Braves, Nationals, Mets, Marlins, Phillies: The good, bad and injured in the NL East

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June is here, and the MLB is heading into the dog days of summer. This is the time of year when baseball gets intricate. Teams have established themselves and shown who is who. Now in June, they start to make adjustments, buyers and sellers become evident, and the top teams (including those in the NL East) will get targets painted on their backs.

The good becomes significant, the bad have to adjust, and the injuries throw wrenches into the plan constantly. Spring predictions had three teams from the NL East making the postseason. So let’s look at the good, the bad, and the injured in the MLB’s toughest division, the National League East, so far in June.

NL East — The Good

The Atlanta Braves (37-24) have the best record in the National League. They are winning thoroughly with a +54 run differential. Ronald Acuna is the leading NL MVP candidate with a .329 average, and he’s on pace for a 30/30 season. Sean Murphy is trending to be a Gold Glove winner, and with a wRC+ of 153, a Silver Slugger as well. It could be the best season we have ever seen from a catcher.

Slugger Matt Olson has belted 17 homers and leads a five-member wrecking crew of Acuna, Murphy, Ozzie Albies, and Austin Riley, who have combined for 63 homers. That puts them on pace for an astonishing 170 homers.

Add in their two-headed punch of 24-year-old righties Bryce Elder and Spencer Strider, combining for 177 strikeouts so far this season, and you have a real World Series contender.

Surprise NL East good

Some surprising good in the NL East is a team that was not predicted to make the postseason, the Miami Marlins (35-28). The Marlins are holding a Wild Card spot with a .568 winning percentage and are just three games behind the Braves for the NL East lead.

We can’t discuss how good the Marlins are without mentioning Luis Arraez. He is currently batting .403 thru 214 at-bats. A .400 season is something we have not seen in Major League Baseball since 1941, when Ted Williams hit .406 in 456 at-bats. There are still many games to be played, but Miami only gets hotter in the summer; Arraez chasing .400 is something to keep an eye on.

Then there is the New York Mets (30-32), with a .481 winning percentage, they are not good. At third place in the NL East, they are not bad. They are just the Mets, the team with by far the highest cost per win in the MLB. It’s too early to say who or what the Mets are this year, we will check back in July.

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