The transitional bridge: Asdrubal Cabrera

AsdrubalCabrera181215It is well known throughout the baseball world that the New York Mets possess one of the top shortstop prospects in the entire league. His name is Amed Rosario, and he is expected by many to possibly reach the big leagues by the end of 2017. Until then though, the Mets will have a completely capable shortstop to fill the gap between now and Rosario’s arrival. Signed by the Mets on December 15th, 2015, Asdrubal Cabrera will be the starting shortstop when the doors open on the 2017 season.

Last season, Cabrera posted a slash line of .280/.336/.474 while hitting 23 home runs and driving in 62 RBIs. While these numbers weren’t exactly up to the standard of what he produced in the 2011 season, when he was an All-Star for the first of two times, Cabrera still produced at a solid clip for the Mets. This should have the team feeling confident at the position not only for this season, but also seasons down the road. While many minds will be on Rosario this season, Cabrera should not be forgotten.

Cabrera may end up having a significant impact on the lineup this season. The fact that he is a switch-hitter makes him extremely valuable to the lineup. Also, last season, Cabrera batted in seven of the possible nine spots in the lineup, meaning he is well-versed in many potential situations at the plate. This could be crucial to the lineup with the return of Lucas Duda and David Wright possibly shaking things up. Last season, Cabrera also showed competency at the shortstop position last year, proving to be an exciting one-two punch on turning a double play.

Of course, when Rosario reaches the big leagues, he will be met with large fanfare and high expectations. But unless he is called up to replace Cabrera, he should not expect to be handed the starting job. Rosario will have to work hard to beat out the savvy shortstop. Cabrera showed last season that even at age 30, he still has range. For what it’s worth, Cabrera last season was the most consistent fielding shortstop the Mets have had since José Reyes was manning the helm at the position. Cabrera committed only seven errors last season, good enough for the third-least errors by a shortstop in all of the MLB. All of this success by Cabrera not only benefits the Mets, but it may also benefit Rosario as well.

In the case that Rosario does get called up before the season ends, he will be under the tutelage of two veteran shortstops. Both Cabrera and Reyes will be able to mentor and help further develop Rosario as a player. And while Cabrera would still likely start over Rosario, it would still be a great learning experience for the shortstop prospect. Both Cabrera and the Mets know that Rosario is the shortstop of the future. Cabrera should be commended for his hard work and effort that he put into the 2016 season, and for putting up the numbers that he did. Should Cabrera have a similar season this year, the Mets will have made a great two-year investment. And if he falters, the Mets can simply give Wilmer Flores more opportunities or bring up Rosario to play. Up to this point though, Cabrera has been a fantastic bridge from the shortstops of the past few seasons to the shortstop of the future, Rosario.

Don’t expect much from Wright and Wheeler

david-wright-zack-wheelerIt’s been three years since either David Wright or Zack Wheeler played a full season of baseball. Both have tremendous talent and have worked really hard to rehabilitate from significant injuries, overcome adversity, and maintain confidence. They deserve a lot of credit and we’re all rooting for them. But, while it would be wonderful if either of them played a significant role on the team this coming season, it’s not likely. And that is okay.

In the best case scenario for Wright, he’ll spend three hours stretching before games and manage to play through the discomfort and stiffness brought on by spinal stenosis. He’ll regain enough flexibility and strength to play a decent third base and reclaim a spot in the batting order. Even then, the front office and coaches will err on the side of caution and only play him three or four games a week so as to not put to much strain on his back. Realistically, even if Wright should manage to play a passable third base and hit for a decent average, at least against lefties, he’s not likely to possess any home run power, and will often be limited to DH or pinch hitting duties. Should he miss significant time, Jose Reyes can become the regular third baseman, while batting lead off. Backing up Reyes is Wilmer Flores and TJ Rivera. Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker could both play third if necessary and there’s always Matt Reynolds as well The team, like its fans, is rooting for the captain, but it can survive without him.

