So much of the New York Met sales pitch over the last several years has been a message of hope. Met fans were asked to think forward as the franchise went about the business of establishing a culture and practices geared at making their team competitive year in and year out.
The first order of business we were told was to vastly improve the player development system through the Mets minor leagues. More emphasis and resources were pledged to the player draft, a consistent philosophy promised to run as a backbone through the minor league system with homegrown talent a crucial ingredient in future success.
Originally, little progress from a win/loss perspective was seen at the highest minor league levels. Conditions in Flushing were topsy-turvy at best with players bouncing from Double-A to Triple-A to Flushing, back and forth, all too frequently to allow the stability needed for win/loss success. It was at the lower levels of the Mets program were real win/loss gains were realized.
But, 2013, seems to be a tipping point. The Mets minor leagues are thriving up and down the system as the following numbers attest:
Astounding. The Met minor league results are a marked departure from those we have become accustomed to over a long period of time. I loved Binghamton Manager Pedro Lopez’s answer to a question I posed during the preseason about the possibly conflicting goals of developing minor league baseball players and winning baseball games. Lopez emphasized that as he saw winning baseball games was a critical part of the player development process:
It doesn’t make sense to wait for players to reach Citi Field before they begin to win. Learning to win has to be an important consideration of a minor league program.
A look at the B-Met record might indicate Pedro Lopez was serious about his assertion. And, a look up and down the Mets minor league levels indicates the emphasis on a minor league overhaul throughout the Met organization is for real and in full swing. It’s that overhaul and targeted additions to the major league roster through free agent signings and trades that are slated to elevate our Mets to annual playoff contention.
(photo credit: Gordon Donovan)