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Monday, March 28, 2011
National League East Nuggets to Know


Atlanta Braves
Dan Uggla is a .354 career hitter at Turner Field. His batting average is the third-best at Turner Field since the ballpark opened in 1997. His .652 slugging percentage at Turner trails only a pair of baseball greats: Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols.

As a rookie last season, Jason Heyward's discipline was highlighted by his ability to not chase pitches in two-strike counts. In those situations, Heyward chased just 31 percent of pitches compared to the league average of 36 percent, according to Inside Edge.

Florida Marlins
The only pitcher with a better FIP over the last two seasons than Josh Johnson's 2.76 is Tim Lincecum, 2.73. (FIP -- Fielding Independent Pitching -- is a measurement for everything a pitcher can control without the help of his defense: strikeouts, walks and home runs.)

Will Mike Stanton continue to struggle at home? Stanton hit .259 in his rookie season, but just .182 at home. He had only nine extra-base hits in 159 home at-bats compared to 35 extra-base hits in 200 road at-bats.

New York Mets
Last season they allowed 12 grand slams but didn't hit one. David Wright will likely become the franchise leader in both RBI and extra-base hits. He needs 70 RBI to pass Darryl Strawberry's team record of 773, and 27 extra-base hits to break Strawberry's record of 469.

Having cut Luis Castillo, the Mets appear to be leaning toward making Brad Emaus their second baseman. Last season, the Mets ranked 15th or 16th in the National League in batting average, OBP and slugging percentage by their second basemen.

Philadelphia Phillies
How much the Phillies will miss Jayson Werth remains to be seen. But, in 2010, the Phillies received more home runs and a higher slugging percentage out of right field than any other team in baseball.

With the acquisition of Cliff Lee, the Phillies have a starting rotation whose top four will rank among the best in baseball in almost every significant statistical category. Cole Hamels (T-4th), Roy Oswalt (6th), Roy Halladay (8th) and Cliff Lee (14th) all rank in the top 14 among active pitchers in career strikeout-to-walk ratio. Lee, the lowest of the four, led the major leagues last season.

Washington Nationals
While Jayson Werth should be an upgrade in right field, the Nats still have significant issues in center. They got a National League-worst two home runs from the position last season and their centerfielders' combined on-base percentage of .303 ranked 13th.

It appears Rick Ankiel will be the Nationals' starting centerfielder on Opening Day. After hitting 25 home runs in 120 games in 2008 with the Cardinals, Ankiel's hit just 17 in 196 games over the past two seasons.

-- Mark Simon contributed to this report