Just like his Brooklyn Cyclones teammates, infielder Chase Estep is “chasing the dream” to someday take the field on a team for Major League Baseball. Since the N.Y. Mets drafted him last year in the ninth round out of the University of Kentucky, Estep has already enjoyed a rare first minor league championship as a member of the Low-A St. Lucie Mets of the Florida State League.
Now in Brooklyn this season, like many of the college draftees on the team, Estep is continuing to learn at the next level for batting and fielding instruction at the Cyclones’ High-A North Division.
“At this time of season, the pitchers are ahead of the hitters and can put the ball where they want to at this level,” Estep said. “It’s a constant adjustment. They’re getting better, so you’ve got to get better. That’s where our coaches come in to help us make those adjustments.”
In the season’s first game, Estep found out how valuable instruction could be when he was patient at the plate to give the Cyclones an opening day win in extra innings. Stepping into the batter’s box with the score tied and the bases loaded in the 11th inning, Estep waited out the Jersey Shore pitcher, who had a tendency to throw out of the strike zone. He took four consecutive balls and enabled Alex Ramirez to score from third for the 9-8 win.
“It was a back-and-forth game and that scouting report gave us the best chance to win since that pitcher was in and out of the strike zone,” Estep said.
Commenting on his move up to Brooklyn, Estep said, “This level is a big jump for me going to the northeast. I’m still getting used to the faster pace in Brooklyn and the colder weather. The field here is different and plays faster than Florida, and now I’m playing at all different positions on the infield and in the lineup. It’s a big change from small-town Kentucky [Corbin] to where I now overlook the beach from my Coney Island high-rise.”
Returning to Coney Island after losing five out of six games at Winston-Salem, Estep said, “They just put a lot of good swings on the ball and anything that could went their way. We would rather get beat early in the season than latter and get that losing out of the way.”
Actually the road trip contained a positive note for Estep as his parents made the 300-mile drive from Corbin, Ky., to Winston-Salem, N.C. to see their son for the first time in a Cyclones uniform.
“We’ve got good players and a good team environment,” Estep said. “We’re not worried. I believe that we’ll do just fine.”