The New York Mets today announced that Wilmer Flores was named the Sterling Minor League Organizational Player of the Year, while righthanded pitcher Rafael Montero earned Sterling Pitcher of the Year honors. Flores played for St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League and Binghamton (AA) of the Eastern League while Montero pitched for Savannah (A) of the South Atlantic League and St. Lucie.
In addition, the Mets announced the 2012 Sterling Awards, emblematic of the Most Valuable Player for each of their nine affiliates.
Righthanded pitcher Matt Harvey was the Sterling Award recipient at Buffalo (AAA) of the International League; righthanded pitcher Zack Wheeler received the award for Binghamton (AA) of the Eastern League; outfielder Alonzo Harris was honored at St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League; righthanded pitcher Michael Fulmer captured the award for Savannah (A) of the South Atlantic League; righthanded pitcher Hansel Robles received the honor at Brooklyn (A) of the New York-Penn League; righthanded pitcher Miller Diaz was the recipient for Kingsport (R) of the Appalachian League; righthanded pitcher Yoryi Nuez captured the award for the Dominican Summer League Mets I; and outfielder Vicente Lupo received the award for the Dominican Summer League Mets II.
STERLING ORGANIZATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: WILMER FLORES (INF)
Height: 6-3 Weight: 190 Bats: Right Throws: Right Born: 8/06/91 Resides: Valencia, VZ Obtained: Non-drafted free agent (8/07) Signing Scout: Sandy Johnson, Ismael Cruz and Robert Alfonzo
Flores combined to hit .300 (148-493) with 68 runs scored, 30 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs and 75 RBI in 130 games between St. Lucie and Binghamton. He finished the year with a .349 on-base percentage and a .479 slugging percentage. Flores, 21, was named a Florida State League Mid-Season All-Star and selected to the 2012 All-Star Futures Game, the second Futures game he has attended representing the Mets (the first was in 2009).
STERLING ORGANIZATIONAL PITCHER OF THE YEAR: RAFAEL MONTERO (RHP)
Height: 6-0 Weight: 170 Bats: Right Throws: Right Born: 10/17/90 Resides: Santo Domingo, DR Obtained: Non-drafted free agent (1/11) Signing Scouts: Rafael Perez, Ismael Cruz and Gerardo Cabrera
Montero combined to win 11 games and lose five during stints with St. Lucie and Savannah this season, amassing 110 strikeouts in 122 innings pitched. Rafael pitched at least six innings in 14 of his 20 starts in 2012. Rafael walked a total of 19 batters, or four percent of the batters he faced. He was named the Florida State League Player of the Week on August 13, after he took a no-hitter into the 8th inning while striking out five and walking three against the Palm Beach Cardinals. Between both levels, Rafael finished the season with a 2.36 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. He was fourth in the organization in ERA and third in wins.
2012 STERLING AWARD WINNERS
BUFFALO (AAA) OF THE INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE: MATT HARVEY (RHP)
Height: 6-4 Weight: 225 Bats: Right Throws: Right Born: 3/27/89 Resides: Mystic, CT Obtained: Mets first round pick in 2010 Signing Scout: Marlin McPhail
Harvey was third in the International League in strikeouts (112) before joining the Mets. The 23-year old was named an International League Mid-Season All-Star. The 6-4, 225-pound pitcher held the opposition to a .233 batting average in 110.0 innings pitched before joining the major league club on July 24. With the Mets this season, Harvey is 3-4 with a 3.04 ERA (16 earned runs/47.1 innings). In his major league debut on July 26 at Arizona, Harvey struck out 11 batters, a new franchise record for the most strikeouts in a game by a Mets pitcher in his first big-league start.
BINGHAMTON (AA) EASTERN LEAGUE: ZACK WHEELER (RHP)
Height: 6-4 Weight: 185 Bats: Right Throws: Right Born: 5/30/90 Resides: Dallas, GA Obtained: Acquired from San Francisco in exchange for Carlos Beltran (7/11) Signing Scout: Sean O’Connor
Wheeler finished the season tied for eighth in the Eastern League in wins (10) and strikeouts (117). He ranked ninth in the league with a 3.26 ERA (42 earned runs/116 innings). The 21-year old was named an Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star and selected to the 2012 All-Star Futures Game. He was promoted to Buffalo (AAA) of the International League where he was 2-2 with a 3.27 ERA (12 earned runs/33.0 innings) and 31 strikeouts. Wheeler led all Mets minor leaguers with 148 strikeouts and tied for the most wins (12).
