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NL East Update: The one where its nice to have Niese

Mets Blog wonders what to expect from Jon Niese this year.

This is a big year for Niese. He set the bar high last season as he really started to put things together. Obviously there is a lot more work to do but being a left-hander, especially with the effectiveness of his curveball, the sky is the limit. I almost think that Niese has more potential than Mike Pelfrey for those reasons alone, and the fact that Niese seems to keep himself much more composed on the mound doesn’t hurt either.

Is team owner Jeffrey Loria a little too confident in the Florida Marlins chances this year?

The NL East is going to be tough, and easily should be considered one of the top divisions in the league. It’s fair to say that all five teams in the division have improved from last season. Loria isn’t necessarily wrong by his statement because even the Pittsburgh Pirates can “have all the pieces”, but the NL East is simply too overwhelming for Florida this year.

Chop-N-Change wonders who will be the biggest surprise for the Atlanta Braves this season.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised by any of the names on the list because I expect them to have great seasons, so I would be surprised if any of them underperformed. I think Dan Uggla will be considered one of the better off-season acquisitions, as he will have to carry the team on his back at times. So if Atlanta is in contention should Uggla be an MVP candidate?

With Joe Blanton being named the fifth starter for the Philadelphia Phillies in their “Fab 4” rotation, things just got a lot more difficult for Kyle Kendrick.

It wasn’t anything Kendrick did wrong, it was just bad timing. He has proven to me that he is a legitimate big league starter, but understandably there is no spot for him right now. He will have to be patient in the bullpen all summer and will be waiting for Blanton to falter to earn his spot back in the rotation.

It wasn’t too long ago when Jason Marquis was considered to be one of the more reliable starters in the game, but after a poor 2010, the veteran has a lot to prove.

After a brutal Spring Training and an even worse three starts to begin last season, it was clear something was wrong with Marquis. Sure enough, the issue with his elbow cleared the air in what was already a wash of a season for the right-hander. Although the injury is something that will have to be taken into account for the rest of his career, Marquis should be given a free pass for last season and deserves to have a fresh start.

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