Similarly, Wheeler, while he appears healthy at the moment, will be watched very closely in spring training to make sure he’s more or less back to the pitcher he showed he can be back in 2014. It’s been so long since we’ve seen Wheeler on the mound that it’s easy to forget just how electric his stuff is – the moving fastball, the wipeout slider, and occasional curves, changeups and two-seamers mixed in when hitters least expect it. Again, all fans and teammates are rooting for him, but even in the best case scenario, Wheeler will be held to a very strict innings limit of about 100 innings, which amounts to him either being shut down in the summer, or else being used as a five-inning starter who requires a piggy back long reliever for every start. Should Wheeler prove unable to pitch most of the season, or else relegated to the bullpen, we’re all pretty confident that Robert Gsellman can step in and be a solid fifth arm in the rotation. Seth Lugo, who also proved himself capable last season, provides nice depth.

The truth is that the heath of these two is very much up in the air, but how it plays out might not really matter. The success of this team mostly hinges on four players – Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Matt Harvey. If those four are healthy and put up All-Star numbers, this team is going deep in the playoffs. There’s quality depth behind everyone else from the field, to the lineup, rotation, and bullpen .As Cespedes and the big three righties go, so do the 2017 Mets.

An unusual suggestion to improve Travis d’Arnaud’s bottom line

And while d’Arnaud didn’t swing more frequently at balls outside of the zone, he made contact with those pitches much more often. Instead of making contact on 58 percent of pitches out of the zone, he made contact with 76 percent of those pitches.

It may be crazy to think that you’d want a player to swing and miss more often, but that’s exactly what I think hurt d’Arnaud last year from a statistical perspective. Making contact on balls out of the zone can be great if you’re a scrappy squib-hitter with speed or a bat-control freak of nature like Pablo Sandoval or Vladimir Guerrero. That isn’t d’Arnaud’s game; he’s a guy with doubles-power who needs to wait for a pitch to drive and belt it. Instead, d’Arnaud’s ground ball rate shot up, and as we’ve learned over the past few years, the best way to be a good hitter is to put the ball in the air. In addition to his ground ball rate rising from 37 percent in 2015 to 52 percent in 2016, he also “barreled” only seven balls this last season (per Statcast’s metric designed to identify the best possible contact) compared to 12 barrels in 2015.

From a numbers standpoint, it would certainly behoove TdA to swing at fewer pitches outside the zone if he’s going to make poor contact like he did this past season.

Source: Bryan Grosnick, BP Mets

Knowing Noah Syndergaard

Noah SyndergaardSpring training camp has started, you may have heard, and it will not be long before we get to start worrying again. Exhibition games start tomorrow, the first television cablecast from Port St. Lucie will be on Saturday. You just know that some clever wag somewhere will Tweet that there will be baseball on TV every Saturday from now until early November. Couple that with the 60-plus degree temperatures in the New York City environs lately, and you have appetites whetted for a good long summer of baseball. For now, though, the living is still easy in Florida. It’s all about stretching and workouts and David Wright throwing and Matt Harvey pitching ribless and Zack Wheeler cautiously optimistic. Just plugging along through all this is the Mets’ ace-of-the-moment, Noah Syndergaard.

Oh, yeah…that’s right, he’s here, too.

Your intrepid columnist watched the MLB Network’s utterly contrived “Top 100 Players Right Now” shows over the last week – an exercise in off-season fluff if ever there was one, but it should be noted that three Mets made the top 50, two of them in the top 25 – and the host was making a pretty big deal about Syndergaard making his debut on the list at number 24. That’s some pretty high regard, at least among the MLB Network research staff and hosts. I’m not entirely sure if we fans even know what we’ve got with him. Oh, sure, the physical attributes are obvious – we don’t call him “Thor” for nothing, you know – as is his talent. He was the only member of the Mets’ vaunted starting five to come through the 2016 season relatively unscathed. He went out, day-after-day, pumping triple-digit fastballs and 95 MPH sliders past most of the best hitters in the NL. All he did was lead the NL in FIP (2.29) and HR/9 (0.5). While he was doing that, though, our attention was taken by Harvey’s bewildering inability to get guys out. It was taken by the alarming drop in velocity of Jacob deGrom’s pitches. It was taken with worry over whether Stephen Matz would last the season. It was taken with marveling at Robert Gsellman’s and Seth Lugo’s rapid ascension and contributions down the stretch – a stretch which saw the Mets go from under .500 to a blistering 27-13 run to the Wild Card game. Ah, yes! That’s when we remembered Noah Syndergaard was around. That night, he matched Madison Bumgarner pitch-for-pitch and only an unfortunate slider from Jeurys Familia ended the Mets’ post-season prematurely. As Matthew Cerrone so eloquently put it on Metsblog.com yesterday, Syndergaard “is what he is, which is a concrete block of awesome…”

