Sports Illustrated and ESPN.com both recently named the Mets the second best team in all of baseball (behind the Cubs, which the Mets destroyed in the NLCS, by the way). My, how far the Mets have come.
Just a year ago, the were nowhere near the top of the list. In fact, they were probably around 20th. And with good reason. The lineup looked putrid, and the starting pitching included the reigning Rookie of the Year, an old fat man, a Tommy John survivor and two back-of-the rotation guys.
Fast forward a year and the lineup now has Yoenis Cespedes in the middle as well as Michael Conforto, who is a budding star. The starting pitching, so questionable a year ago, is now the best rotation in baseball, bar none.
Did anyone think this could happen so fast? All of the pitching is coming together at the same time and retaining Cepedes (along with the other moves this winter) solidified the Mets as the team to beat in the National League.
And that is absolutely what they are. Maybe the Cubs look better on paper (which is not a given), but the NL championship banner will be flying over Citi, not Wrigley, Field. Or Dodger Stadium. Or Nationals Park, home to the most dysfunctional team in baseball.
So as the pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training Wednesday, let’s revel in the fact every team in the league is looking up at the Mets, when a year ago it was the Mets looking up.