Sandoval a Surprise in Brooklyn

BROOKLYN, NY - Most probably did not think much about the name Rylan Sandoval when his name appeared on the Brooklyn Cyclones roster before the season. Now, his name rings loudly because his bat is one of the big reasons why the team sits atop the standings in the New York-Penn League. Inside Pitch caught up with Sandoval to find out how he is getting it done.

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Brooklyn Cyclones shortstop Rylan Sandoval has been a very important piece to the team's potent offense this season. Sandoval's bat has been a big reason for the team's success and one the Cyclones will continue to rely on through the end of the season.

Sandoval is having great success handling the bat as he is second on the team with 58 hits and third with 29 RBI. He is also second on the squad with nine home runs and is sporting a robusted .337 batting average.

In the field, however, he has battled troubles at the shortstop position as evident by his team-high eight errors. The good news is that he understands what he is doing wrong and knows what he needs to do to improve his fielding and cut down on the miscues.

"I know I need to work on my backhands a little bit more because that throw sometimes gets me in trouble", he explained. "I've been working on that here and there and my angles to balls going to my right-hand side, sometimes I don't take the right angle to the ball and it gets me an in-between hop. I do take it very well going the other way so that's something to work on."

Always wanting to get better, Sandoval even managed to point out flaws in his impressive hitting game. From his perspective, there is always room for improvement, regardless of what the stats may indicate.

"I think I need to drive balls better into the opposite field. I'm getting my hits here and there opposite field, but I don't drive them as well in the right-center gap as I do in the left-center gap", he said. "This is my first year and as I'm playing every day, you see the little things you need to work on."

"It's good to be able to see that so that in the offseason, it's something to work on and hopefully come back that much better."

Sandoval is certainly driving balls, including the aforementioned nine he has driven out of the park. His power surge is somewhat surprising considering he has never been regarded as a power guy going back to his days of college ball. Still, he insists it is his approach more than anything else.

"I'm trying to take as many quality at-bats as I can. You have to be focused for every at-bat and that's all I've been trying to do is come up with a plan and stick with my plan and my approach for every at-bat. I take every at-bat seriously and I try not to get cheated,' he explained.

" I try to drive the balls, gap to gap and some have been going out. Obviously, I'm not trying to hit homeruns, but it's been happening because I've been getting good pitches to hit and I'm not missing them right now, so I just have to keep that going."

Originally selected by the Mets in the 30th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, Sandoval decided to attend Long Beach State University instead after receiving a scholarship. He then joined the San Luis Atleticos of the Arizona Winter League until the Mets signed him this year to a minor-league contract.

That contract brought him to Savannah, followed by St. Lucie, followed by his current stint in Brooklyn. It was a difficult challenge for him bouncing around in the Mets system not knowing where he was going to end up, but a rewarding process once it was over.

"It was kind of tough. I didn't know where I was going to go after spring training – they said I might stay for extended or I might go to Savannah. I ended up staying in extended and then within a couple of days, they sent me to Savannah because the third baseman went down, so I went out there," Sandoval explained.

" I struggled hitting-wise, but did well defensively and they sent me back to extended. Two days later, they sent me up to St. Lucie. I barely played there – I was more of a backup there, got some games here and there, did okay for what I was given to be able to play."

" After that it was like ‘Go get ready for Brooklyn', so bouncing around was kind of tough to do because of travelling all over the place. When I got through it, I had a good time. It was a good experience to play at all those levels, but it's definitely not an easy thing to do."

Perhaps all the bouncing around was a good thing, because it has led him to a starting position with the Cyclones. Playing every day combined with a great atmosphere and supporting fans makes for one amazing experience, according to Sandoval.

"It's awesome. All of us have been having a great time here. This place is amazing. It's fun to come out here and play in front of all these people every night and then being able to play every day helps me to be consistent and that's what it's all about," he detailed.

" When I play every day, I feel like I can get into a rhythm better and I play better when I'm playing every day, so I've been lucky to be able to do that right now."

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