How Do The Atlanta Braves Stack Up Against The NL East?

The Atlanta Braves already have a team capable of competing in the National League East in 2012. While the team may not have made any significant moves thus far in the offseason, they did not lose anything of any importance, either. David Shoenfield of ESPN's SweetSpot blog recently took a look at each position in the division and ranked the players among the Braves, Marlins, Mets, Nationals and Phillies. Here is how they went, with some thoughts on a few of the rankings.

Catcher:

1. Brian McCann, Braves
2. Wilson Ramos, Nationals
3. Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
4. Josh Thole, Mets
5. John Buck, Marlins

No real argument here. There is no denying that Brian McCann is among the best catchers in baseball and he is unquestionably the best in the NL East. Wilson Ramos has a chance to have a big breakout season in 2012, as well.

1st Base:

1. Freddie Freeman, Braves
2. Ryan Howard/Jim Thome, Phillies
3. Ike Davis, Mets
4. Gaby Sanchez, Marlins
5. Adam LaRoche, Nationals

Ryan Howard's injury will likely keep him out for at least the first month or two of the season, but Freddie Freeman still had the better numbers, anyway. Ike Davis could potentially claim the No. 1 spot this season if he is able to stay healthy.

2nd Base, Shortstop:

1. Chase Utley, Phillies
2. Danny Espinosa, Nationals
3. Dan Uggla, Braves
4. Daniel Murphy, Mets
5. Omar Infante, Marlins

1. Jose Reyes, Marlins
2. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
3. Ruben Tejada, Mets
4. Ian Desmond, Nationals
5. Tyler Pastornicky, Braves

Hey, you didn't think the Braves would have the top spot at every position, did you? I'd probably put Danny Espinosa at the top with his potential to be a star and Utley's declining numbers. Tyler Pastornicky joins a very talented group of shortstops and will need to show up with the glove every night if he hopes to keep his spot.

3rd Base:

1. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
2. David Wright, Mets
3. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
4. Chipper Jones, Braves
5. Placido Polanco, Phillies

Again, there is not much to dislike about these rankings, although I'd probably put Hanley Ramirez about David Wright assuming he is at least somewhat decent defensively at the hot corner.

Left Field:

1. Michael Morse, Nationals
2. Martin Prado, Braves
3. Logan Morrison, Marlins
4. Domonic Brown/John Mayberry, Phillies
5. Jason Bay, Mets

I would personally have Prado ranked No. 3 behind Morrison to begin the year and he could fall as low as No. 4 if Brown lives up to his potential this season. In other news, lets all laugh at the Mets for having Jason Bay for at least two more years, if not three.

Center Field:

1. Shane Victorino, Phillies
2. Michael Bourn, Braves
3. Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins
4. Andres Torres, Mets
5. Roger Bernadina, Nationals

No arguments here. For as good as Bourn is, Victorino is even better.

Right Field:

1. Mike Stanton, Marlins
2. Hunter Pence, Phillies
3. Jason Heyward, Braves
4. Jayson Werth, Nationals
5. Lucas Duda, Mets

When Jayson Werth is the No. 4 right fielder in a five-team division, you know you have some serious talent assembled. I'd take Stanton over anyone in this group, although Pence, Heyward and Werth could all be interchangeable at the 2, 3 and 4. Sorry, Lucas Duda, but you're stuck in the basement.

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We will have more on the NL East and how the Braves stack up in terms of pitching on Friday. For more, head on over to Talking Chop for continued coverage. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @SBNAtlanta and @ScottColeman55.

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