With one of the more enticing rosters in the game, the Nationals are a team that may can grow to love. With the star-studded names of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, why wouldn’t you want to control the most exciting, young team in the majors? They’re ready to make noise now, and are a couple moves away from calling themselves contenders.
Stephen Strasburg – Tommy John surgery won’t have any affects on Strasburg in the game, so getting him back up to speed won’t be an issue. Strasburg will be the best pitcher in the majors after two years, so keep him going strong. When he is on the mound, it should mean auto win.
Adam LaRoche – LaRoche is having a solid year out there in the real world, but in the game he is nothing more than your average first baseman. If you can get a solid stat line out of this guy, it should quietly help beef up your playoff odds.
Bryce Harper – He may not be ready in real life, yet, but he is when it comes to our virtual reality. Harper is one of the top rated players, not just prospects, on the Nationals. His power and contact remain off the charts, and there is nothing but room for improvement. Get him thrusted into your lineup now, and reap those benefits.
This team is prepared to win the division starting now. One thing though, as mentioned above, first base is an issue. With Pujols and Fielder choosing different options, the Nationals were left high and dry. Try making a trade involving one of your starting five (trust me, you can spare one in this stellar rotation) for a power hitting first baseman.
The Nationals have made all the moves and picks that they needed to become contenders. They have the pitching, a decent amount of hitting and a weaker division; three things that can add up to a playoff appearance. But by doing what they’ve done, they have washed up their farm system. With most of their young studs making impacts in the majors, they get a pass. But still, if you don’t win now, it’s all a waste.
The Nationals are the easy pick for most exciting team in a video game right now. One could say they’re the MLB’s version of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Now it’s up to you to take the helm and lead them to the promise land.
One year ago it was all but certain the Phillies would win the World Series. Well, they didn’t, and somehow have gotten worse in the past year. Raul Ibanez is gone, and he provided a punch in the offense. Oswalt made an exit too. So can they regroup with the other three pitchers and the offensive power behind Ryan Howard?
Ryan Howard – Howard is the Phillies’ only hope of offensive force. Easily the strongest hitter in the lineup, Howard needs an MVP-type season to keep the Phillies on top of the baseball world.
Cole Hamels – After impressing the world in the World Series a few years ago, Hamels dipped off a little bit. By bringing him back to the talent level his rating gives him, he should be in the mix with Halladay and Lee.
Hunter Pence – Pence is another bat that needs to produce. After being acquired last season, he hasn’t lived up to what he was supposed to be: a .300 hitter early in the lineup.
You have the pitching to win it all. If you can play NL-ball all season, even in the playoffs, your offense shouldn’t be an issue. Taking Game 1 in each series will be big as well, since Lee should have Game 2 on lock.
The farm system in Philadelphia is about as impressive as Eastern Washington. If the Phillies had any good studs in the minors, they surely gave it up to bring Pence to town. It just reinforces the win-now mentality.
It’s a shame this team has no depth behind its stars, because one injury or error could derail the Phillies. If anyone needed to be perfect, it’s them. But again, if anyone can be perfect, it’s Halladay and Lee. Behind those two pitching, plus Hamels, it should be a decently easy trip back to the playoffs.
New York Mets
Always known as the “other” New York team is practically a curse. The Mets, though loaded on paper, have been underperforming for years. But thankfully roster ratings don’t take in account injuries too much. With a decent pitching staff and an OK offense, the Mets could squeeze into a wild card, but don’t be upset if you miss out.
Johan Santana – Santana is still considered one fo the better pitchers in the MLB. Unfortunately, injuries hae hindered his abilities the past few seasons, but with a high rating in the game, Santana is posied to be the 20-win starter Mets’ fans were expecting.
Ruben Tejada – Tejada is a young, 22-year-old shortstop with decent upside. But what makes him important are the shoes he is filling. Jose Reyes left to join the party in Miami, so Tejada is the new leadoff batter. He won’t match the absurd numbers Reyes can reach, but his contributions will be just as important.
David Wright/Jayson Bay – It’s a toss up between these two big-name hitters. Both Wright and Bay were supposed to be the middle-of-the-lineup powers. If you can have both of them hitting above .300 come September, you should be in position to inch your way towards that berth.
