The New York media has, over the course of the summer of 2009, become fixated on the angle that the Buffalo Bisons and Binghamton Mets poor overall records reflect a weak New York Mets farm system storyline. The link between actual farm system strength and affiliates' wins and losses is not strong. However, St. Lucie, which struggled to an 8-19 July after playing .500 baseball for the rest of the season had as rough a month as any other Mets affiliate.
Yet, the team's July record, going 11 games under .500, looks fairly fluky. The team hit .252/.334/.385 and scored 129 runs or 4.8 runs per game, a solid mark in the FSL and yielded 127 runs. So, St. Lucie had a positive run differential (+2) which would predict that the team would be at about .500, and yet they underperformed by 11 games. Wow.
Brant Rustich was DLed towards the end of the month with a shoulder strain.
Player of the Month
Zach Lutz - .338/.416/.529 with four doubles, three homeruns, six walks and 11 strikeouts in 20 games. Lutz played 15 games at 3B and a three at first. Lutz is 23 and has been hampered by injuries since the 2007 so it's nice to see him healthy and raking again. He'll get a chance to prove himself playing everyday in AA next year.
Stefan Welch, after an undistinguished month in Savannah, Welch took off with a monster July for St. Lucie hitting .337/.402/.483 with five doubles and two homers. The Aussie has always made a lot of contact, but he did a terrific job controlling the strike zone in July, walking nine times and fanning just 12 in 23 games. Lutz was sixth in the FSL in AVG in July, while Welch was seventh. Welch will turn 21 next week, so he's no longer extremely young for his level. He needs to finish strong in August to prove that July was no fluke and that he's ready to play 1B everyday at AA next year.
Pitcher of the Month
Tim Stronach (1-2, 2.45) gave up ten runs in 25.2 innings working as both a starter and a reliever despite 12 strikeouts and 11 walks.
Jeffrey Kaplan (1-2, 3.90) had nice month as well, fanning 25 and walking eight in 30 innings, which led the St. Lucie staff.