The Kingsport Mets' 2012 season won't go down in the books as one of the most successful for the team in terms of wins and losses. But, in a league that emphasizes player development, exactly how successful this year's players will be won't be known for at least a few more years.
The K-Mets concluded their Appalachian League campaign with Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the Pulaski Mariners. Pulaski finished its season by sweeping the three-game series at Hunter Wright Stadium, and Kingsport ended its season in a four-game losing streak.
Kingsport did have some promising and touted prospects on its roster. Gavin Cecchini, the Mets' first-round draft pick, was the everyday shortstop for the majority of the season but spent the final few weeks unable to take a defensive position after breaking the tip of his finger when he got hit by a pitch.
The roster also included 2012 fourth-round pick Branden Kaupe, who struggled to hit consistently but registered a .358 on-base percentage by drawing 38 walks -- tied for the most bases on balls in the entire league this season.
Steven Matz showed promise as well in his first professional outings after missing two full years due to injury. The Mets' second-round pick in 2009, the left-handed Matz looked to be Kingsport's best pitcher until he was shut down again due to health concerns.
Maikis De La Cruz was named the K-Mets' 2012 Hitter of the Year prior to Tuesday's season finale. De La Cruz led the K-Met position players in total bases, with 86, and also drove in a team-high 30 RBIs.
Miller Diaz was named the K-Mets' 2012 Pitcher of the Year. Diaz got off to a rough start this season but once he switched to the starting rotation, he found his groove, lasting at least six innings in three of his final four appearances. His 3.56 ERA also was the best among the 11 Kingsport hurlers who started games in 2012.
NOTES: After several K-Mets players including Diaz and De La Cruz were promoted, it left Kingsport with just 10 position players for the season finale. That short bench forced catcher Alex Machillanda into Tuesday night's game at second base when shortstop Anthony Chavez had to leave due to some sort of injury. Kaupe, the regular second baseman, moved over to play short for the first time this season. ... Kingsport's affiliation with the Mets is the longest active partnership in the Appalachian League. This marked the 33rd consecutive season in which the Mets have played in Kingsport.