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2018 Minor League Preview: Brooklyn Cyclones

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How will the Brooklyn Cyclones fare this season?

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MCU Park

In 2017, the Brooklyn Cyclones ended their season with a losing record for the third consecutive year. Unlike the 2015 and 2016 teams, the 2017 Cyclones seemed to be out of it from the start, losing seven games in a row to end June. Things did not get better for the team as the summer progressed and for as poorly as they played in June and July, nothing would compare to the tailspin they went on in August. From August 10th to August 25th, the Cyclones lost fourteen games in a row, a franchise record. After snapping the streak, Brooklyn showed some uncharacteristic life, winning nine of their last thirteen games. The Cyclones finished the year with a 24-52 record, by far the worst in franchise history. While they were certainly not fighting for a playoff spot, the team was playing to fight off ignominy. Their winning ways at the end of the season allowed them to avoid tying or surpassing the 1981 Batavia Trojans for the worst season in New York-Penn League history (16-59).

The Brooklyn Cyclones will open the 2018 on Friday, June 15th against the Staten Island Yankees, the Short-A affiliate of the New York Yankees.

THE MANAGERS

Former Mets Hall of Famer Edgardo Alfonzo will be returning as Cyclones manager for his second year. At his side will be Rich Donnelly, who will be serving as bench coach. Donnelly managed the Cyclones from 2011-2013 and is one of just two Cyclones managers with over 100 career wins under his belt. Flanking them will be Marlon Anderson and Royce Ring, who will be serving as hitting and pitching coaches. Anderson will be coaching in the organization for the first time, replacing Sean Ratliff, who will be serving as manager of the Kingsport Mets for the 2018 season. Ring will be entering his fifth season in the organization and his second with the Brooklyn Cyclones.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Christian James (Amazin’ Avenue 2018 Top Prospect #20)

Wagner Lagrange

Jose Medina

Bryce Montes de Oca

Juan Uriare

Jaison Viliera

Kyle Wilson

THE HITTERS

Hitting has been a problem for the Brooklyn Cyclones over the past few years. The 2017 Cyclones hit a collective .232/.309/.305, below the league average of .240/.316/.340. The 2016 Cyclones hit a collective .216/.301/.297, below the league average of .242/.318/.337. The 2015 Cyclones hit a collective .220/.295/.307, below the league average of .250/.320/.346.

Third baseman Carl Stajduhar, who hit three homers in Brooklyn last season, projects to be the Cyclones’ biggest bopper. He will be joined in the infield by three players already in the system in Angel Manzanarez, Oliver Pascual, and Dionis Paulino, two newly drafted players in Manny Rodriguez and Chandler Avant, and 2017 Frontier League standout Jose Brizuela.

Outfielders Wagner Lagrange and Jose Medina will both be returning to the Cyclones after spending time in Coney Island last season. Lagrange hit .308/.378/.436 in 13 games in 2017 while Medina hit .262/.325/.333 in 63 games. The pair will be joined by 2018 draftees David Miranda and Ross Adolph, and minor league free agent Kendall Coleman, who played with the Staten Island Yankees for the past two seasons and hit a collective .203/.301/.282 in 118 games.

Juan Uriarte will be the team’s primary catcher, and on the heels of hitting .305/.372/.455 in 52 games with the Kingsport Mets, may find himself on Amazin’ Avenue’s Top 25 Mets Prospects list for 2019 with another strong season with the bat and glove. Backing him up will be Carlos Sanchez, who split catching duties in Brooklyn last season, and Kevin Hall.

THE PITCHERS

Over the years, Brooklyn has seen some excellent pitching performances, and it is looking like 2018 will boast another strong rotation. Christian James, named the Mets 20th top prospect for 2018 by the Amazin’ Avenue minor league team, will headline the 2018 rotation. Joining him will be a variety of options for Edgardo Alfonzo, including Kyle Wilson, Jaison Viliera, Trent Johnson and 2018 draftees Kevin Smith and Bryce Montes de Oca.