Mets Minor League Report: From Minaya to Alderson

Apr 8, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson during batting practice before a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson during batting practice before a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

The Mets minor league system under Sandy Alderson has come a long way since the routine losing seasons under former general manager Omar Minaya.

Since the Mets are still relatively fresh from participating in the annual June amateur draft, I’ll pick up this story in 2009 when Omar Minaya was serving his fifth season as general manager.   Without a #1 pick in that year’s draft, Omar selected LHP Steven Matz in the second round.  In his next and final season at the helm, Minaya selected Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom in the 2010 draft.

Thank goodness for that…

The Mets greater minor league operation, however, had become a major point of contention by 2010 among both the media and fans.  And if you recall, the Buffalo Bisons grew quite boisterous in their displeasure with Omar Minaya’s regime (and again with Sandy Alderson for that matter).

Affiliates of Reference:

  • (A-) Brooklyn Cyclones
  • (A) Savannah Sand Gnats/Columbia Fireflies
  • (A+) Port St. Lucie Mets
  • (AA) Binghamton Mets
  • (AAA) Norfolk Tides/New Orleans Zephyrs/Buffalo Bisons/Las Vegas 51s

In 2009, the organization combined to post an overall 316-378 record, or put another way, they collectively lost 55.5 percent of their games.  Brooklyn was the lone affiliate to post a winning record.

The collective record improved only somewhat in 2010, but at least they played above .500 with a 358-347 record.  This time three of six affiliates (Brooklyn, Savannah, Buffalo) posted winning seasons.

In both 2009 and 2010, the Brooklyn Cyclones were the lone Mets affiliate to participate in post-season play.

Looking back over net sum of Omar’s six-year draft record, his greater pool of selections proved largely inconsequential.  Even among the more familiar players drafted between 2005 and 2008 – Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell, Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, Ike Davis, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Eric Campbell, Josh Satin, Matt den Dekker, Collin McHugh, et al – only Duda and Campbell remain.  Don’t get me wrong.  What Daniel Murphy accomplished during last year’s post-season was far from inconsequential, but he was nevertheless treated as an afterthought by this regime.

Enter Sandy Alderson.

Quite understandably, there was no feasible way for him to transform an entire minor league operation in just two years, and the organization’s 2011 and 2012 overall records reflected that.

Combined Organization Winning Percentages:

  • 2005) .480
  • 2006) .478
  • 2007) .468
  • 2008) .477
  • 2009) .455
  • 2010) .507
  • 2011) .512
  • 2012) .508
  • 2013) .564
  • 2014) .569
  • 2015) .538

In 2011, Sandy Alderson’s first year at the helm, the six affiliates improved slightly to post a combined 361-344 record.  Only Binghamton and Buffalo turned in losing seasons.  In the post-season, Savannah lost in the South Atlantic League finals, as did Port St. Lucie in the Florida State League finals.

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The system took a collective half-step backward in 2012 with a 355-343 record.  Three affiliates finished above .500, while three did not.  Only Brooklyn and PSL qualified for the playoffs.

In 2013, all six affiliates posted winning records, combining for a handsome 393-303 mark.  Four teams qualified for the playoffs, while the Savannah Sand Gnats won the Sally League championship.

After putting up with Buffalo’s continued sniveling through 2012, Alderson signed a player development agreement in 2013 with Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League – his and Paul DePodesta’s former stomping grounds.  The mutual PDA is up for reconsideration again this upcoming September.  To date, the relationship has been amicable, while the feared logistical issues associated with having a triple-A affiliate two time zones away never materialized.

In 2014, the organization kicked it up another notch with a stellar 401-303 overall record, for a regime high .569 win percentage.  Kingsport reported in at .500 with a 34-34 record, but Las Vegas registered their second straight 81 win season, and Binghamton won the Eastern League championship.

The organization tailed off in 2015, combining for 379-325 record.  Three teams participated in post-season play.  It was also the Savannah Sand Gnats’ last season playing at historic Grayson Stadium as an affiliate of the Mets.  The team relocated, and now operates as the Columbia Fireflies.

There’s no denying during 2006 through 2008 the New York Mets were a highly competitive team. However, the minor league operation suffered dual consequences as a result.   Numerous free agent signings through the years caused the Mets to forfeit draft picks, while their success in the standings effectively pushed them further down the amateur draft order.

  • During Omar Minaya’s six seasons as general manager, the various affiliated members under him posted a combined 2,017-2,190 record, for an overall .479 win percentage.
  • In Sandy Alderson’s first five seasons as general manager, the organization posted a combined 1,889-1,618 record, for an overall .538 win percentage.

Here are the system’s 2016 respective records as of close of business, Wednesday, June 15:

  • (A-) Brooklyn  n/a
  • (A) Columbia  34-32
  • (A+) Port St. Lucie  33-31
  • (AA) Binghamton  27-36
  • (AAA) Las Vegas  33-31
  • Total: 127-130  .494 win percentage

The farm’s dip in win percentage this season and last could partly be attributable to a combination of Mets call-ups and outgoing prospects transacted during Sandy Alderson’s efforts towards capturing, and now defending the National League pennant.

Next: Mets fans heartbroken; RA's thoughts on David Wright

The Brooklyn Cyclones: Year Sixteen

Since Brooklyn began play in 2001, they’ve consistently been a cherry on top of the organization’s overall record.  In other words, they’ve done a lot of winning through the years for both Omar Minaya and Sandy Alderson.  The Cyclones qualified for the playoffs in nine of their first 12 years of existence, and since 2009, lead the system with four appearances.

In 2015, however, Brooklyn failed to qualify for a third straight post-season, and moreover suffered through their first ever losing season.  Spoiled fans like myself are looking forward to getting that turned around with haste.

Therefore, when the Brooklyn Cyclones open their 2016 season Friday evening in Coney Island against their Richmond County rivals, the Staten Island Yankees, I’ll be there, root-root-rooting for the Borough’s Baby Bums, like always.

Let’s go Cyclones!

Let’s Go Mets!!