By Jerry Del Priore
Through the first five weeks of the New York-Penn League (NYPL) season, Brooklyn Cyclone starting pitchers Christian James and Jaison Vilera have been rather impressive.
The New York Mets farmhands’ collective solid performances have helped the team stay in the playoff hunt with an 18-14 record, a game-and-a-half behind McNamara division-leading Hudson Valley Renegades—the NYPL affiliate of the Tampa Rays.
James (2-0) picked up his second win of the campaign after fanning five batters across six innings of three-hit ball. The only blemish on the East Lake, Tarpon Springs, Florida, native’s ledger came on a three-run jack to Tri-City ValleyCats’ Alex McKenna, that tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the first of Brooklyn’s 11-5 win Wednesday night at Bruno Stadium.
The righty James, 20, now sports an impressive 2.52 ERA in seven starts with the Cyclones.
Overall, for his career, he’s 2-1 with a 2.22 ERA over 44.2 frames in nine starts for the 2018 season.
Vilera, a native of Caracas, Valenzuela, has been even more outstanding, posting a 3-1 record in 33.1 innings of work in nine starts with Brooklyn.
In fact, Vilera was downright nasty, firing lights-out ball for his second consecutive start Tuesday night versus the ValleyCats. He matched his career-high in whiffs with nine over seven scoreless frames, allowing just two hits and one walk in the Cyclones’ 5-0 victory.
In addition, the right-hander struck out six of the final seven hitters that he faced, including all three Tri-City players for a flawless bottom of the seventh.
The 21-year-old six-foot, 188-pounder presently owns a spectacular career 11-3 mark with a stellar 1.60 ERA across 152.1 frames in 30 contests, 24 of which were starts.
Go to BrooklynCyclones.com for more information on the team and schedule of upcoming games.