With the 2016 year coming to an end we will take a look at the top minor league players from the New York Mets system over the past season. We based our choices on how they did statistically and not prospect ranking.
Catcher: Tomas Nido (St. Lucie Mets) – The only full season catcher to hit at least .320 and throw out at least 40% of basestealers. The 22-year old was the FSL batting title, a mid-season all-star as well as an end-of-the season all-star.
First Base: Dominic Smith (Binghamton Mets) – Hit .302/.367/.457 with a career high 14 home runs and 91 RBI. Smith, 21, struck out only 74 times compared to 50 walks.
Second Base: T.J. Rivera (Las Vegas 51s) – Started only 14 games at 2B this year but we had to find a spot for the Pacific Coast League’s batting title winner. In Vegas, he hit .353/.93/.516 with career highs in doubles (31), homers (11) and RBI (85).
Shortstop: Amed Rosario (St. Lucie, B-Mets) – Between St. Lucie and Binghamton he hit .324/.374/.459 with 24 doubles, 12 triples and five home runs. Rosario, 21, was also named as our Position Player of the Year.
Third Base: David Thompson (Columbia, St. Lucie) – The Mets 4th rounder from 2015 was one of the best players in the South Atlantic League before getting promoted to St. Lucie. He struggled to hit consistently there, but continued to be a run producer, finishing with 95 RBI (most in Mets minors) on the season. His 34 doubles were second among Mets minor leaguers and he finished with a .280/.333/.444 slash line overall.
Outfield: Brandon Nimmo (Las Vegas 51s) – He played all three outfield spots this year for the 51s on the way to a great bounce back season in which he hit .352/.423/.541 and got his first taste off major league action. His .423 on-base led the PCL while his 11 home runs and 25 doubles were both career highs.
Outfield: Desmond Lindsay (GCL, Brooklyn) – The 19-year old five tool player had a great season once he has was able to get on the field after an injury delay. He hit .297/.418/.450 with a 20 BB/26 K ratio in 32 games with the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Outfield: Travis Taijeron (Las Vegas 51s) – The 51s power hitting right fielder led the PCL with 42 doubles while tying for the Mets minor league lead with 19 homers. The 27-year old hit .275/.372/.512 and finished fourth in the PCL with 88 runs batted in.
SS/2B: Gavin Cecchini (Las Vegas 51s/Mets) – He hit .325/.390/.448 in his first season in Triple-A with eight homeruns, two triples, 27 doubles as he drove in 55 for the 51s. Cecchini, 23, showed his skills to make contact as he struck out just 55 times in 446 at-bats.
SS/2B: Andres Gimenez (DSL Mets1 & 2) – The 18-year old Gimenez was outstanding in his first pro season with the Mets. His short swing and mature approach helped him to hit .350/.469/.523 to go with 27 extra base hits. He walked 46 times compared to only 22 strikeouts on the season.
C/1B: Patrick Mazeika (Columbia Fireflies) – Mazeika was one of the bright spots in the inaugural season for the Columbia Fireflies as he hit .305/.414/.402 in 70 games. The 23-year old showed his ability to make consistent contact as he struck out just 39 times while walking 38.
2B/3B/SS: Phillip Evans (Binghamton Mets/St. Lucie Mets) – The Eastern League batting champ hit .335/.374/.485 with eight home runs, 30 doubles and drove in 39 runs. He shared the Mets Sterling Award for Binghamton with Dominic Smith.
OF: Raul Beracierta (DSL Mets1 & 2) – The 17-year old outfielder played every outfield position in his first pro season. Beracierta hit .327/.397/.403 combined between the DSL Mets1 & 2. He was the Mets Sterling Award winner for the DSL Mets1.
P.J. Conlon (St. Lucie Mets) – The 23-year old started the year dominating in the Sally League for the Columbia Fireflies. In 12 starts for the Fireflies, he would go 8-1 with a 1.84 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. He would be named the Sally League’s Pitcher of the Week ending June 11, 2016. He would also be named to their All-Star Team.
Conlon would be promoted and pitch even better for the St. Lucie Mets. In 12 starts, he went 4-1 with a 1.41 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. Between the two levels, he was 12-2 with a 1.65 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. His combined 1.65 ERA was the best full season starter ERA in the minor leagues this season.
