By Jerry Del Priore
With Major League Baseball spring training underway, minor league players without an organization to call their own, begin to filter into independent leagues looking for an opportunity to return to affiliated ball.
Three such players once don the uniform of the Brooklyn Cyclones — the New York Mets short-season New York-Penn League (NYPL) affiliate.
Here they are.
Vaughn, who played with Brooklyn in 2010, hitting .307 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI, inked a contract with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League on Thursday.
The athletic Vaughn blasted 18 and 13 dingers for the Blue Crabs in 2018 and 2017, respectively.
The son of former MLB All-Star Greg Vaughn, the younger Vaughn, drafted in the 4th round of the 2010 June Amateur Draft by New York, played in six campaigns in the Mets’ minor league system.
Merrit, 33, re-joins the Atlantic League’s Sugarland Skeeters after helping to lead the team to the 2016 Atlantic League Championship, the team announced last week. He’ll serve as a player/pitching coach for the club in 2019.
He spent the 2018 regular season campaign with the Olmecas de Tabasco and the Rieleros de Aguascalientes, going a combined 6-7 with a 4.03 ERA in 21 starts.
The six-foot, 170-pounder posted an impressive 8-2 record with a 2.99 ERA and one save in 25 regular-season outings in 2016 (18 starts), as well as making five appearances in the postseason for the Skeeters.
Merrit, a Houston Texas, native and the 29th round pick of New York in the 2007 MLB Amateur draft, pitched five seasons in the Mets’ farm system, peaking at Triple-A. The former Cyclone last pitched at the affiliated level in 2016 with Triple-A Oklahoma City of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Merritt was selected as an Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star in 2009 with Double-A Binghamton (Mets).
Oberste, who the Mets selected in the 7th round of the 2013 MLB Amateur draft, signed on with the Rockland Boulders of the Canadian-American League (Cam-Am League) in mid-February.
The corner infielder and former Oklahoma Sooner spent all of his six seasons in affiliated ball in the Mets’ system, and last year he split time between Las Vegas (AAA), and Binghamton (AA) before finishing out the year in New Jersey with the Atlantic League’s Somerset Patriots.
The 27-year-old Fort Smith, Arkansas, native slugged three homers and drove in 24 RBI with seven doubles and two triples in 255 at-bats in 68 contests with the Cyclones in 2013.