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MLB Starting Nine Update: National League East

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIMarch 29, 2010

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 02:  Jason Heyward #71 of the Atlanta Braves hits against the New York Mets at Tradition Field on March 2, 2010 in Port St. Lucie, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Back in January, I started a series that took a look at each team’s starting lineup headed into the season.

With injuries, some last-minute free-agent signings, and more importantly, Opening Day being just a week away, I thought I would update this series.

Let’s take a look at each updated lineup in the National League East. Since the pitcher will hit ninth, I just inserted the team’s top pitcher in the nine-hole.

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS

2. Placido Polanco, 3B

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Ryan Howard, 1B

5. Jayson Werth, RF

6. Raul Ibanez, LF

7. Shane Victorino, CF

8. Carlos Ruiz, C

9. Roy Halladay, P

Quick Take: One through eight, this is the best lineup in the National League, featuring speed and power throughout. This lineup will be hard to shut down in 2010.

Atlanta Braves

1. Nate McLouth, CF

2. Martin Prado, 2B

3. Chipper Jones, 3B

4. Brian McCann, C

5. Troy Glaus, 1B

6. Yunel Escobar, SS

7. Jason Heyward, RF

8. Melky Cabrera, LF

9. Derek Lowe, P

Quick Take: The Braves made a very smart on-field decision when they decided to keep Jason Heyward at the major league level. With Heyward in the lineup and the addition of a healthy Glaus, this Braves’ lineup is vastly improved from last season.

New York Mets

1. Jose Reyes, SS

2. Luis Castillo, 2B

3. David Wright, 3B

4. Jason Bay, LF

5. Jeff Francoeur, RF

6. Daniel Murphy, 1B

7. Omir Santos, C

8. Angel Pagan, CF

9. Johan Santana, P

Quick Take: Not having Carlos Beltran for the first month or perhaps longer will kill this lineup. Murphy is having a terrible spring (.167 avg. going into Saturday), so the Mets could go with a Mike Jacobs or Fernando Tatis platoon.

Florida Marlins

1. Cameron Maybin, CF

2. Chris Coghlan, LF

3. Hanley Ramirez, SS

4. Jorge Cantu, 3B

5. Dan Uggla, 2B

6. Cody Ross, RF

7. Gaby Sanchez, 1B

8. John Baker, C

9. Josh Johnson, P

Quick Take: This lineup will only go as far as Maybin takes it. He is the unknown going into the season. If he develops into the player many think he will be, then this lineup becomes very, very dangerous.

Washington Nationals

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF

2. Cristian Guzman, 2B

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Adam Dunn, 1B

5. Josh Willingham, LF

6. Ian Desmond, SS

7. Ivan Rodriguez, C

8. Justin Maxwell, RF

9. Jason Marquis, P

Quick Take: The Nationals said adios to Elijah Dukes earlier this month, which left a hole in right field. Maxwell would seem to be the favorite, but he is hitting .040 in 25 ABs this spring. That’s called not grabbing the bull by the horns. It looks like Desmond will start at short and Guzman will move over to second.

Tomorrow, we will take a look at the National League Central.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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