Before spring bloomed in baseball land, you could say the Phillies and Mets were the top draws in the NL East. But something happened, maybe two weeks into spring: The Braves became the chic pick.
Looking at predictions from major national media outlets, the Phillies are being cast to third place in the NL East, while the Braves are on many lists not just to win the East, but the National League. Call it true support of a dark horse, trying to look smart, whatever. The Braves will be good, I think, but good enough to win the NL?
Outlets with the Phillies in 1st, NL East:
ESPN: Eric Karabell (fantasy)
ESPN: Sean McAdam (contributing; Boston-based)
Sportsline: Scott Miller
Outlets with Phillies winning Wild Card:
ESPN: Tim Kurkijan
ESPN: Enrique Rojas (Deportes)
ESPN: Bob Klapsich (contributor)
ESPN: Nate Ravitz (fantasy)
Fox Sports: Ken Rosenthal
The Sporting News
Only Lindy’s has the Phillies in the World Series, losing to the Detroit Tigers. Meanwhile, a slew of writers have the Braves in the Series, including Jayson Stark and Rosenthal, who like the Braves enough as World Series champions. Another note: Johan Santana is far and away the favorite to win the NL Cy Young.
You can’t get worked up over predictions, especially because they usually never come true. But clearly, the Braves mix of youth and experience has piqued the sportswriting world. Most predictors say the same thing about the Phillies when delivering their prognostications: Not enough pitching.