Brooklyn Cyclones Tab Carl Stajduhar with Player of the Week Honors


By Jerry Del Priore

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Carl Stajduhar with the Brooklyn Cyclones.

The Brooklyn Cyclones haven’t been hitting much this season, resulting in a 11-22 record through 33 games. But one player, infielder Carl Stajduhar had a very good offensive week earlier in July, slugging .333 (9-27), including going yard twice, ringing up two doubles and driving in five runs.

As result, the Cyclones named him as their player of the week, the team announced on Twitter.

Stajduhar, the New York Mets’ 18th round selection in the 2017 June MLB amateur draft, is currently batting .209 with a .395 slugging percentage through 43 at-bats in 13 games.

The six-foot-two-inch, 215-pounder played ball at the University of New Mexico, where he amassed a .344 average with 44 home runs and 188 RBI in 727 at-bats in 179 contests in three seasons before entering this year’s draft.

The Mets inked Stajduhar on June 19th and shipped him to Brooklyn on the 24th to start his professional baseball career.

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Fireflies’ Harol Gonzalez Earns Team-Best Sixth Win


By Jerry Del Priore

Harol G.

Pitcher Harol Gonzalez picks up sixth win.

Righty Harol Gonzalez (6-7, 4.17 ERA) pitched a gem Monday night versus the Kannapolis Intimidators, whiffing a season-high nine hitters en route to a Columbia Fireflies’ 2-1 victory at Spirit Communications Park.

It was Gonzalez’s team-leading sixth win of the season after logging eight innings of one-run ball while only permitting five hits.

Fireflies’ closer Adonis Uceta picked up his 11th save of the season (second in the South Atlantic League) with a scoreless ninth inning.

Monday night’s performance was the ninth consecutive start in which Gonzalez lasted six frames or longer.

Minor League Transactions:

Columbia placed right-handed pitcher Thomas Mcllraith on its disabled list, while St Lucie activated righty pitcher Chase Ingram and transferred him to the Fireflies Monday.

Plus, Columbia positioned outfielder Gene Cone on its DL, and lefty hurler Placido Torres made the jump from the Gulf Coast Mets (rookie) to the Fireflies Monday.

Don’t Look Now: St. Lucie outfielder and former NFL signal caller Tim Tebow is off to a hot start since the Mets called him up to Advanced-A ball last month. Tebow is batting .308 with three home runs (including a wall-off), 12 RBI, three doubles, a triple and seven walks in 65 at-bats in 20 games.

Tebow is hitting .240 with six dingers, 35 RBI, 31 bases-on-balls and 17 two-base knocks in 279 at-bats in 84 tilts for the 2017 season.

 

New York Mets’ Prospect Peter Alonso Getting Back on Track


By Jerry Del Priore

peter-alonso

Peter Alonso,  New Mets’ second round pick in the 2016 draft. Photo: Brooklyn Cyclones.

After missing the first six weeks of the 2017 season with an injury, St. Lucie Mets first baseman Peter Alonso is now hitting .255 with seven home runs, 29 RBI and 11 doubles in 165 at-bats in 45 games.

The one glaring aspect of his game that seems to plague him, however, other than injuries, is Alonso’s high strike out-to-walk total, which is 40 to 12 this year.
Moreover, baseball insiders believe Alonso, 22, needs to raise his batting average in order to project as an everyday big league first baseman.

It’s something the six-foot-three, 225-pound slugger did last year with the short-season Single-A Brooklyn Cyclones. Alonso batted .321 with five dingers and 21 RBI in 109 at-bats in 30 tilts before a broken right pinky finger ended his first pro baseball season.
Therefore, Alonso, the former 2nd round pick (64th overall) of the New York Mets in the 2016 draft, has shown he can do it.

However, he’ll need to continue to hit for average (raise his current average as well) as he advances through the Mets’ minor league system, while staying healthy, of course.
Alonso is known for solid work ethic and selfness. The Tampa, Florida, native rushed to return early from an injury, just days before the MLB amateur draft, potentially hurting his stock.

Instead of backfiring on him, though, Alonso led the University of Florida to the 2016 NCAA College World Series with an awe-inspiring 16 for 32 performance (.500), with five long balls and 13 RBI, after his stint on the disabled list.

