By Jerry Del Priore
With spring training kicking off recently, it’s always fun to keep track of where former Brooklyn Cyclones land after leaving affiliated baseball, in hopes of signing with a Major League organization. Here are two: Gabby Hernandez and Zach Mathieu.
Gaby Hernandez, a New York Mets’ third pick in the 2004 MLB amateur draft, signed with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic League during the week.
This will be Hernandez’s sixth season with the club, and thirteenth overall in professional baseball.
The 6-3, 215-pound hurler spent two season with the Mets’ system. He appeared in only one game for the Cyclones, going 1-0 with six strikeouts in three innings of work.
Overall with New York, Hernandez posted 12-9 record. His shining moment came with the Hagerstown Suns of South Atlantic League (SAL) on June 19, 2005, when he fired a no-hitter versus the West Virginia Power.
Baseball America named Hernandez as the #18 prospect in the SAL that year. With stock on the rise, the Mets traded him, along with fellow former Cyclone Dante Brinkley, to the Florida Marlins for Paul Lo Duca, who wound suiting up for Brooklyn on a minor league rehab assignment.
Baseball America ranked Hernandez, in 2005 and 2006, the third-best prospect in New York’s organization. He was ranked the third-best prospect in the Marlins’ organization in 2007 and the fifth-best in their farm system in 2008.
Mathieu, a 16th round selection of New York in the 2013 MLB Draft, recently inked a deal with the Trios-Rivieres of the Can-Am League. He spent some time last year with the Florence Freedom of the Frontier League.
The 6-7, 265-pound first baseman and designated hitter played in 62 games in Brooklyn in 2015, batting .206 with four home runs and 27 RBI. He started his professional career in 2013 with the Kingsport Mets of the Appalachian Rookie League, where he hit .138 with 2 RBI and 14 walks in 80 at-bats in 30 contests.
The following season, he returned to Kingsport, and improved his performance with a .270 average with three dingers and 29 RBI in 152 plate appearances in 47 games.