After a tragic loss for the Brooklyn Cyclones on Wednesday night (knocking them out of the playoffs), the 2010 Mets minor league season came to an abrupt conclusion. Each team saw both ups and downs, while some players showed movement within the organization. With a New York Mets team now looking towards the future, prospect development has been placed on the front burner. I have evaluated each squad from Triple-A Buffalo all the way down to Rookie League Kingsport below.

OF Cory Vaughn

Triple-A Buffalo Bisons (76-68):

Pitching: C+

Offense: B+

Overall Grade: B

My Thoughts: The only reasons that pitching was given a grade as high as C+ was due to R.A. Dickey’s success earlier in the season and a full season out of Dillon Gee (13-8 4.96 ERA). The offense was the best part of the team. Justin Turner (.316 12 HRs 43 RBIs) and Russ Adams (.264 16 HRs 58 RBIs) put up big numbers, while youngsters like Josh Thole (.267 2 HRs 17 RBIs), Ruben Tejada (.280 1 HR 16 RBIs), and Lucas Duda (.314 17 HRs 53 RBIs) played well enough to earn a ticket to the big leagues. A team that had almost no talent in 2009–translated into an awful 56-87 record–dramatically improved this season.

Double-A Binghamton (66-76):

Pitching: D

Offense: A-

Overall Grade: B-

My Thoughts: It’s a harsh grade on pitching, but definitely an appropriate one. The bright spot on the mound was Jenrry Mejia (2-0 1.32 ERA), who made only six starts for the team. The team ERA was 4.99, good for second worst in the Eastern League, and ironically the same number as their 2009 season. The offense was more commendable though, as Sean Ratliff (.317 16 HRs 50 RBIs), Nick Evans (.294 17 HRs 55 RBIs), Zach Lutz (.289 17 HRs 42 RBIs), and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.289 16 HRs 60 RBIs) provided nice power in the middle of the order. I based my overall grade on player improvement, which was apparent among several players.

Single-A St. Lucie (29-41):

Pitching: C

Offense: C+

Overall Grade: C+

My Thoughts: So many talented arms pitched for the team, yet they were still last in ERA and first in walks allowed. The main issue for them was maintaining control of the strike zone. Wilmer Flores (.300 4 HRs 40 RBIs) and Stefan Welch (.256 8 HRs 68 RBIs) were the only notables of the offense. Even though the pitching couldn’t find any luck, seeing many hitters advance within the organization gives the team a respectable overall grade.

Single-A Savannah (33-36):

Pitching: A-

Offense: B

Overall Grade: B+

My Thoughts: This was the easiest to grade. Savannah’s pitching was the key to their success in the first half of the season. A rotation including Mark Cohoon, James Fuller, Brandon Moore, Armando Rodriguez contributed to a team ERA of 3.08. Unfortunately success leads to promotions, and by the start of the second half, most of those pitchers had moved up in the organization. The offense consistently had a hit-and-run game plan. Players like Juan Lagares (.300 5 HRs 39 RBIs 18 SBs), Cesar Puello (.292 1 HR 34 RBIs 45 SBs), and Pedro Zapata (.288 2 HRs 45 RBIs 27 SBs) did anything they could to get on, and used their speed on the basepaths to produce runs. Not one player exceeded seven home runs. Savannah is given such a high grade, because the team’s approach to the game perfectly mirrors what the New York Mets should build their team around–speed, defense, and pitching.

Class A Short Season Brooklyn (51-24):

Pitching: A-

Offense: A

Overall Grade: A-

My Thoughts: Either this is a very talented bunch of players or Wally Backman deserves a lot of credit. The team chemistry shown throughout the season was a major reason for their success. Yohan Almonte (8-4 1.91 ERA)and Angel Cuan (5-1 2.03 ERA) anchored a pitching staff that combined for a 28-10 record. Darrell Ceciliani (.351 2 HRs 35 RBIs) and Cory Vaughn (.307 14 HRs 56 RBIs) were a dynamic duo at the top of the lineup, developing as big time prospects this year. The Cyclones had an incredible 30-8 home record, hit more home runs than any other team in the league, and placed second in runs scored. Although they were knocked out of the playoffs, they had a historic season with great player development.

Rookie League Kingsport (28-39):

Pitching: C-

Offense: B-

Overall Grade: C

My Thoughts: All the good prospects were placed at Brooklyn this year, except for Aderlin Rodriguez (.312 13 HRs 48 RBIs). The 18-year old third baseman was later sent to Savannah at the end of August. I also like Javier Rodriguez (.319 4 HRs 24 RBIs) and Albert Cordero (.277 8 HRs 32 RBIs) to emerge into top prospect territory next season. None of the pitchers, besides Gonzalez Germen (2-5 3.69 ERA), showed quality stuff on the mound. The lack of talent and poor record accounts for the low grade.

So this is my report card for the entire minor league system, and I will soon post another article giving out awards to the major prospects in 2010.