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Ryan Howard (right) and Chase Utley (left) are two of many aging and injury-prone stars on the Phillies that simply cannot compete like they used to. The Phillies may fall to 4th place as a result.
Although the Mets are still a year or two from becoming serious contenders again, there is good reason to believe the team will finish third place in the NL East.
The Washington Nationals had an incredible 2012 season, winning the NL East by four games. They are young, deep and talented, and as one of the World Series favorites they will again come close to 100 wins in 2013.
The Atlanta Braves will be hurt by the loss of future Hall of Famer, Chipper Jones.
But the 94-win team has restocked, and they have one of the more talented outfields in baseball with Jason Heyward and the newly acquired Upton brothers.
However, although the Upton brothers may be star talents, they can be headcases at times. It will be interesting to see if that comes out and how it could affect the rest of the team.
As for the Philadelphia Phillies, they are ripe with star names, but they are also far too old and injured to be serious contenders.
They lost Shane Victorino and did nothing to improve their prospects after a disappointing .500 season.
The team will struggle all season and fade even more down the stretch, and the Mets will surely capitalize.
Lastly, the Miami Marlins imploded in 2012, and the team traded every viable major league not named Giancarlo Stanton this offseason.
Their farm system may have an abundance of high-ceiling talent now, but the 2013 team will be an embarrassment.
In the end, it is very fair to say the Nationals are far and away the best team in this division while the Marlins are the worst.
As for the middle three spots, the Braves lost its undeniable leader and face of the franchise for almost two decades. That is hard to recover from, no matter how talented the organization may be.
The Phillies didn't do anything to convince fans that 2012 will be better than 2013, especially since their injured, aging stars are all another year older.
Nevertheless, the Braves are also confident with great leadership, and they should still finish second this season.
The Phillies will have another disappointing season, and a rising Mets team stands a good chance of overtaking them and the Marlins to finish in third place in the NL East in 2013.
Stats from ESPN.com
Rankings from MLB.com