The NL East was a pretty cut and paste formula during MLB's preseason predictions.
The balanced, young Nationals would take first after getting a bittersweet taste of the post season; the powerful Braves with their free-swinging Uptons would nip at their heels all season long; the Phillies would just lie there motionlessly in third; and the Mets would win just enough games to outpace the gutted, friendless Marlins.
Things have been pretty much as promised, with the main departure being the Nationals' inability to string together a hot streak that gets the Phillies to stop touching them. But some of that credit can go to the Braves, who launched so far ahead out of the gate they are sitting on a decent cushion.
When that happens, you're probably getting contributions from unlikely places, and in the Braves' case that place is rookie Evan Gattis (.256/.308/.587). page break
Catching fire as a power threat early on, Gattis became a media darling when it was revealed that he went on a spiritual journey after getting "burned out" on baseball, then came back to the game after working a series of low-key jobs.
Did you know his Twitter avatar is his ID from when he worked as a janitor?
Yes. Everybody knows this by now.
The Mets, sitting exactly where they ought to be, are actually somehow worse than imagined; though thankfully, the Marlins are just as bad as imagined, making them far worse than an underperforming Mets team.
The Mets have been getting their own Gattis-like contributions, only in the opposite direction. Their folk legend is Ike Davis, who is building quite a reputation himself.
Davis (.147/.236/.245) had a demoralizing first half in 2012, too; but he talked management into letting him stick around, and along with David Wright's endorsement, that was enough.
Which was good for him - he raised his batting average over 50 points in the second half, culminating in a .900 OPS in September/October.