FLUSHING, N.Y., September 21, 2015 – The New York Mets today announced that outfielder Michael Conforto was named the Sterling Minor League Organizational Player of the Year and RHP Robert Gsellman earned Sterling Organizational Pitcher of the Year honors.
STERLING ORGANIZATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: MICHAEL CONFORTO (OF)
In addition, the Mets announced the 2015 Sterling Awards, emblematic of the Most Valuable Player for each of the organization’s nine minor league affiliates.
Outfielder Travis Taijeron was the Sterling recipient at Las Vegas (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League; infielder Gavin Cecchini at Binghamton (AA) of the Eastern League; first baseman Dominic Smith was honored at St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League; infielder Luis Guillorme received the award at Savannah (A) of the South Atlantic League; righthanded pitcher Alex Palsha was honored at Brooklyn (A) of the New York-Penn League; catcher Patrick Mazeika and outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski were co-winners for Kingsport (R) of the Appalachian League; righthanded pitcher Adonis Uceta was selected for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Mets; outfielder Wagner Lagrange captured the award for the Dominican Summer League Mets I and righthanded pitcher Nicolas Debora received the award for the Dominican Summer League Mets II.
STERLING ORGANIZATIONAL PITCHER OF THE YEAR: RHP ROBERT GSELLMAN
Conforto hit a combined .297 (106-357) with 24 doubles, three triples, 12 home runs and 54 RBI in 91 games between St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League and Binghamton (AA) of the Eastern League before making his major league debut on July 24. He was named to the Florida State League mid-season All-Star team. He did not play in the game due to a promotion to Binghamton. Conforto, 22, participated in the SiriusXM Futures Game, starting in leftfield for the U.S. squad. He went 2-2 in the game and also threw a runner out at the plate. Upon returning from the Futures Game, Conforto won the Eastern League Player of the Week award for the week ending July 19 before being called up for his big league debut a few days later.
2015 STERLING AWARDS LAS VEGAS (AAA) OF THE PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE: TRAVIS TAIJERON (OF)
Gsellman went 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA (46 earned runs/143.1 innings) in 24 combined starts for Binghamton (AA) of the Eastern League and St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League. He allowed 126 hits, issued 37 walks and struck out 86 batters. Gsellman led the organization with 13 wins and was third in the organization in ERA among qualified pitchers. He was named to the Florida State League mid-season All-Star team.
BINGHAMTON (AA) OF THE EASTERN LEAGUE: GAVIN CECCHINI (INF)
Taijeron hit .274 (108-394) with 25 home runs and 71 RBI in 127 games for Las Vegas. He led all Mets minor leaguers with 25 home runs and was third in RBI. Taijeron was named to the mid-season Pacific Coast League All-Star team. He scored 67 runs, added 22 doubles, walked 65 times, the third-most in the PCL and had a .393 on-base percentage, which ranked fifth in the league.
ST. LUCIE (A) OF THE FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE: DOMINIC SMITH (1B)
Cecchini batted .317 (139-439) with 26 doubles, four triples, seven home runs and 51 RBI in 109 games for the BMets as he was named the Eastern League Rookie of the Year. It was the first time a BMets player captured the EL Rookie of the Year award since 1995 when Paul Wilson took home the hardware. His .317 average, 26 doubles and 64 runs scored all led the team in his first full season at the Double-A level. Cecchini was named an Eastern League mid-season and post-season All-Star and was also named the EL Player of the Month for July. During July, the Louisiana native collected a career-high 48 hits and batted .387 (48-124) with a .532 slugging percentage.
SAVANNAH (A) OF THE SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE: LUIS GUILLORME (INF)
Smith was named the Florida State League’s Most Outstanding Player. He led the FSL in RBI (79), doubles (33), was third in slugging (.417), fourth in batting average (.305) and tied for fourth in hits (139). Smith was the fourth-youngest player in the Florida State League this year and was named the FSL Player of the Month for June. In addition, he was named to the FSL All-Star team. He added six home runs and had a .354 on-base percentage in 118 games for St. Lucie. Smith had an impressive .990 fielding percentage at first base, which ranked second in the FSL.
BROOKYLN (A) OF THE NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE: RHP ALEX PALSHA
Guillorme was named the South Atlantic League’s MVP as well as a season-ending All-Star for his efforts with the Sand Gnats. He finished the season batting .318 (142-446) with 16 doubles, 55 RBI, 67 runs scored and 18 stolen bases in 122 games. His .318 average was second-best in the Sally League and also ranked among the league leaders in hits (second) and on-base percentage (fourth). Defensively, Guillorme posted the best fielding percentage of any shortstop in the league at .972.
KINGSPORT (R) OF THE APPLACHIAN LEAGUE: PATRICK MAZEIKA (C)
Palsha registered one of the best seasons by a pitcher in Cyclones history. He allowed just one run over 24.2 innings (0.36 ERA) while collecting 13 saves, which was tied for second in the New York-Penn League. He was named to the NYPL All-Star Game. Palsha limited opponents to a .125 batting average and struck out 34 over his 22 appearances.
KINGSPORT (R) OF THE APPLACHIAN LEAGUE: KEVIN KACZMARSKI (OF)
Mazeika was selected an Appalachian League post-season All-Star after batting .354 (80-226) with 27 doubles, five home runs, 48 RBI and 44 runs scored in 62 games for the Kingsport Mets. His .354 batting average was second-best in the Appy League only to teammate Kevin Kaczmarski. During his time with the K-Mets, the 21-year-old was also named the MiLB.com Appalachian League Player of the Month for August where he batted .404 with 14 extra-base hits. His month of August included a 16-game hitting streak from August 8-August 24 where he batted .443 (27-61) with an on-base percentage of .514. It was the third-longest streak in the Appalachian League this season.
GULF COAST LEAGUE (R): RHP ADONIS UCETA
Kaczmarski was a post-season All-Star for the Kingsport Mets after batting .355 (91-256) with 18 doubles, five triples, four home runs, 34 RBI, 47 runs scored and 20 stolen bases in 64 games. The 23-year-old won the Appalachian League batting title, narrowly edging his teammate Patrick Mazeika, by ending the season on a 17-game hitting streak where he batted .418 (28-67) and led the league in hits (91). His 17-game hitting streak was the second-best streak in the Appy League while he finished among the league leaders in stolen bases (20, 2nd), runs scored (47, T-3rd) and total bases (131, 1st). The University of Evansville product was also the fifth-hardest player to strikeout in the league, striking out once every 8.61 plate appearances.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE #1 (R): WAGNER LAGRANGE (OF)
Uceta was 4-3 with a 3.08 ERA (21 earned runs/61.1 innings) in 12 games, nine starts for the Gulf Coast Mets. He issued only nine walks and struck out 46. Uceta was sixth in the GCL in ERA. He surrendered one home run over 61.1 innings.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE #2 (R): RHP NICOLAS DEBORA
Lagrange hit .347 (84-242) with 40 runs scored, 10 doubles and 26 RBI in 59 games in the Dominican Summer League. Lagrange was named to the mid-season All-Star team. He finished sixth in the DSL in batting average.
Debora finished the season with a 5-2 record and a 1.65 ERA, which ranked fifth in the Dominican Summer League, in 15 games (10 starts) for the DSL Mets 2. Debora struck out 70 batters while walking 13 in 76.1 innings. The 21-year-old held opposing hitters to a .212 batting average.