The New York Mets, with a big Latin-American contingent in their minor league system, had a lot of players active in winter leagues this offseason. Included were few top prospects but some players who had big league playing time with the Mets continued to work on their games in the winter.
Xorge Carrillo, a 24-year-old backup catcher who spent most of the season in Double-A Binghamton headed down to the Mexican winter league and posted a very solid season there, hitting .285/.347/.391 in 179 at bats wtih ten doubles and three home runs. Carrillo had very solid numbers in Binghamton but only played in 34 games and didn’t hit a home run.
Another 24-year-old catcher, Juan Centeno, made his major league debut with the Mets this year, appearing in four games and going three for ten after putting up good numbers, mostly in Triple-A Las Vegas. He went home to Puerto Rico this offseason and hit a solid .280/.337/.360 in 75 at bats with Gigantes de Carolina.
Big first baseman Allan Dykstra spent the 2013 season in Binghamton, blasting 21 home runs and taking 102 walks in 489 plate appearances. With gobs of power, Dykstra went down to Venezuela and hit .395 (with only one home run) in 38 winter league at bats.
Another young player who made his ML debut in 2013, Wilmer Flores, 22, struggled in his first 101 major league at bats after raking in Las Vegas. He headed down to his native Venezuela where he hit to the tne of a .375/.434/.545 slash line with six doubles and three home runs and an encouraging nine walks and ten strikeouts in 88 at bats.
22-year-old Mexican infielder Juan Carlos Gamboa spent another season in the Short-Season A New York-Penn League and, once again, failed to break the Mendoza Line, hitting just .195. He fared much better in the Mexican league, hitting .284/.379/.392 with a pair of doubles and a pair home runs in 74 at bats.
Juan Lagares played 116 games for the Mets in 2013, hitting .242/.281/.352 in 421 plate appearances but was very good in the Dominican winter league, hitting .342/.379/.412 with five doubles and one home run in 114 at bats.
Minor league catcher, Francisco Pena, 24, played in another 37 games after the season finished back home in the Dominican Republic and hit .242/.272/.404 with seven doubles and three home runs in 99 at bats. He played most of 2014 in Las Vegas and hit a career-high nine home runs despite only 236 plate appearances.
25-year-old Jairo Perez was signed to a minor league contract by the Mets this offseason despite not having played affiliated ball since 2011 with Beloit in the Midwest League. Perez made a strong case for himself this winter, hitting .342/.407/.591 in 149 at bats in the Venezuelan winter league with 12 doubles, two triples and seven home runs. Perez hit 19 home runs in 96 games with the independent Kansas City T-Bones of the American Association.
Cesar Puello, a 22-year-old outfielder, wasn’t all that effective in the Dominican winter league with a .200/.252/.261 slash line in 41 games. He played in Double-A Binghamton this past season and hit .326/.403/.547 with 21 doubles, two triples and sixteen home runs to go with 24 stolen bases in just 331 at bats.
Wilfredo Tovar, 22, ended up playing for two different Venezuelan league teams, totalling a .270/.316/.405 slash line in 75 at bats. Tovar made his big league debut in 2013 and went three for 15 with the Mets after a decent season with Binghamton.
Marcos Camarena, a 23-year-0ld Mexican right-hander, threw 28 1/3 innings out of the bullpen in the Mexican winter league, putting up a 2.22 ERA and a very impressive 0.81 WHIP. He struck out 23 and walked only two batters. Camarena spent most of 2013 with Class-A Savannah and had a 3.27 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 15 walks and 39 strikeouts in 77 innings.
Signed this offseason as a minor league free agent from the Toronto Blue Jays, right-handed reliever Joel Carreno threw 17 1/3 innings in the Dominican winter league with a 2.08 ERA, 1.04 WHIP to go with just six walks and 20 strikeouts. Carreno split the 2013 season between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo and had an excellent year.
21-year-old Miller Diaz came off a very strong year starting for Brooklyn in the New York-Penn League to throw 14 innings in the Venezuelan winter league. Despite a very good 2.57 ERA, Diaz’s control problems appeared and he walked 11 (three were intentional) batters and struck out just nine while throwing six wild pitches.
6’4″ righty Jeurys Familia, 24, spent time in both the Arizona Fall League and the Dominican winter league this offseason. In the Dominican, he only threw six and two-thirds innings with a 2.70 ERA thanks to just two earned runs on eight hits and three walks. He also struck out 12, almost two batters per inning. Familia spent time at four different levels in the regular season, only accumulating 19 2/3 innings including 10 2/3 at the major league level.
24-year-old righty Randy Fontanez went to the Puerto Rican winter league this offseason and threw very well, giving up just two earned runs over 14 1/3 innings on just 10 hits and four walks with 11 strikeouts. Fontanez spent the season working out of the bullpen for the St. Lucie Mets in the Florida State League and had a very good season, striking out 83 and walking just 17 in 60 2/3 innings.
Miguel Socolovich, a 27-year-old Venezuelan right-hander, signed a minor league deal with the Mets this offseason after spending 2013 in Japan. Socolovich threw 15 innings in the Venezuelan winter league with a 1.80 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, five walks and 11 strikeouts.
Jon Velasquez, a 28-year-old righty was selected by the Mets in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft after being signed to a minor league deal by the Minnesota Twins in the offseason. Velasquez pitched the last three season in independent league posting some outstanding numbers in 2013 for Camden in the Atlantic League. This winter, Velasquez threw 26 innings in the Puerto Rican winter league, posting a 1.73 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP with eight walks and 26 strikeouts.