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Early 2018 ZiPs projections peg Braves to finish 2nd in NL East

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What do early projections say about the Braves in 2018?

MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

How much will the Atlanta Braves improve in 2018?

ESPN.com’s Dan Szymborski has posted his very early ZiPs projections for 2018 which pencil in the Braves for an 80-82 record and a second place finish in the NL East behind the Washington Nationals. They also give Atlanta a 25.2 percent chance of reaching the postseason.

Early 2018 NL East ZiPs Projections

Team W L GB PCT DIV% WC% Playoff% WS Win%
Team W L GB PCT DIV% WC% Playoff% WS Win%
1. Nationals 89 73 -- .549 65.7% 11.9% 77.7% 8.5%
2. Braves 80 82 9 .494 11.4% 13.8% 25.2% 1.6%
3. Marlins 80 82 9 .494 11.2% 13.2% 24.4% 1.6%
4. Phillies 79 83 10 .488 8.5% 11.2% 19.7% 1.2%
5. Mets 76 86 13 .469 3.2% 5.1% 8.3% 0.5%

The deluge for the Washington Nationals is still a year (Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Gio Gonzalez) or two (Anthony Rendon) away, so don't expect much to change in the 2018 standings at the top of the National League East. But after a season in which there was very little drama about who would finish in first, the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies both project to continue to improve. Assuming their young talent continues to develop, the 2019 projections may be highly interesting.

Other projected division winners include the Yankees, Indians and Astros in the American League and the Dodgers, Cubs and Nationals in the National League.

As Szymborski points out, these early projections don’t take into account that the Marlins are likely to deal Giancarlo Stanton or any other potential acquisitions or moves. They are a simple snap shot of where teams stand as they enter the offseason. They don’t necessarily mean anything, but they are fun to talk about.