The Brooklyn Cyclones wrapped up their two-game road series with the Staten Island Yankees on Tuesday night with a much-needed win. These games were vital for both teams as the Cyclones and Yankees are battling for the lone Wild Card spot in the New York Penn League. The Cyclones have a two-game lead over the Connecticut Tigers and a 3½ game lead over the Lowell Spinners and Staten Island Yankees with five games left to play. I was excited to finally get a glimpse of 2014 first-round draft choice Michael Conforto, along with other notable Mets prospects Casey Meisner, Amed Rosario, and Jhoan Urena. Here’s what I saw from the press box.
Casey Meisner really impressed me. I saw him earlier in the season when he was struggling and he looked much better this time around. Meisner struck out 11 batters while giving up only four hits, one walk, and one earned run in six innings. It was clear that he had command of all of his pitches from the start. He was moving the ball all around the zone and freezing hitters with fastballs on the inside corner of the plate. The Yankees didn’t get a hit off of him until the fourth inning. Meisner, who is 6’7", clearly uses his height to his advantage. He topped out at 92 mph, but the effective velocity is faster because of his extension. Meisner’s long arms and stride to the plate allow the ball to jump on the hitters faster, so a 92 mph fastball from Meisner might actually seem like it’s coming in at 95 mph to the hitter. This should be a plus pitch for him as he gets stronger.
Regarding Meisner’s early-season struggles, Keith Law from ESPN saw Meisner pitch on July 23 against the Aberdeen Ironbirds and said that he was ”awful” that day with no command. Meisner lasted one inning in that game and allowed two earned runs. Since that game on July 23, Meisner has given up two earned runs or fewer in five straight games, lasting at least five innings in each. He has also lowered his ERA from 6.75 to 4.08 in that span.
Not surprisingly, Michael Conforto looks like a man amongst boys, impressing both offensively and defensively. He lined several base hits through the hole between the first baseman and second baseman. He also sprayed the ball to left field for a single. He added a spectacular diving catch to rob Jose Javier of a single late in the game and he threw out a baserunner at home in a crucial situation on Monday night. So far this season, Conforto is batting .311/.396/.409 with two home runs and 18 RBI. It’s clear that he is a much more advanced player than most at this level.
Jhoan Urena, 19, has 77 hits—the most in the NYPL—along with a .291 batting average, five home runs, and 43 RBI. He was originally in the lineup on Monday night, but in an odd turn of events he was ejected before the game started after he apparently refused to get off of the base line. The umpire warned him a few times to move off of the line so that the Yankees could warm up and he didn’t move so he was tossed. However, he did not disappoint on Tuesday night, hitting an impressive RBI triple to the opposite field and an RBI single to right field. I was impressed by his strong arm at third base as well.
Amed Rosario, 18, has a .281 batting average with one home run and 19 RBI. As with Urena, this is especially impressive considering that he’s facing many pitchers who are several years older than they him. Rosario was the designated hitter for the night and he had three hits and two RBI.