MMLN - Cyclones Carve One Out

Richard Lucas is back in Brooklyn

NORWICH, CT – The Cyclones headed up the Connecticut coast for a brief three-game series this weekend, where in the first game a high-round draft pick made his second appearance, a young left-hander impressed, the new shortstop continues to hit and the top of the order did much of the damage. Inside Pitch was there and offers a review in this edition of Mets Minor League Notebook.

Carlos Vazquez (ND, 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 3 K, 0 BB): It was my first time getting a look at Vazquez, a guy who former coaches under the old regime had talked about as a potential up-and-comer. The 19-year-old southpaw (the youngest player on the Brooklyn roster) exhibited a number of the qualities former pitching coaches and pitching coordinators had talked about. Chiefly, Vazquez displayed very good command of his top two pitches, which were a 90-92 MPH fastball with natural tail that he used away from right-handers and pitched confidently with inside to left-handers. (His home run allowed came on a fastball that got too centered).

Vazquez showed a mid to high-70s curveball that he uses on both sides of the plate. It doesn't have hard bite, but with good three-quarters tilt and well-located, Vazquez has a very solid secondary pitch he can use to keep good pace off his fastball. His curveball is consistent as the left-hander shows a true release point. His changeup is a work in progress -- it doesn't have much movement, but he keeps fairly good pace that gives it some projection.

Cory Mazzoni -- who pitched one inning of shutout relief – was very interesting to see. Barring any sudden change, it looks like Mazzoni will stay in the Cyclones' bullpen this season to save his arm, but he should be starting moving forward in 2012. He was a consistent 92-94 MPH, though his delivery and arm speed speak to a guy who could gain another mile per hour or two once he's in stronger conditioning next spring. He mostly worked one low-80s breaking ball off his fastball. Mazzoni, true to his draft day Q&A, went after hitters and pitches aggressively.

Daniel Muno isn't a physically impressive shortstop, but he has very sound tools at the plate. Looks very much like a contact-first hitter, with a strong, quick swing that speaks to putting the ball in the plate with gap power. He didn't appear to get fooled by much, and sees the ball very well evident by some good strike zone recognition. Hitting with authority on the inside part of the plate is one area I look to see Muno improve upon moving forward.

Cole Frenzel made his professional debut. At 6-foot-2 and over 200 pounds, Frenzel has the look that more power will come from him in the future. He ripped a gap double and a clean single. He can be a bit overaggressive with his swing (though he may have just been a little trigger happy in his first game), but he has strong hands and is definitely one guy I look forward to seeing again later this summer and the development that happens between now and then.

Javier Rodriguez: Color me still unimpressed. He's definitely bigger and more physically present as a 21-year-old compared to previous seasons, but his development still has a ways to go. He still needs to take some of the length of his swing, and his pitch recognition still needs improvement. He attacks fastballs at this level very well, but his timing on off-speed pitches is shaky. His raw athleticism comes to the forefront, but it's not enough for me to buy stock in him. Additionally, given that this is now his fourth year in the organization, I find it difficult to truly believe what he does at this level.

Travis Taijeron is very sound looking athlete, with good size and strength at the plate but can let his plate discipline escape him (he has 21 K in 57 AB this season). He didn't show much in the way of discipline to work deeper into counts. That aggressiveness opened the door for pitchers to expand the zone and Taijeron often went with them. In the outfield, he moves very well, reads the ball and breaks well off the bat. Working on plate discipline should be his number one priority for the summer.

Richard Lucas -- speaking of high strikeouts -- is hitting at this level as he's taking advantage of lesser quality of pitches. That being said, he's still chasing and still doesn't seem to have a formula for when he's hitting. This is a guy who struck out 149 times in 129 games last season and has already fanned 26 times in 74 at-bats this year. He still has his raw power, which he showed on the double, but Lucas will have a tough time moving forward if he can't improve his contact rate.

InsidePitchMagazine.com Recommended Stories