By Joseph Santoliquito

PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — Over the last four years the Phillies have averaged 92 losses a season. This year could take a nibble out of that average but not by much. What’s worse is expect the Washington Nationals to be better than 2016, though a little closer to the National League East pack.

Washington tried for Chris Sale, but added outfielder Adam Eaton and will have rising superstar Trea Turner for a whole season to comprise one of the best table-setting combos in baseball, especially if Bryce Harper is Bryce Harper again and Daniel Murphy can get close to 25 home runs and 104 RBIs as he did in 2016.

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The Phillies should be slightly better than last year’s 71-91, though not by much. Obviously, much will depend on the rotation of stopgap starters Jeremy Hellickson and Clay Buchholz at the top, and hope for the continued development of Jerad Eickhoff, Aaron Nola and Vince Velasquez. The offense can only get better after finishing last in the National League in runs (610), total bases (2,090), doubles (231), and on-base slugging percentage (.685) and first-to-last in on-base percentage (.301).

The Phillies are still light years behind the Chicago Cubs, who are almost as young as the Phillies (ave. age 27.8 in 2016-Cubs ave. age 28.8).

The Cubs appear destined to repeat as World Series champs, and it may not be that bold of a stretch to predict a series rematch with the Cleveland Indians, who added Edwin Encarnacion (42 HRs, 127 RBIs in 2016).



Projected East Standings

Team Record

Washington Nationals 93-69

New York Mets 87-75

Miami Marlins 83-79

Atlanta Braves 79-83

Philadelphia Phillies 74-88


Projected Central Standings

Team Record

Chicago Cubs 101-61

St. Louis Cardinals 90-72

Pittsburgh Pirates 82-80

Cincinnati Reds 67-95

Milwaukee Brewers 59-103


Projected West Standings

Team Record

San Francisco Giants 92-70

Los Angeles Dodgers 87-75

Colorado Rockies 84-78

Arizona Diamondbacks 82-80

San Diego Padres 57-105



Projected East Standings

Team Record

Boston Red Sox 97-65

Toronto Blue Jays 86-76

Baltimore Orioles 85-77

New York Yankees 82-80

Tampa Bay Rays 70-92


Projected Central Standings

Team Record

Cleveland Indians 100-62

Detroit Tigers 84-78

Kansas City Royals 77-85

Minnesota Twins 69-93

Chicago White Sox 60-102


Projected West Standings

Team Record

Houston Astros 91-71

Seattle Mariners 88-74

Texas Rangers 85-77

Los Angeles Angels 78-84

Oakland Athletics 63-99

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