In yesterday’s Farm Report on ESPN New York, Adam Rubin gave out plenty of quality information about the Mets minor league system (as he always does). What I took notice of was the first item in the “short hops” section of the article. Rubin noted that while Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard are all nearing organizational innings limits, the Mets are allowing them to pitch into the playoffs.
The B-Mets officially clinched a spot in the playoffs, so Syndergaard’s workload has been monitored plenty of late in order to ensure he’s able to finish the season in Binghamton. For Montero and deGrom, the Las Vegas 51s are seeing themselves in playoff contention coming into the home stretch. For the rest of the season, these two right-handed hurlers will be on 90-pitch limits.
Rubin also revealed that if the 51s were eliminated from playoff contention earlier, they probably would have skipped their final start of the regular season.
I agree with the stance the Mets are taking with three of their top and most developed pitching prospects in the system. Each of them are on the breaking point of their innings limit, but they are also juggling the fact that it is good to get some postseason experience. Syndergaard is 11 innings over his final total from 2012, while Montero is 21.2 innings over and deGrom is 29.1 past last season’s workload.
While you want to try and preserve their arms and do the best job possible of preventing major injuries that will stunt their future development, it’s important to get this “big game” experience. With the Mets looking to be consistently competitive starting within the next year or two, they will need to have players willing and ready to rise to the occasion and take the ball with the game on the line. Even though minor league playoff games are a much different environment than a pennant race or playoff games in the major leagues, it’s better to have the experience than not.
New York is fortunate to have their minor league teams knocking down the door of the playoffs to get an opportunity like this, as it wasn’t available in 2012. The Mets will be mostly dependent on their young ballplayers heading into the future, so it would make sense to give them this kind of playing opportunity to prepare for what could possibly come at the next level.
I’ve heard one school of thought say winning doesn’t matter in the minor leagues and it’s all about development, but I don’t believe that. Development of prospects should be the first priority, but learning how to come together as a team, create chemistry, and win are important traits a player can bring with them to the next level, and have a positive impact on their career in the major leagues.
Thoughts From Satish R.
Normally, I’m the first person to jump on the Mets organizational philosophies, but I’m down with this one. Step back for a second and think about just how well all of our minor league teams have played this year — it’s been impressive, huh? The most important thing to note about it is that the 51s are looking like they might be able to slide in and the B-Mets have clinched — so our top two levels of MiLB ball are doing awesome.
I’m with Matt above. I think it’s a good experience for them to go through and they might gain a little mental fortitude from it. Our prospects are certainly good enough to dominate into the playoffs and continue their recent string of success — see: Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard — so I’m looking forward to keeping tabs on them.
(photo credit: Gordon Donovan)