Thomas Szapucki (Brooklyn Cyclones) - Szapucki made tremendous strides this year dominating at two levels of the minor leagues this season. He started out this season playing in the Rookie League for the Kingsport Mets. In five starts, he was 2-1 with a 0.62 ERA and 0.86 ERA while striking out a whopping 14.6 batters per nine innings.
The 20-year old was promoted to Brooklyn where he went 2-2 with a 2.35 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP in four starts. He continued to strike out batters at an exceptional rate striking out 15.3 batters per nine innings in the New York Penn League. Overall, Szapucki made nine starts between both levels going 4-3 with a 1.38 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and a 14.9 K/9.
Harol Gonzalez (Brooklyn Cyclones) - The 21-year old was perhaps the most dominating pitcher in the New York Penn League going 7-3 with a 2.01 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in 13 starts and one relief appearance. Gonzalez led the league in ERA and strikeouts (88). He also ranked third in wins, second in innings pitched (85.0), and tied for second in WHIP.
Ricky Knapp (Las Vegas 51s) Knapp started the season at the Advanced A Level St. Lucie Mets, and he would make his final start of the season with the AAA Las Vegas 51s. The reason was Knapp’s mastery at each level of the minor leagues this season.
In 15 starts and one relief appearance with St. Lucie, Knapp was 9-4 with a 2.36 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. From there he would make six starts with AA Binghamton showing better control going 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. When incorporating his three spot starts for Las Vegas, Knapp was 13-6 with a 2.69 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
Andrew Church (Las Vegas 51s) - In his nine starts for the Full Season A Columbia Fireflies, Church was 5-2 with a 2.22 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. After what had been two good starts to start the year with Columbia, Church made six starts in St. Lucie going 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP, and a complete game.
The 22-year old Church pitched so well he was rewarded with a relief appearance (was supposed to be a start) at the end of the year with the Las Vegas 51s. Overall, Church made 15 starts and one relief appearance going 7-4 with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP.
Closer - Paul Sewald (Las Vegas 51s) This season he saved 19 games for the 51s with a 3.29 ERA (league average 4.46) and 1.20 WHIP. He had a 21.2 K-BB% which was the fifth best in the Pacific Coast League.
Closer - Joseph Zanghi (Brooklyn Cyclones) A little reported (outside of MMN, here is our interview with him) signing after he was drafted by the Reds in the 24th but failed to sign. The converted position player had a tremendous pro debut with 45 strikeouts in 29.1 innings for Brooklyn. He also saved eight games, had a 1.23 ERA and did not allow a home run.
Closer - David Roseboom (Binghamton Mets) The lefty got even better as the season progressed allowing only two earned runs in 25.2 second half innings. He went 14 for 15 in save chances and held opponents to a .168 batting average for the season (2nd best in Eastern League).
Setup Man - Gary Cornish (Brooklyn Cyclones) Yet another Cyclone that posted ridiculous strikeout numbers in his pro career with 44 strikeouts in 25 innings. His 0.64 FIP led the entire minor leagues for pitchers with at least 20 innings, as did his 15.84 K/9. He was the Mets 19th round pick from San Diego.
Crossover - Ben Griset (St. Lucie Mets) The 24-year old lefty did whatever was asked of him this year including three spot starts, 12 relief appearances of at least two innings and collecting three saves. He finished the season with a 1.80 ERA, 1.033 WHIP and struck out 66 in 60 innings. He held lefties to a measly .457 OPS without a home run or triple in 51 at-bats.
Longman - Nelmerson Xavier Mariano Silvano Angela (DSL Mets) The 18-year old lefty was really a starter for much of the season despite only getting six “starts” in 14 appearances. To finish off his great season he pitched five no-hit innings with four strikeouts in his last appearance. He went 3-0 with two saves, 1.88 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and held opponents to a .171 average.
Swingman - Nabil Crismatt (Brooklyn, Columbia, Binghamton) It was a weird start of the season for the righty who inexplicably started in the Brooklyn bullpen after dominating the Appalachian League in 2015. Ended up making 13 appearances (7 starts) with his final start of the year coming for the Binghamton Mets. Overall, he had a 2.47 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and struck out 74 in 65.2 innings. His 10.57 K/BB ratio was the 10th best in the minor leagues.