This series of blogs is 100% opinion based on who I see as the best players in the NL East and who I can see having a legit shot at the HOF. The "most exciting" are the players who are young but already have shown to have the highest upside. The "on their way" are the players getting closer and closer to the HoF with every year they play. The "honorable mentions" are players who will be on the ballot but will not make it into the HoF. The "future HoF" are the players that I have no doubt will make it into Cooperstown.
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Brian Anderson OF Marlines-The 3yr MLB vet has been nothing short of excellent in those three seasons. He owns an 8.7WAR, 354H, 42HR, 177RBI with a .266/.349/.431 slash over 1333AB. Anderson is 27yo, but the Marlins young team's heart carries an insane amount of upside for competing Marlins.
Ozzie Albies 2B Braves- The 23yo Albies finished up his 3rd professional season in 2020. Albies is on his way to being one of the best second basemen in the MLB; he already owns an 11.7WAR, 450H, 60HR, 40SB, .279/.330/.473 slash over 1614AB. Albies will be a member of the Braves until 2027 and continue to develop into one of the elite second basemen in the MLB; Albies has already won 1 Silver Slugger and made 1 All-Star appearance.
Dominic Smith 1B Mets- Smith is set to push Pete Alonso for the 1B job after posting a 1.9WAR, 10HR, 42RBI, 56H with a .316/.377/.616 slash over 177AB. I am a big fan of the power and on-base potential for Smith, and the 25yo will continue to develop into a great offensive weapon for the Mets.
Alec Bohm 3B Phillies- Thank goodness the Phillies had Bohm step up in 2020, so now Harper can stay in the outfield and not move to 3B for now. Bohm was the runner up for the Rookie of the Year in 2020. The 24yo posted a 0.9WAR, 54H, 4HR, 23RBI with a .338/.400/.481 slash over 160AB. The glove still needs to come around as he posted a -5DRS in 2020 at the hot corner.
Victor Robles OF Nationals- The 23yo outfielder did not perform great in 2020 as he posted -0.4WAR. So far over Robles 2 seasons, he owns a 4.2WAR, 23HR, 199H, 94RBI with a .250/.320/.407 slash over 797Ab. Robles has already proven to be a great third option to Soto and Turner.
On Their Way:
Trea Turner SS Nationals- The 27yo Turner has lived up to every bit of hype since being the 13th overall pick in the 2014 draft. Turner owns a 16.6WAR, 75HR, 644H, 257RBI, .296/.353/.480 slash over 2177AB. Turner should hope for a move to 2B as his defensive metrics are well above average.
Dansby Swanson SS Braves- The 26yo Swanson is yet another member of the young Braves that are well on their way to greatness. He posted a 2.9WAR. So far in Swanson's career, he owns a 7.5WAR, 50HR, 227RBI, 452H with a .249/.321/.396 slash over 1815AB. Swanson has been a great defender to date with 18DRS over 4284.2INN with a .974FLD% at Short Stop. Swanson has years left to establish himself as one of the premier shortstops in the MLB.
Jeff McNeil OF Mets- McNeil is an On-base machine and a defensive wizard with the glove. He owns a career .975Fld% over 1935.1INN between the OF, 2B, 3B with 11DRS. He holds a 9.4WAR, 293H, 117RBI, .319/.383/.501 slash line in his career over 918AB. McNeil has a tremendous amount of time to go down as a great utility man.
Michael Conforto OF Mets- The power was finally starting to come around in 2019 when he smashed a career-high 33HR. In 2020 he was nothing short of excellent with a 2.3WAR, .322/.412/.515 slash line. The career numbers aren't bad for the 27yo, with a 14.6WAR, 118HR, 341RBI, .259/.358/.484 slash over 2145AB.
Robinson Cano 2B Mets- I can't believe I am still adding Cano to this list. We all know that after the 2nd PED suspension, Cano's chances at the Hall of Fame are slim to none. To look back at a remarkable career that included 5 Silver Sluggers, 2 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series ring, and 8 All-Star appearances. The stats back up all the accolades with a 69.1WAR, 2624H, 334HR, 1302RBI, .303/.352/.492 slash over 8673AB. Cano has always been a solid defender but not elite as he holds just 1DRS with a .988FLD% over 18766.2INN in the field. It is an absolute shame Cano used PED's and kept using them.
Andrew McCutchen OF Phillies- Go ol' Cutch has been nothing short of excellent in his 11yr career. He has earned 1 MVP, 1 Gold Glove, 4 Silver Sluggers, and 5 All-Star nods. To date, the 34yo owns a 44.6WAR, 1719H, 243HR, 853RBI, 191SB, .285/.376/.478 slash over 6038AB. Cutch's biggest blemish on his HoF resume is the -76DRS. Cutch will have a case for Cooperstown when it's all said and done. Only time will tell.