So, yes. By all means, while hoping for the best from Harvey, Wheeler, Matz and deGrom, please pay attention to the guy who will be starting on opening day. He’ll be the guy in the middle with the long, blonde hair.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley .

Podcast with ESPN Insider and ZiPS creator Dan Szymborski

ESPN Insider and ZiPS creator Dan Szymborski stopped by the podcast and talked about playing time, starting pitcher health, Familia’s possible suspension, Matt Wieters, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and a whole lot more. Click here to listen to the podcast.

Big Stein, Sweet Lou and Davey Added To Special HOF Ballot

georgeFive former big league players, three executives and two managers comprise the 10-name Today’s Game Era ballot to be reviewed and voted upon Dec. 5 at the Baseball Winter Meetings in National Harbor, Md., the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced today.

George Steinbrenner, Lou Piniella, and Davey Johnson  join Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, Davey Johnson, Mark McGwire, John Schuerholz and Bud Selig  as candidates that the Today’s Game Era Committee will consider for Hall of Fame election for the Class of 2017.

Baines, Belle, Clark, Hershiser and McGwire are included for the contributions as players. Schuerholz, Selig and Steinbrenner are included for their contributions off the field, and Johnson and Piniella are included for their work as managers. All candidates except for Steinbrenner are living. Any candidate who receives votes on 75 percent of the ballots cast by the 16-member Today’s Game Era Committee will earn election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 30, 2017, along with any electees who emerge from the 2017 Baseball Writers’ Association of America election, to be announced on Jan. 18, 2017.

The Today’s Game Era was one of four Eras Committees identified in July when the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors announced changes to the Era Committee system, which provides an avenue for Hall of Fame consideration to managers, umpires and executives, as well as players retired for more than 15 seasons.

The 10 Today’s Game Era finalists were selected by the BBWAA-appointed Historical Overview Committee from all eligible candidates among managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players whose most significant career impact was realized during the time period from 1988 through the present. Eligible candidates include: Players who played in at least 10 major league seasons, who are not on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list, and have been retired for 15 or more seasons; and managers, umpires and executives with 10 or more years in baseball. All active executives age 70 or older may have their careers reviewed as part of the Era Committee balloting process, regardless of the position they hold in an organization, and regardless of whether their body of work has been completed.

The Today’s Game Era ballot was determined this fall by the Historical Overview Committee, comprised of 11 veteran historians: Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun); Jim Henneman (formerly Baltimore Sun); Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch); Steve Hirdt (Elias Sports Bureau); Bill Madden (formerly New York Daily News); Jack O’Connell (BBWAA); Jim Reeves (formerly Fort Worth Star-Telegram); Tracy Ringolsby (MLB.com); Glenn Schwarz (formerly San Francisco Chronicle); Dave van Dyck (Chicago Tribune); and Mark Whicker (Los Angeles News Group).

The 16-member Hall of Fame Board-appointed electorate charged with the review of the Today’s Game Era ballot will be announced later this fall. The Today’s Game Era electorate will meet to discuss and review the candidacies of the 10 finalists as part of Baseball’s Winter Meetings, Dec. 4-5 in the Washington, D.C. area.

The Today’s Game Era Committee will meet twice in a five-year period, with the next meeting scheduled for the fall of 2018.

The 10 candidates for Today’s Game Era consideration for the Class of 2017:

• Harold Baines played 22 seasons for the White Sox, Rangers, Athletics, Orioles and Indians, totaling 2,866 hits and 1,628 RBI, an RBI total exceeded by only 31 players in history. A six-time All-Star as an outfielder and DH, Baines was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1977 MLB Draft and was a two-time winner of the Designated Hitter of the Year Award, now named the Edgar Martinez Award.

