By Jerry Del Priore
After a four-year minor league baseball career in which he posted a .271 batting average with 43 home runs, 176 RBI, and OPS of .422, Sean Ratliff will serve as the Brooklyn Cyclones’ new hitting coach for the 2016 season.
Ratliff was forced to retire in 2012 after an eye injury sustained on a check swing foul ball off of former teammates Zach Lutz’s bat struck him in the face while standing on the on-deck circle during a Triple-A game in Jupiter, Florida. The knock broke six bones, almost fully detached Ratliff’s right eye and had him concerning over losing his right eye.
After four surgeries, Ratliff regain enough sight in his right eye to practice and was able to get additional assistance by using a corrective contact lens. He also wore sun glasses at the plate during day games to help him hit.
The former New York Mets’ 4th round pick of the 2008 MLB Draft out of Stanford University recovered enough sight to make a return to the field in 2012. However, much to his dismay, he had to call it quits after seven games due to hitting issues caused by his right eye.
Ratliff appeared in 59 games with the Cyclones, hitting .229 with seven homers and 22 RBI, along with nine doubles and a triple. The Mets promoted him to Class Low-A Savannah the following 2008 campaign and he proceeded to climb his way up the organizational ladder to High-A St. Lucie, eventually making it as high as Double-A Binghamton in 2010.
The six-foot, three-inch former outfielder enjoyed his best season in 2010, slugging .298 with 20 dingers and 80 RBI, to go along with a .353 OBP and a .505 slugging percentage between two clubs—St. Lucie and Binghamton.
Ratliff will replace Yunir Garcia, who was reassigned to the Gulf Coast Mets for the 2016 season.