Rosario, Nimmo lead Mets in Minor Leagues

Pair named 2016 Co-Players of the Year, lefty Conlon dubbed top arm

The 2016 Mets Sterling Award winners show off their new awards together at Citi Field on Monday. (New York Mets)

By Alex Kraft / | September 19, 2016 10:01 PM

Amed Rosario and Brandon Nimmo entered 2016 with something to prove. Both did much more than that.

The Mets named Rosario and Nimmo -- ranked No. 1 and 5 respectively among their Top 30 prospects -- Sterling Minor League Organizational Co-Players of the Year. Class A left-hander P.J. Conlon, New York's No. 26 prospect, garnered Pitcher of the Year honors.

Rosario entered the season after struggling at Class A Advanced St. Lucie during the 2015 season, when he hit .257/.307/.335 without a home run in 103 Florida State League games. The 2013 international free agent from the Dominican Republic turned things around in 2016, slashing .309/.359/.442 in 66 games with the Mets before improving to .341/.392/.481 in 54 games with Double-A Binghamton.

The 20-year-old's offensive breakthrough allowed him to jump from No. 82 to No. 12 among's Top 100 overall prospects.

"It was an excellent year," Rosario told "I got to do a lot of development, so just based off that, I would call it an excellent year."

Nimmo also entered the season coming off a down year in 2015. The 2011 first-round pick battled injuries and hit .269 with five homers and 26 RBIs in 104 games across three levels. He bounced back with Triple-A Las Vegas in 2016, swatting a career-high 11 homers and leading the Pacific Coast League with a .423 on-base percentage en route to his first big league promotion on June 25.

In his first full season after being taken in the 13th round of the 2015 Draft, Conlon split the year between Class A Columbia and St. Lucie and dazzled at both stops. The 22-year-old finished 12-2 and led all full-season Minor Leaguers with a 1.65 ERA over 142 innings across the two levels.

Ranked second in the organization, Dominic Smith split Binghamton's Most Valuable Player award with Eastern League batting champion Phillip Evans. Smith finished the Eastern League season third behind Reading's Dylan Cozens and Rhys Hoskins for the circuit lead in RBIs with 91, while establishing a career high with 14 homers over 130 games.

"I really improved on my year and finished how I wanted to finish," Smith told "I helped my team win a bunch of games and just played hard. I feel like I took strides in the second half to do that."

Utilityman T.J. Rivera, the club's No. 30 prospect, earned MVP honors for Las Vegas after his .353 batting average clipped Nimmo by one point for the PCL batting title.

No. 19 Mets prospect Tomas Nido compiled a career-best .320/.357/.459 line in 90 FSL games en route to taking St. Lucie's award.

New York's No. 24 prospect David Thompson finished the year with St. Lucie, but he garnered MVP for Columbia after batting .294 with 22 doubles and 58 RBIs in 61 games with the Fireflies.

Sixth-ranked Mets prospect and 2015 second-round pick Desmond Lindsay claimed the honor for Class A Short Season Brooklyn, slashing .297/.418/..450 in 32 games with the Cyclones. The 19-year-old from Bradenton, Florida tied a team-record by driving in seven runs in a game against West Virginia on Aug. 12.

Mets' No. 8 prospect Thomas Szapucki yielded five runs -- two earned -- over 29 frames in five starts for Rookie-level Kingsport to nab the award at New York's Appalachian League affiliate. He struck out 47 while walking nine before being promoted to Brooklyn for his final four starts.

Carlos Sanchez was named MVP of the Mets' Gulf Coast League affiliate, while Raul Beracierta and Andres Gimenez shared the franchise's Dominican Summer League kudos.

Alex Kraft is a contributor to Follow and chat with him on Twitter @Alex_Kraft21. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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