Woodmansee is Brooklyn’s ‘hitting machine’
Shortstop Flourishing in Cyclones’ Lineup After Stellar Career at ASU
Brooklyn Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa has been around Major League-affiliated baseball for more than four decades.
That’s why his word counts for a lot, maybe a lot more than others, when it comes to weighing in on a young ballplayer’s potential.
“He’s an outstanding shortstop with good action, a strong arm and great feet,” Gamboa recently told MiLB.com of Baby Bums shortstop Colby Woodmansee, the Mets’ fifth-round pick in last month’s draft out of Arizona State.
“He’s a consummate guy and a good pick by the Mets.”
Thus far this season, Woodmansee has lived up to Gamboa’s praises, and then some.
The 21-year-old Phoenix native has been Brooklyn’s best everyday player since his professional debut on June 21, a game in which he went 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBIs, two runs scored and took part in the only double play the Cyclones turned during an 8-3 win over visiting Tri-City.
Woodmansee, who sat out Tuesday night’s 5-1 victory in Batavia, has been on fire since the moment he stepped foot on the lush green grass at MCU Park, amassing a team-best .373 batting average (19-for-51) with eight RBIs and 11 runs scored in only 13 games at the Class A short-season level.
He also belted his first professional home run during Brooklyn’s 5-1 win at Batavia on Monday night.
“That’s why I think he’s different than a lot of shortstops, particularly in college where it’s more of a defensive position,” ASU head baseball coach Tracy Smith told Baseball America recently. “He can do that, but he can also beat you with a home run.”
The Sun Devils’ former team captain drove in nearly 100 runs during his three-year stint at ASU, spanning 145 games.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound infielder also received various All-American honors throughout his collegiate career, making him a prime prospect at a position that has become perhaps the most esteemed in the Major Leagues today.
“Arizona State has a long history as one of the top college programs in the country,” Gamboa noted. “For whatever they do there, they produce hitters from the days of Reggie Jackson and Bob Horner. Now they got another guy in Woodmansee, and this guy is just a hitting machine.”
The Machine figured to be back in the lineup Wednesday as Brooklyn went for the three-game sweep in Batavia before hosting Hudson Valley for a three-game set here this weekend following Thursday’s New York-Penn League-wide day off.
If you haven’t yet seen Woodmanseee man his position or step to the plate on Surf Avenue, you might want to grab a peek before it’s too late.
Unlike Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and some of the other future Mets who began their pro careers in Brooklyn, Woodmansee doesn’t figure to be at this level very long if he keeps hitting in the high .300s.
The Cyclones proved they could put together some runs without their hot-hitting shortstop Tuesday night as second baseman Nick Sergakis went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI and Nabil Crismatt and Joel Huertas (1-2) combined to shut down the Muckdogs for the second straight game.
Sergakis singled in the opening frame, walked and scored the go-ahead run on Blake Tibieri’s sacrifice fly in the sixth and doubled and came home again in the eighth as Brooklyn cruised to its season high-tying third straight win.
Crismatt, making his first start for Brooklyn, overcame some early wildness to yield just one earned run on one hit over four solid innings before Huertas came on and surrendered only two hits while striking out four over the next four scoreless frames.
Adam Atkins tossed a perfect ninth as the Cyclones improved to 9-10 on the young season and moved within 3 ½ games of first-place Staten Island in the McNamara Division race.
This, That and the Other Thing: Sergakis, an Ohio State alum whom the Mets took in the 23rd round of last month’s MLB Draft, leads the Baby Bums with five stolen bases and has yet to be caught on the base paths. … Erik Manoah, Wednesday’s scheduled starting pitcher in Batavia, also received some high praise from Gamboa, who has watched the 20-year-old blossom of late after he made one start for the Cyclones last summer. “I’ve seen Erik a lot over the last couple of years,” Gamboa told MiLB.com after Manoah tossed six innings of one-hit ball against Hudson Valley before a packed house at MCU Park on June 26. “In the past, he’s had a tendency to let himself get flustered by some things out of the norm — an umpire’s call or an error — and dwell on it, kind of adding fuel to the fire. He worked hard all spring down in Florida in all of his outings and stayed a true professional. Today, in front of a capacity crowd, Erik’s mound presence and the way he conducted himself was like a big leaguer.” Manoah was the Mets’ 13th-round pick out of South Dade (Homestead, Florida) High School back in 2014.
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