The minor league season has come to an end, so now is a fine time to take a look at how each affiliate faired during the 2011 season, which went quite well for most of the teams, with the teams in the upper levels being the exceptions. We’ll also give out some arbitrary award and labels to players at each level.
Record – 61-82
Place in standings – 5th of 6 teams in International League North Division, 20.5 games out of first place and 18.5 games out of the wild card.
Overview – It wasn’t as bad as previous seasons the Bisons have had since becoming a Mets affiliate, but it was not a good year for Buffalo. Their projected roster would have competed for a playoff spot in the International League, but that promising roster never came to fruition because of injuries to key players as well as injuries at the major league level that forced the promotion of other key players. By seasons end the roster was made up mostly of washed-out veterans and quad-A players. The hope is that by next year the farm system will be replenished enough to fill out the Buffalo roster with youngsters and legitimate prospects, while making Buffalo a competitive team for the first time since joining the Mets organization.
Top pitcher: Chris Schwinden – There were some bullpen arms that put up good numbers in limited innings, but Schwinden was essentially the ace of the Bisons for much of the year, and their most consistent pitcher. He didn’t finish as strong as he started, but he got a September call up and could see future time in the big leagues in the coming years if needed.
Top position player: Valentino Pascucci – He’s not a prospect, but he put up big numbers including 21 homeruns and earned a September call up. Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Zach Lutz would have been the main contenders had they played anything close to a full season.
Biggest surprise: Chris Schwinden – His success came out of nowhere. He was nothing but an organizational guy who took a small opportunity and ran with it, turning himself into a guy who will get a chance to show what he can do in the big leagues.
Biggest disappointment: Jenrry Mejia – It’s a little unfair to give him this title, but his TJ surgery is a significant set back. Before the injury he was having success, but his peripherals were a little questionable, so even when he returns from the injury, he still has plenty of developing left to do.