Previewing The Brooklyn Cyclones Initial 2017 Roster | Astromets Mind

Monday, June 19, 2017

Previewing The Brooklyn Cyclones Initial 2017 Roster

Who are these guys and how did they come to the Mets?

            The Brooklyn Cyclones announced their 2017 opening day roster Sunday evening in a tweet. The roster is currently incomplete and will likely see a lot of turnover during the next two and a half months, but we can still review the player’s slated to be with Brooklyn on opening day, which is set for Monday night at 7:00 PM in Staten Island.
This year the Cyclones squad will be coached by several former players with Mets connections: Manager Edgardo Alfonzo needs no introduction after his fantastic career with the Mets (29.1 fWAR over 8 seasons, 12.3 combined in 1999-2000 alone); Pitching coach Royce Ring debuted with the Mets after he was acquired in the Robert Alomar trade and has been coaching within the Mets system for multiple seasons now; and Hitting coach Sean Ratliff was breaking out as a prospect for the Mets in 2010 when a foul ball to the face cut short his career, and he’s also spent time coaching within the Mets system before this year. For more on the Cyclones new Manager situation, check out this interesting piece from Gershon Rabinowitz, who spoke to Edgardo Alfonzo. Keep an eye out for Cyclones prospect features from Rabinowitz over at Amazin’ Prospects this season.
            Although only three of the players currently listed spent time with Brooklyn last year, the team will be looking to improve upon a disappointing 2016 season, when the Cyclones finished just 37-39 and 11 games back in their division.

Pitchers (11)

Keaton Aldridge, RHP, 25 on 7/20
Most recent MiLB experience: 0.2 IP for the GCL Mets in 2015

            As usual, the Cyclones have a lot of names I wouldn’t expect the average Mets fan to know, and Keaton Aldridge is probably at the top of the “Who dat?” list. Aldridge was drafted by Milwaukee in 2011 as a catcher in the 40th round, but he chose to go to college instead and had a nice 3-year career at Memphis before transferring to Tampa for his senior season. Before that season started, he was given a few pitching opportunities in the Cape Cod league, and suddenly scouts were interested again, but this time because he was throwing 90+ MPH. He didn’t pitch for Tampa that year, but he did catch for them in an exhibition win against the Major League Philadelphia Phillies. After a long detour, Aldridge finally signed a professional contract on June 23, 2015, joining the Mets franchise after he went undrafted a few weeks earlier. Unfortunately, Aldridge would need Tommy John Surgery after just one appearance, and this will be his first game action since.

Nicolas Debora, RHP, 23
Most recent MiLB experience: 4.46 ERA over 40.1 IP in the GCL (41 K: 12 BB, 39 H, 4 HR)

            The Mets signed Debora for $115K in 2012 and his career got off to a rocky start. But after four mostly successful seasons pitching in the DSL, Debora finally got the chance to come stateside in 2016 and pitch in the GCL last year, where he was fairly successful. Debora has started in 60% of his appearances in the minors, so I would expect him to at least start in the rotation.

Most recent MiLB experience: 4.29 ERA over 21 IP for Kingsport last year (27 K: 8 BB, 20 H, 3 HR)

            The Mets signed Estevez back on 2/14/13 and he spent two years in the DSL before coming to the states for the 2015 season. Estevez did finish the season with two appearances out of the Brooklyn pen, but he spent most of last year with Kingsport.

Kurtis Horne, LHP, 21 on 8/5
Most recent MiLB experience: 8.78 ERA over 13.1 IP for Kingsport last year (5 K: 6 BB, 18 H, 2 HR)

            The Mets drafted Horne in the 31st round pick of the 2014 draft and the British Columbia native has spent his first few seasons in rookie ball. Well-known minors writer Benjamin Hill spent some time talking with Horne’s family after they travelled more than 2,800 miles to see the lefty pitch for Kingsport, and it’s a great read.

Trent Johnson, RHP, 21 on 8/5
Most recent MiLB experience: 6.61 ERA over 16.1 IP for Kingsport last year (14 K: 4 BB, 21 H, 0 HR)

            The Mets took Johnson in the 16th round last year after he impressed during his one season pitching for the Sante Fe Community College in Florida. Per Amazin’ Avenue, he was throwing a fastball around 90 MPH when the Mets signed him, with developing secondaries.

