NEW YORK -- Through the struggles the Mets encountered this season, there's always been a focus on the future. With a Minor League system filled with promising young talent, the organization has made it clear it expects to contend sooner rather than later.
A group of the top Minor Leaguers in the Mets' system gathered at Citi Field on Friday. They were honored as the winners of the 2013 Sterling Awards, given to the Most Valuable Player for each of the organization's nine Minor League teams.
The Sterling Minor League Organizational Co-Players of the Year are Allan Dyskstra, a first baseman who spent this season with Double-A Binghamton, and catcher Kevin Plawecki, who split this season between Class A St. Lucie and Class A Savannah.
The Sterling Organizational Pitcher of the Year is Gabriel Ynoa, who went 15-4 with a 2.72 ERA with Class A Savannah. The right-hander struck out 106 in 135 2/3 innings.
Two pitchers who will look to follow in Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler's footsteps won Sterling Awards for their respective affiliates. Rafael Montero won for Triple-A Las Vegas, and Noah Syndergaard won for Double-A Binghamton. Syndergaard shared the award with pitcher Jeff Walters, who saved 38 games for Binghamton, a franchise record. Syndergaard is the Mets' top-ranked prospect, Montero is third, Plawecki is 10th and Ynoa is 18th.
With St. Lucie and Binghamton, Syndergaard went 9-4 with a 3.06 ERA. The right-hander had 133 strikeouts in 117 2/3 innings at both levels.
"My fastball command was pretty good for the most part, and I improved my curveball drastically," Syndergaard said. "One thing I need to work on is developing my changeup."
Outfielder Dustin Lawley won for Class A St. Lucie, infielder Jayce Boyd (20th-ranked prospect) won for Savannah, pitcher Robert Gsellman earned the award for Class A Brooklyn, and pitcher Robert Whalen won for the Rookie league Kingsport Mets.
Dominic Smith, the Mets' first-round pick in June's First-Year Player Draft and seventh-ranked prospect, won for the Gulf Coast League Mets. After being drafted and joining the Mets' system, Smith said the biggest adjustment was playing every day. He only played twice a week at Serra High School in California, so the change was drastic.
"That's the biggest thing. Just playing every day. It's hard. It's tough. It sounds easy, it sounds fun," Smith said. "When you actually get to do it and the toll it takes on your body, it's really tough. Once I got accustomed to that, everything went smoothly."
In 48 games with the GCL Mets, Smith hit .287 with three home runs and had a .384 on-base percentage.
Outfielder John Mora won the Sterling Award for the Dominican Summer League Mets I, while pitcher Jose Medina won for the Dominican Summer League Mets II.
Mets manager Terry Collins spoke highly about the young talent in the organization. All of these prospects just need to be refined, and continue to develop as they climb through the system.
"The future is bright," Collins said. "There's light at the end of the tunnel here. It starts with that pitching."
Wright's head OK, but he sits with thumb injury
NEW YORK -- When David Wright was hit on the left side of his helmet by Johnny Hellweg's 86-mph changeup Thursday night against the Brewers, the immediate concern was the effect it had on Wright's head. But the less alarming result is what kept him out of the Mets' lineup on Friday.
After Hellweg's pitch hit Wright, the third baseman fell to the ground and jammed his right thumb. While Wright passed all of the concussion tests and felt no effects of the hit to his head on Friday, his thumb was still too swollen for him to play.
"He doesn't have a concussion. He doesn't have headaches," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Before he started running, I said, 'I don't care if you can count the number of stones that are on the warning track from first base. If you can't swing the bat, it's not a good idea to play.'"
Collins said the plan was for Wright to take batting practice and throw before making a final determination on whether he could play. But team doctors eventually advised Wright to rest his thumb for another 24 hours, a team spokesman said.
Earlier in the afternoon, Wright completed running drills without a problem. Collins said the Mets' medical staff wanted to make sure Wright didn't experience a headache once his blood pressure was raised.
Wright has only played in five games since returning from his seven-week stint on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring. In those games, he's hitting .400 (6-for-15) with two homers and three RBIs.
With only two games left in the season after Friday, Wright is dealing with another injury that's keeping him sidelined.
Young eyeing NL stolen base crown
NEW YORK -- Most of the intrigue of this year's National League stolen base race revolves around Brewers rookie shortstop Jean Segura, who has not played since Sept. 18 due to injury. After the Mets' 4-2 loss to the Brewers on Friday, Segura is tied atop the leaderboard with Mets outfielder Eric Young, Jr.
Young swiped two bags in Thursday's 4-2 loss to Milwaukee to tie Segura with a career-high 44 steals -- despite the fact that he did not become an everyday player until the Mets acquired him from Colorado in June.
"He had a two-and-a-half-month lead on me," Young said of Segura.
In the three months since, Young has rapidly caught up in terms of both plate appearances and stolen bases. Batting leadoff more often than not, including Friday, Young leads the NL in plate appearances since the trade. He also leads in stolen bases, with 36 in 89 games.
Compare that to Segura, who has stolen at least seven bases, but no more than nine, in each of the first five months of the season, and six in September. If Segura returns to the lineup this weekend, as Brewers manager Ron Roenicke indicated he would, it will set up an intriguing subplot between him and Young on the season's final days.
"It's going to be fun," Young said, admitting that he's had his eye on the leaderboard since becoming an everyday player. "Regardless of the results, it's been fun the whole way, this whole season."
Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.