2006-07-06 / Sports

Brooklyn Cyclones Go Through Growing Pains In Slow 2006 Start

By Elio Velez

The path laid for the Brooklyn Cyclones so far this season has been a downward one. The basement of the New York Penn League's McNamara Division is where the team currently resides with a 5-9 record at presstime.

Even though the squad pulled off three wins in a row and are rising from the despairs of their slow start, the Cyclones are still in the bottom of many Penn League team offensive and pitching categories.

There can be many theories on why the Cyclones are struggling so far but the first could be the organization's change in their draft development in recent seasons

In this year's draft, the New York Mets General Manager and Vice President Omar Minaya and his staff placed an emphasis on stockpiling heavily on drafting pitchers. Twenty seven pitchers were selected with 18 of those pitching in either junior college or college.

When Minaya took over in late 2004, he said that the mindset of the Mets would be to develop players to once again help out the major league squad. Former General Managers like Steve Philips and Joe McIlvaine in the 1990's relied mostly on trades and free agents to make up for the lack of potential stars that came out of the minors.

In what seems to be a flashback to their pitching-rich teams in the 1980's, with drafts that resulted in stars such as Dwight Gooden and Randy Myers, the Mets may be relying on the guidelines to what made them a World Series champion in 1986. Or so they hope that the plan works out to their favor. Until then, the draft and signing free agents from overseas should hopefully for the Mets give them a fruitful bounty of goods in the future.

As for the present, one of the bright spots has been a positive development of late for the Cyclones is the lights out pitching from the starters.

Pitching coach Hector Berrios said that the crux of the team's success would come from players such as Tobi Stoner, Jeramy Simmons and Nelson Portillo, who have so far delivered on their potential.

Stoner has only a 1-1 record and a 2.70 ERA but he has been stringent in not allowing baserunners to get on base. Opposing hitters only have a .195 average against the 15th round pick of the 06' draft and has struckout a team high 13 batters.

Simmons is at 2-1 and though he has allowed hitters to get on base, he has the knack of putting out the fires before a big inning starts. Portillo won his first game in a Cyclones 4-0 win against Hudson Valley on July 2 with a six inning shutout and striking out four.

Joe Holden, A New York Penn League All-Star last season, returned to the team from Hagerstown to help out a dormant offense. The Wantagh, Long Island native has struggled so far with only four hits in 30 at bats and has echoed the team wide woes at the plate as the Cyclones have a .217 average.

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