The 2015 Brooklyn Cyclones season was rough. They became the first team in franchise history to finish with a losing record. In 2016, the Cyclones hit .216, but strong pitching and a phenomenal debut season for Peter Alonso salvaged some hope. 2017, however, took the cake.
Brooklyn finished 24-52, setting franchise records for most losses, most home runs allowed (44), fewest home runs hit (17). The team got off to a 6-19 start, and unfortunately were never able to find consistent success until the final two weeks of the season, when they won nine of their final 14 games. In August, the Cyclones set a New York-Penn League record by dropping 14 consecutive contests.
Player development will always be the top goal of any minor league team, but that becomes even more important when a club fails to put up big numbers in the win column. Luckily, the Cyclones were able to produce a number of players that will see their prospect statuses rise in the coming years.
Any conversation on the 2017 Brooklyn team should start and end with infielder Walter Rasquin, who led the team in nearly all offensive categories, cementing himself as the only consistent threat throughout the season. The 21-year-old native of Venezuela also set a Cyclones record by stealing 32 bases, breaking Angel Pagan‘s mark of 30 (2001). Given that he spent most of the season as a designated hitter, Rasquin will have to work on becoming more comfortable in the field, should he want to bring his game to the next level.
The Cyclones’ run at the end of the season coincided with the promotion of outfielder Wagner Lagrange from Kingsport, who made an immediate impact upon arrival. In 13 games, Lagrange hit .308/.378/.436, with four runs driven in. The ball seemed to always jump hard off his bat, and his athleticism in the field showed night after night. Lagrange was slightly older than league average in Kingsport, but he will be a name to keep tabs on going forward.
As for the 2017 draft picks, third-round selection was able to hold his own in 54 games before earning a promotion to Columbia. Brodey led the Cyclones in RBI, while playing a strong center field. 28th-rounder Jeremy Vasquez hit .370 over his first two weeks after getting called up from Kingsport, but from that point on he managed only six hits in 66 plate appearances.
While pitching has historically been the hallmark of Cyclones baseball, this year’s team struggled to find consistency on the mound. The ace of the staff, if it’s fair to call it that, was Nicolas Debora, who allowed eight earned runs, eight walks, and struck out 30 batters in 30.1 innings as a starter. Indy-ball signee Gunnar Kines was excellent in seven outings before suffering an ankle fracture, and Marty Anderson, who was purchased from Schaumburg on July 2, struck out 13.5 batters per nine innings, but was quickly promoted to Columbia.
The bullpen was helped by strong performances from 2017 draftees Cannon Chadwick and Trey Cobb, while sidearmer Stephen Villines struck out 30 batters to one walk in 19 innings following a promotion from Kingsport. The Mets’ first-round pick, David Peterson, was limited to 3.2 innings over three outings, as he battled a foot injury throughout his debut season.
Injuries also plagued the Cyclones throughout the season, as Matt Winaker (shoulder), Leon Byrd (elbow), Luis De Los Santos (torn UCL), Kurtis Horne (ankle), Dylan Snypes (shoulder), Chris Viall (pectoral), and Kines all missed time with significant injuries.
It’s tough to place any blame for the results of this season on first year manager Edgardo Alfonzo, who was a key cog in the development of many players on the team, namely Rasquin and Jose Medina. Although he expressed pleasure with his rookie season, Alfonzo was noncommittal on a return as skipper in 2018.
Manager: Edgardo Alfonzo
Pitching Coach: Royce Ring
Hitting Coach: Sean Ratliff
Midseason All-Star: RF Jose Miguel Medina, 2B Walter Rasquin
Player of the Week: RF Jose Miguel Medina (7/16)
Pitcher of the Week: LHP Gunnar Kines (7/16)
PA: Walter Rasquin 265 (T-2nd in the NYPL)
R: Walter Rasquin 41 (T-3rd)
H: Walter Rasquin 73 (2nd)
2B: Walter Rasquin 21 (1st)
3B: Four tied 2
HR: Jose Maria 5
RBI: Quinn Brodey 30
SB: Walter Rasquin 32 (1st)
BA: Walter Rasquin .300
OBP: Scott Manea .380
SLG: Walter Rasquin .407
OPS: Walter Rasquin .748
Starting Pitching Leaders
Relief Pitching Leaders
(Minimum 5 Appearances)
W: Gregorix Estevez 3
ERA: Cannon Chadwick 1.33
G: Gregorix Estevez 21
SV: Gregorix Extevez & Conner O’Neil 3
IP: Gregorix Estevez 31.0
K: Cannon Chadwick 40
WHIP: Stephen Villines 0.74
Previous Season Recaps