Mets Diamond Notes: Flores and Montero Win Players of the Year, Keith Hernandez to Shave Mustache?

By Matt Musico

The Mets released a statement yesterday that said they will be honoring both infielder Wilmer Flores and pitcher Rafael Montero on Saturday at Citi Field as the Sterling Organizational Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. Flores split time this year with Single-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton, while Montero split his season with Single-A Savannah and St. Lucie.

The 21-year-old infielder came into his own this year, as Flores settled in at third base after playing all infield positions. In 493 at-bats and 130 games between St. Lucie and Binghamton, Flores hit a combinted .300 with 18 homers and 75 RBI, while sporting a .311 average with 8 homers and 33 RBI in the 251 at-bats following his promotion. Since he seems to have found his position at third base, it makes me curious as to where they have him play if Sandy Alderson is able to sign David Wrightto a long-term extension. There could be three possible scenarios: move him to second base (where he’s played some this season), move him to the outfield, or use him as trade bait while his stock is high.

The Sterling Pitcher of the Year is another 21-year-old in Rafael Montero, as he impressed in 20 starts and 122 innings pitched this season, going 11-5 with a 2.36 ERA and 110 strikeouts between two Single-A teams. The right-handed hurler made 8 starts once he was promoted to St. Lucie, and responded by going 5-2 with a 2.13 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 50.2 innings pitched. What was most impressive was his walk total; he allowed only 11 free passes once he made the move to the next level. Sterling recipients are awarded on each Mets minor league level, and act as an MVP award. Among the handful of players being honored, Matt Harvey will be presented an award for his work in Triple-A this season, as will Zack Wheeler for what he did with Binghamton.

Yesterday was the time for Tim Byrdak to go under the knife; not only was he repairing the torn shoulder capsule in his left shoulder, but he was also having the torn meniscus in his right knee fixed up. This is coming after he had the same procedure done back in Spring Training for his left knee. It will be a long road back for the southpaw, as we’ve seen Johan Santana and Chris Young both go through it. Byrdak, who will become a free agent at the end of the season, is determined to come back and pitch in the Majors, with an early projection for him to be back around a year from now. In 56 appearances and 30.2 innings pitched, Byrdak went 2-2 with a 4.40 ERA and 34 strikeouts.

As we’ve watched Mets broadcasts throughout the season, fans have had the treat to listen to Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, and the always entertaining, Keith Hernandez. As the year has progressed, I’ve noticed that Keith’s trademark mustache has become quite gray. This was puzzling to me, especially since he used to endorse Just For Men a few years back. Well, the plot thickens, as the former first baseman told Richard Sandomir of the New York Times that he may show up to the Mets’ season finale against Miami with the area on his upper lip bare, something most (if not all of us) have never seen. If he decides to shave off his trademark look, he plans on just doing it and not making it a big deal. I hope he doesn’t shave off his trademark stache, as many Met fans feel the same way, especially after seeing the response on various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. We’ll see what Keith actually wants to do; he has heard that chicks dig the gray, so he may hold onto it.