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New York Mets
Title track: 75
Fan relations: 107
Stadium experience: 69
Bang for the buck: 79
Change from last year: +16
Last year the Mets were our lowest-ranked MLB team, languishing in triple digits in all but three categories. Now they're a playoff team and loaded with some of the brightest stars in the league. If the Mets can make a long run into October, there will be nowhere to go but up in these standings.
After a pair of September collapses, then six straight losing seasons, the Mets return to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. The team could be positioned for a period of sustained success, too, with a rotation built around young studs Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler (who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery). The arrival of slugger Yoenis Cespedes in a July 31 trade with the Tigers -- two days after a deal for Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez fell through -- energized the fan base, resulting in Citi Field (the Mets' best asset, rated No. 69) finally rocking like its predecessor, Shea Stadium. Cespedes spurred an offense that had been among the worst in the majors during the season's first four months and pushed the Mets' roster up 15 spots in our rankings.
It's no surprise that the Mets received their lowest rating in the ownership category. Stung by the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, owner Fred Wilpon and family have maintained a midmarket payroll in one of MLB's biggest markets. Of course, winning will soothe even the contempt for Wilpon -- and opening the checkbook this winter to re-sign free-agent-to-be Cespedes sure would boost the family's ranking next year. Fans also aren't exactly thrilled with manager Terry Collins, who drew a ranking of 103. But by this time next year, he's likely to have received a contract extension (and possibly a standings jump) for snapping the longest active streak of losing seasons in the majors.
Citi Field moved up an impressive 24 spots this year, perhaps due to a larger video board, some new food options (gourmet grilled cheese, anyone?) and a right-field fence that was pulled in another 15 feet, providing sluggers like Cespedes the chance for more home runs. Given the floundering teams in the division -- the Braves, Phillies and Marlins -- and the star-studded-yet-underachieving Nationals, the Mets should continue to ascend in the 2016 rankings. The Mets still haven't won a World Series since 1986, but things are looking up for a run at the organization's third title.