By Will Bredderman
And now, your Brooklyn Cyclones pitchers!
Cyclones skipper Rich Donnelly gave this paper an exclusive sneak preview of the Mini Mets’ pitching roster for the 2012 season, which kicks off June 18 with a home game against their hated cross-harbor rivals, the Staten Island Yankees.
Donnelly said this season’s team — mostly chosen out of 106 draft picks at spring training camp in Port Saint Lucie, Fla. — will feature just one of the players who took the Cyclones to the playoffs last season, with first baseman and gnarly-gloved gladiator Cole Frenzel coming back for a second go-round on the good ship Cyclone.
Frenzel joined the Cyclones after the season began, but quickly made a name for himself as a steady first baseman — and for the fact that he would tape up the unraveling pocket of his beloved Rawlings mitt with medical tape.
The seasoned veteran manager Donnelly, who’ll begin his second year at the helm, said the club’s focus early on will be on building a pitching staff that has a great rapport with his catchers.
“I like pitchers who throw the ball over the plate and catchers who can catch the ball. The offense will take care of itself,” Donnelly said, adding that he hoped to see his team lead the league in fewest walks again this season.
So, without further ado, here’s a sampling of the Brooklyn Cyclones’ 2012 pitching staff (and when we say sampling, we mean it — according to the official Cyclones 2012 roster, which came out yesterday, there are 20 pitchers on staff, four of them lefties):
• Gabriel Ynoa: Donnelly calls the Kingsport Mets transplant “a throwing machine” who gets his pitches over the plate. He walked only four batters in the 56 innings he’s pitched during the last two years.
• Luis Mateo: One of the best arms in the entire organization, according to Mets Veep Paul DePodesta, Mateo is a flamethrower who posted 80 strikeouts and a 2.00 ERA in 13 appearances with the Dominican Summer League Mets in 2011.
“His numbers in the Dominican last year were outrageous,” said Donnelly.
• Luis Cessa: This hurler went 4–2 for the Gulf Coast Mets last year, with a 3.16 ERA for the season, where he walked 13 batters in 53 innings. Donnelly says Cessa had potential as either a starter or as a reliever.
• Matthew Bowman: A first-year draft pick out of Princeton, Bowman had two shutouts and gave up just one home run in 2012.
• Matthew Koch: A massive 6-foot-3, 204-pound third-round pick out of Louisville, Koch is 8–5 with a 3.40 ERA in his two-year career in college ball, and allowed just eight walks in 32-1/3 innings last season.
Donnelly says he’s excited about his pitching roster, but he hasn’t seen all of them in action: he won’t see Bowman or Koch pitch until he gets into Brooklyn this weekend.
But character was just as important as skill, he said.
“I look at numbers before they get here, but then I want to see what kind of kid they are. I look at when things go bad, how they act,” said Donnelly. “You really don’t know what you’re going to get till you open up that stadium and turn the lights on.”
The Brooklyn Cyclones will kick off their 2012 season against the Staten Island Yankees at MCU Park [1904 Surf Ave. at W. 17th Street in Coney Island, (718) 449-8497. www.brookl