Another season came to a close this past Monday at NYSEG Stadium with the Binghamton Mets missing the playoffs for the eighth season in a row. The last time a playoff ticket was sold in Binghamton was at the end of the 2004 season when the team ended up 76-66, good enough for second place in the Eastern League’s then ‘North Division’. The B-Mets would go on to lose in the first round of the playoffs by a 3 games to 1 margin against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The last time Binghamton won the division was 2000, again faltering in the first round of the playoffs to the New Britain Rock Cats three games to one; and finally the last time the Mets put a championship team on the field at the Double A level was way back in 1994.
In the standings, Binghamton finished the season with a 68 and 74 record which translates to a .479 win percentage. They ended up in fifth place in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division (for the third season in a row), eleven games behind front runner Trenton. The last time the B-Mets had a winning record was 2008 when the Mako Oliveras led team finished in third place with a 73 and 69 record.
Looking at the B-Mets win/loss stats against their Eastern League opponents, the Portland SeaDogs and Erie SeaWolves proved to be the only teams Binghamton had a winning record against in 2012. They tied their season series with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at ten games a piece, the Richmond Flying Squirrels at three games a piece, and the Harrisburg Senators at six games each. Binghamton posted losing series records against their six other EL opponents, with their worst record against the Bowie BaySox at 1-and-7.
Team batting stats when matched up against the rest of the EL showed that Binghamton was tied for fourth in average at .261, alone in fourth with an OBP of .338, and tied for fifth in SLG at .387. Team pitching stats in relation to the other Eastern League teams had the B-Mets ninth out of the twelve teams with a 4.13 ERA, tied for fifth in WHIP at 1.36, and seventh in strikeouts with 994. The B-Mets were dead last in the league with only 27 saves to their credit in 2012, and at the other end of the spectrum they were tied for first in number of complete games tossed with seven.
Individually at the plate in 2012 it should come as no surprise that Matt den Dekker’s numbers early in the season kept him at the top in key statistical categories for the B-Mets throughout the season. Den Dekker led the overall season batting stats in average at .340, as well as slugging at .563 and OPS at .960.
Juan Lagares ended up at the top for the B-Mets in runs scored (69), hits (141), doubles (29), and triples (6). Lagares also led the team in stolen bases with 21 as well as caught stealing with 10.
Leading the team in the long ball category was Reese Havens, with ten round trippers to his credit in 2012. Havens also led the team in strikeouts with 113 K’s, and was tied with Eric Campbell for most walks in the season with 58.
The last (major) stat category to mention as far as the hitters go is RBI’s, the top honor belonging to Jefry Marte with his 58 helpers in 2012.
On the mound as far as the starters were concerned Greg Peavey started the most games for Binghamton in 2012 with 25. The stat that floats to the top with pitchers, and the top spot for B-Mets starters in this category, was Collin McHugh who finished the season with a 2.41 ERA. McHugh also led the starters in WHIP at season’s end with a 1.07 mark. The strikeout king for Binghamton this past season was – Darin Gorski who fanned a total of 118 opposing batters. As I’m sure everyone would like to know, Gorski edged out Zack Wheeler for the top spot in this category by one strikeout, although Gorski also pitched in six more games than Wheeler as well. Mark Cohoon pitched the most innings amongst the starters, tossing a total of 146.2 frames on the season. Darin Gorski at 9-and-8 and Zack Wheeler at 10-and-6 proved to be the only B-Mets starters with records above .500 in 2012.
Looking at the bullpen for Pedro Lopez’s B-Mets, Brad Holt saw the most time in relief for Binghamton in 2012 being called upon in a total of 39 games with 47.2 innings pitched all told. Holt also led all relievers with 42 strikeouts. In their brief time in Binghamton, Andrew Carpenter (5 games) and C.J. Nitkowski (6 games) were the only relievers to go unscathed each posting an ERA of 0.00. Nitkowski held the top spot in WHIP among the relievers at 1.07. Ten B-Mets relievers recorded saves in 2012, but no one topped Robert Carson who led this category with 9.
Fans in Binghamton saw three New York Mets players make a pass through the Southern Tier on their rehab route in 2012. Miguel Batista, before being released by the New York Mets on July 26th, made one start for the B-Mets. He took the loss in the game, giving up four earned runs on four hits. New York Mets closer Frank Francisco played in five games for the B-Mets at the end of July/beginning of August. In those five games he allowed two earned runs on six hits while striking out four. Francisco earned one save as well in his brief stint in Binghamton. Mike Baxter was the third and final rehabber to play for Binghamton in 2012, appearing in three games going three for ten at the plate with a run scored.
The end of August brought some great news for the fans in Binghamton as the B-Mets to New York trail will continue for another four years as the two Mets teams signed a new player development contract. After being barraged by Ballpark Digest and other media outlets during the off season about a potential relocation of both franchise and affiliation, Binghamton and the parent New York Mets finally put all of the unsubstantiated rumors purported by those entities to rest ensuring that the blue and orange will play in Upstate New York for another four seasons.
On the heels of this, attendance at B-Mets games seems to be the concern of many (many that like to come up with rumors). In 2012, Binghamton’s final tally at the gate was 196,929. This past season was only the third time in the B-Mets 21 year history they fell below the 200,000 mark, although it was not their ‘worst’ season ever – that dubious honor belongs to the 2000 season when they drew 187,692. On the surface this season’s number looks a bit low. Now, let’s fill in the blanks. As stated above, in the off season Ballpark Digest and the newspapers in Ottawa, Ontario published articles based on rumors and in essence created a somewhat lame duck team in Binghamton as each of those entities stated the team was moving. Couple that with a cold April and beginning of May – average temperature was ten degrees lower this season over last (yes, I am a nerd, and yes I have the stats to back this up) – any way you shake it out, sitting at any ballpark anywhere when it’s 45 degrees outside is just damn cold and only the diehards will show up (we were there). Looking further, the Binghamton Mets lost five openings to inclement weather. Mining this number down even further, one of those games – June 4th – was a ‘Baseball in Education’ game, meaning the attendance number would have been over 5,000. Not only was the game postponed, but the makeup was moved to Akron! Using a conservative stat of 2,500 for four of the games they lost, and a realistic number of 5,000 for the BIE game, had the B-Mets been able to take advantage of all of their dates – their season ending attendance stat would have been approximately 15,000 higher, putting them at or around 211,000 fans.
One further and final thought on this subject. Percent capacity is sometimes a more genuine attendance stat to look at as opposed to average attendance or total attendance as it shows to what percent your team is putting butts in the seats, and that really is what it’s all about right? Looking across the Mets system, here’s how the teams rank: Brooklyn Cyclones (87%), New York Mets (69%), Binghamton Mets (50%), Savannah Sand Gnats (47%), Buffalo Bisons (41%), St. Lucie Mets (21%).
It’s been a somewhat tumultuous and at times exciting season for the fans in Binghamton, as well as the players and staff of the Binghamton Mets. To be able to watch the likes of current Major Leaguer Collin McHugh, as well as future Major Leaguers Zack Wheeler and Matt den Dekker put on the B-Mets uniform and play day in and day out was certainly a highlight of an otherwise middle of the road season in Upstate New York, but the best news of all was the realization that we have four more years to cheer on our B-Mets. Mark it on your calendars, April 11, 2013 starts off the home campaign of the 22nd season of Binghamton Mets baseball as the New Hampshire Fisher Cats come to town. Until then, peace, and everyone have a great off season!