The New York Mets today announced that first baseman Peter Alonso was named the Sterling Minor League Organizational Player of the Year and RHP Justin Dunn earned Sterling Organizational Pitcher of the Year honors.
In addition, the Mets announced the 2018 Sterling Award winners, emblematic of the Most Valuable Player for each of the organization's nine minor league affiliates.
RHP Drew Gagnon was the Sterling recipient at Las Vegas (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League; infielder Jeff McNeil was the winner at Binghamton (AA) of the Eastern League; infielder Andrés Giménez was honored at St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League; LHP David Peterson received the award at Columbia (A) of the South Atlantic League; outfielder Ross Adolph was honored at Brooklyn (A) of the New York-Penn League; infielder Luis Santana for Kingsport (R) of the Appalachian League; infielder Ronny Mauricio was selected for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Mets; catcher Andrés Regnault captured the award for the Dominican Summer League Mets I and LHP Christofer Domínguez received the award for the Dominican Summer League Mets II.
STERLING ORGANIZATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: PETER ALONSO (1B)
Obtained/Scout: Mets second-round pick (64th overall) in 2016/Jon Updike
Alonso batted .285 (136-478) with 31 doubles, one triple, 36 home runs, 119 RBI and .975 OPS over 132 minor league games combined between Binghamton and Las Vegas. His career-high 119 RBI were the most among all minor leaguers. Alonso finished the year tied for first among all minor leaguers with 36 home runs. His 31 doubles and 92 runs scored were also career-highs. He was named the MLB.com First Team Prospect of the Year. Additionally, Alonso was named to MLB's Futures Game in Washington D.C. where he hit a 415-foot home run. He ranked third in the minors in extra-base hits (68), fifth in slugging (.579) and ninth in OPS (.975). Following his promotion to Las Vegas on June 16, Alonso batted .260 (67-258) with 19 doubles, one triple, 21 home runs, 67 RBI, 50 runs scored and a .941 OPS over 67 games with the 51s. At the time of his promotion, Alonso was batting .314 (69-220) with 12 doubles, 15 home runs, 52 RBI, 42 runs scored and a 1.012 OPS over 65 games with Binghamton of the Eastern League.
STERLING ORGANIZATIONAL PITCHER OF THE YEAR: RHP JUSTIN DUNN
Obtained/Scout: Mets first-round pick (19th overall) in 2016/Michael Pesce
Dunn finished the season 8-8 with a 3.59 ERA (54 earned runs/135.1 innings) with 156 strikeouts in 24 combined minor league starts between Binghamton and St. Lucie. His 156 total strikeouts were a career-high, more than doubling his total from 2017 and tied for 17th among all minor league pitchers. Dunn was promoted to Binghamton on June 10 and finished 6-5 with a 4.22 ERA (42 earned runs/89.2 innings) with 105 strikeouts over 15 starts. Over four starts with Binghamton in June, Dunn posted a 2.77 ERA (eight earned runs/26.0 innings) with 29 strikeouts, including three starts in which he allowed one earned run or less. With St. Lucie, Dunn had a 2.36 ERA (12 earned runs/45.2 innings) with 51 strikeouts and 15 walks over nine starts. The 22-year-old Freeport, NY native allowed two or fewer earned runs in 17 of his 24 starts this year.
2018 STERLING AWARDS
LAS VEGAS (AAA) OF THE PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE: DREW GAGNON (RHP)
Obtained/Scout: Signed as a minor league free agent on December 22, 2017
Gagnon led the Pacific Coast League in strikeouts (167) and in innings pitched (157.2). He finished third among all minor leaguers with his 172 strikeouts and fourth with 163.2 innings. He finished the season 6-6 with a 4.57 ERA (80 earned runs/157.2 innings) over 27 starts with Las Vegas. Gagnon made his major league debut on August 7 vs. the Phillies and tossed 4.2 innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits with three strikeouts. The righty earned his first major league win on September 9 vs. Philadelphia, pitching 2.0 scoreless and hitless innings. He started the season with Double-A Binghamton, but was promoted after pitching 6.0 shutout innings, allowing just two hits with five strikeouts in his first and only start with the team. He was named the PCL Pitcher of the Week for the week of August 6-12 after pitching 13.0 innings and allowing three earned runs for a 2.08 ERA with 19 strikeouts over two starts. The 28-year-old also owned a four-game winning streak from July 26-August 12 in which he pitched 24.2 innings and allowed nine earned runs (3.28 ERA) with 33 strikeouts.
