This will by my final installment of polls for determining the best of what the NL East has to offer. The Mets have been crowned the NL East's best rotation, while the Phils have garnered top honors for outfield and infield. I'm not even going to bother debating coaching staffs, or get into farm systems. I'll stick with concrete tangibles that you can see on display at the MLB level, which leaves me with the bullpens.
*Career era and whip, and pitching arm in parentheses.
Closer- Rafael Soriano (2.93, 1.02, R). Key Cogs- Mike Gonzalez (2.29, 1.23, L), Peter Moylan (2.23, 1.13, R), Manny Acosta (2.28, 1.14, R), Will Ohman (4.33, 1.42, L), and Tyler Yates (5.15, 1.56, R). Filler- Royce Ring (3.12, 1.38, L), Jeff Bennett (4.59, 1.43, R), Blaine Boyer (3.71, 1.49, R), Buddy Carlyle (5.96, 1.43, R), and Chris Resop (5.48, 1.83, R). Overall this is a solid group of relievers. There are question marks about Soriano's ability to handle the closer's role (13 career saves), but when Gonzalez gets healthy he's a great fallback plan. Never underestimate the Braves knack for turning mediocre arms into quality pitchers.
Closer- Kevin Gregg (4.12, 1.33, R). Key Cogs- Justin Miller (5.33, 1.59, R), Matt Lindstrom (3.09, 1.30, R), Lee Gardner (2.46, 1.31, R), Henry Owens (3.00, 1.37, R), and Taylor Tankersly (3.46, 1.47, L). Filler- Daniel Barone (5.71, 1.68, R), Logan Kensing (5.50, 1.55, R), and Renyel Pinto (3.46, 1.40, L). This is a rag-tag group the outperformed expectations last year, but I expect some growing pains this season. Gregg is not a great closer, and I think he'll end up being a 1 season wonder. Lindstrom and Owens have upside, but they're surrounded with a losing atmosphere that trades their young talent away when it gets too expensive...that'll play tricks with your psyche.
New York Mets:
Closer- Billy Wagner (2.40, 1.02, L). Key Cogs- Aaron Heilman (4.04, 1.27, R), Pedro Feliciano (3.20, 1.34, L), Matt Wise (4.18, 1.26, R), Jorge Sosa (4.59, 1.46, R), and Matt Schoeneweis (5.01, 1.46, L). Filler- Ruddy Lugo (4.39, 1.48, R), Joe Smith (3.45, 1.56, R), currently DL'ed Duaner Sanchez (3.81, 1.37, R), and Brian Stokes (6.46, 1.80, R). I hate that rat bastard Billy Wagner, but he's still a top closer. Heilman and Feliciano are nice setup men, and Wise was a decent cheap offseason pickup. This is a seasoned group that has proven they can pitch and mixed with the Mets outstanding rotation is a great pitching staff collectively.
Closer- Brad Lidge (3.30, 1.20, R). Key Cogs- Tom Gordon (3.93, 1.35, R), JC Romero (4.30, 1.50, L), Ryan Madson (4.14, 1.38, R), and Chad Durbin (5.75, 1.57, R). Filler- Mike Zagurski (5.91, 1.69, L), Clay Condrey (4.84, 1.53, R), Scott Mathieson (limited experience), Francisco Rosario (6.02, 1.76, R), and Fabio Castro (3.30, 1.21, L). I'm glad to have Lidge because it allows Bretty Myers to go back to the rotation, but I am leary of his ability to lock down leads with high frequency. To be honest, I dislike this bullpen, as Gordon is fragile, Romero has a flair for imploding, Madson is a crapshoot, and the rest are less than stellar to say the least.
Closer- Chad Cordero (2.79, 1.19, R). Key Cogs- John Rauch (3.74, 1.22, R), Luis Ayala (2.82, 1.20, R), Ryan Wagner (4.79, 1.59, R), Jesus Colome (4.54, 1.50, R), and Saul Rivera (3.58, 1.44, R). Filler- Ray King (3.43, 1.34, L), and Chris Schroder (4.40, 1.21, R). They may not have a lot of depth, but this is a decent group. Chad Cordero is a very good young closer, if on a contending team (ie. BoSox or Yanks) would get much higher praiser. John Rauch is the biggest dude to ever chuck pitches in MLB, Wagner is a former 1st round pick of the Reds, Colome can bring heat, and King is like a Weeble- he wobbles but he doesn't fall down.