The B-Mets were one of two EL teams to post more than 80 wins during the regular season, going 83-59 and finishing second in the Eastern Division behind the Portland Seadogs (Red Sox) who compiled 88 victories. It was that same Portland team who Binghamton defeated in a tough five-game series in the opening round of the postseason before moving on to the championship series.
Overall, the B-Mets offense was outstanding throughout the campaign, leading the league in batting (.278), slugging (.423), on-base percentage (.353), OPS (.776), walks (492) and runs (718). They were also second in home runs with 124. The pitching wasn’t bad either, compiling a league-best 1,106 strikeouts and the second best WHIP, 1.29.
A number of the top prospects in the organization played for the New York State affiliate during the 2014 season, including the Sterling Award Minor League Player-of-the-Year Dilson Herrera and Pitcher-of-the-Year Steven Matz. Both were promoted to Double-A after being elected first half All-Stars in the Florida State League. They were joined by outfielder Brandon Nimmo, infielder T.J. Rivera and starting pitcher Gabriel Ynoa whom, likewise, earned their opportunity to move up a level with impressive numbers in St. Lucie.
Their arrivals came almost simultaneously to catcher Kevin Plawecki receiving a much-deserved promotion to Las Vegas after having an All-Star first half. The former Purdue standout hit .326 with a .378 OBP and .487 SLG with 18 doubles and six home runs before being sent to play for Wally Backman’s Triple-A squad. He went out with a flourish, posting seven multi-hit games in his final three weeks in Binghamton.
One week earlier, 2012 second-round draft pick Matt Reynolds was rewarded a promotion to Triple-A after batting .355 with a .430 OBP and .422 SLG in 58 Double-A games. It was the start of a breakout season for the 23-year-old, who struggled his first two years in the system. He would go on to earn recognition as the Sterling Award winner for best Triple-A player.
After arriving in upstate NY, the 20-year-old Herrera quickly established himself as one of the top offensive forces at the Double-A level. He hit safely in 50 of 61 games, with 30 extra-base hits (10 home runs) and a .967 OPS, which would have been the highest in the league if he had enough at-bats to qualify. He also played solid defensively, committing just seven errors and assisting in 35 double plays, mostly as a second baseman. Herrera was ultimately promoted to big leagues on August 29.
Nimmo might not have hit for a high average (.238) with the B-Mets, but he reached base at a .339 clip and had 22 extra-base knocks in 65 games. His best stretch was from August 18-27, when he hit safely in nine straight. He also had a nice run from July 17 through August 3, reaching base 28 times via a walk or hit.
On the mound, Steven Matz, a Long Island native, dominated to the tune of a 2.27 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 12 regular season starts. He didn’t allow an earned run in five of his 12 outings and two earned runs or fewer in nine of 12. The postseason was more of the same, including an impressive performance in Game 3 of the championship series, which saw him carry a no-hitter into the 8th inning and strike out a career-best 11.
There were also several less-heralded players on the roster who made major contributions. None was more impactful than 33-year-old Brian Burgamy, who spent the 2013 season in the Mexican League and came out of nowhere to hit 23 homers and 32 doubles. The aforementioned T.J. Rivera was as consistent as any hitter in the minors in 2014, batting .341 in 61 games in the Florida State League and .358 in 54 games in the Eastern League following his promotion. Dustin Lawley reached the 20 home run plateau for the second consecutive season and also cracked 29 doubles. Jace Boyd, who drove in the winning run in Game 3 of the title series against Richmond, contributed 32 extra-base hits and a .293 average. Closer Cody Satterwhite might have put his name higher on the list of potential future bullpen options, converting on 15 of 18 save opportunities and a 2.33 ERA.
Prior to Friday night, the last time Binghamton won an Eastern League title Edgardo Alfonzo, Rey Ordonez and Jay Payton were all on the roster. Dwight Gooden (rehab), Bill Pulsipher and Jason Isringhausen all made starts that season. Two decades is a long time.