Alonso amassed a .316 average in with 23 round trippers and 124 RBI in 551 at-bats in 157 affairs in three seasons with the Gators.

Alonso played college ball with A.J. Puk, a pitcher in the Oakland A’s farm system, at the University of Florida, and attended Plant and Jesuit High Schools in Florida.

 

 

Former Brooklyn Cyclones, Current Fireflies Shine in SAL


D Riz

Catcher Dan Rizzie.

By Jerry Del Priore  

Columbia Fireflies catcher Dan Rizzie (New York Mets’ 13 round pick in 2016) extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the eighth inning of their 4-1 loss to the Greensboro Grasshoppers Thursday night at Spirit Communications Park.

This is the longest hit streak of Rizzle’s young professional career.

Andres Gimenez also contributed with two singles, picking up his 17th multi-hit game of the season.

South Atlantic League (SAL) leaders

Pitcher Gabriel Llanes has tossed 100.00 innings, the third most in the league.

Gene Cone, who the Fireflies recently activated from the disabled list, has walked 42 times this season, third highest in the SAL.

Pitcher Matt Blackman leads the league in K:9 IP with 13. He has a total 50 whiffs in 34.2 innings of work.

Closer Adonis Uceta ranks fourth in the league with ten saves.

 

 

Danny Muno Makes Case for MLB Return


By Jerry Del Priore

Danny Muno

Danny Muno, pictured during his days with the Brooklyn Cyclones, is performing well with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.

After the Seattle Mariners inked infielder Danny Muno to a minor league contract in May, he has been taking full advantage of the opportunity. The Fresno State University product is hitting a solid .304 with four home runs, 16 RBI, 22 walks and 22 runs scored in 135 at-bats in 42 games with the Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League (PCL).

Muno, a former Brooklyn Cyclone and New York Met, began the 2017 baseball season with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic League. The 28-year-old Long Beach, California, native batted .254 while slugging one dinger, driving in four runs, scoring nine runs, and stealing four bases in 59 at-bats in 18 games before signing with Seattle.

Muno had spent Spring Training with the Detroit Tigers, but was cut before the campaign started.

The six-foot-one-inch, 195-pound switch hitter made his MLB with the Mets on April 17, 2015. He went on to hit .148 in 27 at-bats in 17 tilts.

After New York selected him in the eighth round of the 2011 MLB amateur draft, the Mets shipped Muno to short-season Single-A Brooklyn to begin his professional career. He wound up slugging to the tune of an impressive .355 with two homers and 24 RBI along with a remarkable .466 on-base percentage and 22 doubles in 220 at-bats in 59 games with the Cyclones.

Muno’s stellar season earned him a spot on the New York-Penn League (NYPL) All-Star team, and New York named him as the Sterling Award winner for Brooklyn, symbolic of the team’s MVP.

While in college, the Western Athletic Conference named Muno as the Freshman of the Year after helping Fresno State win the College World Series Championship in 2008.

Additionally, he garnered first team All-WAC honors in 2009 and left Fresno State ranked first in school history in games played (259), runs scored (251) and walks (213). Muno also ranked second in hits (332) and doubles (69) and eighth in RBIs (156).

Of note, Muno received a 50-game suspension in 2012 after testing positive for a metabolite of Drostanolone, an anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS).

 

 

Five Minor Leaguers Primed to Impact Fantasy Baseball


By Jerry Del Priore

When it comes to fantasy baseball, it’s not only vital to stay abreast on major league happenings, but it’s important to keep a watchful eye on top minor league prospects who could be called up on moment’s notice, or somewhere down the line.

Knowing these players’ capabilities before everyone else does could give your fantasy baseball team a league up on the competition.

Here is a list of five prospects who could develop into monster fantasy players.

Amed Rosario with the Las Vegas 51s.

Enter Ame Rosario with Triple-A Las Vegas

SS Amed Rosario (New York Mets)

The Dominican Republic-born Rosario is currently batting .318 with seven home runs and 52 RBI (.359/.471/.831) in 333 at-bats in 80 games with Triple-A Las Vegas thus far.

While Rosario doesn’t sport eye-popping power numbers, he does have 16 doubles and seven triples this season.

The Mets No. 1 prospect, who sign as an international free agent for 1.75 million in 2012, is a dynamic player ready to perform now. But it’s likely the Mets won’t call Rosario up in September.