BINGHAMTON (AA) OF THE EASTERN LEAGUE: JEFF McNEIL (INF)
Obtained/Scout: Mets 12th-round pick in 2013/Drew Toussaint
McNeil finished with a .342 batting average (116-339), a 1.028 OPS, 26 doubles, five triples, 19 home runs and 71 RBI over a combined 88 games split between Binghamton and Las Vegas before getting promoted to the major leagues on July 24. He established career-highs with 19 home runs, 209 total bases, a .342 batting average, .617 slugging percentage and 1.028 OPS. He was named the MLB.com First Team Prospect of the Year. McNeil owned a 17-game hitting streak from April 30-May 18 during which he batted 28-68 (4.12) with seven doubles, a triple, seven home runs and 21 RBI. Prior to his promotion to Triple-A on June 16, McNeil was batting .327 (70-214) with 16 doubles, 14 home runs and 43 RBI in 57 games with Binghamton. At the time of his first promotion to Las Vegas, the 26-year old was ranked among the EL leaders in slugging (.626, second), OPS (1.029, second) and home runs (14, tied for fourth). McNeil hit .368 (46-125) with 10 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 28 RBI over 31 games with the 51s. At the time of his promotion to New York, his 1.028 OPS was fifth-highest in the minors, .617 slugging percentage was third-highest and 71 RBI was 15th. To date, McNeil is batting .331 (50-151) with eight doubles, four triples, two home runs, 14 RBI and four stolen bases over 45 games with the New York Mets.
ST. LUCIE (A) OF THE FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE: ANDRÉS GIMÉNEZ (INF)
Obtained/Scout: Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2015/Hector Rincones and Robert Espejo
Giménez combined to hit .281 (125-445) with 29 doubles, five triples, six homers, 46 RBI, 62 runs scored and 38 stolen bases in 122 games between St. Lucie and Binghamton. The 19-year-old was named to the 2018 Futures Game World Team roster in Washington D.C. After being promoted to Binghamton on July 23, Giménez batted .277 (38-137) with nine doubles, 16 RBI and 10 stolen bases over 37 games with the Rumble Ponies. Giménez was one of just four teenagers to play in the Eastern League this season. At the time of his promotion to Double-A, Giménez led the Florida State with 28 stolen bases and finished third in the league. With St. Lucie, Giménez batted .282 (87-308) with 20 doubles, four triples, six home runs and 30 RBI. The infielder was named to the FSL Postseason All-Star team and was ranked by Baseball America as the Mets #1 prospect.
COLUMBIA (A) OF THE SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE: DAVID PETERSON (LHP)
Obtained/Scout: Mets first-round pick (20th overall) in 2017/Jim Reeves
Peterson owned a 1.82 ERA (12 earned runs/59.1 innings) with 57 strikeouts and a .214 opponents' batting average in nine starts with Columbia. He finished with a 3.16 ERA (45 earned runs/128.0 innings) with 115 strikeouts in 22 combined starts between Columbia and St. Lucie. He was named a mid-season All-Star for Columbia and was then promoted to St. Lucie. At the time of his promotion, Peterson was fifth in the South Atlantic League in ERA (1.82) and WHIP (0.96). Peterson made 13 starts with St. Lucie and went 6-6 with a 4.33 ERA (33 earned runs/68.2 innings) and 58 strikeouts. The 23-year-old did not allow an earned run over his final four starts (23.0) innings. He was named the FSL Pitcher of the Week for the final week of the season, starting one game and pitching 5.0 scoreless innings and allowed two hits with nine strikeouts. The Mets first-round pick from Oregon spent his first full season in the minors.