Starling Marte OF Marlins- The 32yo has had a solid career to date. He has earned 1 All-Star nod and 2 Gold Gloves. Marte owns a 29.9WAR, 1111H, 114HR, 447RBI, 249SB with a .287/.341/.450 slash over 3875AB in his 7 season career. The glovework in the outfield has been nothing short of elite. He has played 8409INN in the outfield with a .983FLD% and 59DRS. He could have 71+ had he never moved to CF full time in 2018.
Ronals Acuna Jr RF Braves- Yes, Acuna is only 23, and I am already considering him a Hall of Famer. I think that Acuna when he signed an 8yr extension in 2019 to keep him on the Braves through 2026, was a sign of what is still yet to come. Acuna has done nothing but impresses on the diamond after winning Rookie of the Year, 1 All-Star appearance, and 2 Silver Sluggers; the best is yet to come. To date, he holds a 12.1WAR, 342H, 81HR, 194RBI, 61SB, and a .281/.371/.538 slash over 1219AB. In 2019 Acuna posted 41HR, 101RBI, and 37SB. He was aiming for a 40/40 season in 2020 before it was cut short. Acuna has another 10-15 years ahead of him to become a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Juan Soto OF Nationals- Baby Shark himself is in the same category as Acuna, where it does feel a little premature to think that he will one day be a Hall of Famer, but the numbers don't lie. The 22yo has earned 1 World Series ring, 1 Silver Slugger, and 1 Batting Title. The 2019 World Series is where he became Baby Shark as he hit .333/.438/.741 with 3HR in 32PA. The glove has yet to come around after two seasons as he has posted a respectable .993FLD% but -15DRS. The bat is where Soto shines with a career 9.7WAR, 328H, 69HR, 217RBI, .295/.415/.557 slash over 1110AB.
Freddie Freeman1B Braves- MVFREE! It took ten years for Freeman to earn his long-overdue MVP award finally. The 31yo vet has been nothing short of dominant at the plate in his career. He holds a 38.8WAR, 1524H, 240HR, 858RBI, 45SB, .295/.383/.509 slash over 5167AB.
Freeman has 1 Gold Glove, 2 Silver Sluggers, and 4 All-Star nods along with the MVP award. Freeman is great with the glove, as we have seen for ten seasons and 12079.1INN played. He holds a .995FLD% and 14DRS. Freeman will be a free agent at the end of the 2021 season, and don't think for a second they will let Freeman walk.
Bryce Harper OF Phillies- Last season, I put Harper's numbers and careers profile in the NL Central. I was a different blogger then; thank goodness for good friends! Harper was well deserving of the 13yr contract he got from the Phillies in 2019. Harper has won 1 MVP, 1 Rookie of the Year, 1 Silver Slugger, and 6 All-Star nods. Harper is only 28 and going into his 3rd year of that deal. Harper debuted at the age of 19 and since owned a 33.7WAR, 1122H, 232HR, 668RBI with a .276/.387/.513 slash over 4069AB. Harper is an on-base machine with the best swing in all of baseball, in my opinion. To go along with an excellent swing, he has a great glove over 9550.2INN in the field. He has a .983FLD% with 10DRS. I am a massive fan of Harper's and will be following his career closely.
Sixto Sanchez SP Marlins- The 22yo Sixto Sanchez came on strong in 2020 for the Malins. I don't think that the plan was for him to jump into the role of Ace for the Fish, but he did. Sanchez carries his Rookie status into 2021 and will be an obvious early choice for Rookie of the Year in the NL. After posting a 1.4WAR, 3.46ERA/3.50FIP over 39IP. The future is bright for the budding Ace.
Sandy Alcantara SP Marlins- Alcantara also gives the Marlins another high upside young starter. The 25yo pitcher so far in his career owns a 3.9WAR, 3.71ERA/4.49FIP over 281.2IP with a 197.1 of those coming in 2019 over 32 starts. Keep Alcantara on your radar as his career is only getting underway.
Ian Anderson SP Braves- The 22yo start looked the part of an elite level, top 3 picks in the draft. Anderson posted a 1.3WAR, 1.95ERA/2.54FIP, 41K-14BB over 32.1IP. Anderson will be an excellent 3rd option for the Braves behind Soroka and Fried.
Seranthony Dominguez RP Phillies- I am pretty sure the 26yo Dominguez hits triple digits regularly. So far, the reliever owns a 2.3WAR, 3.27ERA/3.20FIP with 103K-34BB over 82.2IP. Dominguez should be a stabilizing force for the back end of the Phillies bullpen.
On Their Way:
Edwin Diaz P Mets- Was I sad when the M's traded Diaz in the package that sent Cano to NY? Yes, I was. Looking back, the M's won the trade. However, Diaz rebounded nicely after a rough 2019. The 26yo posted a 1.3WAR with a 1.75ERA/2.18FIP over 25.2IP. So far in Diaz's career, he has earned 1 All-Star nod and 1 Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the year awards. So far in his young career, he holds a 6.3WAR, 3.18ERA/2.93FIP with 450K-100BB over 247.2IP with 141SV. Stay the course, and Diaz could easily earn more awards as the years go by.
