The second game of Monday’s July 25 doubleheader with Staten Island was an important milestone for 19-19 Brooklyn, as the Cyclones finally reached .500 at the mid-season mark to go into third place with a 3-2 win over the Staten Island Yankees as part of a three-game home sweep.
The Cyclones win dropped the Yankees out of first into second place in the four-team McNamara Division, while the Hudson Valley Renegades helped themselves to first place with their recent winning streak. The win also allowed the Cyclones finally to get out of the division’s basement to reach third place, sending the Aberdeen Ironbirds to fourth place.
The Cyclones sweep was punctuated by a 3-0 win on Thomas Szapucki’s debut where the Kingsport call-up threw 5.1 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts to record his first win. For their second win, another surging pitcher, Erik Manoah, led Brooklyn to a 2-1 win as the Cyclones’ top pitcher improved to a 4-1 record allowing only one run over six innings.
The Cyclones capped the sweep with a strong scoreless five inning pitching performance by Raul Jacobson who was called up to Low-A Columbia after the 3-2 Cyclone win.
In a rare occurrence for this 2016 season, the Cyclones have the good fortune to have their #2, #3, #4 and #5 draft picks as their starting infielders. Commenting on his highly drafted starters, Cyclone Manager Tom Gamboa stated, “I’ve already recommended all of them for our Instructional League this year.” For young minor league players, a recommendation to “Instructs” is important because only promising young players are invited to the Mets’ Instructional Season, which is held at Port St. Lucie in the fall.
Going around the horn, Gamboa gave a mid-season evaluation of his infield starting with #2 draft pick first baseman Peter Alonso out of the University of Florida. “He reminds me of Mike Napoli who led the Texas League in home runs,” said Gamboa. “He has out-of-the-stadium-like power and is an impact bat. That’s why they drafted him number two.”
At second base Gamboa stated that #4 draft pick Michael Paez out of Coastal Carolina is still “a work in progress” as he learns second base after coming up as a shortstop. “He’s still making the adjustment and recently he’s made some fantastic plays at second to keep us in games,” he said.
On the left side of the infield, #5 draft pick shortstop Colby Woodmansee out of Arizona State reminds Gamboa of a young Travis Fryman in body type and skill set. Noting that he needs to add weight to his frame in order to take advantage of his power, Gamboa stated, “Woody has played brilliantly at shortstop with just one error.”
Finally, at third base, #3 draft pick Blake Tiberi out of the University of Louisville “has had a rough time with the bat” according to Gamboa. “But to his credit, he’s recently improved at the plate and never let his lack of offense affect his defense.”
In addition to the top draft picks, Gamboa also felt compelled to mention the Mets’ #23 draft pick, Nick Sergakis out of Ohio State. Noting that he’s played well right along with the other high draft picks, Sergakis has been an infield sparkplug that Gamboa looks to insert as much as possible to give his other infielders a rest. “He’s been a real nice addition to this team,” said a highly complimentary Gamboa.