• Albert Belle was a five-time All-Star outfielder and five-time Silver Slugger Award winner in his 12 MLB seasons for the Indians, White Sox and Orioles in a career cut short by a hip injury. He drove in 100-or-more runs nine times, including three seasons when he led the AL, and led the league in total bases three times. In 1995, Belle became the only player in MLB history to post at least 50 doubles and 50 home runs in the same season.

• Will Clark played 15 years for the Giants, Rangers, Orioles and Cardinals, winning two Silver Slugger Awards and a Gold Glove Award at first base. A six-time All-Star, Clark compiled a .303 batting average while driving in 100-or-more runs four times and finishing in the Top 10 of his league’s MVP voting four times. He was named the 1989 NLCS MVP after hitting .650 with two homers and eight RBI for the Giants against the Cubs.

• Orel Hershiser pitched 18 seasons for the Dodgers, Indians, Giants and Mets. A three-time All-Star, Hershiser won the 1988 National League Cy Young Award and pitched the Dodgers to the World Series title that fall. The owner of 204 regular season wins, Hershiser was 8-3 with a 2.59 ERA in 22 Postseason games, winning series MVP honors in the 1988 NLCS and World Series as well as the 1995 ALCS.

davey-johnsonDavey Johnson managed 17 seasons for the Mets, Orioles and Dodgers, posting 1,372 wins. His winning percentage ranks 12th all-time among managers with at least 10 years of service. A 13-year veteran player whose 42 home runs as a second baseman in 1973 still stands as the big league record, Johnson led the 1986 Mets to the World Series title and led his teams to the playoffs in five other seasons. He was named his league’s Manager of the Year in both 1997 and 2012.

• Mark McGwire played 16 seasons for the Athletics and Cardinals, electrifying the baseball world in 1998 when he hit 70 home runs to break the single-season record of 61 set in 1961 by Roger Maris. McGwire set a rookie record with 49 home runs during his AL Rookie of the Year season in 1987 and was named to 12 All-Star Games at first base. His career mark of one home run per 10.61 at-bats is the best in MLB history.

medialy-birthday-boy-lou-piniella-shares-a-classic-george-steinbrenner-storyLou Piniella managed 23 seasons for the Yankees, Reds, Mariners, Rays and Cubs, winning 1,835 games – good for 14th on the all-time list. Piniella skippered the Reds to the 1990 World Series title and led the 2001 Mariners to an American League record 116 victories. Piniella guided his clubs to seven Postseason appearances and was named Manager of the Year in his league three times (1995, 2001, 2008) following an 18-year playing career that saw him hit .291 and take home World Series rings with the 1977-78 Yankees.

• John Schuerholz laid the groundwork for the Royals 1985 World Series championship team as farm director and general manager, then moved to the Braves, where as general manager and later president he built a club that qualified for the Postseason in 14 straight years, advanced to five World Series and won the title in 1995. He was the first general manager to lead teams to World Series titles in both the American and National Leagues.

• Allan H. “Bud” Selig was Baseball’s ninth commissioner, serving as acting commissioner starting in 1992 before being named commissioner in 1998. Selig oversaw two rounds of expansion, the creation of Wild Card playoff teams and interleague play as well as the creation of the World Baseball Classic.

George Steinbrenner purchased the New York Yankees in 1973 and oversaw the team’s path to seven World Series titles before his passing in 2010. An early adopter in baseball’s free agency era of the 1970s, Steinbrenner’s Yankees compiled a winning percentage of .565 and totaled 11 American League pennants in his 37 full years as the team’s owner.

More information on the candidates is available by visiting www.baseballhall.org.

About the Era Committees

The Eras Committees consist of four different electorates: Today’s Game (for candidates who made their most indelible contribution to baseball from 1988 to the present); Modern Baseball (for candidates who made their most indelible contribution to baseball from 1970 to 1987); Golden Days (for candidates who made their most indelible contribution to baseball from 1950 to 1969); and Early Baseball (for candidates who made their most indelible contribution to baseball prior to 1950).

