Montero, Syndergaard, Lawley, Boyd Among 2013 Sterling Award Winners
The New York Mets today announced that first baseman Allan Dykstra and catcher Kevin Plawecki were named the Sterling Minor League Organizational Co-Players of the Year and righthanded pitcher Gabriel Ynoa earned Sterling Pitcher of the Year honors.
In addition, the Mets announced the 2013 Sterling Awards, emblematic of the Most Valuable Player for each of the organization’s nine minor league affiliates.
Righthanded pitcher Rafael Montero was the Sterling recipient at Las Vegas (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League; righthanded pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Jeff Walters were co-winners at Binghamton (AA) of the Eastern League; infielder/outfielder Dustin Lawley was honored at St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League; infielder Jayce Boyd received the award at Savannah (A) of the South Atlantic League; righthanded pitcher Robert Gsellman was honored at Brooklyn (A) of the New York-Penn League; righthanded pitcher Robert Whalen was the recipient for Kingsport (R) of the Appalachian League; first baseman Dominic Smith was selected for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Mets; outfielder John Mora captured the award for the Dominican Summer League Mets I and lefthanded pitcher Jose Medina received the award for the Dominican Summer League Mets II.
STERLING ORGANIZATIONAL CO-PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 1B ALLAN DYKSTRA
Dykstra was named the 2013 Eastern League Most Valuable Player after hitting .274 (102-372) with 22 doubles, 21 home runs, 82 RBI and 56 runs scored. He led the EL in on-base percentage (.436), walks (102) and OPS (.938) and slugging percentage (.503). Dykstra was also tied for fifth in home runs and fourth in RBI. His on-base percentage was the highest in the Eastern League since 2006 and his walk rate (21.1) was also the highest in the EL since 2006. He was selected to the Eastern League postseason All-Star team and was the starting first baseman for the EL All-Star Game on July 10.
STERLING ORGANIZATIONAL CO-PLAYER OF THE YEAR: C KEVIN PLAWECKI
Plawecki combined to hit .305 (137-449) with 38 doubles, eight home runs, 80 RBI with a .390 on-base percentage and a .838 OPS in 125 games between Savannah (A) and St. Lucie (A). His .305 mark was the fourth-highest in the organization among full season minor league clubs and his 80 RBI were tied for the fifth-most. Plawecki was a mid-season South Atlantic League All-Star at Savannah where he hit .314 with 24 doubles and 43 RBI in 65 games before being promoted to St. Lucie. He batted .294 with 14 doubles and 37 RBI in 60 Florida State League games. Plawecki was selected by the Mets in the supplemental first round (35th overall) in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
STERLING ORGANIZATIONAL PITCHER OF THE YEAR: RHP GABRIEL YNOA
Ynoa won 17 games, including two in the postseason to help lead Savannah to the South Atlantic League championship. The righthander led Mets minor leaguers with 15 wins, which also led the SAL. Ynoa posted a 2.72 ERA, the fourth-best mark in the SAL and was the lowest ERA among full-season Mets pitchers. He went 15-4 with a 2.72 ERA (41 earned runs/135.2 innings) in 22 regular season starts for the Sand Gnats. Ynoa was named the South Atlantic League’s Most Outstanding Pitcher. He issued only 16 walks and struck out 106. In the postseason, the 6-2, 158-pounder was 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA (two earned runs/14.2 innings) with nine strikeouts in two postseason starts. He was named to the mid-season South Atlantic League All-Star team.
2013 STERLING AWARDS
LAS VEGAS (AAA) OF THE PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE: RHP RAFAEL MONTERO
Montero was named to Baseball America’s first team Minor League Baseball All-Star team. He went 12-7 with a 2.78 ERA (48 earned runs/155.1 innings) in 27 starts between Binghamton (AA) and Las Vegas (AAA). This was Montero’s third year in the organization and his third Sterling Award – he was named the Organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2012 and was the recipient at Gulf Coast in 2011. Montero, 22, led all Mets minor leaguers with 150 strikeout while allowing just six home runs and issuing 35 walks. He started the 2013 Futures Game at Citi Field and pitched a scoreless inning for the World Team. Montero became the first pitcher from any organization to make a start in the Dominican Summer League and then make a start in Triple-A two years later.
BINGHAMTON (AA) OF THE EASTERN LEAGUE: RHP NOAH SYNDERGAARD
Syndergaard was 9-4 with 133 strikeouts in 117.2 innings in 23 starts between St. Lucie (A) and Binghamton (AA). He had the second-most strikeouts in the organization behind Montero and was named to the mid-season Florida State League All-Star team. He went 6-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 54.0 innings over 11 starts with the BMets. Syndergaard, 21, started and hurled a scoreless inning for Team USA in the 2013 Futures Game at Citi Field. According to FanGraphs, his 2.73 kwERA which accounts for strikeout and walk rates was the fourth-best among all minor league pitchers.