The Mets are stuck in the middle right now. They aren’t anywhere near contending for a championship, but the farm system isn’t super stacked either. The best direction to take the organization is forward. Simply tae advantage of any and all opportunities you can put your hands on. Who knows, you may find a hidden gem in someone else’s farm.
The Mets are pretty washed up when it comes to the farm system. Outside to up-and-coming relievers (Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey), they don’t have much to look forward to in the future. Wheeler is supposed to be a dominant reliever, and he has the A potential to back it up. Use either of them at your own discretion.
When the Mets blew the huge division lead a few years ago it put them in a downward spiral. Since then, they have been practically irrelevant. But with some high ratings on solid players, sneaking into the layoffs isn’t out of the question. If you start flopping left and right, that’s when you need to change your gameplan and start rebuilding. Good luck controlling these guys.
5 (Middle of the road)
For some reason, the Braves always seem to do really well. They will have one off year, then reel off 15 consecutive division titles. Must be nice living the good life, especially when your offense is anchored by Jason Heyward. The Braves won’t go down without a fight, and they expect to be back on top come playoff time.
Jason Heyward – Though obvious, Heyward is the key to Atlanta’s offensive success for years to come. Currently, the Braves have him hitting sixth in the lineup, but you should move him up to fourth or fifth, depending on how well McCann and Uggla are performing for you. We want to see 40 homers with this guy.
Michael Bourn – Another trade acquisition from last season will have major implications this year. Bourn will be your leadoff guy, and with the lineup you have behind him he should be close to leading the majors in runs.
Tim Hudson – Hudson is a key player for different reasons. With Hansen and Jurrjens prepared to leapfrog him in the ratings, the 36-year-old veteran is the perfect trade chip. Trading Hudson for some young prospects, or another bat, could make the Braves even more dangerous.
The Braves have quietly become the favorite to win the division, and possibly the National League, once again. They have strong arms and bats that should carry them over the 90-win mark. Right now, you play to win the World Series.
Julio Teheran is a 6’2 beast waiting to get his call. The A-potential right hander has the stuff every club wants in a No. 1 guy. His presence also gives you another reason to ship out Hudson. Arodys Vizcaino is another A-potential pitcher in the club; keep an eye on him. Also, catcher Christian Bethancourt could make some surprising improvement in AAA, which could give you a tough decision at the position.
The Braves are, simply put, World Series contenders. They have all the tools in all areas of their farm system. Behind the strong arms of the top three pitchers, and the ones waiting in the wind, Atlanta should have no problem keeping one of the lower team ERAs in the majors.
They have a new ballpark, logo, manager and city. Does it all add up to a winning season? It could, but the window is a very small one. Thanks to the additions of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle, the Marlins might be able to surprise some people in the division.
Jose Reyes/Hanley Ramirez – These two from one of the most intriguing thirdbase-shortstop tandems ever formed on a diamond. They are both capable of hitting over .340 and having 30-30 seasons, yet they each know how to slack off and get injured. Keep both of them healthy and competitive and you might have a MVP on hand.
Michael (Giancarlo) Stanton – Mr. I-Like-Weird-Names needs to start producing now. Stanton is billed as a power hitter that should be hitting at least .280, but hopefully .300. With his insanely high rating (too high in my opinion), those stats aren’t out of reach. It’s up to you to make it happen.
Steve Cishek – Cishek is only 25 and already one of the top arms in Miami’s weak bullpen. Behind the offense and the Buehrle/Johnson combination, most games should be at hand once you pull the starter. But without a bullpen, kiss the season goodbye. Use Cishek’s sinker – it’s quite good.
The only ones who are going to be using Miami are the fans, so keep it realistic. You just spent a bank load on bringing in the top free agents, so obviously it’s win-now mode. You might even be able to throw away Choate for a solid prospect come deadline time. Just keep your eyes peeled.
Miami’s farm system is one of the lacking ones. Outside outfield prospect Christian Yelich, who is suited for AA right now, your best players have already been called up to the big leagues.
The Marlins get props for going the flashy route, but it could really hurt them in the near future. Without any success in year one, morale will drop and questions of rebuilding will start swirling around. So you’re in one of the toughest, more balanced division in baseball, and you need to win around 85 games. You might need a drink.
6 (Middle of the road)