Lynn Worthy of the Press & Sun-Bulletin was in Trenton last night for Game 1 of the Eastern League Divisional Series between the Binghamton Mets and Trenton Thunder. The Thunder were down to their last out in the bottom of the 10th, but rallied to take the series opener from their division rivals. Among the crowd was Mets general manager, Sandy Alderson, who claimed he was coming to watch the B-Mets and top prospect Noah Syndergaard “as a fan”. Worthy reports in his B-Mets notebook that Alderson did make his way down to Binghamton’s locker room, but only wanted to share his congratulations on the historic season they’ve had.
Alderson watched Thor rebound nicely from his worst start of 2013 back on August 26th; the right-hander allowed three runs on seven hits, one walk, and eight strikeouts in six innings of work before giving way to the bullpen.
What I found interesting in Worthy’s report was what the Mets GM said about the importance of winning in the minor leagues:
We want create a winning atmosphere at the minor-league level that will permeate the major league level at some point. We’ve got a lot of young players at the major league level this year who have come through the system, not all of them with the kind of championship success that we’ve seen this year from a lot of our minor league teams, but we think that’s an important part of it.
The other thing is we’re part of the community in each of these locations, and we want to put a good product on the field.
I’m glad to hear that; I’m one of the people that think winning and developing players go hand-in-hand. It’s not the most important aspect of a player’s development, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. While there is a large difference between the atmosphere of a minor league playoff game compared to a major league playoff game, it helps having some kind of playoff experience to draw upon as a professional baseball player when they reach the next level. Being there before in the minors can allow a young rookie or second-year big leaguer calm down a bit when they enter October baseball for the first time in the bigs.
I also found the last sentence Alderson interesting, and I look at the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate out in Las Vegas as a prime example. The biggest reason for the existence of the minors is to develop players, but host cities like to have successful teams to watch on a yearly basis. From what I remember, that was one of the reasons why Buffalo and the Mets couldn’t agree on a new agreement following the 2012 season; they wanted to field a winner. New York has seen their Triple-A team bounce all over the country within the last few years, but winning like they have in 2013 always helps the relationship between the two parties.
The bottom line is that Alderson and the rest of the front office see value in the Mets’ affiliates having success and reaching the playoffs this season. Let’s hope the remaining affiliates in the middle of a playoff series will gain some wisdom and experience they can use at Citi Field sometime in the near future.
To get the most comprehensive coverage on the Mets minor league system, check us out at MetsMinors.net!