Mets Minors: Jeff Walters Was The B-Mets’ Most Valuable Pitcher In 2013
Great pitching was the lifeline of the Binghamton Mets record setting baseball season this summer. Wherever you looked; the starting rotation, long relief or closing, the B-Met pitching excelled. There were multiple B-Mets who could be considered the 2013 Most Valuable Pitcher. I’ve boiled that choice down to four promising righthanded arms – Rafael Montero, Logan Verrett, Noah Syndergaard and Jeff Walters and one lefty, Darin Gorski.
Rafael Montero was brilliant throughout his brief stay in the Binghamton rotation during the early weeks of the season. Montero started 11 games as a B-Met — good for 66.2 innings on the hill. The early season pitching ace went 7-3 with a sparkling 2.43 ERA, striking our 72 batters and walking only 10. That helped Montero to an outrageous WHIP of just 0.92. Montero’s impact on the B-Mets was profound. His business like work on the mound seemed to set a tone in the early season that the 2013 B-Met season was about competitive excellence. Montero’s lead was a great model to follow.
Darin Gorski had a similar impact on the B-Mets, but during the closing portion of the season. Gorski returned from an early season injury in Triple-A Las Vegas and was assigned to Binghamton. Without much hype, Gorski was arguably the most effective B-Met pitcher down the homestretch. The tall lefthander started 13 games for Binghamton winning 6 and losing only one with the best ERA among starters, a sterling 1.83. Over 78.2 innings, Gorski allowed only 46 hits, striking out 67 and walking only 22. That was good for an eye-popping 0.86 WHIP, the best on the B-Met team other than Perpetual Pedro Feliciano.
Logan Verrett was the workhorse of the B-Met starting rotation, someone who took the ball every six days working 146 innings on the hill. Verrett’s 12-6 record tied him at the top of the Eastern League leader board in wins. Varrett’s blazing start was a key factor in the B-Mets early emergence as the premiere EL team during the regular season. The righthanded ace has pinpoint control striking out 132 batters and walking only 31. Keeping the ball in the park was an issue as Verrett allowed 21 HR’s. He had a 4.25 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP.
The arrival of Noah Syndergaard in Binghamton during the later part of the season had the city buzzing. The highly regarded Met prospect lived up to all the billing during his 11 starts. Syndergaard went 6-1 for the B-Mets throwing 54 innings, striking out 69 and walking only 12. A fastball that regularly reached mid and upper 90’s and held that speed throughout an outing tabs Syndergaard as one of the promising future Met power arms. Syndergaard finished with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP.
Arguably one of the biggest success factors of the 2013 Binghamton Mets was the performance of the bullpen, however. Pedro Lopez had multiple left handed and right handed options in the pen. This season’s Most Valuable B-Met Pitcher comes from that relief corps, Jeff Walters, the record setting Binghamton closer. Walters was a lights out ninth inning option for Lopez earning 38 saves, the highest single season and career total in Binghamton Met history and the second highest save total in the history of the Eastern League. Walters pitched 56 innings of pressure packed relief allowing only 46 hits, striking out 60 and walking just 16. That gave the B-Met closer a 1.11 WHIP to complement his 2.09 ERA. Walters fired a fastball that consistently reached 95-96 mph and used a compliment of off-speed pitches.
Walters’ value on the 2013 B-Mets was about more than statistics, however. In Walters, Binghamton had that cocky, confident, care-free, end of the game option, a guy who relished having the ball in tight situations and exuded an attitude that had a residual effect on his teammates. It was those personal traits along with a toolkit filled with pitching choices that make Jeff Walters the Binghamton Mets Most Valuable Pitcher of 2013.
(Photo Credit: Gordon Donovan)
About the Author: John Bernhardt
John Bernhardt is a retired public school teacher and administrator, who still coaches high school baseball. Growing up in a Yankees household, Bernhardt was an ardent Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra fan. When the Yankees fired Yogi in his first season as the Bomber manager, curiosity turned to passion when the Mets signed Berra as a player/coach and he has pulled for the Mets ever since. In retirement, John writes the sports for a local weekly, The Catskill Mountain News and hosts Tip-Off, a Friday morning sports hour, from 8:00-9:00 on WIOX, 91.3 F.M.
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