Choosing which team to pick for your franchise in MLB 14: The Show can be a daunting task. Do you want to rebuild? What about picking a team loaded with cash, but little talent to show for it? What if you just want to pick a team with all of the tools at your disposal, and your only job is to win a World Series? The fact is, there is a variety of great teams to kick off your franchise with, but you only get to choose one. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, we'll be going division by division and team by team to help you make your choice. To start things off, here is a rundown of the NL East.
Depth Chart: The Washington Nationals are perhaps the deepest team in the National League. Loaded with young talent from top to bottom, it's hard to say they haven't been able to string things together for a dominant season.
Pitcher: Strasburg, Gonzalez, Zimmerman, Fister, Roark. A-
Bullpen: Soriano, Storen, Clippard, Stammen. B
Infield: Ramos/Lobaton, Laroche, Rendon, Desmond, Zimmerman. B+
Outfield: Span, Harper, Werth. B+
Bench: Moore, Frandsen, Hairston. B-
Farm System: Having just recently just pulled two former No. 1 draft picks in Strasburg and Harper, the Nationals farm system isn't nearly as formidable as it once was. That being said, that's largely a product of the fact that their major league roster is stocked with young talent.
Keep An Eye On: Lucas Giolito (RHP), AJ Cole (RHP), Brian Goodwin (OF) C
Ballpark: Nationals Park is both generic in field size and seating capacity. If you're looking for a park that's neither hitter nor pitcher friendly, this might be exactly the one for you. Without much flash, Nationals Park is about as traditional as baseball gets. C
Summary: The Nationals are an all around solid choice. You'll be in both a win-now and a win-later situation. The only downside is that you won't have much in the way of trade chips if you need a boost to your mid-season pennant run.
Depth Chart: Miami has just enough right now, that a wildcard run wouldn't be impossible. Any team would kill for two players like Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton, but the supporting cast isn't nearly as good just yet. Their rotation is as good as just about anyone's in a strong NL East, but their is a lot to be desired when it comes to their bats and bullpen.
Pitchers: Fernandez, Eovaldi, Alvarez, Turner, Koehler. B
Bullpen: Cishek, Dunn, Marmol, Hand, Ramos. D+
Infield: Saltalamacchia, Jones, Dietrich, Hechavarria, McGehee. C
Outfield: Stanton, Yelich, Ozuna. A-
Bench: Johnson, Solano, Mathis, Baker. C-
Farm System: Similarly to the Nationals, the Marlins' farm system suffers from being recently cleared out by their major league team. Most of the names they have left in the minors are still a ways away from making any kind of solid contribution, but there is a lot of talent in the lower areas of their system.
Keep An Eye On: Heaney (LHP), Nicolino (LHP), Moran (3B). C+
Ballpark: Is there a more infamous stadium in all of baseball than Marlins Park? With the floating dolphin, the live fish at the backstop, and a bunch of really bright colors, there's no question that the stadium feels alive. Though, if are more into traditional parks, this one is not for you. Definitely a pitcher's park, the ballpark is a perfect fit for the Marlin's strong rotation. B-
Summary: If you like to go through a bit of suffering to get there, the Marlins might be perfect for you. While there is definitely some talent on the roster, picking the Marlins for your franchise means dealing with low budgets and little star quality.
Depth Chart: Owning one of the most rabid fanbases in all of Major League Baseball, the Phillies have emerged as a high-budget, win-now franchise. Unfortunately, their roster is filled with major flaws and bloated contracts, leaving a lot of work for any potential owners.
Pitchers: Lee, Hamels, Burnett, Kendrick, Hernandez. B+
Bullpen: Papelbon, Bastardo, Adams, Diekman, Manship. C-
Infield: Ruiz, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Asche. B-
Outfield: Brown, Revere, Byrd. C
Bench: Gwynn Jr., Ruf, Galvis, Mayberry Jr. D+
Farm System: The Phillies really suffer from a few recent trades that drained their farm system (namely, the Roy Halladay and Hunter Pence trades). Fortunately, they have drafted really well in recent years and may have picked up a couple of international stars. While minor league depth is currently a huge issue, there is star power making its way up.
Keep An Eye On: Franco (3B), Crawford (SS), Biddle (LHP), Giles (CP). B
Ballpark: One of the most hitter friendly parks in the MLB, Citizens Bank boasts shallow corners and a relatively average sized center-field. The park doesn't fit with their rotation heavy roster, but boppers like Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd will surely benefit from the parameters. The stadium itself is beautiful to look at, and the positive reinforcement of hearing the liberty bell after each home-run can't be replaced. A-
Summary: The Phillies are old. They aren't really in a win now situation or a win later situation. You could make the case that they might make a wildcard run this year, but a poorly constructed roster with little youth on it makes that a tough sell. If you're interested in a major rebuild with the means to do so, the Phillies might be the best choice available.
New York Mets
Depth Chart: The Mets have slithered under the radar for the last couple of years, all the while building an extremely solid farm system and a couple of dominant young arms in Zach Wheeler and Matt Harvey that could make a huge impact if healthy.
Pitching: Matt Harvey (out for year), Zach Wheeler, Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee, Jon Niese. B+
Bullpen: Farnsworth, Matsuzaka, Familia, Valverde. D-
Infield: d'Arnaud, Duda, Murphy, Tejada, Wright. B
Outfield: Eric Young, Chris Young, Granderson. C
Bench: Lagares, Abreu, Satin, Recker. C+
Farm System: It's easy to believe that the Mets could have the best rotation in baseball in just a few short years. Their farm system is stacked with young arms, on top of the ones they have already called up. There's going to be a lot of work needed for their bats, as there is little promise at the top of their system.
Keep An Eye On: Syndergaard (RHP), Montero (RHP), Smith (1B). B
Ballpark: Citi Field is wonderfully atmospheric and perfectly built their strong rotation. The parameters are certainly a little wonky, but it is otherwise a fairly traditional ballpark. The three deck left-field gives a great target for any homerun derbies, or a possible David Wright bomb. C+
Summary: The promise of such a strong rotation can be hard to resist, but be prepared to have some major work done in both the infield and outfield. Outside of d'Arnaud, there isn't a whole lot to count on past a couple of years into your franchise.
Depth Chart: Maybe the most dynamic lineup in all of baseball, the Atlanta Braves are in a good position to win now and later. Having just locked up a lot of their younger talent to long-term deals, it's easy to envision a world where the Braves are sitting atop the NL East for years to come. Though, a lot of that hope is based on the idea that their inconsistent talent will find a way to put things together when needed.
Pitching: Minor, Santana, Wood, Teheran, Harang, Floyd. B+
Bullpen: Kimbrel, Walden, Carpenter, Avilan. A-
Infield: Gattis, Freeman, Uggla, Simmons, Johnson. B+
Outfield: BJ Upton, Justin Upton, Heyward. A-
Bench: Laird, La Stella, Pastornicky, Schafer. C
Farm System: The Braves might be better than anyone in the league at drafting and developing good pitching. Even though their rotation is strong at the major league level, they have quite a few arms that are a couple of years for making a rotation push.
Keep An Eye On: Bethancourt (C), Sims (RHP), Hursh (RHP). B-
Ballpark: Turner Field is on its last breath, with a brand new stadium already in the works for Atlanta. Turner is a pretty standard ballpark, though, it backs up into the gorgeous Atlanta skyline. Fairly average in size, Turner Field won't give you a huge advantage in one department or another. C
Summary: There are only a few organizations in a better position than the Braves are, at the moment. With an expanding budget, a wealth of young talent already locked up, and a decent farm system on the way, injuries and inconsistency are the only things holding them back.
Up next: AL East