Once again, there have been a number of outstanding performances in the Mets minor leagues during the Month of June with some players starting to raise their profiles. While we cannot mention everyone who has had a good month, here are the staff selections for the Player of the Month in each category.
Position Player of the Month – Las Vegas 51s 1B Dominic Smith
For the second straight season, Smith is having a big second half where he is once again quieting critics who questioned whether the first baseman would ever hit for any power. In fact, Smith’s July was power packed.
Smith would hit a career high eight homers in one month. This is part of a season were Smith has hit a career high in homers with 16. This tops his previous high of 14, which was set just last year. This is just further evidence of the 2013 first round pick continuing to adapt as a hitter and learning how to hit for power.
What is really impressive about Smith’s power surge is it has not come at the expense of him getting on base, and it has not led to more strikeouts. In fact, the converse is true. During the month, Smith had a season high in OBP (.437) and strikeout rate (14.3%).
Overall, Smith hit .385/.437/.725 with 13 doubles, eight homers, and 26 RBI with one stolen base. He did that while continuing to play an exceptional first base. He was twice named to the MLB Pipeline Team of the Week, and he is MMN’s Player of the Month. With the way he is playing, it is only a matter of time before he is called-up to the majors.
Honorable Mention – Las Vegas 51s SS Amed Rosario hit .319/.419/.478 with four doubles, a triple, and nine RBI with five stolen bases. Unlike Smith, Rosario’s month led to him getting called-up to the major leagues.
Starting Pitcher of the Month – Binghamton Rumble Ponies LHP P.J. Conlon
After Conlon struggled with some consistency for the first few months with Double-A Binghamton, the left-handed control pitcher has made the requisite adjustments, and he has rediscovered himself.
In his five July starts, Conlon has pitched at least six innings. In five of those starts, he allowed one run or less with his having a complete game three hit seven inning shutout. Part of the reason for the turn-around is Conlon once again lowering his fly ball rate. There has been a corresponding decrease in home run rate. In fact, Conlon did not allow a home run during the entire month.
Overall, Conlon made five starts going 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA, 1.255 WHIP, and a 6.3 K/9. These stats are not far off from his 2016 season where he was 12-2 with a 1.65 ERA, 0.979 WHIP, and a 7.1 K/9 in 23 starts and one relief appearance for Columbia and St. Lucie. This could mean Conlon’s July was no mirage, but rather, a return to form.
Honorable Mention – RHP Chris Flexen made three starts for Binghamton going 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA, 0.819 WHIP, and an 8.6 K/9. This month culminated in a rare call-up from Double-A to the majors.
Relief Pitcher of the Month – St. Lucie Mets RHP Adonis Uceta
Heading into this season, Uceta was a struggling starter who walked too many batters. This year with first Columbia and then St. Lucie, Uceta has become a dominant relief pitcher out of the bullpen. In fact, since May, Uceta has not allowed an earned run.
Of course, his July was more of his continued dominance. In 10 appearances, he pitched 11.0 innings not allowing a run. He allowed just eight hits and just three of those went for extra bases. He has struck out a batter an inning, and he has limited opposing batters to a .200/.256/.275. Put another way, Uceta has become unhittable. On the month, Uceta was 1-0 going 4/4 in save opportunities with a 0.00 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, and a 9.0 K/9.
With how well he was pitching in Columbia, he was finally promoted to St. Lucie. It should come as no surprise that he put together two scoreless appearances. In fact, his first ever appearance for St. Lucie, he struck out the side. While most of the attention in that St. Lucie bullpen will be drawn to newest Mets Stephen Nogosek and Gerson Bautista, it is Uceta who has been having the dominant season out of the bullpen.
Honorable Mention – Columbia Fireflies RHP Matt Blackman made eight appearances going 1-1 with a 0.00 ERA, a 0.533 WHIP, and 23 strikeouts in 15.0 innings. He was also named the Sally League Reliever of the Month.
Defensive Player of the Month – Binghamton Rumble Ponies INF Luis Guillorme
Look, there were really no showstopping plays like we have seen throughout this season during the Month of July. It doesn’t matter.
There’s more to defense than just the spectacular. It’s also the ability to make the extraordinary look ordinary. Guillorme with his exceptional defense does that.
He does it at second, and he does it at short. If the Mets played him at any one of the other six defensive positions if he played there as well.
Simply put, Guillorme is the best defender in the Mets minor league system. He will likely hold this title from here on out unless someone has an over the top defensive month.
Honorable Mention – Columbia Fireflies SS Andres Gimenez has posted a 4.72 range factor at shortstop this season, which is Gold Glove caliber for the position.