7. Are the Mets for Real?
They play in the biggest market in the country, but have a payroll smaller than Minnesota or Milwaukee this year. Their former best player signed with a division rival this past offseason and their best pitcher hadn't pitched in a year and a half prior to the beginning of this year. Yet the Mets are five games over .500 and just a game and a half out of first in their division. They've done it with big-time performances from their current best player, David Wright, and the aforementioned best pitcher, Johan Santana, but they've also got contributions from major league retreads and a few non-prospects called up from the minors. Can it last?
The Complex Crystal Ball Says... Depends on what you mean by "for real." "We're going to the World Series!" for real? Uh, no. "We'll be playing games with playoff implications when the Tebow-Sanchez quarterback controversy gets going in August" for real? Sure. The Mets have two very good pitchers (Santana and R.A. Dickey), and Wright's power-hitting sidekicks Ike Davis and Lucas Duda can't really hit any worse. Maybe, just maybe, this is the Mets' year...to be relevant past July 4.