Now that the 2017 season is over, Minor League Mondays will take a look at each of the New York Mets’ minor league affiliates over the next several weeks. This series will take a look at each affiliate’s season highlights, top prospects, interesting promotions, and more. We continue our climb up the ladder today with a look at the AAA Las Vegas 51’s of the Pacific Coast League.
Minor League Mondays Affiliate Review: Las Vegas 51’s
2017 Record: 56-86, Fourth Place in PCL Pacific Southern Division
Story: After a relatively successful run under the watch of former Met Wally Backman, the Mets made a change at their top minor league affiliate. Unhappy with Backman’s failure to follow organizational directives, the Mets promoted AA manager Pedro Lopez to take over the 51’s. Lopez came aboard with a strong track record, guiding Binghamton to three winning seasons and a league championship in 2014, but his lone season in Las Vegas was a disaster. The 51’s were awful, finishing 30 games under .500 and 17 games back of first place El Paso in the PCL’s Pacific Southern Division. The poor play came in spite of the 51’s having the Mets’ two best prospects, infielders Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith, on the roster for pretty much the entire regular season. The Mets relieved Lopez of his post after the season, hiring Tony DeFrancesco away from the Houston Astros’ Triple-A affiliate to replace him.
Top Promotion: It’s almost Christmas time, and that means that a lot of people will be donning ugly sweaters for their holiday parties. The Las Vegas 51’s got in on the fun on June 24th, when they held Ugly Sweater Jersey Night at Cashman Field. The contest featured jerseys modeled after ugly sweaters, creating a fun vibe for a night of baseball in June.
SS Amed Rosario: Rosario, widely regarded as the Mets’ shortstop of the future, spent much of the season with the 51’s. The Pacific Coast League was no challenge for Rosario, who batted .328 with seven home runs, 58 RBI’s, and 19 stolen bases in 94 games for the 51’s. Rosario, who was promoted to the major leagues on August 1st, received the Sterling Award (the equivalent of a team MVP award) for Las Vegas.
1B Dominic Smith: Smith, the Mets’ first round draft pick in 2013, stayed down on the farm a bit longer than Rosario but also crushed the competition. In 114 games for Las Vegas, Smith batted .330 with 16 homes and 76 RBI’s. Smith was named the Mets’ Organizational League Player of the Year, an award given annually to the team’s top performer in the minor leagues.
3B Phillip Evans: Evans, the Mets’ 15th round pick in 2011, had a solid season for the 51’s. In 127 games for Las Vegas, Evans batted .279 with 11 homers and 56 RBI’s, a solid follow up to a 2016 season that saw him win a batting title for AA Binghamton. Evans earned a late season promotion to the Mets, picking up 10 hits in 33 at bats.
Check back next week for some bonus coverage as our Affiliate Review Series looks at the Mets’ prospects who participated in the Arizona Fall League!