Either today or tomorrow the Mets are extremely likely, according to sources, to announce the 2012 minor league rosters for each of the long-season teams. Competition has been ferocious for all four teams, particularly for the most coveted prizes, a spot on one of the pitching staffs for each of the long-season clubs. Over-crowding, combined with ho-hum performances necessitated the recent release of seven pitchers: Tobi Stoner, Eric Niesen, Nick Carr, Roy Merritt, Chris Hilliard, Ronny Morla, and Steve Winnick.
Unfortunately, more cuts may follow, as there are a finite amount of spots. Sometime between now and tomorrow we should know who has made it to Savannah to open the season, and who will be remaining behind in Extended Spring Training, otherwise known as “extended.” We will also know which players have jumped a level to open the year, and which guys because of players coming up behind them, were squeezed out of the system.
It’s survival of the fittest, and hopefully what works so well in nature will also work for the Mets. In any case, I look for the Mets minor league teams to be more competitive at the two upper levels this year, than they were last year. Particularly at Buffalo, which should be fielding a very strong team. Binghamton should have pretty good pitching, but I wonder where exactly the offense is going to come from. Unless of course Cory Vaughn continues to do his “Superman” impersonation into the regular season.
St. Lucie and Savannah will again be contending clubs, and should compete for their respective league titles once again this season. Lucie will exploit Florida State League opponents by throwing a power-pitching workhorse at them, on any given night. They may be a little challenged on offense, but with pitching like they have, who cares?
Savannah is going to be an absolute powerhouse in 2012. They have a quality pitching staff from top to bottom, five deep in the rotation, and seven deep in the pen. Their offensive attack should be sort of like the South Atlantic League version of “Shock n’ Awe.” They have hitters from the very top of the order all the way down to the bottom, with a couple of rabbits to start things off, and then as many as six power hitters in the everyday line-up. The other great thing about Savannah in 2012 will be defense. With a very athletic outfield, a solid tandem behind the plate, and an outstanding defensive infield, they should be the team to beat in their league this year.
2012 Mets Minor League Affiliates
Buffalo Bisons (AAA) – International League, team managed by Wally Backman
Binghamton Mets (AA) – Eastern League, team managed by Pedro Lopez
St. Lucie Mets (A+) – Florida State League, team managed by Ryan Ellis
Savannah Sand Gnats (A) – South Atlantic League, team managed by Luis Rojas