NL East final report card grades
College Contributor Network
After tackling the AL East, Central and West divisions, let's hop over the fence and start dishing out grades for the National League.
On paper I think the Braves have one of the best teams of the league with one of the best offensive players in Freddie Freeman, one of the best defensive stars in the game in Andrelton Simmons, and the best closer in Craig Kimbrel.
A restart will really help the Braves. The team flat out fell apart in the second half, and you just couldn't do that when the stock of the Nationals was rising in the other direction.
Despite a 77-85 mark, many people were surprised at the way Miami beat adversity coming into 2014. The big storyline was no Jose Fernandez, but holy cow what a year Giancarlo Stanton had.
He's now a first class star in the league, and with other productive years from Christian Yelich and Casey McGehee, the Marlins can contend for a NL East title next year. The pitching seems to be the biggest issue and let's hope Stanton doesn't get PTSD from that gruesome injury in which he took a heater to the face.
New York Mets
'New York Mets' can be accompanied with a sigh or a whimper. But when you scratch with a coin you see that the team finished second in the division (granted down 17 games) with their best record since 2010. It's hard to really give a set grade to the Mets because the club was so all over the place.
They had less than average offensive numbers, but finished as the only team with both a positive run differential and a losing record. As is usual with the Mets, they'll just try it all over again, but will do it with bright, young pitching and a few offensive weapons in David Wright and Daniel Murphy.
Perhaps the most active MLB teams in the winter months will be the Phillies, who finished last in the NL East for the first time since 2000. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard are all liabilities that Philly will want to ship off to make room for some younger guys and, besides Cole Hamels, there isn't much promise for the starting rotation.
Much of the Nationals' season consisted of them beating up on a pretty lackluster NL East, but still give them the credit. They were four short of 100 wins on the year, and the offense was as potent as the pitching.
They were easy favorites for the World Series, but then puttered out against a white-hot Giants team. Washington had almost everything in place for a brilliant title run, but the almost-established young stars fell flat. If the Nats can keep the same gusto as last season then they'll easily contend for their first ever Commissioner's Trophy.
Andrew Morris is a sophomore at Syracuse University. People refer to him in the third person and he has an everlasting love for Orange, Major League Baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland A's, Golden State Warriors, and Indianapolis Colts. Follow him on Twitter: @Andrewmo123