Max Fried SP Braves- The 26yo Fried stepped up big time in 2020 after Soroka went down to injury. Fried went on to post a 2.9WAR, 2.25ERA/3.10FIP over 56IP. The four seasons of work for Fried has yielded a 3.52ERA/3.69FIP with 289K-98 over 281.1IP. The future is a bright one with Fried and Soroka.
Mike Soroka P Braves- Despite the injury in 2020, allowing him to pitch only 13.2INN of 3.95ERA with a 0.3WAR. He now owns a 5.7WAR, 15-6 W-L, 2.86ERA/3.40FIP over 214IP. The age and the insane potential give me hope that the future is still brighter than ever.
Aaron Nola SP Phillies- The 27yo, one-time All-Star still has a lot of time to keep adding to his resume. So far, he holds a career 21.7WAR, 58-40 W-L, 3.47ERA/3.43FIP, with 922K-258BB over 842.2IP. With Jake Arrieta out of the way atop the rotation, the rotation and being the Ace is up for grabs, and Nola is well ready for the task.
Jake Arrieta P FA(Prev Phillies)- The one time Cubs ace has since dwindled off in terms of productions. Arrieta has won a Cy Young, 1x All-Star, Silver Slugger, and 1 World Series ring. Arrieta's best days are behind him; he holds a 25.9WAR, 110-79 record, 3.76ERA/3.85FIP, 1350K- 527BB over 1513.2IP. I think that Arrieta may have a little left in the tank to end his career. But the Hall may be a little out of reach.
Rick Porcello P FA(Prev Mets)- The words to describe Porcello are durable and reliable. Before the shortened 2020 season, he had pitched at least 162.2IP per season. Porcello finished 3rd in the RoY to start his career, and in 2016 he earned the Cy Young with the Boston Red Sox. Porcello has pitched to a 4.40ERA/4.06FIP with 1651K-489BB over 2096.1IP. Porcello has a couple more seasons left to give a contender, and they will be good enough!
Noah Syndergaard P Mets- How the 28yo Thor has only been voted to 1 All-Star game as his lone career accolade is beyond me. That is what happens when you pitch behind deGrom. Thor missed all of 2020 but owned a career 47-30 W-L, 3.31ERA/2.92FIP with 775K-166BB over 716IP between 2015-2019. Syndergaard is well on his way to more than just being a 1x All-Star.
Marcus Stroman P Mets- The now 3rd fiddle in the Met's rotation has been nothing short of excellent thus far in the 29yo career. Stroman is a 1x All-Star and 1x Gold Glove. Stroman owns a 14.7WAR, 3.76ERA/3.64FIP, 695K-244BB over 849.1IP. A strong rebound in 2021 following a lost 2020 should help spring Stroman into his next contract.
Patrick Corbin SP Nationals- Corbin has been so consistent as you can be in an MLB career. Outside of a missed 2014 and short 2015 and 2020, he has pitched at least 155.2IP between 2016-2019. Corbin is a 2x All-Star and was a member of the World Series rotation in 2019 with the Nats. Corbin is still young at the age of 31 and is with the Nat's till at least the 2024 season. He should be able to add to his career 18.8WAR, 3.84ERA/3.65FIP with 1195K-359BB over 1213.1IP. Corbin is on his way to be one of the best pitchers in the MLB over the back half of his career.
Jacob deGrom P Mets- Rookie of the Year, 1 ERA Title, 2x Cy Young, 3x All-Star, and three more top 8 Cy Young finishes over seven seasons tells you how great deGrom has been to date. deGrom is only 32 and has years left to continue his dominance. Outside of his rookie season and injuries in 2016, he pitched at least 191IP between 2014-2019. He has also been excellent in his short postseason work at 3-1, 2.88ERA over 25IP. deGrom is tasked with leading the Steve Cohen owned Mets to a World Series win.
Stephen Strasburg P Nationals- The 2019 World Series MVP/ World Series champ is also a 1x Silver Slugger and 3x All-Star. At age 32, Stras is destined for the Hall of Fame. After missing 2020 due to injury, Stras will be focused on finishing the remaining six seasons of his contract and staying healthy. He holds a 33.3WAR, 112-59 record, 3.19ERA/2.97FIP with 1697K-378BB over 1443.2IP. When Stras says goodbye for the final time in 2026, he will be doing it as one of the best to put on the Nat's uniform.
Max Scherzer P Nationals- The 7x All-Star and 2019 World Series champ enter the final year of 7yr deal. Between 2013 with Det and 2019, he finished 5th or better in the Cy Young with 3 Awards in that time. Subtract the 2020 and the rookie seasons, and he has pitched at least 170.1IP with 174K or more since 2009. Also, between 2016-2018 he had at least 268K with 300K in 2018. Scherzer owns a career 62.3WAR, 3.21ERA/3.14FIP, 2784K-641BB over 2357.1. If 2021 is the final season or not for Scherzer, he is bound for Cooperstown when he hands them up.
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