Infielder Yoan Moncada (Chicago White Sox)

The Cuban-born six-two, 205-pound toolsy player has the makings of a fantasy star: speed, above average raw power from both sides of the plate, with a quick bat.

Moncada, who made his major league with the Boston Red Sox, batted .211 with a RBI in 20 plate appearances in eight games in 2016.

It was clear that the 22-year-old needed more seasoning, so he has been in Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox), where he’s batting .281 with 11 round trippers, 32 RBI (270 at-bats in 69 tilts) and 16 base thefts in 20 tries.

Moncada will need to cut down on his strike outs, as he’s whiffed 86 times to drawing 45 walks.

Outfielder Clint Frazier (New York Yankees)

Clint Frazier

New York Yankees prospect Clint Frazier.

Frazier went yard and doubled is his first game with the Bombers Saturday, given Yankee fans and fantasy owners a glimpse of what has baseball insiders excited. The ginger-haired Frazier possesses the rare combination of good speed and power, with a high celling.

The 22-year-old 2013 first round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians was hitting .256 with 12 dingers and 42 RBI in 273 at-bats in 74 contests with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before his promotion. He also had nine stolen bases in 11 attempts.

Third baseman Nick Senzel (Cincinnati Reds)

Selected by the Reds second overall in the 2016 MLB amateur draft, Senzel has been progression nicely in Cincinnati’s farm system.

He batted .305 with seven home runs and 40 RBI in 243 at-bats in 68 tilts between two stops in 2016.

So far this year, through 283 at-bats in 73 games, the Atlanta, Georgia, native is slashing .305/376/.468/.844 with 5 homers and 39 RBI at a combined two levels (A, AA).

Third baseman Rafael Devers (Red Sox)

Ever since Boston selected Devers in the 2013 international draft, he has been steadily improving.

Currently with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs of the Eastern League, the 20-year-old has gone deep 18 times, drove in 56 runs, and has collected19 two-base knocks in 273 at-bats in 72 contests.

At six-foot, 215-pound, Devers features a fluid, easy swing with very good power. Presently, he has slugged 47 home runs and 254 RBI during his four-year minor league career.

 

 

Ex-Brooklyn Cyclone Tyler Badamo Returns to Affiliated Ball


By Jerry Del Priore

T. Badamo

Pitcher Tyler Badamo returns to affiliated ball with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

After earning four victories with a 2.62 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 61.2 innings with the independent Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League, the Arizona Diamondbacks decided to purchase the contract of  right-handed starter Tyler Badamo, Bluefish team officials announced during the week.

The Diamondbacks have assigned Badamo, a former Brooklyn Cyclone and New York Mets farmhand, to the Single-A, mid-level Kane County Cougars of the Midwest League (full-season).

“Tyler has been dominant on the mound all season,” Bluefish General Manager Paul Herrmann said on its website. “We’re very happy that he has received this opportunity and we wish him luck with his new team.”

The Dowling College product had a tough first outing with Kane County, surrendering eight earned runs in six innings of work Friday on the road.

Badamo, 24, a Mt. Sinai, New York, native (Long Island), was a 24th round selection of the Mets in the 2014 MLB amateur draft. He went 5-6 with a 3.10 ERA in 81.1 frames in 14 starts with Brooklyn (short-season New York-Penn League) in 2015.

Badamo is the third Bridgeport player to have his contract purchased by a major league organization during the 2017 season.

 

 

 

Fireflies Reliever Adonis Uceta Garners Relief Pitcher of the Month Award


By Jerry Del Priore

Adonis Uceta

Adonis Uceta earns the SAL-BC® relief pitcher of the month honors for June.

South Atlantic League president Eric Krupa announced that Columbia Fireflies reliever Adonis Uceta earned the SAL-BC® relief pitcher of the month honors for June.

Uceta, a 2017 SAL All-Star, tossed 13.1 innings of scoreless ball, and was a perfect 4-4 in all save opportunities during the month.

The 23-year-old Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, native extended his scoreless streak to 20 frames, dating back to May 11th (13 appearances).

