2008 Brooklyn Cyclones Preview

Havens will gain attention at shortstop this year

The 2008 edition of the Mets' New York-Penn League affiliate is stocked with recent draft picks, pitchers up from 2007 rookie league rosters and a few returning faces. As always, the Brooklyn Cyclones provide many a first glance of first-year players while helping put other young players on the radar as they hope to use the NYPL as a launching point into a long-season club next season.

RHP Eric Beaulac – 2008 9th Round Pick
LHP Matias Carrillo – 2008 SLU: 5 G, 0-1, 5.25 ERA, 12 IP, 8 K, 5 BB
RHP Rhiner Cruz – 2007 DSL/GCL/KNG: 19 G, 3-2, 1.41 ERA, 32 IP
RHP Junior Guerra – 2007 GCL/DNV/SAL: 18 G, 0-2, 6.59 ERA, 28.2 IP
RHP Brad Holt – 2008 1st Round Pick
LHP Jimmy Johnson – 2008 28th Round Pick
RHP Jeff Kaplan – 2008 11th Round Pick
RHP Mike Lynn – 2008 30th Round Pick
RHP Pedro P. Martinez – 2007 KNG: 13 G, 5 GS, 3-4, 5.52 ERA, 45.2 IP
LHP Roy Merritt – 2008 SLU: 6 G, 0-0, 5.87 ERA, 7.2 IP, 4 K, 6 BB
RHP Brandon Moore – 2008 14th Round Pick
RHP Manuel Olivares – 2007 KNG: 13 G, 6 GS, 3-3, 4.56 ERA, 49.1 IP
RHP Wendy Rosa – 2007 GCL: 12 G, 3 GS, 2-1, 2.70 ERA, 30 IP
RHP Yury Santana – 2007 GCL: 3 G, 1-0, 1.80 ERA, 5 IP, 3 K, BB
RHP Christopher Schwinden – 2008 22nd Round Pick
RHP Scott Shaw – 2008 13th Round Pick
RHP Tim Stronach – 2008 SLU/SAV: 17 G, 3 GS, 3-2, 5.01 ERA, 41.1 IP

C Cesar Cordido – 2007 KNG/BRK: .277, 0 HR, 16 RBI, 112 AB, 37 G
C Ralphie Henriquez – 2007 LEX [SAL]: .185, 7 HR, 36 RBI, 372 AB, 103 G
C Jeffries Tatford – 2007 BRK: .169, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 77 AB, 28 G

3B Eric Campbell – 2008 8th Round Pick
3B Nick Giarraputo – 2007 KNG: .274, 0 HR, 34 RBI, 263 AB, 66 G
SS Reese Havens – 2008 1st Round Pick
3B Zach Lutz – 2007 BRK, .000, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2 AB, 1 G
SS Brandon Richey – 2007 KNG/SAV: .227, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 172 AB, 52 G
2B Josh Satin – 2008 6th Round Pick

OF Brandon Kawal – 2007 BRK: .302, 0 HR, 14 RBI, 116 AB, 38 G
2008 SAV: .250, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 12 AB, 3 G
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis – 2008 3rd Round Pick
OF John Servidio – 2008 26th Round Pick
OF Will Vogl – 2007 BRK: .240, 1 HR, 22 RBI, 229 AB, 69 G
2008 SLU/SAV: .111, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 36 AB, 11 G

Notes: Third baseman Zach Lutz returns to Brooklyn after missing virtually his entire rookie season due to a broken foot. Tim Stronach is the only pitcher who appeared on the Cyclones' 2007 roster. Manager Edgar Alfonzo, who managed the team back in 2001, returns for his third season. His staff includes two other returning coaches, pitching coach Hector Berrios and hitting coach Guadalupe Jabalera. The Cyclones lost in the 2007 NY-Penn League Championship Series to the Auburn Doubledays.

Pitching: The newly organized Cyclones pitching staff features many lively arms from the 2008 draft class. Flame-thrower Brad Holt was a starter in college and while his lack of a true secondary pitch and mid to high-90s fastball could leave him as a fixture in the back of the bullpen, early signs are that he will begin the season in the rotation.

Eric Beaulac enters his professional career with a very solid fastball/slider combination, but it is his curveball and changeup which should land him in the starting rotation. Though the two pitches need continued work, his career as a starter in college should keep him in the same role on the Cyclones staff.

Jeff Kaplan brings a unique style to the mound. Though he does not possess an overly hard fastball, his whipping side-arm release point helps him gain lots of movement on his 89-91 MPH fastball and maintain a wickedly sharp slider. His changeup is still coming along, but it is his arm action and tough slider that could make him into a very reliable middle reliever if he does not find his way into competitive spots in the rotation.

Position Players: Reese Havens will certainly gain lots of attention on day one being a first round draft pick and a shortstop. Havens demonstrated a terrific combination of hitting for average and power as he smacked 18 home runs with a .357 average during his last season at the University of South Carolina. If Havens can carry over that power, he will bring a new style of shortstop to a system that currently lacks a power hitter at that position.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis' size, strength, and proficient hitting in his final collegiate season make him a rookie worth watching. Standing 6-foot-3 and a left-handed hitter, Nieuwenhuis hit .400 this spring with consistent power. His long reach gives him good plate coverage but one of his focal points this season will be increasing his ability to hit to all fields.

Eric Campbell seemingly flew under the radar of all the Mets' top ten picks, but in the former Boston College third baseman, the Cyclones have a hitter with good size [6-foot-3, 220 pounds] who demonstrated a fairly complete offensive game. Campbell, a .327 hitter over his last two collegiate seasons, demonstrates good patience, knows how to earn his share of walks while providing good pop with the bat capable of collecting extra bases and home runs.

On the Spot: Tim Stronach, 22, got off to a strong start in the 2008 season as a long reliever and spot starter for St. Lucie. However, after the St. Lucie roster underwent changes, Stronach was first sent down to Savannah before ultimately landing in Brooklyn for the second consecutive season. The right-hander collected a 5.30 ERA in St. Lucie and if he hopes to earn his way back onto a long-season squad this season, he needs to quickly show he can control NY-Penn League opposition from his first outing.

Under the Radar: As noted, Zach Lutz returns to Brooklyn where he will again have the opportunity to get his career off the ground. Lutz, the Mets' 7th round draft pick from 2007, is a capable hitter who can provide consistency at the plate with complimentary power. Between he and Eric Campbell, there exists the possibility for a battle for playing time at the hot corner which will create an interesting story line as the season develops.

Pedro P. Martinez, coming up from Kingsport, figures to be a fixture in the Cyclones staff this season. The soon-to-be 23-year-old right-hander enters the NY-Penn League with a lively fastball and rapidly developing secondary pitches which, coupled with his strong control of the strike zone, should allow him to pace himself well throughout the season. After putting together a fairly strong 2007 season, a spot in the front end of the Cyclones rotation will allow him to lay path for the future.

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