The Atlanta Braves Will Still Look Up to the Washington Nationals at Season's End

By Bryan Lutz
Daniel Shirey – USA TODAY Sports

There is no doubt that the Atlanta Braves improved their team immensely after acquiring Justin Upton from the Arizona Diamondbacks yesterday afternoon. With Upton, the Braves’ batting order is shaping up rather nicely, and it has the potential to become one of  the better lineups in the National League. Even with the blockbuster move, however, the Washington Nationals are still the best team in the National League East and possibly all of baseball.

Unless the Nationals get bitten by the injury bug, I really cannot fathom another team that is better than they are in 2013. They are easily the most balanced team in baseball: they have a balanced lineup now that they have a true leadoff hitter, their starting rotation has the potential to become the best in baseball (if they aren’t already), and their bullpen is rock solid with Rafael Soriano closing games in the ninth inning.

Although I believe the Nationals are the best team, it isn’t a slight against the Braves. I think it’s very possible that Atlanta will be the second best team in all of baseball come spring training. Although I am not ready to create my own WAR projections for the 2013 season, I am willing to bet that I will project about 94-96 wins for the Braves and 97-99 wins for the Nationals.

Considering they won the wild card last year, they shouldn’t have any issues reaching that wild card game again this season, even with an improved National League. Atlanta fans definitely should be excited about their team in 2013, especially since all a team needs to do to have a chance at the World Series is qualify for the playoffs, but this is just a friendly reminder that Washington Nationals are still baseball’s best team heading into 2013.

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