Thursday, February 3, 2022
I’m a little late, but with essentially nothing going on in the world of baseball due to a lockout, there’s really no rush with these types of things. Back on Monday, FanGraphs’ Dan Szymborski started his annual release of the latest ZiPS standings projections, beginning with the National League. And pacing the East is nonother than the Atlanta Braves, projected to finish the 2022 regular season with 90 wins.
Now I’ll admit, I’m a bit surprised with the table above. Even without franchise player Freddie Freeman, and with all of the many moves the Mets have made so far this winter, Atlanta is still seen as the NL East favorite by ZiPS.
In case you haven’t kept up lately, the Mets have made some serious additions to its team this offseason – guys like starting pitcher Max Scherzer, outfielders Starling Marte and Mark Canha, and infielder Eduardo Escobar. That quartet of adds right there comes out to a whopping 16.5 fWAR from the 2021 season (or an average of a little more than 4 WAR per player), and per ZiPS those four stars are projected to tally an overall mark of 11.3 WAR for the Mets this coming campaign. That’s some pretty incredible value grabbed up by the Mets, and yet it still isn’t enough to put them ahead in the NL East projections. Pretty surprising to me.
But perhaps even more incredible is, while New York has no doubt shored up its roster for the upcoming season, Atlanta has basically stood pat. I mean, the Braves have done nothing, other than a pretty savvy signing of reliever Kirby Yates, who didn’t even pitch last season. After Yates, the additions have been 39-year-old reliever Darren O’Day, defensive catcher Manny Piña and reliever Jay Jackson (who’s probably looking at a Triple-A Gwinnett assignment). Not exactly your headline deals.
So, as a Braves fan, I’m feeling really good about the 2022 season. The Freeman dilemma of course needs to be resolved, and there are plenty of other areas of the team that need attention, but all in all, the club appears to be in good shape. It’s hard to complain about 70% playoff odds when the team hasn’t even made a move yet!
We’ll see how the rest of the offseason goes. At some point this lockout will end and the Braves, along with the other 29 teams, will be forced to make their moves. But at least at this point it doesn’t seem like Atlanta is playing catch up. The rival Mets have had a better offseason, but the Braves are still the champs.