Brooklyn Cyclones Opening Day Roster Breakdown
The Brooklyn Cyclones kick off their season tonight against the hated Yankees, and just like Savannah has already done, they will try to successfully defend their division title from a year ago. Traditionally, the Mets have sent high draft picks and plenty of talented players to Brooklyn to give them a taste of New York and to ensure that the Cyclones are competitive, but whether or not the new front office continues that trend remains to be seen. Let’s take a look at what the opening day roster for the Cyclones will look like:The rotation should be in a state of flux, especially early on. One of the main guys could be lefty Chris Hilliard, who made 14 starts for Brooklyn last year, posting a 3.74 ERA, but he could also be in line for a spot in the Savannah rotation if enough guys there get promoted. Jeffrey Walters made 3 appearances and 2 starts in Kingsport last year after being drafted in the 7th round and could be slated for the Brooklyn rotation. Eduardo Aldama has worked mostly as a starter in his 4 years in the minors; still just 21, he could be a guy to watch. Mitchell Houck is a lefty that posted a 3.73 ERA in 9 starts for Brooklyn last year. Carlos Vazquez, Marcos Camarena, A.J. Pinera, Jonathan Kountis and Orlando Tovar are also possibilities for the rotation, but could end up in the bullpen depending on space available. The Mets could also send some of their recent draft picks straight to the Brooklyn rotation after they sign, if they are more polished college pitchers, such as 2nd rounder Cory Mazzoni, who has signed.The bullpen could be in just as much flux as the rotation early on. One name to watch is T.J. Chism, a lefty who had a 0.45 ERA in 20 innings for Kingsport last year before finishing the year in Brooklyn with a 1.59 ERA in 5 appearances. Jeremy Gould did some good things in the GCL last year, working 17 innings, with a low WHIP and a 3.12 ERA. Guillaume Leduc saw time in Savannah earlier this year, but Brooklyn should be a more fitting level for him. A couple others guys you should see in the bullpen are Hunter Carnevale and Steve Winnick.The Brooklyn outfield will be interesting to watch. The main guy to watch is 2008 2nd round pick Javier Rodriguez, who was on the Savannah opening day roster but went back to extended spring training after hitting .209 with a .284 OBP in 26 games. He may have been a little rushed by that promotion. Chase Greene is an outfielder with some tools and some potential, selected in the 7th round back in 2009. So far, his numbers have been disappointing, with his average, OBP, and slugging all below .300 at Kingsport last year. ZeErika McQueen is an interesting prospect; he hasn’t hit a lot during his 2 years in the organization, but he has some athleticism, stealing 15 bases in 67 games last year. The Cyclones will also be home to 3 college guys fresh out of the draft: Jonathan Clark (17th round), Travis Taijeron (18th round), and Charley Thurber (39th round).At first base for Brooklyn will be Lucas Stewart, who hit .255 with 8 home runs and 12 doubles in his first professional season at Kingsport last year. Opposite him at the hot corner will be Brian Harrison, who played primarily in Brooklyn last year, hitting 7 homers and 10 doubles there, while also getting a taste of Savannah. Expect these 2 guys somewhere in the middle of the order. In the middle infield, the Cyclones will have Brandon Brown, Daniel Muno, Justin Schafer and Ismael Tijerina. Brown and Tijerina both put up mediocre numbers in Kingsport last year. Schafer his .333 in 30 games at Kingsport last year, but was slowed to .227 in 14 games for Brooklyn. Muno was selected by the Mets in the 8th round a few weeks ago out of Fresno State. The switch hitter was quick to sign and appears eager to get started as a professional.The 2 Brooklyn catchers will be Amauris Valdez and Massachusetts native Neifi Zapata. Zapata may be a guy worth keeping an eye on. With 4 catchers taken in the draft, there should be a 3rd catcher added at some point.There will likely be a few fresh draft picks assigned to Brooklyn as they sign, so there should be changes throughout the summer. As it stands now, this roster may not be a lock to repeat as McNamara division champs, but they won’t be cellar dwellers, and they should be competitive.