The NL East was one of the more aggressive divisions in all of Major League Baseball during the offseason. The Mets have been rejuvenated under new ownership while the Phillies are confident that Dave Dombrowski will spend their “stupid money” wisely. The Nationals aren’t the World Series team they were in 2019, but still have Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg along with one of the best young players in the game in Juan Soto. The Marlins are just getting started, but they finished ahead of everyone but the Braves in 2020 and returned to the postseason. With that as the backdrop, here are our predictions for how many games the Braves will win in 2021. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
How many games with the Braves win in 2021?
Scott: Wouldn’t it be nice if the NL East didn’t collectively all decide to go for it in 2021? The Mets look great on paper. The Nationals, while on the older side, have as scary a rotation as anyone and a bonafide superstar in Juan Soto. The Phillies haven’t been able to get over the hump, but there is plenty of talent on that roster. And the Marlins are on the right path to being quite good. I’ll say the Braves win 93 games and edge out the Mets by a nose.
Eric: I’ll go with 94 wins for the Braves as the eternal optimist on the staff. I remain skeptical that the Phillies will be able to pull it together and do anything with the moves they make and the Mets making a run requires their pitchers to stay healthy and, well, they don’t. As a result, I like the Braves to perform well head to head with the East and get them somewhere in the mid-90’s with the win total.
Daniel: I’ll lean into being a bit more bullish on this team and go with 97. I really like where the starting rotation is at, especially with the return of Mike Soroka. I think the lineup will be very good even as Ozuna, Freeman, and d’Arnaud regress a little bit, with a full season of healthy Acuna and Albies and with a step up to at least league average offensive production from Austin Riley. The bullpen will take a step back, but Will Smith and Tyler Matzek have looked fantastic in spring, while I believe Chris Martin and AJ Minter will remain very good. The rest of the pen should be fine with the sheer number of viable options, but I really think Huascar Ynoa could be an impact relief arm.
Ivan: 92? That seems like a pretty good outcome for a team that’s consistently running rosters in the 85-90-win range, and getting better returns on that investment than expected. I don’t really expect it to keep up that much, but I figure they’ll add to this group at the deadline (they’ll more or less have to). I don’t know, you could really tell me any number in the 87-92 range and I wouldn’t really feel too strongly for any of them over any other.
Kris: I have the Braves pegged for 94 wins in 2021 which will be enough to capture a fourth straight division title.
Brent: 104, 92 of which will come during a regular season that sees our division streak come to an end. But we’ll get over that.
Shawn: I am going to go with 93 wins. 97 wins means this team won 60% of its games, and I feel like this version of the Braves team, with good health, is very similar to last year’s team that won 60% of its game (though I get it was a shortened season). Some regression here and there could be negated by the returns of Soroka and Albies for most of the year and the addition of Morton and Smyly. I also feel the Braves have become one of the safest bets to win 90 games in the league over the past 18 months, so I will go a little past that perspective but also remain somewhat conservative.
AB: You can’t discuss the Braves win totals without mentioning how much better the division is this year. The Mets are improved, the Nationals are healthy, the Phillies might have a bullpen, and the Marlins… well they have three pitchers. The Braves’ position player starters are largely unchanged and have a much better rotation. I feel like the division as a whole are catching up but not quite there. Let’s go with 92 wins.
Dillon: Keeping with the party line, I really wish the Braves’ best contention window didn’t coincide with everyone else in the division loading up. But, the lineup returns most of the key suspects and the rotation is deeper than last year. I’ll say Atlanta wins 94 games with the hope that Anthopoulos adds some bench/platoon depth at some point.
Cory: The potential of the Nationals not living up to their talent level two seasons in a row seems unlikely and we know the Mets have become that much better with Francisco Lindor and a pitching staff that adds Carlos Carrasco with Noah Syndergaard on the way back. Add in the Phillies’ potent lineup and the Marlins’ young arms and there are no easy outs in the toughest, tightness division in baseball. Plus, drawing the AL East again does the Braves no favors. Vegas says 91 ½ and I’ll take the under at 90 wins.
Wayne: This is super tough as the NL East has become the toughest division in baseball in my opinion. That said, there is no reason to think the Braves can’t stay on the same path. They have won 58% of their games on this three-year run atop the NL East. That comes out to 94 wins, so I’ll go with that.
Demetrius: Just like last season, I feel like there’s a “Divisional Winner” tier and a “Wild Card Contender” tier with this division and once again, the Braves are in the former tier rather than the latter. The Braves having an improved rotation (both due to free agency and general pitcher improvement) and bringing back most of their prime contributors from last season is a pretty big deal, which is probably going to be the difference between them getting overtaken by the other team in the top tier: the New York Mets. The Nationals are probably going to be better just because they seemed to be really snakebitten last season, the Phillies figure to be okay as well and last season taught us that the Marlins can wake up at any given moment. Still, I think the Braves are at the top of this heap and they’ll come away with 93 wins.
Gaurav: The NL East is insane this season with tons of talent being not only retained, but brought into the division. The Marlins have continued to develop and are now challenging to relevance in the NL East while the Phillies, Nationals, and Mets have spent a lot of money over the last few years to maintain, or enter the chatter. The Braves have added some good arms in the starting rotation, have a relatively deep bullpen, and have some nice experience on the bench so I will go ahead and put in a wager of 94 wins and a first place finish.
Matt: 91 seems safe. The Nats can’t be as bad as they were last year. Same thing for the Phillies bullpen, which is the biggest reason they weren’t better last year. The young Marlins will only be better with another year under their belts. Then you have the Mets, who seem ready to compete for the division provided their rotation stays healthy - not a small question when considering some of the health histories of their starters.