Coming Soon to Coney Island
Mets will restock Cyclones' roster during this week's MLB Draft
“With the 11th pick in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft, the New York Mets select ….”
Those words will officially kick off the 2013 Brooklyn Cyclones’ season Thursday night as the parent-club Mets look to restock their Minor League system, including the roster of their Class A Short-Season franchise by the sea.
It was just three years ago that the Mets grabbed current staff ace Matt Harvey with the seventh overall pick out of the University of North Carolina. In 2011, the Amazins took a shot on a little-known outfielder from Wyoming named Brandon Nimmo, who turned out to be a Brooklyn folk hero last summer. In 2012, the Mets selected shortstop Gavin Cecchini with the 12th pick.
Though Cecchini only had five at-bats in Brooklyn, and Harvey never made it to Surf Avenue on his meteoric rise to Major League stardom, Nimmo became a staple in the Cyclones’ lineup last summer, helping the Baby Bums to the brink of the New York-Penn League Championship Series.
Over the weekend, the Mets’ hierarchy will try to continue building for the future, but for Brooklyn baseball fanatics, the Draft provides a peek into the next bushel of bushers who will roam the newly installed synthetic turf at MCU Park from mid-June to early September.
Angel Pagan (2001), Scott Kazmir (2002), Brian Bannister (’03), Joe Smith (’06), Dillon Gee and Lucas Duda (’07), Ike Davis and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (’08), Jordanny Valdespin and Collin McHugh (’09) are just some of the 38 players who have made the jump from Coney Island to the Majors since the Cyclones opened business in our fair borough in the summer of 2001.
Players like Nimmo, Cory Vaughn (2010), Kevin Plawecki (2012) and Cecchini are currently on the fast track to the big leagues after making their bones before the record-setting crowds in Brooklyn.
The 2013 Draft should provide third-year manager Rich Donnelly with about a third — if not more — of his new roster in the coming days.
According to Paul DePodesta, the Mets’ head of amateur scouting, there will be plenty of talent available in the first round and beyond.
“There are some guys obviously that we like more than others, but there are definitely 11 guys that we like a lot,” DePodesta told MLB.com. “In fact, there are more than 11. So going into this year, I think we’re very comfortable with what the outcome is likely to be on June 6. “We don’t know the name of the player or the position or anything like that, but we’re going to have a good choice, and we’re going to get someone we like an awful lot.”
Though he’s keeping his wish list close to the vest, here are some of the players DePodesta may try to grab, and ultimately send our way, during the three-day, 40-round Draft:
OF Hunter Renfroe, Mississippi State: Though he struggled at times during his first two seasons with the Bulldogs, Renfroe blossomed in 2013, batting .350 with 15 homers. “He’s a good runner who’s even better underway, and he has a cannon for an arm,” MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo said of the 6-foot-1, 21-year-old, who was previously picked in the 31st round of the 2010 Draft out of high school by the Boston Red Sox. “He’s strong and physical and might very well fit the profile for a right fielder at the highest level.”
INF D.J. Peterson, University of New Mexico: The third baseman/first baseman from Arizona hit a sizzling .408 as a junior for the Lobos, bashing 18 homers and driving in 72 runs. That placed him in the top-five in the nation in each of those categories.
RHP Chris Anderson, Jacksonville University: A 6-foot-4, 225-pound hurler from Mets outfielder Daniel Murphy’s alma mater, Anderson reportedly fires it in at 90 mph-plus, with a formidable sinker, slider combination to work off his hard stuff.
RHP Ryne Stanek, University of Arkansas: The 21-year-old Razorback, who also has a serious heater, went 9-2 with a miniscule 1.40 ERA in 15 starts for Arkanasas this year. Originally thought of as a first-round talent out of high school in 2010, the seasoning Stanek received in the SEC makes him a bonafide mid-first rounder and someone the Mets and Brooklyn fans would relish seeing on the hill in 2013.
OF Austin Meadows, Grayson High School: The last time the Mets went with a high school outfielder — Nimmo — he hadn’t even played in high school as Wyoming didn’t offer a scholastic hardball program. Picking just out of the top-10, the Mets can likely only dream that Meadows falls to them at No. 11. The 18-year-old is being compared favorably with fellow Georgia high school stud Clint Frazier, who is likely to go on the top side of the first 10 picks.
This, That and the Other Thing: As reported in last week’s Eagle, the 2012 Cyclones are having quite an impact at the next level. In fact, four of them — Nimmo, Plawecki, Gabriel Ynoa and Jayce Boyd were named to the 2013 South Atlantic League All-Star Team this week as members of the Class A Savannah Sand Gnats. Cyclones fans wishing to see their former heroes in action can attend the SAL All-Star Game in Lakewood, New Jersey on June 18. Ynoa, Brooklyn’s Opening Day starter last year, leads the league in wins (7) and innings (62 2/3) and has tossed the only complete game in the SAL thus far this season. Nimmo was hitting .322 (29-for-90) in his first taste of full-season ball before going on the disabled list with a left-hand contusion. After returning to the lineup on May 28, Nimmo went hitless in his first two games back before going on a four-game hit streak during which he has collected six hits. Boyd leads the SAL with a .350 average (70-for-200), to go with 20 multi-hit games and 36 RBIs. Plawecki is hitting .343 (69-201) with six home runs and 39 RBIs.
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