Now that the 2018 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 minor league ladder today with a look at the Las Vegas 51’s of the Pacific Coast League.
Minor League Mondays Affiliate Review: Las Vegas 51’s
2018 Record: 71-69, Third Place in Pacific Coast League’s Pacific Southern Division
Story: A disappointing 2017 campaign brought some changes to the Las Vegas 51’s coaching staff. The Mets decided to hire Tony DeFrancesco out of the Houston Astros’ organization to take over their top farm team, and DeFrancesco had a challenge on his hand. The 51’s didn’t have a ton of top prospects on the team for the Mets’ final season in Las Vegas, but they still managed to post a winning record for the first time since 2015. The results weren’t good enough to earn a trip to the postseason, but the Mets did see some positive developments from their top affiliate. The two sides will part ways in 2019, with the Mets moving their top farm team to Syracuse and the 51’s signing a Player Development Contract with the Oakland A’s, ending a very awkward marriage of convenience after six years.
Top Promotion: Throughout the season, the Las Vegas 51’s made an effort to connect with Hispanic baseball fans by renaming the team Reyes des Plata for all Tuesday night home games. The 51’s changed their colors and held special events on those nights to connect with Latino fans as part of the Es Divertido Ser Un Fan initiative, which translates to “it’s fun to be a fan”. Special merchandise related to the initiative was sold at Cashman Field throughout the season.
SP Drew Gagnon: Gagnon, who signed with the Mets as a minor league free agent prior to the 2018 season, had a solid year for the 51’s. In 27 starts for Las Vegas, Gagnon went 6-6 with a 4.57 ERA in 157.2 innings pitched, including two complete games (and one shutout). Gagnon, who also compiled a 167:43 strikeout to walk ratio, even earned a promotion to the majors at the end of the season to contribute out of the Mets’ bullpen. The Mets named Gagnon their Sterling Award winner, the equivalent of a team MVP award, for Las Vegas.
1B Peter Alonso: Alonso, the Mets’ second round draft pick in 2016 out of the University of Florida, had a breakout year this season. After beginning the year with AA Binghamton, Alonso was promoted to AAA in mid-June and stayed there for the rest of the season. While playing for the 51’s, Alonso batted .260 with 21 home runs and 67 RBI’s in 67 games, putting him right in the mix for the Mets’ first base job in 2019. Alonso’s excellent overall numbers (he hit .285 with 36 home runs and 119 RBI’s on the year) earned him the Mets’ award for top hitter in the minor league system in 2018. MLB.com has Alonso rated as the Mets’ second best prospect entering the winter.
SS Luis Guillorme: Guillorme, the Mets’ 10th round draft pick in 2013 out of Coral Springs Charter in Florida, made his big league debut in 2018 but spent the majority of the campaign with Las Vegas. In 69 games for the 51’s, the slick fielding Guillorme batted .304 with three homers and 33 RBI’s in 247 at bats. Guillorme didn’t get much of a big league opportunity in 2018, but he may get another chance with a new front office in place.
Check back next week for some bonus coverage of how some of the Mets’ top prospects fared for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League!