I hate to be the pine tar stain on a fresh clean uniform, but the 2009 Cyclones don’t have the pedigree to win it all. But maybe, just maybe, they have the moxie.
Look, I’ve been riding the Cyclones for all of the team’s eight seasons, and never before has the franchise bosses in Queens ever thrown out such a motley collection of ballplayers.
I’m not talking talent, personality or heart — the 2009 Cyclones have that in excess.
I’m talking about what the Met scouts think of them.
Consider this, the highest draft pick on the 2009 squad is first-baseman Sam Honeck, who was plucked by the Mets in the 11th round this year (344th overall). After that, the Mets picked righty pitcher John Church in the 23rd round (704th overall), third-baseman James Schroeder in the 33rd round (1,004th overall), righty Wesley Wrenn in the 35th round (1,064th overall), lefty Lance Hoge in the 36th round (1,094 overall), and finally Brandon Sage in the 37th round (1,124th overall).
That’s a grand-slam homer away from last year’s draft, when seven of the Mets’ top 10 picks — including three first rounders, Bradley Holt, Ike Davis and Reese Havens — all started in Brooklyn.
Now, we all know plenty of Major Leaguers who weren’t drafted with the elite players — future Hall of Famer Mike Piazza, for example, didn’t go until the 62nd round! — but a high draft position is at least an indication that a team’s scouts are excited about the young prospect.
So this year’s Cyclones aren’t a scout’s Dream Team, but returning outfielder John Servidio thinks this team is actually better than last year’s squad.
“No, we don’t have any big draft picks, but it’s better for the team,” he said. “We all start out as equals and we all have to prove ourselves on every pitch. No one ‘owns’ this team or gets treated differently. We’re all in it together.”
AND Pitching coach Rick Tomlin told me he’s more than happy with his five starters, Collin McHugh (who will go opening night), Mark Cohoon, Angel Cuan, Brandon Moore and Jim Fuller.
“These five guys all throw three pitches for strikes,” Tomlin said. “They’re always around the plate. The key will be making sure that they’re consistent with the fastball. But I have confidence in all of them. It’s a great staff.”
For his part, manager Pedro Lopez said he’s looking for aggressive, hard-nosed baseball.
“These players know that I like an aggressive style of play and I want to see the players do the little things,” he said. “We’re not going to win with three-run homers in the eighth inning. In this league, games are won and lost in the basepaths.”
They certainly aren’t won at the draft.