The Today’s Game and Modern Baseball eras will be considered twice each in a five-year period, with the Golden Days era considered once every five years and the Early Baseball era considered once every 10 years.

Eras considered for yearly induction over the next decade are as follows: 2017 – Today’s Game; 2018 – Modern Baseball; 2019 – Today’s Game; 2020 – Modern Baseball; 2021 – Both Golden Days and Early Baseball; 2022 – Today’s Game; 2023 – Modern Baseball; 2024 – Today’s Game; 2025 – Modern Baseball; 2026 – Golden Days. The Early Baseball era returns for induction consideration in 2031.

Both the ballot and electorate are created anew with each cycle for consideration.

Four separate electorates consider by era a single composite ballot of managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players. Candidates remain eligible in perpetuity through the Era Committee process, with new ballots constructed by the Historical Overview Committee the fall prior to each election.

Mets Trade Cyclones Pitcher Erik Manoah to the Angels

On the eve of the September call-up period in Major League Baseball, the New York Mets dealt minor league pitcher Erik Manoah to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for veteran reliever Fernando Salas.

Manoah, 20, was a 13th round draft pick of the Mets in 2014 and spent three seasons in the organization, going 9-10 with a 5.84 ERA in 35 appearances across two levels. Most recently, Manoah started 12 games with the Brooklyn Cyclones, pitching 62 innings with a 5-5 record and a 5.81 ERA. Manoah’s final outing with the Cyclones came on Tuesday against the Auburn Doubledays, where he allowed seven hits and three runs in relief of 2016 first round pick Justin Dunn. Manoah was initially slated to start the Cyclones’ home finale next Sunday against the Staten Island Yankees.

“I heard through the grapevine before our game tonight that our big league team (the Mets) were looking for another pitcher down the stretch to get into the playoffs,” Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa said. “Erik Manoah was the player traded to the Angels. He is in shock right now. There are two ways for a player to react to this. A player can take it as though the Mets are giving up on you or as I told Erik, I want to make sure he takes it from the sense that he was traded for a big league player and now a team can make him a big league prospect.”
Salas, 31, is a veteran of seven major league seasons and was a member of the 2011 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. Salas spent the past three seasons with the Angels pitching in middle relief and appeared in 58 games this season for the club with 45 strikeouts in 56.1 innings and a 4.47 ERA. The acquisition of Salas enables the Mets to bolster their bullpen and have a viable bridge to late inning flame-throwers Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia. The Mets currently sit 1.5 games behind the Cardinals for second wild card spot in the National League.

To make room for Salas on the active roster, the Mets transferred outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the 60-day DL. Manoah is the first Cyclones player traded to the Angels since pitcher Gaither Bumgarner on July 2, 2015. The last player dealt from Brooklyn prior to Wednesday was former 3rd round pick Casey Meisner to the Oakland A’s for Tyler Clippard.

Jose Reyes Shines for Brooklyn in Rehab Return

Jose Reyes (Photo Credit: Mark Suleymanov/Scout.com)

BROOKLYN, NY – On June 26, 2016, over 7,800 fans witnessed one of the most highly anticipated games in Brooklyn Cyclones history as Jose Reyes made his return to the New York Mets organization with two games at MCU Park after signing a minor league contract. Recovering from a left oblique strain, Reyes began a second rehab stint in Brooklyn on Thursday, playing five innings at third base and went 0-for-1 with two walks, two steals, and a run scored in a 7-4 Cyclones victory over the Vermont Lake Monsters.

Unlike his 0-for-5 showing in his last stint in Brooklyn, his first game on Thursday evening began auspiciously for Reyes. Facing Oakland A’s prospect Dakota Chalmers, Reyes led off the Cyclones’ first inning with a walk and promptly stole second with a head-first slide and eventually was stranded at third when Brandon Brosher grounded out to end the inning.

