The minor league season is over. St. Lucie and Brooklyn were both eliminated from the playoffs in their respective leagues last week. So we’re going to take a closer look over the net couple of days at this season in Mets minor league baseball. We start with the three biggest surprises.
Michael Fulmer, SP
The Mets took a high school pitcher named Michael Fulmer out of Edmond Oklahoma with their supplemental-round pick last June. Last season he pitched just 5.1 professional innings, but was immediately thrown into the rotation in long-season Savannah at just 19 years of age.
Fulmer surprised everyone, however, and had a fantastic season, despite his age. He showed polish and control that very few pro pitchers that young show. He had a solid walk rate and a good strikeout rate.
With this fantastic season, Fulmer became a coveted prospect by a few other teams, including the Padres, who reportedly wanted him as a part of a Carlos Quentin deal. The smart move for the Mets here would be to stick with Fulmer. He is certainly still a long way away from pitching with the big league club but all signs point to a positive future.
Wilmer Flores, INF
After a very disappointing second year with St. Lucie, Wilmer Flores came into this season looking to turn around his career. Flores fell out of Baseball America’s pre-season top 100 prospects list for the first time since his age 16 season. He definitely had something to prove.
Flores got off to a great start in the first half in St. Lucie, earning himself All-Star honors along the way. He showed quite a bit of power, hitting ten home runs in 64 games in the Florida State League. He quickly earned himself a promotion to Double-A Binghamton.
Flores had a tough time adjusting to Double-A pitching, hitting just .245 in the month of July. However, he kept working and caught fire again, hitting .377 in August, with five home runs and an OPS of 1.06.
Another positive that’s come out of this year for Flores has been his glove. He has finally been removed from shortstop, splitting time mostly between second base and third base. He’s nothing special at either position but definitely better than he was at shortstop. The bat is the tool that will carry him to the big leagues regardless of how awful a fielder he is (Daniel Murphy) but it’s still great to see that he’s progressing even if it’s just a little bit.
Rafael Montero, SP
After spending the 2011 season bouncing between the Mets rookie league teams, Rafael Montero got a chance to prove himself with St. Lucie. Coming into this season, he really wasn’t on the prospect radar but that all changed thanks to his dominant 2012 season.
Montero made huge improvements this season, especially to his secondary pitches. He has improved his command and despite having a fastball around 92-93, he arguably has the second best “stuff” in the organization behind only Zack Wheeler.
|2012||21||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A-A+||11||5||2.36||20||122.0||2||7.1||0.4||1.4||8.1||5.79|
Montero will shoot up into the top ten on every Mets prospect list after this incredible season. What a year!