NL East

The Braves won their 7th straight NL East crown in 2001 and finally addressed their desperate need for offense this offseason.  Sheffield and the healthy return of Furcal will go a long way toward putting the Braves back in the postseason.  The only question is, oddly enough, their starting pitching.  Glavine and Maddux have looked vulnerable and without those two the Braves are in serious jeopardy.  However, if those two perform as well their reputation, the NL East race won't even be close.  The Mets upgraded a woeful offense with some star power, but lost depth in the bullpen and they have several questions in the rotation, especially the health of Astacio.  Philadelphia is coming off a terrific year, but it'll be pretty amazing if they get a repeat performance from their bullpen.  The added distraction of the whole Rolen affair, especially with guys like Bowa and Dallas Green around will only get worse.  The Marlins have a deep starting staff led by 3 terrific young starters - Penny, Burnett and Beckett - but their bullpen is a glaring weakness.  Frank Robinson worked a miracle once before with the '89 Orioles and probably has more talent on this Expos squad.  However, this team has too many holes to win the division.

Predicted Finish
Atlanta Braves
Florida Marlins
New York Mets
Philadelphia Phillies
Montreal Expos

(editor's note: with the early season addition's of Bruce Chen and Dicky Gonzales, the Expos should move up to third in the division)