“I feel more comfortable now in Brooklyn than I did the last time I was there (in late June). There is no pressure for me. I know the Mets are going through a tough time right now. I want to be there in the clubhouse for them. They have had a rough couple of games of late, and hopefully, I can be there soon,” Reyes said.
When Reyes came up to bat in the third inning, the script was unchanged from his first plate appearance. Reyes ran the count full to draw a walk, promptly stole second, and was 90 feet away from scoring when Gene Cone reached base on a bunt single. Reyes scored the game’s first run on Nick Sergakis‘s bases loaded walk. The Cyclones added run courtesy of a Blake Tiberi sacrifice to take a 2-0 lead. Reyes batted again in the fourth and flew out to leftfield on one pitch to close his evening.

“I felt good to be back out there tonight,” Reyes said. “At least I took two swings and was able to steal two bases with no problem. I feel good. There aren’t any complaints my first game. If everything goes well, the Mets will give me the call on Sunday.”

Mets’ first-round pick Justin Dunn took the mound for the Cyclones in his fourth start of the season and put together his finest effort. Featuring a fastball touching 97 miles per hour and an effective changeup, Dunn proved untouchable against the Lake Monsters’ hitting, tossing three no-hit innings while striking out six. Dunn lowered his ERA to a microscopic 0.50 and continued to impress in Brooklyn.

“He is similar to Dwight Gooden at the same age because they are both athletic and have loose easy deliveries. Some pitchers will throw 97 MPH, and it looks like the shoulder will fall out of his socket. Dunn is like Doc where the ball comes out of his arm very easily. He looks like he is just playing catch,” Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa said regarding Dunn.
With a batting average which ranks 159th out of the 160 MiLB teams at .214, entering Thursday’s play, the Cyclones have struggled mightily to get on base consistently, but on a night when control escaped Vermont pitching, reaching base was an easy task for the Cyclones, who set a franchise record with 12 base on balls. The patient approach paid dividends in the seventh inning when Hengelbert Rojas singled home Blake Tiberi and Jay Jabs, each of whom walked in front of him to take a three-run lead.

Brooklyn’s fourth consecutive victory came at a devastating price as prized first base prospect Peter Alonso will miss the remainder of the season after breaking his thumb in two places during the opening game of the series against Vermont. The team hoped the swelling would subside, but chose to shut him down as a precautionary measure.

Reyes will return to the Cyclones for the first two games of series against the West Virginia Black Bears on Friday and Saturday and will play both third base or shortstop, though the Mets have yet to determine which position he’ll play first as of press time.

Woodmansee, Alonso, and Gonzalez Earn NYPL All-Star Selection for Brooklyn

Harol Gonzalez (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Featuring a roster filled with high profile college draft picks, the Brooklyn Cyclones boast their fair share of stars and on Monday three of them were named to the New York Penn-League All-Star team with SS Colby Woodmansee, 1B Peter Alonso, and RHP Harol Gonzalez representing the Cyclones in Hudson Valley.

Colby Woodmansee (Robert M. Pimpsner)
Colby Woodmansee (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Woodmansee, a five-time scholar baller at Arizona State, quickly emerged as one of Brooklyn’s top hitters after being taken in the 6th round of the 2016 draft by the New York Mets. In his first 41 games, Woodmansee has a .283 batting average and a.741 OPS with 2 home runs and 21 RBI. Woodmansee recorded his first professional home run on July 4 against the Batavia Muckdogs.

“Making the All-Star team was something I expected to do and was one of my goals heading into the season. Many players go their entire minor league career and never get a chance to play in one. I texted my mom and dad when I found out and they were really excited for me,” Woodmansee said.

Pete Alonso (Robert M. Pimpsner)
Pete Alonso (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Alonso, a second-round pick by the Mets out of Florida, joined the Cyclones on July 9 and quickly became the club’s central power threat, leading them in five offensive categories, including batting average (.324), home runs (5), RBI (21), and slugging percentage (.590). On August 8 against the Tri-City ValleyCats, Alonso recorded a career-best, four hits in five at-bats and fell a triple short of the cycle in a 17-3 victory. Alonso has also played a flawless first base, going errorless in his first 18 pro games.

“It means a lot especially not getting as much time here in Brooklyn as some of the other guys. Me coming here late and being voted onto the team just means the world because I was able to make the most of my time here. I don’t want to settle for where I am and will myself into being the best player I can be,” Alonso said.