BROOKYLN (A) OF THE NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE: ROSS ADOLPH (OF)
Obtained/Scout: Mets 12th-round pick in 2018/Chris Hervey
Adolph was named a New York Penn League Mid-Season All-Star and the 2018 All-Star Game MVP after he went 2-3 with a triple and a home run in the game. He finished his first professional season with a .276 batting average (64-232), nine doubles, 12 triples, seven home runs and 35 RBI over 61 games with the Cyclones. Adolph set a franchise record and led the New York-Penn League with 12 doubles and was third in the NYPL with a .857 OPS, third in slugging (.509), tied for third with 47 runs scored, tied for eighth with 14 stolen bases and 11th with 35 RBI. The 21-year old topped the Cyclones in home runs, RBI, total bases (118) and stolen bases (14).
KINGSPORT (R) OF THE APPLACHIAN LEAGUE: LUIS SANTANA (INF)
Obtained/Scout: Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2016/Daurys Nin
Santana batted .348 (71-204) with 13 doubles, four home runs, 35 RBI, 34 runs scored and an .917 OPS in 53 games for Kingsport. The 19-year-old was named to the 2018 Post-Season Appalachian League All-Star team and finished the year among the Appalachian League leaders in average (.348, fifth), hits (71, fifth), on-base percentage (.446, third), OPS (917, seventh) and slugging percentage (.471, 11th).
GULF COAST LEAGUE (R): RONNY MAURICIO (INF)
Obtained/Scout: Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2017/Marciano Alvarez
Mauricio played 49 games with the GCL Mets before being promoted to Kingsport on August 20. He batted .279 (55-197) with 13 doubles, three triples, three homers, 31 RBI, 26 runs scored. The 17-year-old opened the season with a 20-game hitting streak during which he batted .354 (29-82) with six doubles, two triples, two home runs and 19 RBI with a .549 slugging percentage from June 18-July 12. He finished his first professional season among GCL leaders in RBI (31, fourth), doubles (13, tied for sixth) and total bases (83, fifth). He had three doubles and four RBI in eight games with Kingsport.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE #1 (R): ANDRÉS REGNAULT (C)
Obtained/Scout: Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2015/Hector Rincones and Ismael Perez
In 2018, Regnault set career-highs in batting average (.333), slugging percentage (.573), RBI (45), home runs (nine) and doubles (17). Played 53 games with the DSL Mets 1, going 64-192 with a .993 OPS. The 19-year-old was named a Mid-Season Dominican Summer League All-Star and was batting .342 (38-111) with 10 doubles and six home runs at the time of the distinction. Regnault finished tied for fifth among all DSL players with nine home runs, tied for fourth with 17 doubles and finished seventh in the league with 45 RBI.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE #2 (R): CHRISTOFER DOMÍNGUEZ (LHP)
Obtained/Scout: Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2016/Anderson Taveras
Domínguez finished the season 7-1 and established a career-best 1.84 ERA (12 earned runs/58.2 innings) and a career-high 52 strikeouts over 13 games (10 starts) with DSL Mets 1, DSL Mets 2 and GCL Mets. His 1.36 ERA was second among DSL Mets pitchers and 11th among all DSL pitchers. Had a 1.36 ERA (eight earned runs/53.0 innings) in the DSL. Over nine starts with the DSL Mets #2, Domínguez owned a 1.50 ERA (eight earned runs/48.0 innings) with 43 strikeouts before being transferred to DSL Mets #1 on August 3. Domínguez did not allow an earned run in five of his nine starts with the DSL Mets 2.
COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: MARCEL RENTERIA (RHP)
Obtained/Scout: Mets sixth-round selection in 2017/Kevin Roberson
Throughout Columbia's season, Renteria often got involved with the Fireflies and surrounding communities by catching ceremonial first pitches and signing autographs for fans. The 23-year-old was an active participant in scrimmages with two local special needs athletic teams. Renteria also participated in a fundraiser for the Friends of the Riverbanks Zoo's non-profit group and spent an afternoon learning about what the zoo does for the community. The bilingual pitcher led a focus group of Fireflies players to help develop logos and color schemes for the team's participation in Minor League Baseball's "Copa de la Diversión," or "Fun Cup." The Copa is a season-long event series specifically designed to embrace the culture and values that resonate most with participating teams' local U.S. Hispanic/Latino communities.