Two weeks. Fourteen days. Three hundred and twenty-five hours.
On Sunday, March 31, 2013, yet another Major League Baseball season kicks off. The San Francisco Giants will defend their second World Series title in three years, the New York Yankees will face early adversity due to injuries, and every other team in the league will look to start off on the right foot.
But how have the teams in the National League East began to prepare for the 2013 campaign? The Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals have been impressive thus far in Spring Training, with the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins not too far behind. Unfortunately for New York Mets fans, things have not been going so well for the Amazins, but there is plenty of time to improve.
This week, I take a look at the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals.
The Atlanta Braves have posted a 13-11 record through 24 games this spring. Center-fielder B.J. Upton looks sharp early on; through 17 games, Upton has 49 at-bats, 20 hits, and a .408 average. First-baseman Joey Terdoslavich is producing good numbers for Atlanta at the plate, as well. Terdoslavich has a .417 average through 21 games, tallying 15 hits in 36 at-bats. Paul Maholm has dazzled on the mound; the former Pirate and Cub has a 3-1 record with a 2.33 ERA. Atlanta is Maholm's third stop in the same amount of years and he is looking to make a home in Georgia. He can be a good fit for the Braves' rotation in the five spot if he keeps it up.
The Washington Nationals are an even 10-10 through 20 spring games. To no one's surprise, center-fielder Bryce Harper is tearing it up. Harper is entering his second season with the Nationals and is a key part of their success. Last season, he batted .270 with 22 homeruns and 59 RBIs. Thus far, Harper is hitting .409 with 3 homeruns and 8 RBIs (through 16 games). Gio Gonzalez has helped the Nats win some games this spring on the mound; the 27-year-old lefty has started 3 games this spring (8.0 innings). He is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA. If Gonzalez can be this effective in the regular season, he will be a big part of the Nats' success.
Next week, I will revisit the top two teams in the division to see how they have progressed. Additionally, I will evaluate the success of the other three NLE teams and see if there is any improvement. Be sure to follow me on twitter.