Gonzalez, signed by the Mets as an international free agent in 2013 out of the Dominican Republic became one of the most dominating starting pitchers in the New York-Penn League, going 4-1 with a 1.77 ERA in nine starts and drawing comparisons to a young Pedro Martinez by some scouts. Gonzalez’s 67 strikeouts in 56 innings lead the league and has held opposing batters to a .184 average, entering play on August 9.  Gonzalez took a no-hitter into the seventh inning on two occasions this season, including a July 14 outing against the Lowell Spinners.

“Certainly, all of our other pitchers are watching Harol like a hawk. We have several other guys that throw harder than Harol, but it is obvious they are seeing a guy with impeccable control. He’s always got the hitter behind in the count. You can’t teach this, but Harol has what Greg Maddux and Brad Radke had where they can see a hitter take one swing and know what pitch to throw to keep a hitter off balance. He’s too good for this league,” Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa said.

Woodmansee, Alonso, and Gonzalez will play for the South All-Stars in Hudson Valley. The 12th annual New York-Penn League All-Star Game will take place on Tuesday, August 16 at Dutchess Stadium, the home of the Hudson Valley Renegades.

Woodmansee, Alonso, and Gonzalez Earn NYPL All-Star Selection for Brooklyn

Harol Gonzalez (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Featuring a roster filled with high profile college draft picks, the Brooklyn Cyclones boast their fair share of stars and on Monday three of them were named to the New York Penn-League All-Star team with SS Colby Woodmansee, 1B Peter Alonso, and RHP Harol Gonzalez representing the Cyclones in Hudson Valley.

Colby Woodmansee (Robert M. Pimpsner)
Colby Woodmansee (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Woodmansee, a five-time scholar baller at Arizona State, quickly emerged as one of Brooklyn’s top hitters after being taken in the 6th round of the 2016 draft by the New York Mets. In his first 41 games, Woodmansee has a .283 batting average and a.741 OPS with 2 home runs and 21 RBI. Woodmansee recorded his first professional home run on July 4 against the Batavia Muckdogs.

“Making the All-Star team was something I expected to do and was one of my goals heading into the season. Many players go their entire minor league career and never get a chance to play in one. I texted my mom and dad when I found out and they were really excited for me,” Woodmansee said.

Pete Alonso (Robert M. Pimpsner)
Pete Alonso (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Alonso, a second-round pick by the Mets out of Florida, joined the Cyclones on July 9 and quickly became the club’s central power threat, leading them in five offensive categories, including batting average (.324), home runs (5), RBI (21), and slugging percentage (.590). On August 8 against the Tri-City ValleyCats, Alonso recorded a career-best, four hits in five at-bats and fell a triple short of the cycle in a 17-3 victory. Alonso has also played a flawless first base, going errorless in his first 18 pro games.

“It means a lot especially not getting as much time here in Brooklyn as some of the other guys. Me coming here late and being voted onto the team just means the world because I was able to make the most of my time here. I don’t want to settle for where I am and will myself into being the best player I can be,” Alonso said.

Gonzalez, signed by the Mets as an international free agent in 2013 out of the Dominican Republic became one of the most dominating starting pitchers in the New York-Penn League, going 4-1 with a 1.77 ERA in nine starts and drawing comparisons to a young Pedro Martinez by some scouts. Gonzalez’s 67 strikeouts in 56 innings lead the league and has held opposing batters to a .184 average, entering play on August 9.  Gonzalez took a no-hitter into the seventh inning on two occasions this season, including a July 14 outing against the Lowell Spinners.

“Certainly, all of our other pitchers are watching Harol like a hawk. We have several other guys that throw harder than Harol, but it is obvious they are seeing a guy with impeccable control. He’s always got the hitter behind in the count. You can’t teach this, but Harol has what Greg Maddux and Brad Radke had where they can see a hitter take one swing and know what pitch to throw to keep a hitter off balance. He’s too good for this league,” Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa said.

Woodmansee, Alonso, and Gonzalez will play for the South All-Stars in Hudson Valley. The 12th annual New York-Penn League All-Star Game will take place on Tuesday, August 16 at Dutchess Stadium, the home of the Hudson Valley Renegades.