Resurgent Flores boosts Mets' future

Infield prospect rebounds from subpar year with big season

By Robert Emrich / Special to | November 21, 2012 5:06 AM

This offseason, is honoring the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in their organization. We're taking a look at each team to determine the outstanding seasons in Minor League Baseball. Select a team from the dropdown below.

What a difference a year makes.

Though the parent club finished with a losing record for the fourth consecutive season, the Mets' Minor League affiliates flexed their muscle, combining for a .516 winning percentage that ranked ninth in baseball. None of their teams won a championship, but two reached the postseason, with Class A Advanced St. Lucie falling in the Florida State League semifinals and short-season Brooklyn bowing out in the New York-Penn League semifinals.

More importantly, a number of prospects moved closer to Citi Field. Right-hander Zack Wheeler ended the season in Triple-A Buffalo as the Mets' top prospect, while infielder Wilmer Flores wrapped up a fine season in Double-A Binghamton. Matt Harvey, an organizational All-Star in 2011, pitched well enough in Buffalo to get the call to the big leagues, where he showcased dominating stuff and posted a 2.73 ERA in 10 starts.

Mets Organization All-Stars

Catcher -- Camden Maron, Savannah (93 games): A 2009 34th-round Draft pick, Maron ranked second among South Atlantic League catchers with a .300 batting average and drew 53 walks while striking out 73 times. The Long Island native collected 25 extra-base hits while compiling an .811 OPS in his first season with the Sand Gnats.

First base -- Josh Satin, Buffalo (131 games), New York (one game): Satin continued to do what he's done throughout his Minor League career -- hit. Though his .286 average for the Bisons was a career low for the 2008 sixth-round pick, he supplemented that with a career-high 14 homers while playing three infield positions. Satin finished fourth in the International League with 77 walks and second with a .391 on-base percentage.

Second base -- Alonzo Harris, St. Lucie (116 games): The 23-year-old Harris led the organization with 40 stolen bases, a mark that was good for fourth in the Florida State League. He also established career highs with seven triples, 74 runs scored and 127 hits, batting .287 for the Mets. He ended the season on a high note, hitting .298 with six homers after the All-Star break.

Shortstop -- T.J. Rivera, Savannah (64 games), St. Lucie (66 games): Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2011, Rivera led the organization with a .320 average and earned South Atlantic League All-Star honors. The Bronx-born Rivera, who grew up a Yankees fan, did a little of everything, compiling 42 extra-base hits, driving in 66 runs and stealing 11 bases while reaching the Florida State League in his first full Minor League season.

Third base -- Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie (64 games), Binghamton (66 games): After a disappointing 2011 in which he batted .269 with nine homers, Flores rebounded nicely in 2012. The Mets' No. 3 prospect slugged 18 homers, batted .300, was named MVP at the Florida State League All-Star Game and earned a trip to the All-Star Futures Game. Still only 21 years old, he actually got better following his promotion to the Eastern League, posting an .856 OPS for the B-Mets, as opposed to a .799 mark for St. Lucie. He was named the organization's Minor League Player of the Year in early September.

Utility -- Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah (83 games), St. Lucie (42 games): Rodriguez led the organization with 24 homers and 83 RBIs, marking the third year in a row in which he's improved those totals. The native of the Dominican Republic finished with a .263 batting average and racked up 51 extra-base hits.


Cory Vaughn, St. Lucie (126 games): The son of former Major League All-Star Greg Vaughn was the only 20-20 player in the organization in 2012. He slugged 23 homers and stole 21 bases while getting caught only four times. Despite hitting .243, Vaughn managed a .351 on-base percentage, thanks to a team-high 65 walks.

Fred Lewis, Buffalo (108 games), New York (18 games): Although he did not join the Bisons until May, Lewis easily was the club's best player and was named MVP. The veteran outfielder batted .294 with 13 homers, 45 RBIs and 25 stolen bases while compiling an .862 OPS.

Matt den Dekker, Binghamton (58 games), Buffalo (77 games): Despite struggling with his batting average after a June promotion to Triple-A, den Dekker put together a solid season, slugging 17 homers and finishing second in the organization with 76 RBIs. The 2010 fifth-round pick tied for third with 21 steals and scored 83 runs. Perhaps even more impressively, den Dekker racked up 11 outfield assists.

Right-handed starting pitcher -- Zack Wheeler, Binghamton (19 games), Buffalo (six starts): The Mets got exactly what they expected from their top prospect as Wheeler notched 12 wins and struck out 148 batters over 149 innings, tops in the organization.'s No. 6 overall prospect held opponents to a .221 average and yielded only four homers all season.

Honorable mention -- Rafael Montero, Savannah (12 games), St. Lucie (eight games): Montero put a stamp on his season in back-to-back starts, fanning 14 on July 31 and taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning on Aug. 8. Overall, the 22-year-old went 11-5 with a 2.36 ERA and held foes to a .212 average.

Left-handed starting pitcher -- Darin Gorski, Binghamton (25 games): Though a 9-8 record and 4.00 ERA might not scream All-Star material, Gorski limited Eastern League opponents to a .244 average. He also ranked seventh in the league with 118 strikeouts and tied for 11th with a 1.27 WHIP. That followed a 2011 season in which he was named Florida State League Pitcher of the Year.

Relief pitcher Adam Kolarek, St. Lucie (44 games), Binghamton (six games): Kolarek distinguished himself in his time in the Florida State League, leading all relievers with 11.05 strikeouts per nine innings. Overall, he tied for second in the system with 19 saves, recording three wins and a 2.70 ERA over 63 1/3 innings between St. Lucie and Binghamton.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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