Each year, the New York Mets award players at each level of their farm system with the Sterling Award -- emblematic of the Most Valuable Player at each affiliate level. The team also recognizes the organizational pitcher(s) and player(s) of the year.
The 2008 Sterling Award winners have been announced, and there are some familiar names to Cyclones fans scattered throughout.
Brooklyn's 2008 winner is Brad Holt, who turned in a dominant professional debut after being selected by the Mets with the 33rd overall pick of the 2008 June draft. Holt led the New York-Penn League in ERA (1.87) and strikeouts (96), while going 5-3 in 14 games. Holt set a new Cyclones franchise record for strikeouts, fanning 10.7 batters per nine innings. Click here for more on Brad Holt's 2008 season with the Cyclones.
Four other players with Cyclones connections were also honored with Sterling Awards: Nick Evans, Dan Murphy, Dillon Gee, and Wilmer Flores.
Evans played for the Cyclones in 2005, and went on this year to make a splash in the Mets outfield, spending time in a platoon with Murphy, who played for Brooklyn in 2006 and rehabbed again with the Cyclones this summer. Gee was one of Brooklyn's aces in 2007, leading the team to the playoffs before starring for Binghamton this year (Click here for more on Gee). Flores had an outstanding season at Kingsport this summer, and then reported to Brooklyn, where the 17-year-old became the youngest player ever to play for the Cyclones.
(pictured, l-r, by George Napolitano: Nick Evans, Jon Niese, Dan Murphy, Mike Carp, Mets Manager Jerry Manuel, Dillon Gee, Brad Holt, Wilmer Flores)
Below is a complete list of the 2008 winners:
2008 STERLING AWARD WINNERS:
- Organizational Players of the Year – Daniel Murphy & Nick Evans
- Organizational Pitcher of the Year – Jon Niese
- New Orleans (AAA) – Brian Stokes
- Binghamton (AA) – Mike Carp
- St. Lucie (A) – Dillon Gee
- Savannah (A) – Gregory Veloz
- Brooklyn (A) – Brad Holt
- Kingsport (R) – Wilmer Flores
- Gulf Coast League (R) – Jefry Marte
- Dominican Summer League – Gonzalez Germen
- Venezuelan Summer League – Jhonathan Torres