Fresh crop of prospects could bloom in Brooklyn
Parent-club Mets likely to send some of their new draftees to Cyclones
Brandon Nimmo really dug Brooklyn, and so did Michael Conforto and Pete Alonso.
The trio of Mets cut their teeth at the professional level here in our fair borough, and it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that recently drafted New York prospects like first-round pick Brett Baty, Josh Wolf and Matthew Allan will eventually wind up at MCU Park at some point this summer.
The Cyclones have been a launching point for many Mets draftees and non-drafted free agents, including Juan Lagares, Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and Corey Oswalt, all of whom are currently with the big-league club in Flushing, N.Y.
While the Mets were busy playing a double-admission doubleheader against the arch-rival New York Yankees in the Bronx on Tuesday, their Class A short-season affiliate was still putting together its Opening Day roster with the season slated to begin on Friday night in Coney Island vs. the Staten Island version of the Bombers.
Though no official list of players has been released for the 2019 version of Brooklyn’s “Boys of Summer”, Baty, a Texas native whom many consider to be the best “prep-level hitter” in last week’s MLB Draft, would benefit greatly from his first exposure to New York here in Brooklyn, albeit at the minor league level.
The 19-year-old third baseman, who was dubbed “Brett the Met” as a child because his T-ball squad had the same name as the organization that wound up selecting him 12th overall last week, has already declared his love for all things associated with the Big Apple.
“I love New York,” Baty told MLB.com on draft night.
“The city, the atmosphere around it, it’s just an awesome city and I can’t wait to get here.”
Though getting to Queens may take a few years, Baty could get a taste of the New York media, the fervor of local fans and a scenic view of Coney Island if the Mets sign him and send him to Brooklyn after a brief stopover at Rookie-level Kingsport.
Players like Nimmo, Conforto and Alonso made what proved to be a lasting first impression with the Baby Bums, each becoming fan favorites while producing at the plate to earn promotions up the Mets’ organizational chain.
Nimmo was a self-appointed team captain here in 2012, making a huge splash just off the beach by hitting six homers, driving in 40 runs and walking 46 times in 69 games with the Cyclones.
Conforto, who signed later in the summer of 2014 after being chose in the opening round of the draft by New York, sizzled right from the start on Surf Avenue, hitting a team-best .331 with 30 runs scored in 42 games while driving Brooklyn within a regular season-ending tiebreaker of earning a playoff spot.
Alonso, whom former Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa described as a “Mike Napoli-type” player for his raw power and clubhouse leadership, spent just 30 games here after being selected in the second round of the 2016 Draft.
“He’s a potential impact bat for the Mets,” Gamboa said of the then-21-year-old pro baseball neophyte. “In the big leagues, if you get down early, you need to have somebody that can hit a three-run homer to get your team back in the game. Certainly, Alonso provides that.”
The hulking first baseman made a huge impact during his time in Brooklyn, bashing five homers and amassing 21 RBIs while putting together an impressive .321 batting average.
Wolf and Allan, high school hurlers hailing from Texas and Florida, respectively, were the Mets’ second- and third-round selections last week, and one or both could wind up toeing the rubber in Brooklyn this summer if they agree to sign with the club instead of pursuing collegiate careers.
Other notable draftees who could wind up in Brooklyn include: outfielder Jake Magnum from Mississippi State, RHP Nathan Jones of Northwestern State and second baseman Luke Ritter out of Wichita State.
“What we’ve tried to do the last couple of years is take ceiling players, players that we believe have a chance to have impact,” said Mets scouting director Marc Tramuta.
“These are players that are young, that are somewhat advanced, they already bring those tools to the table with performance as well. So, we feel very good.”
This, That and the Other Thing: The Cyclones, in conjunction with Curemark, will introduce Pee Wee’s Puzzle Piece Playhouse, a new sensory safe space designed to accommodate children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as their families, this Thursday at MCU Park. The space is located in a newly renovated and re-designed Luxury Suite at the Coney Island stadium. The Puzzle Piece Playhouse is fully equipped with sensory toys, games and tools to help make their experience feel like home. … Entering his third season as Cyclones manager, Edgardo Alfonzo is hoping to lead Brooklyn back into the New York-Penn League playoffs for the first time since 2012. The Baby Bums made a 16-win improvement last summer after going a dismal 24-52 in 2017.
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