Cyclones benefit from key additions, Verlander trade 

Leaving Brooklyn in first place (20-10), two and a half games ahead of Aberdeen, the Cyclones traveled to the Jersey Shore to take on the Blue Claws in a six-game road series. With a number of promotions made to Double-A Binghamton, the roster opened up for two players to be called up from St. Lucie – shortstop Jett Williams, the N.Y. Mets’ 2022 first-round draft pick, and fourth-round pick infielder Jacob Reimer.

“He’s a real firecracker,” Cyclones manager Chris Newell said after Williams’ debut in Lakewood at the leadoff spot in a 6-3 Brooklyn loss. The 19-year-old Texas native reached base four times on three walks and a double for a RBI, in addition to stealing a base and scoring a run.

“He carries himself like he’s been in the big leagues for years and shows everyone how good he is,” Newell said. “He’s a real gamer and that’s why he went in the first round.  We’re lucky to have him.”

Speaking about his promotion, Williams said, “It’s the same game and it’s a step by step process.”

Ranked as the number one high school player in Texas in 2022, Williams opted to enter the MLB Draft instead of going to powerhouse Mississippi State. He was then drafted in the first round along with Cyclones catcher Kevin Parada. Just before his call-up from St. Lucie after 79 games, Williams was batting .249 with 51 runs scored, 36 RBIs and 32 stolen bases.

Reimer, the Cyclones other 19-year-old call-up from St. Lucie, also made an immediate impact as part of 5-3 Brooklyn win when he doubled and hit a home run in his Lakewood debut. The Californian earned his promotion to Brooklyn after batting .280 with 70 hits, six home runs, 48 runs scored and 37 RBIs over 75 games.

The third player making an impact for the Cyclones on the road was the recently traded Ryan Clifford, who was part of a two-player deal for former Mets pitcher Justin Verlander. As a member of the Houston Astros’ Ashville Tourists Single-A affiliate, Clifford arrived immediately after the trade announcement and insisted on playing the next day. As it turns out, his insistence paid immediate dividends when he hit a home run in his first at-bat and then doubled, going 2-for-3 in the Cyclones’ 6-3 win.

“This is not a disappointment, but an opportunity that I’ll take full advantage of,” said Clifford, taking a professional approach to the trade. “I knew that New York might want me considering Verlander’s connection to Houston. It was a surprise, but in the back of my mind I knew it was a possibility considering the kind of season that I was having.”  

While playing first base for 58 games at Ashville, the 20-year-old from North Carolina hit .271 with 58 hits, 16 home runs and 46 RBIs.

“The numbers don’t lie,” Newell said. “All of these guys have a very high baseball IQ for young players right out of high school and will do well at this level.”

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