The Savannah Sand Gnats won 18 straight games in August, the longest winning streak in the majors or minors in a decade. Shortstop Luis Guillorme helped fuel that success. And now the 10th-round pick in 2013 out of high school in Coral Springs, Florida, has been recognized as the most valuable player in the South Atlantic League.
"Luis is a gifted defender at shortstop," New York Mets VP Paul DePodesta said. "Offensively, he has tremendous hand-eye coordination and really controls the barrel."
Guillorme, 20, leads the South Atlantic League with a .314 average and 136 hits. His .386 on-base percentage ranks fourth in the league. He also has 17 steals in 25 attempts. He has never hit a home run in his professional career, though.
"I'm not that guy who is going to change the game with one swing," Guillorme said. "I'm the guy who is going to try to get on base, find a way to get to second, and then score a run on a single from the other guys."
As for his fielding, Guillorme added: "My defense, I think all around, is my forte. It's my main thing."
Guillorme moved at age 12 with his family from Venezuela to the United States.
"It was better for me and my brother going to school and for baseball and stuff," Guillorme said. "...Because I came at 12, it didn't really hit me that bad. I just adjusted really quick."
Guillorme already had a foundation in English, easing the adjustment.
"I spoke it pretty well," he said. "We used to come here on vacation every once in a while. I've got some family here. And once I moved here, I pretty much picked it up a lot better than what it already was and just cleaned it up a little."
Average: Kevin Kaczmarski, Kingsport, .355; Patrick Mazeika, Kingsport, .354; T.J. Rivera, Binghamton, .331; Gavin Cecchini, Binghamton, .317; Luis Guillorme, Savannah, .314; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, .312; Matt Oberste, St. Lucie, .306; Dominic Smith, St. Lucie, .305; Luis Carpio, Kingsport, .304.
Homers: Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 24; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 19; Alex Castellanos, Vegas, 16; Brandon Allen, Vegas, 16.
RBIs: Dominic Smith, St. Lucie, 79; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 74; Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 69; Brandon Allen, Vegas, 66; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, 64.
Steals: Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 36; Wilfredo Tovar, Vegas, 30; Jonathan Johnson, Savannah, 23; Champ Stuart, St. Lucie, 21; Kevin Kaczmarski, Kingsport, 20.
ERA: Thomas McIlraith, Kingsport, 1.71; Martires Arias, Savannah, 2.29; Casey Meisner, St. Lucie, 2.35; Merandy Gonzalez, Kingsport, 2.57; Robert Gsellman, Binghamton, 2.58; Nabil Crismatt, Kingsport, 2.90; Ricky Knapp, Savannah, 2.97; Adonis Uceta, Kingsport, 3.07; Tyler Badamo, Brooklyn, 3.21; Corey Oswalt, Savannah, 3.52.
Wins: Robert Gsellman, Binghamton, 13; Scarlyn Reyes, St. Lucie, 12; Darin Gorski, Vegas, 10; Casey Meisner, St. Lucie, 10; Corey Oswalt, Savannah, 10.
Saves: Paul Sewald, Binghamton, 23; Jon Velasquez, Binghamton, 22; Akeel Morris, Binghamton, 13; Jimmy Duff, St. Lucie, 13; Alex Palsha, Savannah, 13.
Strikeouts: Seth Lugo, Binghamton, 124; Martires Arias, Savannah, 115; Steven Matz, Binghamton, 107; Darin Gorski, Vegas, 106; Miller Diaz, St. Lucie, 98.
Infielder Jeff McNeil, knuckleballer Mickey Jannis and reliever Beck Wheeler will represent the organization in the Arizona Fall League, playing for the Salt River Rafters with prospects from the Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, Nationals and Rockies. The Mets still need to add two pitchers and two infielders. The Florida State League batting leader for much of the season, McNeil has dropped into second with a .312 average, 12 points behind Willians Astudillo of Clearwater (Phillies). Jannis began this season pitching for the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League. Wheeler, 26, signed in 2011 after going undrafted out of UC Santa Barbara. He is 5-1 with a 3.58 ERA in 41 relief appearances for Binghamton.
Shortstop Gavin Cecchini has been named Eastern League Rookie of the Year. Cecchini, the 12th overall pick in 2012 out of high school in Lake Charles, Louisiana, is hitting .317/.377/.442 for Binghamton. He also has committed 28 errors.
2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo returned to the starting lineup Saturday with Vegas after a freak accident five days earlier. Nimmo was struck with a baseball in the nose in a batting cage. Despite initial fears, his nose was not fractured.
Infielder Wilfredo Tovar, who had been out with Las Vegas since Aug. 16, is being evaluated for the need for surgery for a separated shoulder. Although Tovar has not appeared in a game for the Mets this season, he technically now is a major leaguer. He was promoted and placed on the 60-day DL in order for the Mets to open a 40-man roster spot for the addition of Addison Reed from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Tovar hit .283/.327/.356 and had 30 steals for Las Vegas before getting shut down.
The Mets ended up trading away eight right-handed pitchers from the system during a flurry of deals since July 24. John Gant and Rob Whalen went to the Atlanta Braves for Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. Casey Meisner went to the Oakland Athletics for Tyler Clippard. Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa went to the Detroit Tigers for Yoenis Cespedes. Dawrin Frias went to Oakland for Eric O'Flaherty. And Miller Diaz and Matt Koch went to the D-backs for Reed. Fulmer since has been named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year.
Jose Leger has been named the South Atlantic League's manager of the year. Playoff-bound Savannah finished in first place in the Southern Division in both halves. The Gnats boast an 82-50 record in their final season before relocating to Columbia, South Carolina. Outfielder Wuilmer Becerra was named a postseason All-Star. The Gnats begin the playoffs Sept. 9.
With the Gulf Coast League season having ended, catcher Ali Sanchez and right-hander Adonis Uceta have been promoted to playoff-bound Kingsport. Sanchez, now 18, signed for $690,000 out of Venezuela on July 2, 2013. Uceta, 21, allowed two runs in six innings and earned the win on Tuesday in his Appalachian League debut.
2013 first-round pick Dominic Smith has been out with St. Lucie the past three games with shoulder stiffness.
Zach Lutz departed Tuesday's game with Las Vegas with a quadriceps injury.
With minor league seasons wrapping up, Savannah and Kingsport already have clinched playoff berths. Las Vegas leads El Paso by 1 1/2 games for first place in its division and a Triple-A playoff spot. The 51s have six games remaining, including games Wednesday and Thursday against El Paso. Binghamton leads Trenton by five games for the second playoff berth from the Eastern League's Eastern Division with six games remaining. St. Lucie and Brooklyn have been eliminated.
This is the final "Farm Report" of the 2015 season. Thanks for reading.