2001 Mets' Minor League Player of the Year

Take a look with the NYfansonly.com Mets' writers to see who the better minor league players were in the 2001 season. This list is not about who the better prospect is or who will be the better major leaguer. This list is based soley on what they did in the 2001 season. Each writer lists their top five and then expands on their selections (and other notes) below.

And the Winner Is... 

SS Jose Reyes.  Reyes tallied 19 points in our voting system using the following formula: 5 points for 1st place votes, 4 points for 2nd place votes, 3 points for 3rd place votes, 2 points for 4th place votes, and 1 point for 5th place votes.  SP Jae Weong Seo came in 2nd place with 17 points and 1B/3B Earl Snyder came in 3rd place with 11 points.  Five different players were selected by six different writers as the "2001 Mets' Minor League Player of the Year" and 13 different players were selected for the Top Five, which only shows what kind of year the Mets' farmhands had in 2001.

Mets Minor League Player of the Year


Patrick Teale

Peter Simon

Matt Young

Steve Usinger

Calvin Young

Chris Brewster


Jason Scobie

Jose Reyes

Earl Snyder

Dicky Gonzalez Jae Weong Seo Jose Reyes


Jerrod Riggan

Jae Weong Seo

Ross Peeples

Jose Reyes Jose Reyes Mark Corey


Jae Weong Seo

Earl Snyder

Pete Walker

Rob Stratton Earl Snyder Pete Walker


Ross Peeples

Billy Traber

Tony Tarasco

Jae Weong Seo Craig Brazell Jae Weong Seo


Jose Reyes

Neal Musser

Jae Weong Seo

Frank Corr Neal Musser Ross Peeples

Patrick Teale
As I wrote in the "Mets' Minor League Hitter of the Year" and the "Mets' Minor League Pitcher of the Year" articles, 2001 was a year dominated by pitching and absent hitting...which is why only one hitter made it to my "Top Five" players of the year.

Since I have already covered each of these players, let me point out some of last year's promising players...some of our top(?) prospects....that did not shine in 2001 and were replaced by the above players!  Here's a quick look at my "Top Five Disappointing Players" among the Mets' Minor leaguers in 2001:

All Mets fans blew a gasket in 2000 when CF Alex Escobar was all but traded to the Reds for Barry Larkin, then blew a sigh of relief when Larkin nixed the trade.  Everyone was wondering why Steve Phillips and the Mets would trade their top prospect for a 2-month rental.  Perhaps Steve Phillips knew something we didn't.  Escobar did little in 2001 to establish himself as a blue-chip prospect.  Sure it may still be early to judge what type of major leaguer he may be, but his 2001 season was less than average for a top notch player: .267, 55 R, 12 HR, 52 RBI, 18 SBs.   Those numbers don't translate into stardom, especially when you throw in the fact that he whiffed an outstanding 146 times in 397 at-bats this season!  He doesn't appear ready for the Majors just yet - another year of seasoning at AAA could be in order.

Much was expected from Patrick Strange, the Mets' top pitching prospect heading into the 2001 season.  After going 10-1 at St. Lucie in 2000 and limited success at Binghamton after his callup last season (4-3, 4.55 ERA), Strange plateued in 2001...going  11-6 with 4.87 ERA.  He's still only 21 years old and perhaps too much was expected of him in 2001.  

Very quietly, the Mets' organization was closely watching the progress of LHP Jason Saenz heading into the 2001 season.   Several scouts thought Saenz could develop into a very good Major League pitcher, and he still may.  But hopefully Saenz's 2001 season is not an indication of his potential.  Saenz went 8-15 with a 5.66 ERA in 28 games (23 starts) for the AA-Binghamton Mets.  In 143 innings pitched, Jason walked 80 batters and threw 15 wild pitches.  Thrown in the fact that he hit 8 batters this season and one can plainly see that 2001 was a season to forget for Jason.

Keeping up with the Binghamton theme, RHP Nick Maness also disappointed in 2001.  Maness went 5-12 with a lofty 4.97 ERA this season.  Like Strange, Maness had good success at St. Lucie in 2000 (11-7, 3.22 ERA) but could not follow it up with a good season this year.  A big reason for the inflated ERA could be the fact that opposing hitters hit .294 against him this season...compared to the .223 average against him last season!

