Mancuso: Sterling Award Winners Shine For Mets

Peter Alonso is that known prospect for the Mets. He had that All-Star season with Binghamton Double-A and Triple-A Las Vegas that earned the Sterling Minor League Player of the Year Award with 36 home runs and 119 RBI.

And for that, Alonso was not added to the 40-man roster as part of the September additions. A disappointment not only to him but to Mets fans who wanted to see his bat and glove.  He got his opportunity to visit Citi Field Wednesday evening and waited over five hours of a rain delay along with whoever was left in the stands as the Mets beat the Marlins 13-0.

Alonso will get some rest then head to the Arizona Fall League. The preparation for the Mets’ second rank prospect has an agenda to be in the mix at Citi Field next year.

“Citi Field is a cathedral,” he said.  And it can be next season if the Mets believe in his talents and glove at first base, a position that also could be in the mix for Dominic Smith or more likely Jay Bruce.

Regardless, the prospects and Sterling Award winners believe they will be impact players for the Mets in the years to come. It could be a few years but various scouting reports say that the Mets did well in obtaining prospects the past two years. Alonso is one of them, so is Justin Dunn their first round draft pick of 2016 from Long Island with a lively right arm.

Dunn finished the season 8-8 with a 3.59 ERA and 156 strikeouts between Binghamton and St. Lucie.

“Last year, I kind of put so much pressure on myself to be a complete pitcher that I got away from who I was,” he said.” So I went back to work and started to understand my body again and how I was supposed to move as a pitcher and being able to feel the positions I needed to be in.”

In other words, Dunn improved and the ERA showed.  He could be a part of the Mets plans and real soon. He and these other prospects got a taste of the Mets and Citi Field. Dunn took part in pitching to David Wright in a simulated game on Tuesday.

“ Growing up two people I wanted to meet, David Wright and Derek Jeter,” he said. Wright told him that he had good stuff, more importantly a longtime NL scout observed Dunn and concurred that the fastball had that velocity to take care of business.

And this all adds up to good news for the Mets, and Alonso will get his opportunity to shine when pitchers and catchers report in February.  One knock on the Mets, and under the Sandy Alderson regime as GM, was the lack of picking them right and signing the proper prospects,

Well, true to an extent as not all have worked to the advantage of the Mets, and when you compete with the cross-town Yankees and their highly touted prospects, of course there is a disadvantage.

It can be an advantage when they take the field, and patience is also important. The past few months, Amed Rosario has developed and getting better as a lead off hitter. Dominic Smith during this September month of determining something for next year, and in the past week is starting to show why he was a past Sterling Award winner and prospect that was expected to be.

Smith hit a two-run homer to right-center in the 7-run sixth inning Wednesday night. It was his fourth and third start with the home run ball.

David Peterson, Class A Columbia player of the Year, a first round 2017 draft pick, also with St Lucie had a combined 2.16 ERA.with Columbia. He said getting up the ladder is a priority and may have that chance at Binghamton next the Mets organizational leaders are monitoring his conditioning and ability to throw secondary pitches.

With Jeff McNeil in position to handle second next year, the Mets are aware what they have. He was the Sterling winner at Binghamton. Already, McNeil since his July 24th debut has reached base safely 22 consecutive starts  the longest for a Mets player this season.

Wednesday night it was McNeil again. Going 3-for-5 and driving in two runs, and using that speed to get his fifth triple, showing more consistency as the number two hitter after Amed Rosario.

The Sterling Award recipients  from nine of the Mets minor league affiliates get to meet the media and learn a bit about handling the media.  It’s something that the Mets do well and presenting their future does a little for everyone.

“Take what I done as a positive and keep going,” Andres Gimenez of Venezuela said with assistance from a translator. The Class A  St. Lucie Player of The Year, out of the Florida State League, 19-years of age realizes there is time.

He said.” I met Jose Reyes and Rosario. Jose, I always followed and I will take some time and get some needed rest. I feel there is a future here for me to play everyday.”  He set career highs in bating (.333), slugging (.573), RBI (45), home runs with nine and in doubles.

It may take time but the Mets are in the right direction. But all of this next year will be another process when a new GM is appointed and that is the first step.

Comment: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso


About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

Get connected with us on Social Media