The Mets' minor league teams had splendid seasons, to varying degrees. They played really well, season ends, and all is forgotten. Well, not me!
So I thought I'd write a little summary about each of the teams. A HAPPY RECAP, in remembrance of the great Bob Murphy.
First, our boys in Sin City, Las Vegas, land of hot, dry weather and thin air. The PCL is a hitter's league, at least for its western-based teams, but the 51's were a HITTER'S TEAM in a hitter's league. They scored LOTS of runs. Period.
In fact, this team (before guys like Flores, Dekker, Campbell, Kirk, and Brown were promoted to the Mets) were an offensive juggernaut scoring 7.1 runs per game through late May.
I joked on a blog around that time, when the Mets were in a stretch of their season where they were losing with regularity, and not scoring, that the Mets might wanted to consider swapping the entire offensive team from Vegas to Citi. I was only half joking.
The 51's ended up still outscoring all other teams by 90 runs or more, with 880 runs in 144 games (6.1 per game), with a league-leading 172 homers. And, again, consider all the games the above 5 guys were out of Vegas due to call up, and the hitting was remarkable, regardless of locale.
Pitcher call ups also thinned the ranks, with a dynamo named deGrom, along with Black, Edgin, Matsuzaka, and Montero, getting call ups. Two journeyman call ups, Eveland and Carlyle, who I expected little from, shut me up by doing extremely well once called up.
Think of those 12 call ups (and there were a few more), yet the 51's were a league-best 18 games over .500 by season's end. REMARKABLE. How'd they do it? Well, all 12 guys mentioned above did really well prior to call up from the 51's. Not to mention, collectively, AFTER being called up.
They won enough to get in the playoffs behind guys such as the stunning Matt Reynolds who hit like crazy in AA, and then did the same in AAA but with added power. And with guys like first year AAA 2B Danny Muno, who turned it up in the end half as he always seems to, adding 14 homers in 359 official at bats (if he played every day, and at bats were not wasted on old-timer Omar Quintanilla), he’d likely have exceeded 20 homers).
Kevin Plawecki's promotion in mid-season to the 51's helped offset the firepower lost from all of the promotions to the Mets noted above. Cesar Puello, mystifying in the first half, significantly inproved in the 2nd half, and showed his superior speed and defensive tools. Maybe 2015 is a breakthrough year for him.
Allan Dykstra may or may not ever make the bigs, but he had fine on base and slugging %'s (.426/.504) and improved on an ongoing flaw by reducing his high career K rate. Another "may or may not ever" guy who was an excellent part timer was Anthony Seratelli (.414 on base %). I hope both get a shot somewhere, if not with the Mets.
Amongst the tossers, Noah Syndergaard was shaky in 2014 in a tough pitching environment, but was still better than most any AAA pitcher a team could throw out there. A stud in the making. Logan Verrett was a solid 11-5. Matt Bowman did well in 6 post-promotion starts.
The pen was so-so, but Leathersich pitched a bit better in his brief return to AAA after a poor AAA cameo in 2013, and as always, struck out the world. I'm hoping to see him in Citi in 2015. Ike Davis trade guy Zach Thornton was OK (1-5, 4.22, 65 K’s in 59 2/3, 1.47 WHIP).
A disappointing playoffs left the churned-up 51's bowing out in the first round. But for those like myself who followed their season-long progress (and thanks to Herb G for excellent daily minor league in-season updates) it was great to follow the 51’s.
Stay tuned in the days ahead as I continue with Happy Recaps for the Mets' other minor league teams.