This week's edition of Minor League Mondays will be a little bit different. Instead of just looking at one individual player, we will look at a team. This season was a successful one for the New York Mets and their minor league affiliates. All of the Mets' minor league teams made the playoffs, but none of them had as much success as the Savannah Sand Gnats. The Sand Gnats, who are the Mets' middle tier A ball affiliate, play in the South Atlantic League. The team features some intriguing prospects, such as 2011 first round pick Brandon Nimmo and starter Steven Matz, and played very well this season. The Sand Gnats not only went 77-61 to make the playoffs, but they advanced through the playoffs and won the championship of the South Atlantic League.
Savannah, managed by Luis Rojas, features a lot of intriguing Mets' prospects. The pitching staff was anchored by Gabriel Ynoa and Steven Matz, two arms with big league potential. Ynoa in particular had a fantastic year, going 15-4 with a 2.72 ERA on the year, raising his stock dramatically for next season. Matz also had a good year, going 5-6 but pitching to a 2.62 ERA. The batters featured Brandon Nimmo (.273, 2, 40) and Phillip Evans (.203, 2, 25) going into the year and received a shot in the arm from the acquisition of Futures Game attendee Dilson Herrera (.267, 11, 60).
The Sand Gnats clinched their division in the first half of the season, earning a playoff spot. They first matched up with the second half division winners, the Augusta GreenJackets, an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. The Sand Gnats swept Augusta to advance to the championship series against the Hagerstown Suns, an affiliate of the Washington Nationals. After dropping the opener on the road 6-1, the Sand Gnats swept the next three games to clinch their first SAL championship since 1996. Savannah has had a good run over the last several years, and this league championship is a tremendous accomplishment. Hopefully some of the contributors to this championship, such as Nimmo and Ynoa, can help out the Mets at the major league level soon.
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