Mets Minor League Development Philosophy Being Displayed in the Standings

By John Bernhardt

August 2, 2013 4 Comments

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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:

Level Team W L PCT Place
AAA Las Vegas 60 50 0.548 1st
AAA Binghamton 67 42 0.615 1st
A+ St. Lucie 58 46 0.558 2nd
A- Savannah 61 43 0.587 1st
SS-A Brooklyn 21 22 0.488 3rd
ROOK Kingsport 24 15 0.615 2nd

 

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)

  • It is a good sign…..however….gotta also admit that there are, and have been, some players…..of an older age…..dominating at some of these low levels (lawley, dykstra, Torres (before premotion) and the plawecki/Boyd combo first half in Savannah) to name a few……
    But either way, I absolutely agree that it makes sense to promote winning at every level, and not just focus on top prospects simply getting in their reps and learning.

  • Dawg680

    I agree that the players need to learn how to win before they get to the majors. This reminds me a lot of the early 1980’s when Frank Cashen rebuilt the organization after Dolald Grant allowed it to deteriorate.

  • MetsMinors looks like it will be busy covering the playoffs throughout the Mets system. 🙂

    It has been a pretty good season for the farm. I have tried to follow the Mets minors starting pitching specifically from A ball to AAA. I find it helps me be more familiar with the names and how the teams are doing throughout the system. One thing that stood out this past month for me was that July saw the clubs with the equal or the highest walk totals so far this season and also the lowest strikeout totals with the exception of Binghamton where Syndergaard and Verrett had a big part to play in that.

    http://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0ApxE2V-jZhJHdE1QZ1lVUWVhYXdoQU50UFJsWEd5M0E&single=true&gid=14&output=html

    That said though the pitching as a whole for said clubs from the NYPL to AA have ranked at the top or near the top in ERA and WHIP this season. What remains to be seen is will this manifest itself as a positive for the Big club moving forward or not?
    Hope so.

    Binghamton (E.L.)
    ERA – 2nd
    WHIP – 2nd

    St. Lucie (F.S.L.)
    ERA – 3rd
    WHIP – 4th

    Savannah (S.A.L.)
    ERA – 2nd
    WHIP – 1ST

    Brooklyn (N.Y.P.L.)
    ERA – 3rd
    WHIP – 2nd

  • DrDooby

    The winning sure shouldn´t be a priority. But it doesn´t hurt.
    I believe, most of all, the Mets have finally accumulated a lot of depth up & down all levels. That helps all teams in the system to be able to keep up the quality of play even once injuries or promotions strike.

    For example, when Zack Wheeler moved up to the Mets and Collin McHugh was traded, Rafael Montero & Jake DeGrom went from AA to AAA. Noah Syndergaard replaced Montero in Double A. Michael Fulmer (back from his meniscus tear) replaced Syndergaard. Rainy Lara & Matt Bowman also were promoted from Low A to High A mid-season.

    And this figures to remain a positive aspect going forward. Of course, it´s both a combination of Omar Minaya´s staff´s success at finding talent late in his tenure, both in the draft and IFA and Sandy Alderson´s staff doing well procuring more young talent via the draft, trades and IFA, plus doing well putting up a more gradual development system that seems to get players better prepared for the majors than they used to in the past.