ST. LUCIE (A) FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE: ALONZO HARRIS (OF)
Height: 5-11 Weight: 165 Bats: Right Throws: Right Born: 1/16/89 Resides: McComb, MS Obtained: Mets’ 39th round pick in 2007 Signing Scout: Benny Latino
Harris ended the season ranked third in the Florida State League with 40 stolen bases and tied for seventh in the league with seven triples. The 23-year-old finished the year hitting .287 with eight home runs and 42 RBI. Harris’ 127 hits were the 10th most in the Florida State League this season. During the second half of the year, he hit .306 with 77 hits, five home runs and 24 RBI.
SAVANNAH (A) SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE: MICHAEL FULMER (RHP)
Height: 6-3 Weight: 200 Bats: Right Throws: Right Born: 3/15/93 Resides: Oklahoma City, OK Obtained: Mets’ first round supplemental pick in 2011 Signing Scout: Steve Gossett
Fulmer went 7-6 with a 2.74 ERA in 21 starts for Savannah. In 108.1 innings, he allowed 92 hits, 37 runs, 33 earned, with 38 walks and 101 strikeouts. The 44th overall selection in the 2011 draft had a .227 batting average against and pitched one complete game. His 2.74 ERA was the third-best in the South Atlantic League. At the age of 19, Fulmer is one of only 53 players under the age of 20 in the league.
BROOKLYN (A) NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE: HANSEL ROBLES (RHP)
Height: 5-11 Weight: 185 Bats: Right Throws: Right Born: 8/13/90 Resides: Bonao, DR Obtained: Non-drafted free agent (8/08) Signing Scouts: Ramon Pena, Ismael Cruz and Marciano Alvarez
During the regular season, the righthander led the New York-Penn League with a 1.11 ERA (nine earned runs/72.2 innings) and ranked fifth in the league with 66 strikeouts. Robles went 6-1 in 12 starts with the Cyclones this season. The 5-11, 185 pounder did not allow an earned run in 36.0 innings, a streak that dates to July 28. Roble was named the New York–Penn league pitcher of the week on August 13. Robles tossed a complete-game four-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts in the opening game of the Cyclones best-of-three playoff series against the Hudson Valley Renegades on September 7, extending his scoreless inning streak to 45.0.
KINGSPORT (R) APPALACHIAN LEAGUE: MILLER DIAZ (RHP)
Height: 6-1 Weight: 209 Bats: Right Throws: Right Born: 6/22/92 Resides: Caracas, VZ Obtained: Non-drafted free agent (2/09) Signing Scouts: Ramon Pena, Ismael Cruz and Marciano Alvarez
A versatile pitcher with the ability to dominate as a starter and out of the bullpen, Diaz finished the Appalachian League season with a 2-1 record and a 3.56 ERA in 11 games, five starts. He had 45 strikeouts and 18 walks in 43 innings, while maintaining a 1.67 groundball to flyball ratio and a 1.26 WHIP. After the Appalachian League hit just .220 against him, he was promoted to Savannah for one start and struck out eight while walking just one in 4.2 innings.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE 1 (R): YORYI NUEZ (RHP)
Height: 6-1 Weight: 153 Bats: Right Throws: Right Born: 2/13/93 Resides: Santo Domingo, DR Obtained: Non-drafted free agent (8/09) Signing Scouts: Ramon Pena, Ismael Cruz, Sandy Rosario and Modesto Abreu
The 19-year-old righthanded pitcher went 3-3 with a 2.47 ERA in the Dominican Summer League this year, holding hitters to a .214 batting average with a hard fastball. Nuez finished the season with 51 strikeouts, 20 walks, and a 1.08 WHIP in 65.2 innings.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE 2 (R): VICENTE LUPO (OF)
Height: 6-0 Weight: 180 Bats: Right Throws: Right Born: 11/26/93 Resides: Estado Lara, VZ Obtained: Non-drafted free agent (7/10) Signing Scouts: Rafael Perez, Ismael Cruz, Robert Alfonso and Hector Rincones
Lupo hit .343 (70-204) and had more walks (46) than strikeouts (45) in 65 games for the DSL Mets 2. This helped him finished with a .500 on-base percentage, the highest in the history of the Dominican Summer League. The 18-year-old finished with 10 home runs, one behind the league lead. Lupo led the DSL Mets II to a 44-26 record and a Boca Chica North Division crown.