Most recent MiLB experience: 6.75 ERA over 12 IP for St. Lucie this year (7 K: 3 BB, 17 H, 1 HR)

            Per the Cyclones release, McIlraith is just here to make a rehab start or two, and then he should be heading back to St. Lucie. McIlraith was the Mets 20th round pick from 2015 and he was part of a no-hitter in his first start for Columbia last year, but his season was cut short due to injury after just 7 starts.

Jose Carlos Medina, LHP, 21 on 8/25
Most recent MiLB experience: 3.86 ERA over 23.1 IP for Kingsport last year (21 K: 3 BB, 28 H, 3 HR)

            The Mets signed Medina out of Mexico as an international free agent on 8/29/12 and he spent a year in the DSL before pitching in the GCL during the 2014-15 seasons. There is some old video of him here. He spent parts of the past two offseasons pitching in the Mexican Pacific Winter League.

Joe Napolitano, RHP, 25
Most recent MiLB experience: 6.00 ERA over 12 IP for Kingsport last year (12 K: 5 BB, 15 H, 0 HR)

            With a name like Joe Napolitano and a background that includes pitching for St. John’s, this guy was meant to play for a NY team. Joey Naps actually spent his undergraduate career as a part-time hitter for Wake Forest, making only seven relief appearances for the Demon Deacon’s, all in his final season. He then spent one season as a grad student in the Saint John’s bullpen before the Mets signed him as an undrafted free agent last year.

Darwin Ramos, RHP, 21
Most recent MiLB experience: 5.95 ERA over 19.2 IP between Columbia and St. Lucie this year (21 K: 9 BB, 29 H, 2 HR)

            The Mets signed Ramos on 11/9/12 out of Venezuela and he spent just one year pitching in the DSL before coming stateside. After splitting last year between the bullpen and rotation for Kingsport, Ramos was forced into action early this year because the St. Lucie pitching staff needed an arm. He then spent May with Columbia, where he showed some swing-and-miss potential, but allowed 20 H in 11 IP. Unless he struggles in the NYPL, I’d guess he heads back to Columbia before the season is over.

Jake Simon, LHP, 20
Most recent MiLB experience: 4.70 ERA over 15.1 IP for Columbia this year (12 K: 7 BB, 14 H, 1 HR)

            Simon is the Mets 11th round HS pick from the 2015 draft and he shows potential as a lefty starter. He’ll get the ball on opening day against Staten Island, but I’d be surprised if he’s not back with Columbia soon. All 8 earned runs Simon allowed with the Fireflies came in his first start, and he actually bounced back for a scoreless 4th inning before exiting that start.

Chris Viall, RHP, 21
Most recent MiLB experience: 6.75 ERA over 20 IP for Kingsport last year (27 K: 17 BB, 18 H, 2 HR)

            The Mets took this 6’9 righty in the 6th round out of Stanford last year and he may be reunited with some former Cardinal teammates while with Brooklyn this year. The Mets took Quinn Brodey (3rd round) and Matt Winaker (5th round) in last week’s draft, and there’s a chance either/both would be assigned to Brooklyn should they agree to sign with the Mets (the Cyclones need the players and probably the offensive support they should provide). Viall should be in the starting rotation.

Infielders (4)

Cecilio Aybar, RHB, 23
Most recent MiLB experience: .300/.364/.400 over 79 PA for Kingsport last year (20 K: 5 BB, 4 2B, 1 HR, 5-7 on stolen bases)

            Aybar “fell” to the Mets at the end of the 2013-14 international free agent signing period after he faked his age during the previous signing period. He tried to pass himself off as his brother, who is 3.5 years younger than Cecilio, because it would’ve netted him a much bigger initial contract – he still ended up getting a $251,100 contract from the Mets. Aybar was interesting to scouts as a speedy, athletic project, but he needed game experience, and he’s played in just 65 games over his first three seasons with the Mets. Here is some older video of him, and an interview he did while with Kingsport last year.

Leon Byrd, SH, 23
Most recent MiLB experience: .118/.211/.147 over 39 PA for St. Lucie this year (4 K: 4 BB, 1 2B)

            Byrd was drafted by the Mets out of HS in the 25th round of the 2012 draft but didn’t sign with the club until this past spring. In between, he went to Rice, got drafted in the 10th round of the 2015 draft by Texas, got released, got signed by the Angels, got released before playing in a game for the franchise, and then spent the rest of last year in Independent ball. Injuries opened a door for him to get a look in St. Lucie during the first half, but that did not go well. He spent the 2015 season in the Northwest league, which is the west coast short-season equivalent of the NYPL. Of the players listed on this initial roster, Byrd is the SS.