“He’s the guy you want with the ball in his hands when situations are tough,” Fireflies manager Jose Leger said in a press release. “He’s done a tremendous job and I’m very happy for him because he’s one of those guys who everyone likes in the clubhouse. Everybody enjoys having fun.”

The New York Mets inked Uceta to an international free agent contract in 2013. The six-foot-one, 225-pound righty is enjoying an impressive season thus far, going 3-0 with a 1.60 ERA and seven saves. In addition, Uceta sports the SAL’s third lowest batting average (1.43) against, and has whiffed 39 batters in 33.2 innings of work in the process.

The South Atlantic League-BC® Relief Pitcher of the Month award is sponsored by (BC Analgesic Powder, Cherry, 24 Count) BC® Powder, the “Preferred Pain Reliever of the South Atlantic League.” The award is given to the most outstanding relief pitcher in the league for the prior month.

Revered Ex-Met Pitcher Anthony Young Loses Fight with Brain Cancer


By Jerry Del Priore

Lenny Harris and A. Young

Former New York Mets Lenny Harris (L) and Anthony Young at a Mets’ Fantasy Camp.

Former New York Mets pitcher Anthony Young, known for setting the all-time MLB record for consecutive loses with 27, succumbed to brain cancer, the team announced Tuesday. Young was 51.

Back in January, the doctors diagnosed Young with an inoperable brain tumor. Early on Tuesday, former teammate Lenny Harris tweeted Young had slipped into a coma, and hours later, the Mets announced that he had passed away.

Young played six seasons in the majors—three with the Mets, two with the Chicago Cubs and one with the Houston Astros—and had a career ERA of 3.89, pretty respectable for the hard-luck hurler who will be remembered for dropping numerous ill-fated contests with suspect New York clubs.

The right-hander—who was drafted twice: first in 1984 by the Montreal Expos, and second by the Mets in 1987—posted a 15-48 record in 460 innings of work in 181 tilts.

Young’s 27-game losing streak—14 as a starter and 13 as a reliever—spanned two seasons with the Mets, from May 6, 1992 to July 24, 1993.

It’s not often that someone who sets an inauspicious losing record was beloved. But the Houston native was a New York fan favorite, and mine as well. Perhaps it was the way he handled the mark: with class and dignity, the same way he dealt with his cancer battle.

As a lifelong Mets fan, I will always remember Young’s infectious smile, even throughout the streak, especially since it must’ve been difficult for him to deal with all the media attention.

After hanging up his baseball spikes, Young went on to become a youth pitching coach in Houston. He continued provided pitching lessons while undergoing treatment for his brain tumor, according to Sports Illustrated.

Rest in Peace, Anthony Young. You will be missed.

Columbia Southpaw Thomas Szapucki Earns SAL Pitcher of the Week Accolade


By Jerry Del Priore

TS Hurler

Thomas Szapucki, the New York Mets’ No. 4 prospect.

The South Atlantic League named Columbia Fireflies lefty starter Thomas Szapucki pitcher of the week for the week of June19-25, the league announced Monday.

Szapucki, 21, allowed just two hits and no runs while fanning a season-high 10 batters in six innings of work in a 2-1 loss to the Kannapolis Intimidators Sunday night at Spirit Communications Park.

Szapucki, the New York Mets No. 4 prospect, missed the first two months of the 2017 season due to a shoulder impingement. The former Brooklyn Cyclone is 1-1 with a 2.82 ERA in four games with the Fireflies since returning from the disabled list.

No stranger to high strike out games, Szapucki, the Mets’ 2015 No. 5 draft pick out of Dwyer High School, whiffed 10 or more hitters in five of his nine starts in 2016 with Brooklyn.

The Palms Garden, Florida, native paced all short-season hurlers in ’16 with a 14.9 K:9 IP ratio.

For his three-year professional career with the Mets organization, Szapucki sports a 5-4 record with a 2.23 ERA and has punched out 110 batters against a mere 27 walks.

Szapucki owes much of his success to his outstanding curveball, which Baseball America calls the best in the Mets organization.

“My brother, Nicholas, introduced the grip to me,” Szapucki said of his curveball in a press release. “I stuck with the grip all throughout high school, started getting better at throwing it. It turned out to be a very good pitch for me.”

Szapucki is the second Firefly this season to garner a league award. The South Atlantic League named Merandy Gonzalez Player of the Month for April.