Mets honor top Minors players with Sterling Awards

Mets honor top Minors players with Sterling Awards

NEW YORK -- The Mets' 2012 Sterling Award winners were on hand Saturday at Citi Field for a pregame ceremony before New York's game against Atlanta.

New York welcomed Sterling Minor League Organizational Player of the Year, Wilmer Flores, Sterling Pitcher of the Year, Rafael Montero, and the 2012 Most Valuable Players from each of the team's eight Minor League affiliates.

Flores, the Mets' No. 4 overall prospect, combined to hit .300 with 75 RBIs in 130 games between Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton. Flores was named a Florida State League Mid-Season All-Star, and he represented the Mets at the 2012 All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City.

Flores rotated between second and third base throughout the season, though admitted that he preferred to play third. But with David Wright occupying that slot at the Major League level, he said the focus is on improving at both positions.

"For me, it doesn't matter where I'm going to play, either second or third," Flores said. "I just want to play. I want to play in the big leagues, and hopefully next year, I'll be able to play a little bit of both."

Montero, the Mets' No. 10 overall prospect, combined to win 11 games between St. Lucie and Class A Savannah, amassing 110 strikeouts over 122 innings. Montero walked just 19 batters in 2012, and he was named Florida State League Player of the Week on Aug. 13 after he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. He finished the season with a 2.36 ERA.