BINGHAMTON (AA) OF THE EASTERN LEAGUE: RHP JEFF WALTERS
Walters set a Binghamton franchise record with 38 saves which also led all of minor league baseball in his first year as a closer. He was 4-3 with a 2.09 ERA (13 earned runs/56.0 innings) and 60 strikeouts in 53 games for the BMets. Walters was named to the mid-season and end of the year Eastern League All-Star teams. His 38 saves were the most since 2006 in the Eastern League. The Orlando, Fla. native held opponents to a .224 batting average and posted a 9.64 strikeout per nine innings rate.
ST. LUCIE (A) OF THE FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE: OF DUSTIN LAWLEY
Lawley led the organization in home runs (26) and RBI (96). Lawley led the Florida State League with 25 home runs, was second in the FSL with 92 RBI and tied for third with 33 doubles while hitting .260 (122-469) in 122 games with St. Lucie. Lawley also led the Florida State League in slugging (.512) and was fourth with a .825 OPS. He hit one home run and drove in four runs in six games with Las Vegas (AAA). He was named to the mid-season Florida State League All-Star team.
SAVANNAH (A) OF THE SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE: 1B JAYCE BOYD
Boyd hit an organizational-high .330 (151-458) this year, splitting his season between Savannah (A) and St. Lucie (A). The 6-3, 200-pound native of Cantonment, FL, hit .361 (90-249) with five home runs, 46 RBI and better than a walk per strikeout (35 walks/32 strikeouts) in 65 games for the Sand Gnats. Boyd was a South Atlantic League All-Star and earned a promotion to St. Lucie, where he hit .292 (61-209) with four home runs and 37 RBI in 58 contests. The Mets selected the 22-year-old out of Florida State University in 2012.
BROOKLYN (A) OF THE NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE: RHP ROBERT GSELLMAN
Gsellman pitched at three different levels this season, combining to go 6-6 with a 2.58 ERA (31 earned runs/108.0 innings) in 19 games, 19 starts at Brooklyn, Savannah and St. Lucie. The 6-4, 200-pounder began his season with St. Lucie, going 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA (three earned runs/9.0 innings) in two starts. He later pitched in the South Atlantic League with the Sand Gnats, making five starts and going 2-3 with a 3.72 ERA (12 earned runs/29.0 innings). The native of Santa Monica, CA, finished his season in the New York-Penn League, compiling a 2.06 ERA (16 earned runs/70.0 innings) and a 3-3 record in 12 games, all starts. The 20-year-old was the New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week for the period ending on August 25 after he fanned a career-best 13 on August 24 at Vermont.
KINGSPORT (R) OF THE APPLACHIAN LEAGUE: RHP ROBERT WHALEN
Whalen’s 1.87 ERA (15 earned runs/72.1 innings) was the second-lowest in the Appalachian League and the best mark in the Mets organization. The 19-year-old righthander finished 3-2 in 12 games, all starts, for Kingsport, and struck out better than a batter per inning (76 strikeouts/72.1 innings). A native of Stroudsburg, PA, Whalen allowed one home run all season and allowed three earned runs or less in all but one of his starts. Whalen was the organization’s 12th round pick in the 2012 First Year Player Draft.
GULF COAST LEAGUE (R): 1B DOMINIC SMITH
The 11th overall pick in this season’s First-Year Player Draft, Smith hit .287 (48-167) with three home runs and a .384 on-base percentage in 48 games for the GCL Mets. He earned a late season promotion to Kingsport, and had four doubles in six at-bats over three games with the K-Mets. The 6-0, 185-pound native of Los Angeles, CA, finished the season with a combined .301 (52-173) batting average, good for seventh in the organization. The 18-year-old was drafted out of Serra High School.
METS DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE #1: OF JOHN MORA
Mora hit a combined .310 (75-242) this season between the DSL #1 Mets and DSL #2 Mets. The 5-10, 165-pound outfielder added 20 extra-base hits (15 doubles and five triples) and 46 RBI. Mora began the season with DSL #1 and hit .297 (41-138) for in 37 games and stole 12 bases. He finished the year with DSL #2, batting .327 (34-104) in 31 games, and finished with more walks (14) than strikeouts (13). The 20-year-old, a native San Juan de la Maguana, DR, was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2011.
METS DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE #2: LHP JOSE MEDINA
Medina made his professional debut this season and compiled a 0.35 ERA (two earned runs/52.0 innings), the lowest mark in all of the minor leagues among pitchers with at least 50.0 innings. Medina finished the year 2-0 in 12 games, all starts, allowing 35 hits while striking out 41 and walking six. The native of Culiacan Rosales, Mexico did not allow a home run, and was scored upon in four of his 12 appearances (five total runs). The 17-year-old was signed as a non-drafted free agent last year.
Congratulations to all of these outstanding young men who played their hearts out in 2013.
About the Author: Joe DeCaro
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.
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