would start the season as closer, would he keep that role once Bobby Parnell returned from his final steps in recovering from last season’s Tommy John surgery. Mets brass has seemingly had a long affection for Parnell, despite not coming out and saying as much, they hinted that Mejia would have to pitch near flawlessly to keep the role. Now with Mejia out of the picture, Parnell is all but assured the role upon his return. With all the talk of Jeurys Familia potentially being the next long term closer, has much faith can the team have in him when they’re mixing and matching the ninth inning and not even letting him get all three outs? The potential impact of Mejia’s suspension wouldn’t be felt unless the Mets were to make the postseason. As part of the CBA, Mejia would not be eligible to pitch in the postseason because of the suspension. So, if upon his return he pitches well and becomes an integral part of the bullpen and a run to the postseason, it will be a piece that they will have to fill come October.
How soon until the Phillies start moving more players?
As soon as someone calls them and wants to take someone other than Cole Hamels. Phillies fans have no illusions of this team being better then what they are, but would certainly like to see the fight the team exhibited in some close games this past weekend with the Nationals. Freddy Galvis will not continue to hit .300+ nor will Cody Asche hit .400+. On the other hand, despite their age, I tend to think that Chase Utley and Ryan Howard will hit better than the combined 5-39 they’ve started at. The organization would love for Howard or Jonathan Papelbon to get off to quick starts and possibly draw some trade interest but that seems unlikely. Any moves will likely wait until July and the trade deadline, in the meantime, fans can hope for competitive games like this past week and beginning to see the future of the organization take the field.
Do the Nationals regret signing Max Scherzer already?
Considering Max Scherzer has given up one earned run in almost 14 innings of work I would think not. In fact, of all the Nationals starters, Stephen Strasburg turned in the worst start and he was killed by errors in that start. The Nationals problem early on has been injuries and a lineup that could not overcome cold starts from their regulars. If Yunel Escobar is the only regular hitting over .280 then there’s a problem. Good news is Jayson Werth will be activated off the disabled list on Monday so that will stretch that lineup out a little bit. They’re still waiting on Anthony Rendon to get healthy, he’s still having trouble moving laterally and can’t get close to going on a rehab assignment until he can get over that hurdle. With Werth back in the lineup, the Nationals will hope it helps get going the bats of guy like Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond who hit a combined 6-45 in the opening week. The pitching will be there for Washington, they just need to wait on the bats to catch up and the rest of that lineup to get healthy.