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MLB Scouts Talk Anonymously About NL East Teams for 2017


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The World Baseball Classic is over and spring training is entering the home stretch, which means the 2017 MLB season is just around the corner. Final cuts will soon be made as teams determine their 25-man rosters before breaking camp in Florida and Arizona.

Once again, Athlon Sports’ 2017 Baseball Preview magazine has all 32 teams covered, including some candid analysis from scouts on the teams and specific players. These scouting reports are just part of the content that can be found in this year’s magazine, which is available on newsstands everywhere and online.

NL East

Atlanta Braves

“They’re pushing the fast-forward button a little bit to be competitive at the new ballpark. With Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey and Jaime Garcia, they realized they could, at a reasonable cost, get a lot of innings eaten up by some veterans with know-how. There’s risk in those guys holding up at their age, but Colon and Dickey have done it, and Julio Teheran is an anchor in his prime. I think Dansby Swanson has a real chance to be the Rookie of the Year, and Ender Inciarte is another strong everyday guy; it’s still hard to fathom they got them both for Shelby Miller. I hear all the grumbling about Matt Kemp, but I don’t care — that guy plays hard, and he’s not a concern for me. Freddie Freeman is outstanding, a real cornerstone guy. They just need to get more around him and they’ll be all right. By 2019 they will be real contenders.”

Miami Marlins

“Losing Jose Fernandez had such a profound impact. That affects so many people, I just don’t think they’ll recover from it. He was a foundational piece, a guy you can’t replace. The rotation has Edinson Volquez, Wei-Yin Chen, Adam Conley, Tom Kohler, Jeff Locke — some health questions, low upside. Christian Yelich is a great hitter, but I don’t know how much you can trust Giancarlo Stanton anymore. He’s just too big, too strong, and he’s not on the field enough. It’s obviously a big year for him. Martin Prado is a consummate pro, but they don’t get much offense from the middle infield. They made a run at the big closers in free agency, so you know they wanted to build a super bullpen to support that rotation. Even so, A.J. Ramos, David Phelps and Kyle Barraclough do a nice job back there. They’ll be around .500 again; maybe a little better if everything breaks right.”

New York Mets

“Matt Harvey had such a good delivery out of college, and now he’s had Tommy John surgery and thoracic outlet syndrome. With the velocity and power these guys generate, you just never know who’s gonna stay healthy. All I know is you’ve gotta have depth — and they have it, though losing Bartolo Colon hurts. They had to get Yoenis Cespedes back, because he’s a guy you can count on in an offense with three starting infielders coming off injuries. I’m not as worried about Lucas Duda, because he didn’t have surgery for his back problem. I don’t care what anyone says, once they cut on you, you’re never the same. Poor David Wright’s spent so much time rehabbing his back and neck that it’s taken away from his regular preparation. It’s a very debilitating injury, and you’ll see it in his lack of mobility.”

Philadelphia Phillies

“They’re not ready to go all out financially yet; they’re gearing up for that free-agent class in a couple of years and will scoop up whoever the Yankees don’t get. They’ve got a good young core of position players coming, with two solid prospects behind the plate in Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp. They added some veterans — Howie Kendrick, Joaquin Benoit, Pat Neshek — to try to be respectable. But the young guys around them are just kind of vanilla, not big-impact kind of guys. Nick Williams is a prospect, but there are too many inconsistencies in his game. I don’t trust Maikel Franco at all; the tools are huge, but he has some big holes in his approach and makes very few adjustments. They’ve got pitching volume, but not a ton of impact besides Vincent Velasquez. He can be an ace. He was filthy last year when he was right, but he can’t stay healthy.”

Washington Nationals

“This was supposed to be their moment as the power team in the NL, but it feels like the Cubs have swiped it from them. The Nats needed to make a big move and ended up with Adam Eaton, for a big price. He helps them for the short term and long term, but they’ll miss all the pitching depth they gave up. Max Scherzer’s as good as they come and only getting better, but Stephen Strasburg scares the heck out of me. When he talks about the slider hurting him, that’s a bad sign. Gio Gonzalez is no better than a 4 or 5. Shawn Kelley’s very good in that bullpen, but they need a lot more. I don’t know what happened to Bryce Harper last year, but he had to be hurt. You figure he’ll have a big bounce back. Yet at the same time, they’ll get less and less from aging guys like Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth.”