Cyclones’ Adolph receives Sterling Award
Brooklyn leadoff man named top Class A Short Season Mets prospect
The Brooklyn Cyclones needed a strong start to 2018 after going a franchise-worst 24-52 the previous summer.
Ross Adolph gave them one nearly every night of the season, establishing himself as the one of the top leadoff hitters in Cyclones history and getting his professional career off to a brilliant start.
The Brooklyn outfielder, who batted .276 with team highs of seven homers and 35 RBIs during the Baby Bums’ bounce-back summer on Coney Island, was rewarded for his outstanding debut campaign at Citi Field on Wednesday evening.
Prior to the Mets’ scheduled doubleheader against Miami in Flushing, Adolph was named the parent club’s Sterling Award winner for the Class A Short Season franchise by the sea.
Tabbed as the Mets’ top prospect at that level, Adolph, armed with a sweet left-handed swing, was instrumental in helping the Cyclones go 40-35, their best record since 2014.
The Mets’ 12th-round pick out of the University of Toledo this past June led the New York-Penn League and matched a franchise record with 12 triples. He also ripped nine doubles while finishing third in the league in slugging (.509) and on-base percentage (.857) over 61 games.
Adolph was one of six Cyclones selected for last month’s NY-Penn All-Star Game in State College, Pennsylvania and took home the annual late-summer classic’s Most Valuable Player award after drilling a homer, a triple, driving in three runs and scoring twice.
“Just kind of growing and adapting to the change of professional ball from college,” Adolph told MiLB.com after receiving the coveted honor.
“At first, it was just a slow change and trying to get into a routine,” he said of his transition from college to the pros. “But now I’m feeling comfortable and it’s awesome to see how far I’ve come and, hopefully, I can continue to carry it over.”
The 21-year-old Findlay, Ohio native couldn’t get the Cyclones over the hump in their pursuit of the organization’s first postseason bid since 2012 as they fell a half-game shy of the 14-team circuit’s lone wild-card spot.
But Adolph saved his best for last, hitting a sizzling .341 with two homers and eight RBIs over his last 10 games.
Adolph served as second-year manager Edgardo Alfonzo’s top all-around player throughout the campaign, leading Brooklyn with 47 runs scored while swiping a team-high 14 bases.
He provided a spark at the top of a lineup that led the league with a collective .259 average and was solid on defense in center field.
Adolph is unlikely to be back along Surf Avenue next year as his strong summer will merit him a promotion to either full-season Class A Columbia or Class A Advanced St. Lucie next season.
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In other local sports news, the New York Islanders suffered a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday night in their annual Rookie Game exhibition opener at the Brooklyn-based franchise’s Northwell Health Ice Center on Long Island.
Kiefer Bellows, the Isles’ first-round pick in 2016 and a contender to make the NHL roster, scored a goal and Josh Ho-Sang added an assist in his bid to impress the team’s new brass.
Noah Dobson, one of the Isles’ two first-round picks in this past June’s NHL Draft, also picked up a helper in his debut against pro competition.
“I was able to learn lots about my own game,” Dobson said of his rookie camp experience, which will take on a different tone beginning Friday when all Islander veterans are expected to report.
“I think at the start of the camp you want to get the rust off from the summer, so to get that game out of the way you know what to expect,” he added. “Obviously, Friday [New York’s preseason opener] is going to be another big ramp up playing against regular NHLers… It helped us prepare.”
The rookie squad was coached by AHL Bridgeport’s Brent Thompson, but reigning Stanley Cup-winning head coach Barry Trotz will be at the helm as the full training camp commences.
“I thought [Thompson] did a great job of getting us ready for this main camp coming up,” noted Bellows.
“I think playing this game helps us get used to the game speed again. We haven’t played a game since last year and we’re all excited for it.”
The Isles will play their full-squad exhibition opener against the Flyers on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m., at NYCB Live, also known as the renovated Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y.