On June 6th of 2000, the New York Mets selected SS Chris Basak from the University of Illinois in the 6th round of the MLB Draft.  Basak immediately signed and started out in the short season New York - Penn League at Pittsfield (now Brooklyn). Chris tore up the league and led the Pittsfield Mets with a .349 batting average, 18 doubles, 4 triples, and 32 stolen bases. Basak was so impressive that he was promoted to St. Lucie at the end of last season.  In 2001, Basak struggled miserably...batting .233 in 472 at-bats.  Though he displayed improved power (4 HRs), he struck out entirely too much for a top of the order guy (125 K's).

Peter Simon
...Jose Reyes...Reyes's breakthrough season at Capital City evokes memories of Alex Escobar's 1998 season. Like Escobar, Reyes should now be recognized as one of the best prospects in the game. A brilliant defensive shortstop who had never been known for his bat, Reyes showed power, speed, and the ability to hit for average this year. And he's only 18.

Jae Weong Seo...Seo nice to have him back healthy! The Korean RHP could very well have been an afterthough in the Mets' system if he had floundered in his return from arm surgery, but instead, Seo performed well at each of three different levels of the Mets's system, including a dominating stint at double-A.

Earl Snyder...Snyder's already impressive offensive game made great strides in 2001. But that's not all he did. Snyder showed versatility by playing not only 1B, but some 3B and outfield as well. The combination of offensive ability and versatility may put him on a major league roster fairly soon.

Billy Traber...The Mets' first round pick from 2000 excelled at St. Lucie. Obviously, his elbow was not at all problematic this season. Traber held his own in AA, and should play most of 2002 with Norfolk in AAA.

Neal Musser...Musser, the Mets' top pick from the 1999 draft, dominated the opposition at Capital City and held his own at St. Lucie, putting him among the cream of the crop of Met pitching prospects.

Matt Young

1. Earl Snyder was the only minor leaguer to hit 20 home runs and keep his batting average above .280. Although Snyder has very little patience at the plate, he has improved from last year, and his 58 walks are promising. What is most impressive is his .571 slugging percentage.

2. 2001 draftee Ross Peeples was amazing in his first year of professional baseball. Peeples posted a 9-3 record, the best in the New York Penn Leauge, to go along with a 1.34 ERA, the best in the New York Penn League. Through 80 innings Peeples had 67 punchouts along with 1 complete game-shutout. On a side note, through Peeples' 80 innings of work, he surrendered only one home run. Peeples, a lefty, is only 21 years old, and is definitely a player to watch.

3. Because of Walker's age, he is greatly overlooked. Pete Walker was
amazing this year. He led the league with his 13 wins, 2.99 ERA, was third in innings pitched, and was also among the top 15 in stikeouts (106).

4. Tony Tarasco is a little old to be a minor leaguer, but I think that he was the best, all around batter this year. Tarasco kept his average above .300 for most of the season, but lost his swing in the last few weeks, fininshing off with a .292 average. In 366 games, Tarasco crossed the plate 53 times, while hitting 7 homers, and bringing in 57 runs. What made Tarasco possibly the best hitter at AAA-Norfolk this year, was his walk to strike out ratio, 48:43, and his 14 stolen bases.

5. Jae Wong Seo has long been a highly touted pitching prospect. Seo spent part of the season at AA-Binghamton before moving to AAA-Norfolk. He posted a combined record of 7-3, while keeping his ERA at a tiny 2.68. Not a huge strikeout pitcher, Seo was able to strikeout 72 through 107 innings.

Steve Usinger

Gonzalez wins the award hands down and can no longer be considered a minor leaguer. His contributions to the Mets were enormous. He held down the rotation spot for Steve Trachsel when Trax was getting his act together after his demotion to the minors.

Reyes and Stratton have the ingredients the Mets desperately need….speed and power. Stratton's stock will go up as his strikeouts go down. Reyes looks like a jewel of the system now, and the next 2-3 years will tell just how important he will become to the Mets.

Seo, I have a feeling will wind up as a closer somewhere else. He has too much talent (once again, if healthy), to have a career as a setup man, but Armando Benitez stands in his way on the Mets.

Corr is an overachiever in the Pete Rose respect. He will go as far as his will carries him.

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