Franklin Correa, RHB, 21
Most recent MiLB experience: .214/.242/.373 over 136 PA with Kingsport last year (34 K: 3 BB, 7 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR)

            The Mets signed Correa at the same time they inked current top prospect Amed Rosario. He participated in the interview series with the Kingsport Mets last year, so you can learn more about him here. He did finish the season with a little action for Brooklyn last year, so this won’t be his first taste of the big apple. He’s mostly split time between second base and third base in the minors.

Walter Rasquin, RHB, 21
Most recent MiLB experience: .294/.353/.374 over 204 PA for Kingsport last year (31 K: 16 BB, 3 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 8-11 on stolen bases)

            The Mets signed Rasquin on 6/4/13 and you can check out his Kingsport interview here. After two years in the DSL, Rasquin spent one season with the GCL Mets before his strong showing with Kingsport last year. Just like Correa, he’s mostly split time between second base and third base in the minors.

Outfielders (3)

Ian Strom, RHP (Throws with his left hand), 22
Most recent MiLB experience: .228/.319/.317 over 166 PA for Kingsport last year (33 K: 20 BB, 9 2B, 2 3B, 9-13 on stolen bases)

            Strom was the Mets 22nd round pick last year and he spent the season rotating between the three outfield spots in Kingsport. Even before joining the Mets, Strom had been a regular on SportCenter, making the top-10 three times as an amateur.

Jeremy Wolf, LHB (Throws with his right hand), 23
Most recent MiLB experience: .290/.359/.448 over 206 PA for Kingsport last year (37 K: 19 BB, 12 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR)

            The Mets signed Wolf last year after taking him in the 31st round of the draft and he had a nice season as the Kingsport first baseman. He spent just two innings in the outfield last year, so we’ll see how much playing time he gets out there this season. Given his age, I’d be a little surprised if the Mets let him hit for an .800+ OPS over another full season of rookie ball.

Jacob Zanon, RHB, 22
Most recent MiLB experience: 13 PA with Columbia to start the season

            Just like McIlraith, Zanon is listed as rehabbing with Brooklyn, and it’s expected he’ll go back to Columbia once he’s good to go. The Mets 15th round pick from 2016 has been out with a concussion, but hopefully that’ll be behind him for the second half.

Catchers (3)

Scott Manea, RHB, 21
MiLB experience: .105/.277/.132 over 47 PA combined between Kingsport and the GCL (6 K: 6 BB, 1 2B)
@s_manea32 (private account)

            Manea is a strange case, because it’s not really clear what his full background story is. He started getting draft hype leading up to the 2014 draft, and he was then taken by the Seattle Mariners with their last pick but didn’t sign. Manea had signed a Letter of Intent with North Carolina State and decided to go to school instead, but he only played with NC State for 6 games in 2015 before transferring to St. Petersburg College, which is where the question mark comes up. After a strong season in the Sun Coast Conference and a good showing in the FCBL, the Mets signed Manea as an undrafted free agent last year.

Jose Maria, RHB, 22
MiLB experience: .306/.362/.478 over 174 PA for Kingsport last year (32 K: 11 B, 18 2B, 3 HR)

            The Mets signed Maria back on 8/9/11 and he spent three years in the DSL before getting a promo to the GCL in 2015. He ended 2015 with Kingsport and then spent all of last year there (interview video here), finishing the year as one of the top two batters on the roster (Anthony Dimino edged him with an .847 OPS). The catching situation is tight throughout the Mets system, so it’ll be interesting to see how playing time breaks down.

Carlos Sanchez, RHB, 21
MiLB experience: .317/.382/.444 over 157 PA for the GCL Mets last year (23 K: 12 BB, 8 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 23 K: 12 BB)

            The Mets signed Sanchez back on 9/7/12 and he made his GCL debut last year after three seasons in the DSL. He was about 50/50 between catcher and first base last year, so he won’t be limited to the catcher spot in 2017. His bat showed some signs off life last year, now he just needs to repeat that in a tougher environment and keep showing that he's an interesting prospect.


  • 0Blogger Comment
  • Facebook Comment
  • Disqus Comment

Leave your comment

Post a Comment

comments powered by Disqus
submit to reddit